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Stakeholders bemoan Nigeria’s increasing housing shortage

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Despite efforts to combat the country’s housing deficit, some stakeholders have said there is an increase in housing shortage, especially for people at the bottom of the pyramid.

They noted that there was an acute problem of housing availability, accessibility and affordability without corresponding actions to match the demand and called for urgent collaboration among stakeholders.

The President and Chairman of Council, Association of Housing Corporations of Nigeria, Mohammed Adamu, said there had not been adequate realistic strategies that would directly address housing needs and empower the people to reduce unemployment in the Nigerian society.

He stated that mass rental housing remained an untapped viable option of sustaining housing corporations and reducing the impact of housing shortage, especially on the low-income group.

While calling on all state governments to support their housing agencies in driving rental housing across Nigeria, he said it would go a long way in reducing housing problems in the country.

Adamu said opportunities abound in the construction and housing sector, but homeownership remained the priority and major need of the people.

“What have we done with these opportunities? We talk about high demand for housing without corresponding supply, yet we have houses developed in some of our major cities like Abuja, Lagos and Port Harcourt built over two years that are not sold,” he said.

He added, “We talk about inadequate housing finance to build, yet we have some idle funds in the system that are quietly kept and placed in fixed deposit and Treasury bills, generating selfish income to the pocket of some privileged few.

“We complain of high cost of building materials, yet every policy put in place to encourage and sustain vibrant local building materials production are not supported with appropriate enabling environment to produce quality building materials. Why is our mortgage market crawling when we have a vibrant platform that can create unhindered access to affordable mortgage as well as exit point for developers who invested in housing?”

He stated that all manner of opportunities in the sector had been identified but had not been tapped; adding that stakeholders needed to ensure that opportunities were properly tapped, to address the country’s housing problems.

“It is time to work together as stakeholders to holistically tackle our housing problems. Housing sector has potential that can be tapped for driving our economic recovery if only we choose to get our act together to tackle housing deficit and affordability challenge. It is time to deviate from just talking without matching it with action,” he said.

The President, Assured Group, Mr Adewumi Okupe, said the cooperative option of housing provision had not been fully explored.

According to him, cooperatives allow for resources to be pulled together from various members who have come into the unit for the purposes of realising their objective, which may be homeownership.

He explained that attempts had been made over the years to raise money through conventional means, but no suitable one could be found.

“Through the cooperative option, members are able to increase wealth and create long-term lending options through their funds at very low interest rate,” he said.

Adamu said despite efforts by investors in the private sector, the government should also increase investment in housing, especially in providing primary infrastructure.

“Against the background that primary infrastructure forms about 30 per cent of construction cost in housing estates, the road to housing availability and affordability cannot be achieved without the support of the government,” he added.

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