Real Estate professionals have called for urgent overhauling of the housing ecosystem and establishment of the right policies that will make affordable housing delivery possible.
At a breakfast meeting hosted by Housing Development Advocacy Network on Friday at Fesadeb Media Group headquarters in Abuja, that had the President of the Nigerian Institute of Town Planners, TPL Lekwa Ezutah, President of the Housing Development Advocacy Network, Barr Festus Adebayo and seasoned Mortgage Banker, Fonahanmi Idris in attendance, the experts stated that except the system is overhauled and the right policies are put in place, affordable housing delivery will continue to be a mirage in the country.
The stakeholders noted that affordable housing cannot be solved through contracts by government, stressing that houses built by contractors cannot be affordable because they are profit oriented.
They stressed that incremental housing is the key strategy to solving the problem of affordable housing. In their words, housing payment plan that is above the national minimum wage does not reflect the reality of affordable housing.
Speaking at the meeting, NITP President stated that for affordable housing to be achieved, developers need to have their target audience in mind and build structures they can afford and not what the developers have in mind.
He emphasized that developers must first identify the financial capacity of those they are building for before embarking on the project. According to him, after identifying the financial capability of the target audience, developers should avoid luxuries while building as this will increase cost and then defeat the goal of the project.
Ezutah stated that developers should develop building strategies that are friendly with low income earners so as to achieve the goal of affordable housing.
Also speaking at the meeting, Idris who is the Business Development Director, Fonbol Energy stated that there is a clear cut difference between necessity and luxury. He emphasized that for affordable housing to be achievable, developers need to understand that it is a necessity for the target audience and as such should build houses that are devoid of luxury so that the aim will not be defeated.
The seasoned Mortgage Banker who noted that the building process starts from design, said it should be tailored according to the financial capability of the target public.
He clamoured for urgent overhauling of the system, noting that experts need to re-orientate themselves on what affordable housing is truly about. Idris stated that change of policy is sine qua non to achieving the goal of affordable housing. He suggested that site and services should also be carefully considered in the delivery of affordable housing.
While acknowledging that there is flawless regulation in the system, Idris faulted the enforcement. He emphasized that “our problem is enforcement”. According to him, if there is strict and total enforcement of regulations, affordable housing will become realizable.
On his part, Festus Adebayo emphasized that location is a key factor in affordable housing delivery. Delineating on his point, the Housing expert stated that transportation may become a great challenge if houses are situated in places that are not easily accessible by the low income earners who are the target of affordable housing.
He said “if the so called affordable housing are located in the outskirts of the city, where it will require huge amount on daily transportation and also if there is the problem of insecurity, most of those who want to own the houses will prefer to squat elsewhere”.
Festus, who corroborated Idris’ view on design, stressed that before the conception of the building idea, developers should first consider the target public.
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