Over sixty years after the country’s independence, Nigerians are still struggling to secure affordable homes and are often forced to live in substandard housing. United Nations projections put the population of the country at 223.8 million for this year, while the housing need is estimated at 28 million as of 2023. It is predicted that ₦21 trillion will be needed to fund housing units and close the housing gaps. The average rate of housing delivery is only 2 dwelling units per 1000 people — as shown by further analysis, which is exceedingly low compared to the United Nations recommended rate of 10 dwelling units per 1000 people.
Annual housing production is lower than 100,000 units and homeownership is below 50 percent. The private sector continues to play a key role in meeting the housing needs of Nigerians, given the fact that government at all levels has not adequately supported this sector. There are a number of issues plaguing the housing market in this country right now, including: a lack of affordable mortgages; inadequate housing finance arrangements; high interest loan conditions from banks; a backlog in the processing of legal documents; delayed processing of legal documents; building collapses (with over 461 cases in the last four decades); and poor housing policies.
Robust housing strategy is needed to attract private sector.
Stakeholders noted that the current housing policy in Nigeria is weak and unworkable, hence a new and robust policy is needed. They pointed out that there is no concerted effort on the part of governments to promote the provision of social housing through enticing tax refunds and incentives. Housing has been inadequate in both quantity and quality to satisfy the needs of Nigerians, said Mr. Nathaniel Atebije, president of the Nigerian Institute of Town Planners (NITP), adding that good housing has been reserved for the wealthy. He recommended that governments make sufficient provisions to guarantee a quality housing development procedure.
Atebije further argued that Nigeria requires a fresh, robust and workable housing strategy in order to attract private sector engagement via low-cost mortgages. A policy of such would also do well to highlight the merits of vertical growth and discourage the construction of low-rise buildings. Dr. Victor Onukwugha, president of the Association of Housing Corporations of Nigeria (AHCN), said the country needs realistic ways and proper strategies to address the housing gap and affordable mass housing development so that housing can be used as a genuine tool for economic recovery. He asserted that the government has to recommit to the issue by implementing regulations that control the supply and demand process.
Govt should facilitate the growth of REITs market to attract investors.
In addition, local construction materials should be promoted to increase public endorsement. Housing agencies should report to the federal and state Ministries of Housing to ensure they are meeting their legal responsibilities. According to Onukwugha, the gap between the housing shortfall and the market price will continue to increase until there is a concerted effort to solve the housing problems of those with low and middle incomes. He argued that the government should facilitate the growth of the Real Estate Investment Trusts (REITs) market in order to attract investors, finance the housing and construction sectors, and stimulate the mortgage market by creating an off-takers’ base.
According to Enyi Ben-Eboh, president of the Nigerian Institute of Architects (NIA), the country’s housing shortage stems from a lack of new construction to meet the growing population of the nation. Ben-Eboh said that the nation’s housing woes are rooted in the same fundamental problem as the country’s overall economic performance: a shortage of homes relative to the expanding population. He said that since the country’s independence, successive governments had worked to address the people’s housing concerns.
Existing policies have merely influenced any progress.
Such government efforts are implemented through direct construction of housing for citizens using special purpose drivers like the Federal Housing Administration and state-level housing corporations. This was prior to the private sector involvement which only benefited the middle and upper classes at the expense of the low class. Ben-Eboh argued that existing policies have merely influenced any progress because of poverty and shrinking resources, which are inextricably linked to an insufficient stock of mortgages and an infrastructure deficit. He opined that the government should guarantee access to mortgages and infrastructure, and implement policies that encourage private investment.