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An Analysis of Housing Demand in Lagos State – Roland Igbinoba

Do you know that the housing demand estimate in Lagos state is roughly 4.4 million units, the estimated current supply of housing in the state is 1,417,588 units, and the estimated gap between housing demand and supply for Lagos state is roughly 3 million units.

With an annual population growth rate estimated at 6-8%, Lagos is considered the fastest growing city in Africa, and the 7th in the world. Lagos state is considered the smallest state yet there is continuous high influx of people to the state. This makes housing demand in Lagos state constantly on the increase

With the statistics in perspective, it is evident from the geographical size against population of Lagos that the state is over-populated and highly dense. The statistics have grave implications for the housing delivery for the teeming populace.

There are different agencies and organizations from both the public and private sector responsible for the provision of housing in Lagos state. These agencies and organizations in the public sector include the Lagos State Development and Property Corporation (LSDPC), Lagos State Ministry of Housing, Federal Housing Authority (FHA), Federal Ministry of Housing and Urban Development (Now merged into Federal Ministry of Power, Works and Housing), and Lagos State Building Investment Corporation.

On the other hand there are numerous private sector property development and financial institutions who have contributed a significant share of housing delivery to the state to reduce the housing demand in the state

As far back as the late seventies, some public institutions like LSDPC and FHA developed well planned housing estates such as Festac Town and Ipaja Estates. Planned gross density, like that of Festac, was 110 persons per hectare in a range of various housing unit types. But over the last three decades, many illegal developments on vacant lands and serviced plots have sprung up without proper planning. This has negatively affected the initial layout and plan of most of the Lagos environment.

Furthermore, the infrastructure in most of the early built estates being significantly worn out, and the lack of adequate infrastructure in new estates being developed reduces the livability of the estates.

Old neighbourhoods residential of Mushin, Somolu, Bariga, Olodi-Apapa, Isolo, Oshodi, Sogunle, Mafoluku, Agege and the recent expansion into former urban border areas like Idimu, Egebda, Ikotun, Ojo, Ajagbandi, Lemba-Hausa, along the Badagry corridor providing housing for lower economy. Housing in these old neighbourhood areas are typically “rooming type” and are usually congested. They lack basic facilities and infrastructure essential for habitable and healthy environment. These parts of Lagos city accommodate over 70% of the state’s population.

In 1979, a detailed survey of the “rooming type” houses in Lagos was conducted by Wilbur Smith Associates. The analysis showed that 96% of such houses were structurally fair while 4% were in poor and unsound condition likely to require demolition by year 2000. This may explain some of the unfortunate incidences of building collapse in Lagos in recent times, as the recommended demolitions were not implemented.

The state government identified 42 slums communities in Lagos metropolis in 1983 based on standard indicators of blighted buildings. The creation of the Urban Renewal Division in the then Ministry of Economic Planning and Land Matters was approved in 1985 by the government to address this high prevalence of slum growth. The division was upgraded into a full fledged parastatal known as Lagos State Urban Renewal Board in 1991. In 2005, it was restructured and renamed the Lagos State Urban Renewal Authority (LASURA). This demonstrates the extent of slum existence and increase in Lagos.

In Lagos, the informal private sector, comprising of people of different income background, resorted to self-help housing strategy. They take the risk of buying untitled land from the informal market dominated by cabal popularly referred to as “OMONILE”. After the land purchase, majority of these people construct their own roads, providing water and extending electricity to provide a roof over their head. Over 90% of housing supply in Lagos is from this sector with the resultant effects of lack of standardization and distorted urban planning system.

In 1995, a World Bank review of the status of the slum communities revealed that the number had increased to 100 and it recommended a 4-year successive upgrading programme. It was reported in September 2013 that Lagos Metropolitan Development and Governance Project (LMDGP), a World Bank Funded slum upgrade initiative of the Lagos State Government has earmarked for upgrade the 9 most blighted communities in the state.

The areas are Agege/Orile Agege, Ajegunle, Amukoko, Badia, Iwaya, Makoko, Ilaje, Bariga and Ijeshatedo/Itere. If this project is successful then Lagosians in those areas will have cause to smile

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