BusinessDay
Nigeria's leading finance and market intelligence news report.

Eye on low income earners as affordable housing tackles deficit

It is good news for low and middle income earners, informal and skilled professionals as a new housing scheme launched recently bysam Affordable Housing Cooperative Society focuses on them in its drive to tackle housing deficit.

The new scheme aims to ease the process of owning homes for all Nigerians by creating the capacity needed for homeownership in choice location across the country with minimal financial burden.

This means increased access and affordability by people who, ordinarily, would not have been able to own homes. The scheme is a plus for the country as any increase in home-ownership level helps to solve social and economic problems of destitution and low productivity respectively.

“The target of this initiative is to address prospective home buyers’ concerns which impede real estate investment in Nigeria,” Morola Babalola, the initiator of the Affordable Housing Cooperative, explained at the launch of the scheme in Lagos.

She observed that despite the increase in private sector investments in the Nigerian real estate industry, the country’s housing deficit keeps getting worse.

Babalola, who is also the chief executive officer, Townsead Property Investment Limited, explained further that Affordable Housing Cooperative is the next step to enabling low and middle-income persons to attain the freedom of becoming homeowners and gain economic empowerment.

“Housing deficit in Nigeria remains intractable despite initiatives by federal and state governments,” she noted, blaming the persisting deficit on the mismatch between the desired homes and what is available for low income and informal sector individuals.

Gbenga Ashafa, managing director, Federal Housing Authority (FHA), said that, to deliver affordable homes, design specification and costing must be taken into consideration.

Ashafa who was represented by Hayatudden Atiku Awwal, managing director, FHA Mortgage Bank Limited, however, assured that the bank was committed to delivering affordable housing.

“In the context of the National Housing Fund (NHF), which is being managed by the Federal Mortgage Bank of Nigeria (FMBN), the cap for affordability is N15 million,” he disclosed, noting that he was delighted to be among this pioneer affordable housing delivery through cooperatives.

He urged all Nigerians to key into the good work.

Ayodeji Amodu, senior special assistant to the governor of Lagos State on housing, noted that with the huge housing deficit in the state, the state government was still resolute on creating more innovative ways for supplying decent and affordable homes to the residents.

He noted further that given the state’s limited landmass and the increased pressure on available land for housing and other development activities, the time was ripe for thinking outside the box.

“In the course of time, the state government may need to evolve an inclusive strategy through which owners of old homesteads would partner with the government in terms of releasing old properties to the government for vertical development of blocks of flats”.

He reasoned that, with the state government’s THEMES Agenda, which the thrust is to transform the state into a 21st century economy that is comparable to others in the world, the housing development policies will be more robust and yet domesticated to the local environment.

“The design of our new homes will be directed towards a more optimized usage of land which is very scarce in the state. Vertical buildings which will house more people will replace the lateral ones”, Amodu assured.

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