Data Deficiency Causing Nigeria’s Housing Crisis – Stakeholders

Stakeholders have said that the country’s housing crisis is rooted in the lack of available data in the sector.

They disclosed this at this year’s Knight Frank Lagos Property Conference held recently in Lagos State, themed, “Pragmatic Solution for Housing Delivery: Charting the Roadmap today in Lagos.”

The Chief Executive Officer of Nigeria Mortgage Refinance Company, Kehinde Ogundimu, said one of the biggest challenges confronting housing in Nigeria was that of data.

He said: “We are working on how to come up with a platform that will make data available for users in the real estate industry. Currently, we are working with government agencies on data initiatives because we believe that data is critical to this sector and collaboration is also essential to that effect.”

Setting the ball rolling, the keynote speaker, the Chief Executive Officer, Social Housing and Mortgage Finance Fund, May Hamid, said in order to achieve social justice, the government must ensure that housing subsidies reach those in genuine need.

She further underscored the significance of implementing multiple income assessment validation tools to help in that regard.

She said: “Article 78 of the Egyptian Constitution stipulates that The State guarantees citizens their right to adequate, safe, and healthy housing, noting that the constitutional obligation is the main reason for establishing the Social Housing and Mortgage Finance Fund to ensure that the right to housing is guaranteed and sustained.

“The Egyptian population reached 105 million till August 2023. Urban residents represent 42.9 per cent of the Egyptian population, while rural residents represent 57.1 per cent. The annual demand for housing is 500,000 units. Real estate stock is 43 million units in Egypt. 19.2 per cent average family spending on housing of the monthly income. 90 per cent of the existing housing is not registered.

“SHMFF is implementing a smart subsidy strategy through allocating (direct demand-side subsidy) graded according to beneficiaries’ incomes to improve transparency, purchasing power, and access to finance. In addition, a mortgage interest subsidy is provided to encourage lenders to participate, reduce interest rate risk, and improve affordability for beneficiaries.”

In the same vein, the Chief Executive Officer, Afriland Properties Plc, Uzoamaka Oshogwe, pointed out that for many years, there have been talks about the housing deficit in Nigeria, but nothing had changed.

She said: “Listening to the keynote speaker from Egypt she continued, you will appreciate the fact that, we have similar challenges with Egypt but, the difference is that, they have data which they used to solve part of their problems, while we don’t give data a priority here in Nigeria.

“It is for the government to come up with policies to decide who qualifies for affordable homes and who qualifies for social housing, adding that these are the kind of things the government needs to take into cognisance so that housing units will not be going to the wrong people. The government has to ensure it is enshrined in the constitution that housing is the right of every citizen because a house is not a luxury but a necessity.”

In his welcome address, the Chief Executive Officer, Knight Frank Nigeria, Frank Okosun, noted that it was no longer news that housing delivery costs were at an all-time high while financing options seemed to shrink.