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School of estate, others advocate to tackle housing deficit

LAGOS, Nigeria, March 28, 2019

A Special Interest Group (SIG) comprising individuals operating in the real estate sector have come together under the aegis of the School of Estate to address the myriads of lingering housing challenges in Nigeria.

As part of a triangulation approach for scientific policy work on challenges and opportunities in funding housing development projects in Nigeria, a focus group session was held recently at the Maryland, Lagos office of the school. It was one of the activities – aside survey and literature review – to herald the start of the group and had key players in attendance.

Speaking at the event, Mr Gbadebo Adejana of Realty Point Ltd challenged developers to take the bull by the horn and stop waiting on the government to do everything while they sit, relax and shift blames.

According to him, the housing deficit quoted in 2005 which was at 10m has increased to 21m according to the last statistics quoted in the media. He said what this means is that the sector is not meeting its yearly requirement. Instead of hanging everything on the shoulder of the government, he wondered why stakeholders do not go beyond discussions and start taking actions.

Mr Adejana suggested that real estate professionals across board need to start an organisation that is self-regulating; and where they can project themselves and make themselves known to the world. With this, it would be easier to resolve issues within the organisation because everyone knows the necessary channels to go to. Once one arm is not delivering, it would be easy to know who to hold accountable.

“It’s high time we stopped passing the ball around and taking actions” he said.

In the focus group discussion, participants proposed that government should, as a matter of urgency, declare a “state of emergency” in the real estate sector. They note some of the issues to include gap in the knowledgebase on project financing, the short-term nature of available funds, high interest rates and a lack of a database on funding sources, etc.

Prior to the dialogue, the literature review and survey shows that housing deficit has lingered for too long in the sector and no one seems to be ready to own up to it. The theoretical framework also acknowledged the role Government and the organised private sector have played in recent times to aid housing development with initiatives like NMRC, Family Homes Fund, Mortgage Warehouse, etc.

According to the policy consultant, Mr Olufemi Omotayo, a report shows only about 10% of Nigerians can afford housing so housing policies need to be involved to bridge the gap. He listed some of the problems facing the sector as high cost of labour, landed properties and building materials which make the whole process cumbersome.

The rest of the event entails going through some of the survey questions while developers shared their experiences and ordeals in the sector. The SIG intends to engage more industry stakeholders in the coming weeks that will lead to a policy document that will represent the aggregated views of practitioners in the industry leading to a conference in May 2019.

School of Estate is a business training school that specializes in Real Estate and Estate Management courses. They adopt concepts that enhance participants’ knowledge of real estate, particularly in Nigeria where there is a flexible entry and exit into the market.

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