It is no new story that Nigeria suffers a huge deficit of housing which appears to grow every year on a geometric rate. Experts have said that emerging economies including Nigeria need a whooping $16 trillion dollars to settle the housing deficit in the various countries. It would mean an extremely impossible task and the end of the world for any government to provide these funds on its own to finance real estate.
Stakeholders and international eggheads met in Abuja last week to discuss and provide a road map to rejuvenate the nation's housing and construction sectors of the economy.
With discussions still ongoing, it has been said that the bulk of housing deficit falls within the middle and low income and affordable segments of the market; there is therefore a need for the government to create enabling environment, policies and reduce its involvement in direct construction of houses as well as minimize taxation on the real estate sector, especially providers of medium and low-income housing.
According to research done, Nigeria needs $363 billion dollars (N111.08 trillion) to meet the current housing deficit, according to the centre for affordable housing finance in Africa. Annual additional housing units required is 730,000 units at N5 million naira per house, which amounts to N3.65 trillion yearly funding. The estimations for the nation's housing demand is also between 38-44 million units.
These figures seem more theoretic than practical as the need yet increases by the day. The challenges of insurgency, flooding, and various disasters deplete the current housing stock in the country which poses even greater problems to the government of the day.
It was said during the meeting in Abuja that failure to match the annual increase in household and housing needs with a comparable increase in new homes built as well as its adverse impact on the nation and its citizens had made them to seek for the establishment of a Nigeria/National Housing commission (NHC)
The need for a collaborative effort of the private sector cannot be overemphasized. Statistics have continually shown the immense impact the private sector has had in providing for the housing need of the ever-increasing population. Yet the sector still suffers more challenges every year in meeting those needs.
Under the plan, the stakeholders expect a presidential order to constitute the Nigerian Housing Commission this year, which made up of no more than 12 members to drive the mandate of the NHC.
This program is of paramount importance because a well functioning housing market can be vital economic sector and a potential source of job creation. This is due to the fact that solutions lie with a comprehensive urban plan and delivery of not only affordable homes but also sustainable new communities.
A collaborative effort between all the major players (government, private investors, developers, real estate professionals, home buyers and leasees) are all needed to work together in providing sustainable and affordable housing for the nation. Only then will the trillion-dollar problem of housing in a nation like Nigeria be faced and tackled head-on.