N10b Abuja estate scheme offers lessons in housing finance
The momentum for housing finance support by mortgage banks, particularly in Abuja, appears to be shifting early to medium income and luxury homes, with the completion and kick starting of new projects in the Federal Capital Territory (FCT).
Over the years, the government had been the major player in the area of housing delivery in Nigeria, by providing direct finance for previous housing schemes.
This was embedded in the housing policy of past administrations but today, the dwindling nature of revenue accruing to the government, coupled with gross mismanagement and misappropriation of public funds and revenue has prohibited the ability of the government to continue to play the role.
Hence, the creation of mortgage banks to support housing delivery. Experts say, the sourcing of funds for investment in real estate development poses a great deal of problem for the developer.
This is largely due to economic instability and stringent measures imposed by some financial institutions.
This is compounded by the fact that the interest rate structure has had an unfavourable impact on funding the development of real estate.
Since the financing of real estate development is a long-term project, it has necessitated the high interest rate that is being charged on the funds provided for such development purposes.
The complexity and to a large extent, its capital intensive nature demands proper and adequate funding to make it realizable.
One of Nigeria’s leading Primary Mortgage Banks (PMBs) that have shown impressive performance in reducing the current housing deficit and supporting developers through housing finance is ASO Savings and Loans Plc.
The firm has remained mortgage bank of choice in terms of client service, housing provision and being a platform for foreign participation in the Nigerian mortgage and real estate sectors.
ASO involved developers in its parcel of land situated at Karsana East District, Abuja, with an estimated area of 27 hectares and which is covered by Development Lease Agreement between the Federal Capital Development Authority and ASO Savings and Loans PLC.
ASO, having so far developed about five hectares of the Land, decided to partner with Stepone to develop the remaining undeveloped 22 hectares of the land into a residential housing estate comprising of 692 units of mixed house types with all estate infrastructural facilities for sale to interested members of the public.
The five hectares was utilized by the bank through a partnership with Global High Property Development Company in the development of N10 billion ASO Garden Estate, Karsana, Abuja.
The housing project, conceived and financed by ASO Savings and Loans Plc is expected to raise the bar in housing projects delivery not only in the FCT but in the country.
The residential estate was fully financed by ASO Savings and Loans Plc.
It consists of 249 units made up of 129 units of two-bedroom apartments, 117 units of three-bedroom apartments and three units of four-bedroom terrace houses.
The construction cost of the estate is put at N10 billion. The estate was commissioned recently.
The completed phase 1 project stands out for high quality construction and finishing, first-rate infrastructure, breathtaking and stately civic facilities and posh recreation area.
The Managing Director of Federal Mortgage Bank of Nigeria (FMBN), Ahmed Musa Dangiwa, an architect, who led dignitaries on a tour of the estate and later commissioned it, commended the board, management and staff of ASO Savings and Loans Plc for successfully completing a project of this magnitude in spite of the challenging economic environment.
“We are faced with monumental housing shortage that has rendered millions of our people without homes or decent accommodation.
The case is further worsened by high rural-urban migration with the attendant stress on infrastructure. Thus most of the population is forced to live in sub-standard living environments.
He stated that the project would ameliorate the housing needs of people desiring to have their own homes in Abuja.
“The extent of housing development in any country determines the level of its economic growth, social standards and citizens welfare,” he added.
Earlier, the chairman of the Board of Directors of ASO Savings and Loans Plc, Alhaji Ali Magashi also noted that the delivery of the estate is no small feat given the harsh economic realities.
He said; “for those of you stakeholders, you know what a tough economic operating environment it has been for primary mortgage banks in Nigeria, as such, the delivery of the estate is no small feat for ASO.”
Executive Director, Corporate Services of ASO Savings, Risikatu Ladi Ahmed said the successful completion of the project is a further testimony to ASO Savings’ vision to be the mortgage bank of choice in Nigeria in terms of client service and housing provision for the citizens.
She stated: “We are determined to continue to make the expectations of our stakeholders.”