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Developer pushes for cooperatives homeownership in housing delivery

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AWAY from the traditional system of becoming homeowners in Lagos, a real estate firm, First World Communities has said that Nigeria would make significant progress against its housing challenge, if all stakeholders accept and encourage housing cooperatives throughout the country.
 
The initiative, which has been said to be fashionable in some countries, resonated recently during the commissioning of 324-unit CHOIS Garden Estate located in Abijo in Ibeju-Lekki Local Council Development Area (LCDA), Lagos.
 
The estate is a joint venture between First World Communities and Lagos State Government.
  
While unveiling the new homes, the chairman and chief executive officer of First World Communities, Brigadier-General Tunde Reis (rtd), said it was high time for Nigerians and government at all levels to encourage housing cooperatives, as the economy is increasingly becoming unfriendly to the middle and low income groups, who wish to acquire their own homes.

“Traditionally, when our people cannot afford a thing, they come together as cooperators; that is what we have here. We have a CHOIS club, people are contributing, we use that money to build houses and take turns to take them. At a point, rather than government funding this project, it will be funding government because it will become self-driven.
 

With the new strategy, would be homeowners can get their dream homes in Lagos with ease, as they can now join a cooperative for the purpose of benefitting from the Lagos State Government’s housing initiative, known as CHOIS

“We have hinged the development of the estate on three important pillars such as security, landscaping which must be maintained like any other estate and thirdly, it must be affordable. So, we need to create space to make sure the intended people benefit from this scheme”, First World Communities’ boss said.
  
The newly commissioned residential estate, which sits on 25 hectares of land with 15 hectares already developed in phases 1 and 2 of a three-phased project, is expected to deliver 814 housing on completion.
 
The 324 housing units comprise of two and three-bedroom apartments in clusters, three-bedroom semi-detached bungalows, four-bedroom semi-detached duplexes and three-bedroom private access maisonettes.
 
Speaking on the project, Reis said the initiative behind the Cooperative Home Ownership Incentive Scheme (CHOIS) is to make housing delivery systemic rather than the sporadic way we used to build, pointing out that Lagos has approximately five million housing deficit and we need to look for an industralised and systematic way of delivering the houses.
 
According to Reis, “what we are commissioning today is actually two phases of a three-phased development. We have been able to build so far in phases one and two 324 housing units with an additional 90 units still under construction. In the third phase, we will be developing 400 housing units.
 
Explaining the benefits of CHOIS, he said most middle to low income households in Lagos state have found accessing mortgage to buy or build their homes difficult, due to various factors, stressing that under the scheme, households that are unable to afford mortgages can have access to a home on lease-to-own basis. He noted that this allows subscribers to occupy the property on a lease, with the option to purchase it in small incremental steps as their socio-economic circumstances improve.
 
Reis who said the previous challenge is the affordability gap, stated that “the difference between the cost of a house and what an intending buyer can afford to pay is what I think the Lagos State government has addressed here by coming up with a lease-to-own scheme. The scheme is the key because rather than pay in full like you do under a traditional mortgage or put down a 30 per cent deposit, you only need a 15 per cent deposit.

“Then you pay a monthly leased payment to Lagos CHOIS Limited partnership and on your own you make payment annually when you have additional money to offset the balance and increase your balance towards purchasing it and you have 10 years to complete the payment.
 



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