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Govt needs new policy framework for housing, says Aihie

Anthony Aihie is the Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer, Design Union Limited, a multi-disciplinary firm engaged in architecture and property development. He spoke with CHINEDUM UWAEGBULAM on key issues relating to the housing sector.

There has been a clamour for the private sector to be on the driver’s seat for housing development. Do you think private developers can impact on the housing needs of the people? What should be the role of government in housing delivery?
My cardinal belief is in the enterprise and private sector. I have been in business in Nigeria for 20 years, and have discovered that government does not always show the expected concern in any complex challenge.

Government actually should be a regulator and enabler. It has been proven all over the world that governments cannot solve social problems and that is the truth. Government should provide the conducive environment for enterprise and market forces to solve any arising problems.

In countries, where there are successful housing schemes, government did not build the houses for the people. Housing is always market driven; we have to create houses that people can afford at different levels, which is determined by supply and demand.

For instance, look at the Pension Scheme; how did we reform it? We simply took a group of private sector individuals to set up a policy that would create pension wealth in Nigeria. We had a government that was willing to take the plan and implement the reforms. And today, we have the greatest pot of wealth ever created in the country.

Similar thing should be applied to the housing sector. Government should allow a small group of experts to draft a new policy framework for the sector, and after the draft, implement it. This will make houses affordable to the people. The sector needs a reform to get us out of its current crisis.

You are calling for a reform, but the national housing policy has been there for decades; what is actually wrong with the document?  How can its provisions be implemented and enforced?
The first issue with all these policies is that they are theoretical. The goal was to house 20 million Nigerians by 2020. That is nice. While this present government was campaigning, it promised to give us four million houses; that is one million new houses yearly. It is easy to say, but that part of the policy depends on government. When any key part of a policy depends on government, it usually does not work.

The problem with the current housing policy is that it was not crafted by commercially minded market focused minds, who will look at the property market and market forces, to define policies and laws to solve arising problems.

For example, why is a house not selling for N5million? It is because the subscribers targeted are not credit worthy. For instance, a driver in a company would pay the N5 million for over 30 years and there is no guarantee that he will not be sacked.

If there could be a mechanism for subscribers to pay N25, 000 every month for the next 20 years and with good interest, property developers will willingly sell their houses to them.

The key issue with financing housing is funding; you need to bankroll it over time. People also need time to pay for a house within a specified tenure. Most people find it extremely difficult to pay for a house within two years after it is constructed. People cannot afford this; they need 20-35 years to pay for their houses.

The second problem is to get long-term mortgage fund at cheaper interest rate. The cost of the funding must be under 10 per cent, which is what the National Housing Fund (NHF) is trying to do by giving mortgage at six per cent to the Primary Mortgage Banks (PMBs) and the PMBs give it out to beneficiaries at nine per cent. People can pay nine per cent, but there is a limit to the N15 million NHF loan.

Presently, we have trillions of naira trapped in Pension Fund, which could fund housing. Before pension reform, we do not have long-term funds in the country. And there is every likelihood that the funds might not be utilised in the next 30 years. We can march these funds with mortgages in a sustainable way. However, doing this, we have to define the laws that will connect the pension fund with mortgages. That is the real key to solving the housing problem in Nigeria.

How will global financial meltdown due to the COVID-19 and recent recession in Nigeria affect the real estate sector and private developers?
There are many effects of COVID on the world and Nigeria. There will be less demand for office space all over the world. People have successfully been working from home for almost a year now. It is now popular and acceptable that we can achieve more in a virtual space.

Specifically, office and social space will be negatively impacted post COVID, including community halls and event centres. We have seen now that people can successful host COVID zoom birthday, funerals, church services and wedding ceremonies. It has come to stay. All those facilities will be impacted.

In terms of where people live, there will be impact on homes because people will need offices in their houses. When the children and parents are at home, they will need a place where the children can study and parents can work quietly without distractions. It will also have impact on home designs as well.

In terms of designing residential facilities, having more outdoors space around the homes will be important. Because when people work at home, they need air, places to relax and also for sports.

The economic slowdown has also put stress on construction prices as we depend on imports for our finishing materials. Also, we use a lot of reinforced concrete structure. Reinforcement has been going up, we need to have homemade reinforcement that is improved to the point that we do not need imported ones.

Then, in terms of finishing, there are critical things we do not have in Nigeria, such as glass. We need to start manufacturing glass. We have good wood doors, local tiles and sanitary wares. We also need to improve on aluminum and establish local plants so that the whole building process can be localised.

Currently, developers can construct houses with 80 per cent materials, with relatively good results.

With the recession now ravaging the economy, our industries need to look inward for the country to survive devaluation in the construction sector.

With apathy shown by financial institutions on capital projects, what are the options available to private developers to fund real estate projects? Is it possible to expect affordable housing in this dispensation?
Practically, if one is into real estate at the moment, the person is in big trouble. Currently, the best way to fund real estate is equity — your own cash and that of the buyer often referred to as off takers.  If one is building a hotel, it takes 15 to 20 years to recoup investment; but if the developer is building to rent, no one will give him money to build and rent it out for 15 years.

In reality, the only money that is available in Nigeria as of today for the real estate development is equity, as commercial loans are not viable.

Affordable housing is also not possible now because you cannot use equity to fund affordable housing, as the people that will buy it do not have N5 million to buy a house. As a developer, why must I be collecting N20, 000 monthly from the people who cannot afford the houses worth N5 million? That is why every developer builds for the medium and high-income earners. Even at that, how many people have N30 or N40 million to pay for a house at once? This is why developers are introducing installment payments.

The price of building materials is escalating due to the high exchange rate. What can be done to encourage use of local building materials?
The government is already doing it by making imported materials difficult to access and purchase by developers through the high exchange rate of N500 per one dollar. It is now unreasonable to import and many developers are buying locally. I pray that the local suppliers will be able to meet the demand.

There are worries on the spate of quacks in the construction sector, especially among artisans, making developers to opt for foreigners. What have been the issues? How does government checkmate the invasion of foreign artisans?
The real problem is that we no longer have technical schools to train the youths on plumbing, masons, electrical, painting, tilling and other critical skills needed in the sector. We no longer have formal trainings and certification for artisans. When you do not have all these, we are left with people of informal training. The difference between our local artisans and those from Togo or Ghana is that they still have City and Guild in their countries.

If you get a tiller from those countries, they have certificates and are formally trained. We need to go back to technical education.

Why did Design Union, a renowned architectural firm vie into housing construction?
We entered into housing construction and property development as well as engage in all the trades in the construction industry, such as design, engineering, property development, construction and investments. We ventured into these areas to ensure quality control in our projects. We want to control our projects from end to end, so that we can be in control of the outcome.

 

Source: Guardian.ng

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The Chief Executive Officer of Cielo City Estate, Mr. Damilola Ogunyemi, has said Nigeria’s...

a year ago Read More

Stakeholders have commenced a process to address the problem of data collation that has been a...

a year ago Read More

The National Assembly has written to the Nigeria Institute of Building, expressing its concern over...

a year ago Read More

Nura DanMusa is a certified architect from the Eastern Mediterranean University (EMU) Cyprus, and...

a year ago Read More

According to the provision of section 4 (1) (e) of the FCT Act, the FCDA is charged with the...

a year ago Read More

Except for the Federal Government and private developers focus more on the production of homes for...

a year ago Read More

REMI MAKINDE is a former president of the Nigerian Institute of Town Planners(NITP). He spoke to...

a year ago Read More

The Presidency has said the sale of over 1,094 housing units completed by the Ministry of Works and...

a year ago Read More

A past president of the Africa Union of Architects, Tokunbo Omisore, says with the increase in...

a year ago Read More

Emerging Homeland Development Limited, developers of Silver Spring Residence, has said the Ibeju...

a year ago Read More

  The Lagos State Governor, Mr. Babajide Sanwo-Olu, has said his administration...

a year ago Read More

Lagos State Government has collaborated with Architects Registration Council (ARCON) by raising a...

a year ago Read More

Kano state government has expressed readiness to key into the National Housing Scheme to...

a year ago Read More

he Refined Investor Series 2020 promises to provide actionable insights for Real Estate Investors...

a year ago Read More

Better days are ahead for property developers and investors as residential vacancy rate has...

a year ago Read More

The complex is designed to reduce paperwork in most official dealings as all offices will be able...

a year ago Read More

Worried by the alarming rate of Nigeria’s housing deficit, a property investment...

a year ago Read More

Lagos State Commissioner for Physical Planning and Urban Development, Dr. Idris Salako (left)...

a year ago Read More

The Minister of Works and Housing, Mr. Babatunde Fashola,  said the ministry would soon...

a year ago Read More

President, International Real Estate Federation, FIBACI-Nigeria, Adeniji Adele (Left), FIBACI...

a year ago Read More

Despite the critical role of shelter to human survival, availability of housing units for a...

a year ago Read More

ELENA PANARITIS is the Founder and Chief Executive Officer of Thought Action and guest speaker at...

a year ago Read More

The shelter is recognised as a basic human right, however, due to the high cost of building...

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FESADEB Communications Limited, a leading brand in the Nigerian housing and Public Relations...

a year ago Read More

Worried about possible exclusion from completed Federal Government Housing schemes, contributors...

a year ago Read More

Abandoned to fate by successive governments, the ancient city of Badagry has been bereft of any...

a year ago Read More

Charters Cities Institute, a non-profit organization dedicated to building the ecosystem for new...

a year ago Read More

Despite the lull in the property market, a new report says the country’s real estate...

a year ago Read More

Eggheads in the nation’s real estate sector have predicted a marginal growth in the sector...

a year ago Read More

The United Kingdom housing market may bounce back in 2020, now that there is less uncertainty...

a year ago Read More

Northcourt Real Estate will host the Nigeria Real Estate Market Outlook Breakfast meeting and...

a year ago Read More

With the accelerated development-taking place on the Lekki corridor, investors and developers...

a year ago Read More

House sales in major cities in the United States are expected to nosedive in 2020, thereby...

a year ago Read More

The Federal Government has been urged to keep off from direct construction of housing and...

a year ago Read More

The Society for Professional Valuation, (SPV) has called on Nigeria’s anti-corruption...

a year ago Read More

Experts in real estate business have called for concerted efforts aimed at attracting Nigerians in...

a year ago Read More

Nigeria’s luxury real estate market has taken a beating lately due to several fundamentals,...

a year ago Read More

Real Estate experts have canvassed the need for government to put in place policy that would compel...

a year ago Read More

The Federal Mortgage Bank of Nigeria processed and disbursed a total of N75.5bn for 3,541 mortgages...

a year ago Read More

The Chairman, Board of Trustee of the Society for Professional Valuation, Mr Sola Enitan,has said...

a year ago Read More

Frank Okosun is the Senior Partner and Chief Executive Officer of Knight Frank Nigeria. In this...

a year ago Read More

At a time when macroeconomic and political forces are aggravating the challenges of affordable...

a year ago Read More

The hope of total recovery for Nigerian real estate in 2020 might not be in sight, as industry...

a year ago Read More

Commercial banks’ credit to the real estate sector dropped by N122bn in the last one year,...

a year ago Read More

Experts in the real estate industry have revealed that the next frontier that would redefine the...

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Experts have charged the managers of housing corporations and developers in the real estate sector...

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India is a country that houses more than 460 million internet users, making it the second-largest...

a year ago Read More

The real estate industry’s potential to create jobs and boost economic growth has not been...

a year ago Read More

As the momentum for housing delivery by private estate developers shifts away from the luxury...

a year ago Read More

Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Housing, Mr Wasiu Adedamola Akewusola (left); Special Adviser to...

a year ago Read More

The built environment has been fraught with challenges of collapse, quackery, substandard...

a year ago Read More

Despite the reprieve promised by the Lagos government to property owners, professional groups and...

2 years ago Read More

Chairman, Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) Nigeria Group, Gbenga Ismail (left);...

2 years ago Read More

real Estate experts have canvassed the need for government to put in place policy that would compel...

2 years ago Read More

Many Nigerians are obsessed with Houses which is a reasonable thing as shelter is one of most...

2 years ago Read More

The business mogul said this at the 2019 Mo Ibrahim Forum. Dangote hinted that he avoids luxury...

2 years ago Read More

Whether it’s shuttered, polished or even replica, concrete has become the favourite...

2 years ago Read More

The most important thing that can boost access to homeownership and help Nigeria to bridge its...

2 years ago Read More

n the real estate investing business, real estate investors need to be familiar with the term...

2 years ago Read More

The Minister of Works and Housing, Mr. Babatunde Fashola, on Wednesday said the ministry would soon...

2 years ago Read More

To boost home ownership, experts in the real estate sector have called for holistic implementation...

2 years ago Read More

Small businesses and real estate investors are discovering that the new business landscape demands...

2 years ago Read More

Three years after the authorities finalised plans to embark on the redevelopment of Adeniji Adele,...

2 years ago Read More

To make Nigeria’s real estate sector more investable, and increase liquidity to drive greater...

2 years ago Read More

Except there is a reorientation on locations, design and foundation methodology in flood prone...

2 years ago Read More

The Lagos State Government has cautioned real estate developers in the state not to build without...

2 years ago Read More

The Lagos and Ogun state governments are in talks to control water released from the Oyan Dam which...

2 years ago Read More

A joint development commission that will foster a strong economic relationship between the Federal...

2 years ago Read More

A joint development commission that will foster a strong economic relationship between the Federal...

2 years ago Read More

Have you ever considered furnished apartments as a viable option during your search for an...

2 years ago Read More

Despite a rebound in some sectors of the economy, the property market has remained slow in...

2 years ago Read More

Landlords don’t just collect rent checks. Successful landlords must understand the law,...

2 years ago Read More

Landlords don’t just collect rent checks. Successful landlords must understand the law,...

2 years ago Read More

Ms. Leilana Fartha, UN Special Rapporteur on the Rights to Adequate Housing, on Monday advised the...

2 years ago Read More

The Nigeria’s luxury real estate market has taken a beating lately due to several...

2 years ago Read More

With the near completion of Dangote Refinery and projects like multi billion Alaro city , Sea port...

2 years ago Read More

After three years of house price falls, Nigeria’s property market is now stabilizing, mainly...

2 years ago Read More

CAPE metropolis – The modern global real estate and Transparency Index (GRETI) has shown an...

2 years ago Read More

In the beginning look, this seems like a terrible plane crash! but it seems this web page became no...

2 years ago Read More

Kylie Jenner these days grew to become 19 years vintage in a $50M condominium property, known as...

2 years ago Read More

The annual West African property investment (WAPI) Summit, the area’s most distinguished and...

2 years ago Read More

The Federal mortgage bank of Nigeria says it has invested over N197 billion to deliver over 26000...

2 years ago Read More

The housing market is on fire! Jonathan Smoke, our leader economist, describes it as the...

2 years ago Read More