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Affordable housing: Governors urged to partner with cooperative societies

“The continued shortage of affordable housing in the country remains a sore point for experts and other stakeholders in the built environment.”- The Nation

The experts, like the Managing Director, M.I. Okoro and Associates, Mr. Meckson Okoro, have not ceased to wonder why, in a nation of over 180 million people, not up to 20 per cent of them can boast of owning their houses.

Okoro, while presenting a paper at the housing scheme launch of the Perfection Co-operative Estate Phase 1, Ibeju-Lekki, noted that this is a sharp contrast to what obtains in other countries like Singapore and Cuba, among others, where house ownership is a secondary problem because up to 75 percent of such country’s population can boast of their own homes.

The Perfection Investors Cooperative Society Limited is an independent membership real estate club in Lagos.

At the event, which held in Lagos, Okoro blamed the  credit system for the housing challenge.

“There is absence of mortgage system in Nigeria and the few ones existing have no financial muscle to finance real estate development because of the huge capital requirement of this form of investment. The commercial banks have limited capital to lend for real estate development. Where they have such fund to lend, it will be for a very high interest rate,” he lamented. He added that ignorance is another big problem affecting house ownership.

“How many people know about cooperative societies as the vehicle to own their houses? Not many really, and even if they knew, ignorance will not allow them to take action. Therefore, the only way forward to owning your houses today since there are not solid mortgage institution to finance real estate is for people to join real estate cooperatives to secure their future to own houses and land. This is where cooperatives like Perfection Real Estate Investors Cooperative Society is of importance,” he said.

Okoro, an estate surveyor and valuer, advised governors to partner cooperative societies to provide affordable mass housing for their citizens.“The government should work in tandem with cooperative societies because their activities impact the society,” he said, citing corruption, monetisation policy of government and the Land Use Act as some factors affecting real estate development in the nation.

The guest lecturer/Managing Director Realty Point Limited, Mr. Debo Adejana, said investment in real estate was a gold mine being neglected by Nigerians due to ignorance. He said areas that have developed to become city centres were once remote areas people ran away from.

He advised that investments into real estate should not be delayed because experience had shown that procrastination took away opportunities for people to either be land or house owners. “Don’t get trapped in the Nigerian real estate dilemma where the trap is not being able to afford what he wants and not wanting what he can afford. Buy land, invest in real estate before you wait, don’t wait to invest in real estate because prices would never go low,” Adejana advised.

According to him, Ibeju Lekki in Lagos is the fastest growing construction hub in Africa today because people are building massively in the area and it is expected that by 2020 the hub will generate 50,000 jobs.

Perfection Real Estate Investors Cooperative Society Limited President, Mr. Niyi Adeleye, noted that the economic situation and some policies of the government  depleted purchasing power in real estate.

He said only about two per cent of Nigerians were investing in real estate, a situation he described as worrisome. “This also means that even when we talk about home ownership for the Nigerian, we are still very far behind,” he said.

Adeleye said the cooperative society was inaugurated in 2012 to bridge the gap and give more Nigerians the opportunity to join the club to make small contributions towards home and land ownership.

Source: The Nation

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