If you’ve nursed a long-term dream of becoming a homeowner but cannot afford a commercial housing loan, then here’s good news: you can now achieve that dream through the National Housing Fund (NHF).Whether you are a civil servant, trader, artisan, commercial driver, or anything else, you too can benefit from the fund and own your own home.
The National Housing Fund was introduced by the Federal Government to enable Nigerians in all sectors of the economy — especially those within low and medium income levels who ordinarily cannot afford housing loans — to own houses. The fund is managed by the Federal Mortgage Bank of Nigeria.According to the Act that created the fund, the scheme will be funded through the following:
- Mandatory contribution of 2.5 percent of monthly income of Nigerians earning at least N3,000 per annum in both public and private sectors
- 10 percent of loan and advances portfolio of commercial and merchant banks
- 20 percent of non-life and 40 percent of life funds in the housing sector (to be contributed by insurance companies)
- Funds from the Federal Government
Funds gathered from all these sources become available for potential beneficiaries to borrow from, after they have contributed to the fund for at least six months.
By registering with and contributing to the National Housing Fund, you stand to enjoy the following benefits:
- Housing loan of up to 90 percent of the cost of the house
- Fixed interest rate of 6 percent per annum throughout the life of the mortgage
- Long repayment period (up to 30 years)
- Refunds with 2 percent interest on retirement
However, note that you cannot borrow more than N15 million from the NHF.
How to register for the NHF
Registering for the National Housing Fund is a straightforward process. Here are the steps involved:
- The employer (or self-employed individual) visits any branch of the Federal Mortgage Bank of Nigeria (FMBN) to obtain the Employer Registration Form (NHF1).
- The completed form is returned to the nearest branch of FMBN. The employer will be registered and an employer’s registration number will be issued, alongside an NHF2 form to be completed by the employees.
- After employees complete their individual NHF2 forms and return them to the employer. The employer in turn submits all the forms to the FMBN.
- The FMBN will then register all the employees and allocate employee participation numbers to them and issue them passbooks. Thereafter, the employer deducts 2.5 percent of the employees’ basic salaries as contributions to the NHF. At this point, the employees have become fully registered participants of the NHF.
So, if you work for an employee, you will register for the fund through your employer.
Getting the loan
This includes zero equity contribution for the provision of housing loans of up to N5 million and 10 percent contribution for housing loans ranging from N5 to N15 million by contributors to the NHF. The loan comes with 6 percent interest and is repayable over a period of 30 years.Other eligibility requirements include registering through a duly accredited mortgage loan originator and providing satisfactory evidence of regular income.
To access the loan, you must provide the following:
- Open a savings account with a registered PMB
- Have satisfactory evidence of regular flow of income to guarantee the loan.
- Letter of consent to mortgage to your chosen PMB
- Completed application form
- Photocopy of title documents e.g. Certificate of Occupancy, Title Deed, etc.
- Current valuation report on the proposed house to buy or bills of quantities (BOQ) for the house to be built
- Three years tax clearance certificates
- Copies of pay slips for the previous three months
- Equity contribution of 30 percent, 20 percent or 10 percent depending on the loan amount applied for.
- Offer letter/Acceptance and Allocation letter (in case of government projects)
Important things to note:
- You cannot use the NHF to purchase a piece of land for building a house You’re expected to have your land ready before applying for the loan.
- You can use the loan to either develop landed property or purchase a house directly from an estate developer.
- You are allowed to obtain NHF loan facility only once in your lifetime.
- The only collateral you need to secure the NHF loan is the property in question.
Affa Dickson Acho with Agency reports