Affordable Housing, Economy

OPIC’s 80% local inputs sourcing raises hope for low-cost housing

 

Nigeria is today the second most expensive housing market in Africa, after Angola, and one of the reasons frequently cited for the high house price in the country is the cost of building materials which are largely (about 60 percent) imported.

It is estimated that building material constitutes 20-30 percent of total construction cost, making the new initiative by the Ogun State Property and Investment Corporation (OPIC) on sourcing building materials locally not only attractive, but also a source of hope for low cost housing.

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OPIC is now offering prospective buyers houses constructed with 80 percent locally sourced inputs. Apart from its capacity to reduce house price, the initiative is also part of efforts to boost the country’s economy, creating direct and indirect job opportunities for Nigerians.

The corporation is an arm of Ogun State’s Ministries of Housing and Commerce and Industry. It is a frontline property investment and development company in Nigeria, currently making efforts to create housing hubs along the Lagos-Ibadan Expressway corridor.

The expansive New Makun City housing project at Sagamu interchange and the MTR Garden Estates at Isheri end of the expressway are testaments of the corporation’s drive towards providing affordable housing for home buyers and investors.

According to Jide Odusolu, managing director of OPIC, 256 housing units will be completed in the first phase and delivered to prospective allottees in the second quarter of this year. This is in addition to constructing several kilometres of link roads from Lagos-Ibadan expressway to the new estates.

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OPIC has earmarked N4.5 billion for capital projects to cover the development of housing units and link roads to both New Makun City and MTR Garden Estates; rehabilitate roads, repair and upgrade housing units in both Agbara Residential Estates in Agbara and Alamala Estates in Abeokuta.

There is high expectation that with this drive to open up local communities with good roads network coupled with the local sourcing of building inputs, access to housing will be a lot easier for a good number of people, especially the low income earners.

Building materials prices in Nigeria are way out of the reach of many would-be builders. There was however, a significant drop in the prices of these materials in the first half of this year (H1 2018).

BusinessDay had, in an earlier report, disclosed that in the material prices was a good reason for builders who had abandoned their projects at the peak of economic recession to return to site and those wishing to start new projects to move to site.

Michael Jideofor, a building technologist, notes that the twin evils of high inflation and exchange rates escalated commodity prices, including those of building materials, leading to meteoric and unsustainable rise in construction cost and stalling of many building projects.

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Depending on the brand, the price of cement, a major building component, has dropped to between N2,550 and N2,600 in H1,2018, down from between N2,700 and N2,900 in corresponding period in 2017, representing about 8 percent drop in price.

This means where a builder would have spent close to N300, 000 to buy 100 bags of cement in H1,2017, he would now spend about N260,000, gaining close to N40,000 which is enough for him to buy a tipper load of gravel.

But while the price of sandcrete (9inch) block has dropped to 210 in H1 2018 and to N170 at the moment, down from N220 in H1 2017, the price of aluminum roofing sheets (0.55mm) has gone up 7 percent to N2,700 in H1 2018, up from N2,500 in H1,2017.

The price of cables (6mm/coil) has also come down to N35,000 in H1 2018, down from N38,000 in H1 2017, representing -9 percent drop. Similarly, the price of paving stone 60mm (local), which is very much in vogue for builders, has dropped from N2,100 in H1 2017 to N1,800, representing -17 percent drop in price.

CHUKA UROKO

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