Decent and affordable housing is one of the basic needs of individuals, family and the community at large. As a pre-requisite to the survival of man, housing ranks second only to food. This article views the challenges of housing delivery in Nigeria
Housing as a unit of the environment has a profound influence on the health, efficient, social behaviour, satisfaction and general welfare of the community at large. It reflects the cultural, social and economic value of the society as it is the best physical and historical evidence of civilization in a country.
The importance of housing in every life of human being and in national economy in general is enormous. Housing problem in Africa especially in Nigeria is not only limited to quantities but also qualities of the available housing units environment.
The proportion of the country’s population living in urban centres has increased phenomenally over the years. Over 50% of Nigerians now live in urban cities of varying sizes. The incidence of this population in urban centres has created severe housing problems, resulting in overcrowding in inadequate dwellings, and possibly over 60% of Nigerians are now homeless.
The astronomical increase in population and urban dwellers has created a lot of pressure on social services and infrastructure such as transportation, electricity, water supply, health services, housing, etc.
Housing sector plays a critical role in the development of an economy and it is one of the most important basic needs of man. It is an obligation for any good government to provide affordable accommodation to its citizens. There is need for the government of the nation to ensure affordable accommodation to citizens irrespective of their location in the country.
The statistics of homelessness is the best we deserve; currently many cannot afford a decent home, nearly half of Nigeria’s population lives in urban and semi-urban areas, with majority living in slums and substandard accommodation.
Despite the significance of housing, adequate supply has remained a mirage to all cadre of the society in Nigeria. The situation is very particular to most developing countries where population grow at exponential rate and rapid urbanization becoming a norm, and discrepancy in housing need and supply is high.
Housing delivery in Nigeria is provided by either the Government or Private sector, but despite Federal Government access to factors of housing production, the country could at best expect 4.2% of the annual requirement. Substantial contribution is expected from other public and private sectors. It should be acknowledged that private sector developers account for most of urban housing.
The production of housing in Nigeria is primarily the function of the private market; approximately 90% of urban housing is produced by private developers. Housing demand created by rural- urban migration, which account for 65% of urban population growth, the fixed supply of urban land, and inflation of rental and housing ownership cost has increased in the past decade. Unfortunately, the private sector is saddled with numerous problems which make supply always fall far short of demand and lower production quality.
The problem of qualitative housing has been a concern for both the government and individuals. Appreciating these problems, both public and private sector developers make efforts through various activities to bridge the gap between housing supply and demand, but the cost of building materials, deficiency of housing finance arrangement, stringent loan conditions from mortgage banks, government policies and most importantly geometric increase in land value are affecting housing delivery significantly in Nigeria.
Land Value and rents have grown ahead of general inflation. Making matters worse, the composition of land for sale and rent in the market has been inexorably shifting towards very expensive home. This is basically due to inadequate funds for housing within the existing spatial structure.
With the various strategies adopted to stem the tide in the housing sector over the years, it has become clear that Nigerian government and other players in the housing delivery are not treading the same path other countries tread in meeting up the housing needs of their citizenry.