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Experts lament housing shortage, seek new strategy for homeownership

By Silver Nwokoro
28 November 2022   |   4:01 am
Experts and government officials have lamented the lack of access to affordable housing, which they warned has resulted in shortages in the country.

Experts and government officials have lamented the lack of access to affordable housing, which they warned has resulted in shortages in the country.

The experts, who spoke at a summit to mark UPDC Plc 25th anniversary tagged ‘Housing Development Imperatives for Nigeria: Prospects and Challenges,’ also sought for new strategy that would guarantee homeownership for low– income earners.

In the panel session, the Chief Executive Officer, Knight Frank Nigeria, Frank Okosun, identified major challenges in the sector, which include high cost of building materials, poor mortgage penetration and problems with land administration.

“There is a significant gap between the stock we have and the quality of houses that meets international standard.

“Property ownership in Nigeria is still an elitist engagement. There should be a strategy for the big real estate firms to make home ownership affordable for low-income earners,” Okosun said.

Renowned architect and Managing Director, James Cubitt Architects, Alan Davies, noted that Nigeria’s rising young population has led to higher demand in the one room and two room apartments. He also raised the need to return to environmental responsible design in building.

“It is unfortunate that everything comes down to cost; not just the cost of building, but also of maintenance. Reducing these costs is more critical than ever.” he said.

For Head of Property (Nigeria & West Africa) at Standard Chartered Bank, Anne Rinu, “growth and access to finance for real estate projects will increasingly depend on creativity, innovation and adoption of technology. Today, there are global funds available for sustainability-oriented projects that meet Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) goals.”

Rinu also noted the various opportunities currently available for real estate financing and called for collaborations across various players in the value chain, with a strong emphasis on sustainability.

Surveyor-General of Lagos State, Olutomi Sangowawa, examined how Public-Private Partnership (PPP) can help solve the mass housing challenges.

The chairman, UPDC, Wole Oshin, said the company raised N16 billion in a rights issue in June 2020 and has continued to restructure after the recapitalisation.

“Also in 2020, the company has experienced a turnaround since then, increasing efficiency and expanding its business.

“As UPDC shifts from recapitalisation to maximising growth and opportunities, we continue to look forward, focusing on achieving profitability in the short to medium term, embarking on projects that increase profit and expand the company’s impact,” Oshin said.

According to the Chief Executive Officer (CEO), Odunayo Ojo, UPDC offers diversified portfolio of residential, commercial, retail and hospitality assets.

He also noted that UPDC’s Real Estate Investment Trusts (REITs), which offers opportunities for members of the public to contribute into an investment pool, which is ranked largest REITs in Africa.