• Monday, February 26, 2024
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Here’s Lagos strategy for optimizing land use to tackle housing deficit

Here’s Lagos strategy for optimizing land use to tackle housing deficit

As part of its response to the rising population and widening housing deficit, the Lagos State government says it is perfecting new strategies that will enable it to optimize the use of scarce land for mass housing.

One such strategy, the state says, is rebuilding or regenerating old and declining estates in many parts of the state in the expectation that more homes will be produced in the process.

Moruf Akinderu-Fatai, the state’s Commissioner for Housing, who disclosed this recently, noted that it was important that those schemes built over three and half decades ago were in various states of disrepair, adding that they were built when land was not as scarce as it is today.

“So, significantly, if rebuilt or regenerated, those estates can yield more homes than the existing number. With this, we can achieve a dual goal of upgrading the facilities and also bringing more people on the home ownership ladder,” the commissioner who spoke at the second edition of a property investment conference (PRINVEST) hosted by BusinessDay, said.

He affirmed that regenerating those old estates was just one of the several strategies on the state government’s table on how to produce more houses for the rising number of low income residents who actually need shelter over their head.

It is said that Lagos risks population explosion arising from growing urbanization on a small landmass, measuring 3,577 square kilometres with water bodies and wetland covering 40 percent of the state.

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The commissioner said that in addition to regenerating the old estates, the state government was also focusing on building homes in thousands, meaning that all efforts must be geared towards mass production of homes involving multilevel or vertical homes that were well built and safe.

He added that bringing in more real estate private investor operators and empowering them to build with government owned land as equity was, without doubt, another way to go. “Presently, there are various housing schemes undertaken by the state government and private investor operators,” he said.
He cited pockets of developments within Abraham Adesanya in Ajah, Ilubirin Foreshore Scheme, Lagos State Affordable Public Housing Scheme, Ijora-Badia, and Lagos State Affordable Public Housing Scheme Ilamoye as some of their joint venture projects with the private sector operators.

Others, he said, were Sunrise lifestyle Estate, Ipaja where government was expecting 1000 homes and Workers Village in Imota with a hope of over 3,400 homes specifically for low income earners.
“We are still working out a people-friendly agreement on these two important schemes. The narrative is that the state government is working out a way to marry our welfare-oriented motives with the profit seeking inclinations of the private investors,” he said.

Considering the class of people who are the target of the government’s mass housing scheme-the low income earners- Akinderu-Fatai said that the homes to be produced must be affordable for them so they can have access.
He explained that this was because those low income earners were the most affected by the housing deficit in the state, meaning that interest rates for funds must be significantly lower, that is single digit, for both government and private investors in the real estate sector.

He encouraged private sector investors to look into the diverse long term gains in rental schemes as opposed to outright sales. His reason was that, “presently renters in the state account for 80.7 percent of Lagosians in need of homes which means that 8 out of 10 Lagosians are tenants.”
The opportunity, he said, was huge and verifiable because “not everyone can buy homes; not everyone wants to buy homes; but everyone needs a decent accommodation.”