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66,402 people apply for new FG Mortgage scheme

An indication that Nigerians are in dire need of affordable and live-able homes in any part of the country emerged last week as a total of 66,402 applicants are seeking slots in the 10,000 homes to be constructed by the Federal Government under the Mortgage Refinancing Scheme pilot project.

The Federal Government launched the scheme early this year to create opportunity for Nigerians to own their own affordable homes anywhere in the country.

But statistics presented to journalists last week, however, showed that many of the applicants prefer home in the Federal Capital Territory than anywhere else. In fact, it was revealed that 51 percent of all applicants want to live in Abuja and 18 percent in Lagos.

Only last month the Coordinating Minister for the Economy and Minister of Finance, Dr.(Mrs.) Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, rolled out the process for the first tranche of mortgages for 10,000 homes but by last week when the curtain for the application was drawn, a whopping 66,402 requests had been received with over 51 per cent of the applicants preferring Abuja, with emphasis on homes within the precinct of the Federal Capital City ( FCT).

Also, it also emerged that the mortgages may likely be above the single digit interest widely held before now because of the longer tenor (20 years) and inflationary consideration, if comments yesterday by Dr. (Mrs.) Ngozi Okonjo Iweala are anything to go by.

These indications emerged last week when she addressed a press conference in Abuja to announcement the commencement of the prequalification of the applicants by the 17 primary mortgage lenders and the four commercial banks participating in the financing of the mortgages.

At the conference attended by some of the mortgage lenders and the Chief Executive of the Nigerian Mortgage Refinancing Company. Mr. Soni Ayere, the institution expressed readiness and its preparedness to provide finance over the initial 10,000 target up to the total application figure, provided they scale the screening hurdles which has been simplified from over 12 pages to only two as the process of pre- qualification is expected to be concluded in eight weeks time.

Okonjo-Iweala gave insight into the process so far and how the beneficiaries are expected to emerge : “ As at Friday September 5, 2014 (the initial closing date of the registration exercise), we had received 66,402 valid applications – with more still calling! That is more than six times oversubscription to our initial 10,000 pilot. We are extremely pleased with this outcome.

“The applications were spread across the 36 states including FCT. A graph to show the spread is available, 63% of applicants were male, with 37% female; 89% of applications applied for themselves – that is in their own name, even our women! Everybody seems to want to own his/her own – interesting! ; Only 11% were joint applications (that is Husband and Wife); almost 60% of applicants were in the 31-40yr age bracket, 15% in the 21-30yr bracket – that is a healthy 75% of young people willing to buy homes and can easily have tenors of up to 20yrs for their mortgages A graph to show the spread is also available.”

She continued: “Nigerians showed that we prefer 3bedroom flats/houses, with 62.7% of applicants applying to acquire this property type. 32% wanted 2 bed flats and a small percentage applied for 1-bedroom flats and 1-bedroom self-contained flats. ; 96% of all applicants are currently living in rented accommodation. 92% of applicants are in stable employed positions – the lenders will be very happy with this, whilst only 8% were self-employed.

“Now, due to the over subscription, a decision has been taken to give all applicants to the lending members of NMRC to share on a pro-rata basis. Lending members of NMRC are expected to have the refinancing window of up to 20yrs. They will sift then analyse and pre-qualify all applicants culminating in the amounts each lender is willing to advance to the applicant. This lets the applicant know value of property he/she can afford.

“Lending Members of NMRC have promised to complete this exercise within 6 – 8weeks from receipt of the list. Following this exercise, the first completed 10,000 mortgages will be published in the dailies. Subsequent qualified applicants will be notified. Once qualified or notified, each applicant can then begin to look for a home that is within his/her borrowing range,” she concluded.

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