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Affordable Housing

 NISH, Family Homes Funds Reveal How to Address Challenges of Affordable Housing in Nigeria

NISH Affordable Housing Limited and Family Homes Funds have convened the first edition of their quarterly workshop on cooperative housing in Nigeria.

The event which took place today at the Shehu Musa Yaradua Centre in Abuja was well attended by representatives of a number of cooperatives in housing from across the country.

According to the MD/CEO of NISH, S K Yemi Adelakun, the theme of this first edition is, ‘’Financing Affordable Housing through Cooperatives.’’

Speaking further, Adelakun mentioned the major challenges of affordable housing in Nigeria and how to solve them.

‘’There are many challenges inhibiting delivery of affordable housing in Nigeria and six most critical success factors are land, technology, expert knowledge and skilled manpower, building materials, infrastructure and finance. Various housing stakeholders have individual and collective roles to play in surmounting these challenges and turning the challenges to opportunities.

‘’The most critical and most elusive success factor that affects all other factors mentioned earlier and that is inhibiting delivery of housing in Nigeria is finance and that is the main focus of today’s workshop theme which is financing Affordable Housing through Cooperatives. We need finance to buy land, technologies, building Materials, infrastructure and pay workers and professionals. We also need finance to buy or rent completed houses.

‘’Finance is in short supply and very costly. We need both construction and mortgage finance. The approach so far is to provide construction finance without making adequate provision for offtakers’ finance for buying the completed houses from developers. This is why we have so many houses in locations nobody wants to live and at prices nobody can afford.

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‘’Effective Demand driven approach may provide solutions to the intractable problem of delivering affordable housing. We need to know the needs and affordability and funding sources of offtakers before commencing construction. By financing offtakers, we are indirectly financing the developers. This approach will encourage developers to be competitive in price, quality and speedy delivery of affordable housing on a large scale.

‘’For sustainability, housing offtakers financing must be at single digit interest rate if we are to achieve sustainable delivery of affordable housing.

‘’Efforts of government and its agencies like the Federal Mortgage Bank of Nigeria, Family Homes Fund and Federal Government Staff Housing Board offering 6%, 5% and 3% interest rates respectively are appreciated. It is however clear that these institutions are limited in their capacity to finance affordable housing given the existing level of housing deficit such that only a small percentage of Nigerians can qualify and secure mortgages through these institutions.

‘’Besides, the focus of these agencies had been to fund developers instead of offtakers. While one may be hoping for enhanced capitalization in the future and special intervention fund by government, offtakers must engage in self-help through innovative principles of Cooperative Housing. This is why this Cooperative Housing workshop is designed to preach the gospel of synergy in togetherness and to encourage formation of cooperative housing association across the country which will culminate in formation of cooperative housing federation of Nigeria.

‘’The goal is to unite Offtakers and aggregate savings and equity contributions to improve their collective chances of renting or owning affordable housing at minimal cost and to actively participate and invest in the various housing value chains. Cooperative Housing should afford offtakers a better negotiating platform with other stakeholders. Housing

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‘’Cooperatives in other countries like Kenya play the role of developers, financiers, guarantors, bankers, asset aggregators and managers. They are able to attract domestic and international donor and equity funds due to the volume of savings from members.

‘’Cooperative Housing will also facilitate procurement of bankable offtakers guarantees required to attract, to Nigeria, global construction companies with proprietary technologies and finance for large scale, speedy and cost effective and efficient delivery of affordable housing. Offtakers guarantees will also eliminate sad experience of some offtakers who made payment to developers and were unable to either get their houses or retrieve their payments,’’ he said.

The workshop is largely an interactive session and will be a quarterly event. At the end of the workshop, NISH and Family Homes Funds will hopefully set in motion action plans towards establishing Cooperative Housing Federation Nigeria (CHFN), Cooperative Housing Fund (CHF) and Cooperative Housing Information System (CHIS)

By Ojonugwa Felix Ugboja

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