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Operators project over 60% rise in housing deficit.

Experts in Nigeria’s built industry have predicted an over 60 per cent rise in the housing deficit by 2050, on the back of rising population and urbanisation worsened by economic conditions.

The Treasurer of the Nigerian Institute of Building, Lagos Chapter, Philips Ayotunde, projected that the housing deficit would increase by over 60 per cent because the growing population would double by 2050.

He said, “Our housing deficit in Nigeria now is about 28 million with a growing population of over 200 million people. By 2050 our population will be over 400 million and our housing deficit would have doubled if nothing is done to check the huge deficit.

The government has not been able to reduce the huge housing deficit gap; we have been having a rising deficit for more than 10 years. If the government can come up with workable policies that can help reduce this huge gap without abandoning them along the way. It would go a long way. Closing up this deficit gap has to start with the government providing an enabling environment.”

According to him, many private developers are unable to access funds to build, due to the high interest rates and import duties on building materials.

He added, “This has made it very difficult for private developers to assist as they should. In addition, the affordability of land is a huge challenge. Also, the issue of the review of the Land Use Act being clamoured for, giving people the entitlement to a lease for 99 years is not helping matters.

“Another area fuelling the increase in this deficit is the lack of maintenance. The present properties we have, if not properly maintained, many of them would soon become inhabitable for the citizens. Since the president made the announcement on Executive Order 11 dealing with maintenance, we have not seen any further development. If you make an executive order and you do not follow up with implementation by backing it with resources, the order is as good as dead.”

Ayotunde noted that the implementation of the executive order was important and should be backed up with resources so that the order would become a reality.

“Many people shy away from the real estate sector because of inflation. The cost of building materials skyrockets and making a budget plan for a building before being built is unachievable because of the unpredictability of the market. These birth abandoned projects all over the country.

“In addition, the lack of modern technology and expertise, unlike other countries, slows down building processes.”

Ayotunde lamented that the building sector lacked standards, effectiveness and implementation of standards, adding that this had worsened the state of the sector.

He added, “We have our regulations, but it is not being implemented, and buildings continue to cave in on a daily basis, it will scare away investors who should bring funding.”

The Executive Director of the Housing Development Advocacy Network, Festus Adebayo, said population growth would widen the housing deficit.

He said, “We are reproducing geometrically. Yemi Osinbajo noted that every year Nigeria increases by over 50 million. Nigeria cannot produce over 100,000 buildings in a year.

“The Buhari-led government has not delivered 10,000 houses in eight years. The people constructing houses in Nigeria are in the private sector. However, the power of the private sector is restricted due to the inaccessibility of funds. It only has access to commercial loans that come with double-digit interest rates.

“The housing deficit would keep increasing as long as children are being born every year, and graduates are also being produced every year and are in need of accommodations. What we need now is setting an agenda for housing in this new governmental tenure.”

Adebayo added that the housing deficit would continue to increase as long as there was no political will from the government.

In the same vein, the Chief Executive Officer, Seven30 Real Estate Limited, Oluwole Fapounda, explained that once the birth rate outweighs the death rate, the housing deficit would continue to rise.

He said, “Although we are experiencing a lot of brain drains, the statistics have still not proven that those leaving would outweigh those needing accommodation. On average, one household in Lagos has at least one person squatting with them. Also, we do not have a structured housing market like an efficient mortgage system, because that could have been the regulatory factor.

“If we experience more brain drains, it would get to a point where the deficit would continue to slow down because it would give us more room. Because in a place such as Lagos State, statistics say that over 100 people migrate to Lagos every day without plans of going back because it is a land filled with opportunities.”



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