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New report faults FG, states on housing, proposes devt fund

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A new report on the state of housing in Nigeria has faulted the federal and state governments on their housing policies and programmes which, the report notes, have failed to address adequately the challenges in the country’s housing sector.

The report compiled by the Association of Housing Corporations of Nigeria (AHCN) shows how bad the state of housing is in Nigeria with a housing demand-supply gap estimated at 20 million units. It also proposes an affordable housing development fund as solution to the problem.

AHCN is an umbrella organisation for all federal and state housing agencies, housing research institutes, mortgage firms and private property developers that plays a critical role in the housing sector.

According to the association, a special development fund under the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) should be created for States Housing Corporations and Federal Housing Authority (FHA) for rental and affordable mass housing provision.

The All Progressives Congress (APC) led federal government had, in 2015, promised Nigerians that it would deliver 1million housing units yearly, adding that it would establish a vibrant mortgage system with a single digit interest rate to ease home ownership.

Experts say that this is a sad reminder of similar promises made by the Goodluck Jonathan administration at the setting up of the Nigeria Mortgage Refinance Company (NMRC) which, the government said, would drag down interest rate to single digit in order to enable affordable housing delivery.

The report laments that Nigerians are yet to see Buhari government’s 1million housing units, revealing that the Federal Government has completed the construction of only 2,249 housing units in 34 states and FCT in the last five years out of the 4,694 housing units’ construction undertaken during the period.

At a BusinessDay Property Investment Conference recently, Andrew Nevin, chief economist at PWC, said that to close its housing deficit, Nigeria needs to build between 100,000 and 200,000 housing units annually for 10 years.

But, according to the report, combined efforts at both federal and state levels are a far cry from this number. BusinessDay checks reveals that annual housing output by both public and private sector operators is within the region of 50,000 to 60,000 units.

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This deficit, according to Nevin, is the reason about 50 percent of Nigeria’s 200 million population lives in cities while 80 percent lives in substandard conditions.

However, there are pockets of housing development projects being undertaken by various agencies of government and private developers which AHCN says is grossly insufficient.

The Federal Housing Authority (FHA), for instance, in the last one year, embarked on the construction of 724 housing units of low/medium income mass housing which, according to the report, is about 95 per cent completed in Zuba Housing Estate.

Also, construction of about 2,000 housing units is ongoing at Guzape Abuja, through Public Private Partnership (PPP) and currently carrying out direct development of 330 units of various house types in six states including Awka, Gombe, Makurdi and Osogbo.

In addition, the Family Homes Funds Limited (FHF) was able to fund and complete 1,000 homes in Borno State for displaced families. Outside this, the agency commenced about 4,200 homes in seven states and completed over 2,500 units in the last one year.

The report recalls that the Federal Mortgage Bank of Nigeria (FMBN) increased housing stock from 20,435 to 29,975 between 2017 and 2021 with an increase of 85 percent in housing loans disbursement and 92 percent in National Housing Fund (NHF) collections.