Poised to change the perception of Nigerians towards housing affordability, Tayo Odunsi, Managing Director of Northcourt Real Estate firm, has authored a book ‘Affordable’ in which he highlighted the roles of five salient parties to ensuring a sustainable housing affordability.
At a prelaunch briefing with journalists in Lagos, the housing expert streamlined these pentagonal parties to include: the government, private sector, community, professionals in the built environment and private individuals, who all play interrelated but distinct roles in ensuring that housing is made affordable.
Advising that everyone should have a housing career, he noted that the problem is that everybody is striving for home ownership at the same time, thereby creating a clog and an increased demand, which brings about increase in price.
“If there is a sustainable perspective towards home ownership in the country, the housing deficit will reduce; the demand will be sustainable and responsible and the prices will also come down.
“A pentagon is made of five similar but distinct straight and connected lines, just like an affordable housing system. This pentagonal distinction of the affordable housing players is essential because each player like the lines of the pentagon is distinct yet they have the direct responsibility for affordable housing to be delivered and to be sustainable.”
According to Odunsi, what each participants needs to do or do differently, in order for sustainable housing to be achieved varies quite significantly. Each player, he said, may act independently, even when some or all the other essential players are yet to get on board.
He said the magnitude of input of each participant also differs across locations and scenarios; they are also similar but different, just like a pentagon, are the five essential participants in delivering sustainable affordable housing; adding that as people read the book, based on where they stand, they will be able to view affordable housing differently and truly begin to act on it.
He alluded to some of the developed countries where government reduces the setback laws and put in stringent health and safety requirements to mitigate emergencies so that people can develop on land intensively.
“One thing I did was to work on the language of the book, making it very simple. While sharing principles, I deliberately tried to work on my language so that if you open it, one or two things will catch you and you will continue reading. That is a way of trying to engage people.
“So, even if you have never read it after that day, there would be one or two messages. With every sense of humility, a lot of truths have been shared in this book. It is an applied research work. For me, the reason why I have done this is because I believe I am fulfilling a purpose.”
The CEO disclosed that sustainable is used as the watchword because the housing is made affordable today, tomorrow and the day after tomorrow, which is why the community is included.
In his narrative, he stated that when many people moved into their houses, it was affordable, but later it becomes unaffordable for them to live in because of maintenance costs.
“This book debunks the myth of homeownership and myth of renting as being bad. So, we shouldn’t be looking at home ownership as the end to everything. In this part of the world, we believe that renting is such a bad thing. Meanwhile, a staggering statistics of people in the developed countries are renting.”