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First Homes Africa redefines homeownership with novel solution for millennials

…subscribers become home owners just contributing for 15 months

On incremental and consistent basis, the real estate market in Nigeria receives new innovations fashioned to redefine approaches and offer solutions to home ownership problems in the country.

One of the latest entrants is First Homes Africa with its online landlord platform that is out to change both the dynamics and narratives in the Nigerian housing market where affordability issues have consigned the young ones to the rental market.

The platform which was launched on October 1, 2019, focusing on first time home buyers, especially the millennials, has an ambitious target of 60,000 apartments in the next four years to be delivered to home seekers through a well structured rent-to-own arrangement.

The technology-driven platform which encourages subscribers to cultivate saving culture also allows them to contribute for only 15 months and become home owners in a location of their choice.

“First Homes Africa is an online real estate start- up offering a transparent, flexible and unique approach to home ownership targeted at the continent’s young adult,” explained Bayo Ogunusi, a Co-Founder/CFO of the company who spoke to journalists in Lagos.

Ogunusi explained further that by focusing on the least served demographic in the African housing market, the company provides housing designs and payment terms that are tailored to the life style of Africa’s millennial.

According to him, due to growth in population and rural-urban migration, there is a growing gap in the demand and supply of housing in Nigeria. The housing market faces a number of challenges that affects its competitiveness and potential for growth.

“These include, but not limited to poor infrastructure and outdated construction techniques; absence of cheap and long-term mortgages; administrative bottlenecks in title registration and planning permission,” Ogunusi said.

He lamented, however, that interventions made by past and current governments at both federal and state levels to close the housing deficit have not yielded much result as all policies and programmes have consistently excluded first time home buyers.

This gap, arising from the failure of those interventions, he said, was what First Home Africa was out to close. To do this, he explainedd, the company has built an ecosystem around their platform which comprises all housing stakeholders including the government, insurance companies, developers and builders, building materials manufacturers, built environment professionals, etc.

“To further enhance delivery on our brand promise, we are already working with trusted partners in the housing ecosystem in Nigeria,” Francis Ekeng, the company’s founder confirmed at the press briefing.

“With the use of technology-cloud computing, big data, predictive analysis, artificial intelligence, mobile technology and social networks, we plan to create a pull approach to housing market and create houses that are suited to the continent’s young adults lifestyle; reduce the waste traditionally associated with house design and building in Africa and pass the savings on to the target market in form of affordable housing,” Ekeng said.

He assured that they would adopt a 21st century approach to solve the millennial home ownership deficit in Nigeria, which it hopes to achieve with the use of technology. The Platform brings new thinking and innovation to solving an old problem by leveraging on network connectivity and data intelligence to create smart business solutions.

Their solution, he said,  would involve a user-friendly platform that enables the target market to make a commitment to saving a predetermined amount over an agreed period. The platform records the savings habits of its members to determine the reliability and ability of its members to commit to making payments over an extended period.

The credibility of members of the platform shall be determined by using a technology stack, which includes cloud technology, big data, predictive analysis, artificial intelligence, mobile technology and social media (technological solutions that were not previously available).

In addition, the platform would allow its members to withdraw from their savings, though subject to a penalty, to deal with life unforeseen expenses. The monthly deposits will be kept in an escrow as it is paramount that members remain in control and have access to their savings until they move into their property.


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