Newly appointed minister of Works, Power and Housing, Babatunde Raji Fashola, already has a laundry list on his agenda to reform the three critical sectors of the Nigerian economy. Many experts are eager to see his agenda focus on plans that will tackle the problem of housing in Nigeria.
The 2015 report on housing by a leading real estate portal, Lamudi Nigeria, revealed that demand for housing in many parts of Nigeria, especially Lagos State far exceeds that of supply. The report, based on data of supply and demand was gathered from almost every neighbourhood in the state in the first quarter of 2015. The report highlights the looming shortage of affordable housing in the state. For example, Lagos Mainland recorded the highest market pressure for housing with demand outstripping supply by 18 times, followed by Surulere (10 times). Further revelations from the report shed light on the crisis of exorbitant housing prices across the state. The average sale price for available property in Lagos Island was N46m per bedroom, more than three times the Lagos median sales price.
Experts on the matter have called for Nigerian mortgage lenders to do more in educating consumers on the available funding options for intending home buyers. Existing programmes such as the Nigerian Mortgage Refinance Corporation (NMRC), act as solutions for the government to curb this problem by offering affordable mortgages to all Nigerians.
In addition, the problem of the land grabbers and the infamous omo oni le (land owners) must be tackled if the government plan for providing affordable housing for all Nigerians is to become a reality.
By Pita Ochai