Experts seek improved environment, technology to drive homeownership
Towards increasing housing delivery, experts have reiterated need for enabling environment and deployment of property technology (Proptech) in the built industry.
They said property technology has transformative potential as telecoms and Fintech, which revolutionised banking and digital services in Nigeria, adding that the deployment would boost efficiency and increase liquidity for homeownership.
The experts also called for solutions to inadequate infrastructure and high cost of land, under-supply of building materials, artisanal skills shortages, product mis-match, dearth of medium-term credit and lack of verifiable database for assets registry.
The Chief Executive Officer, Octo5, Mr. Babajide Odusolu, who led the call at the workshop on Financing Affordable Housing and the 105th Council Meeting of the Association of Housing Corporations of Nigeria (AHCN) in Lagos, listed emerging opportunities in proptech space as property listing and brokerage platforms, crowd funding, artificial intelligence and smart home solutions, virtual reality tours as well as 3-D animated videos.
Others, he stated, are facility management tools and deployment of blockchain technology.
According to him, the future is digital and green as the 50 per cent of the population are under-21. Odusolu said the use of disruptive technology would reduce construction costs.
Odusolu, a former Chief Executive Officer, Ogun State Property Investment Corporation (OPIC), said housing for the young people is gaining traction. He explained that it is expected that developers would adjust their product offerings to meet rising demand.
“Proptech is helping to address issues around due diligence, sale, closing and reduce risks of loss/ litigation. Deployment of proptech is creating captive verified demands and attract long-term capital home-ownership.”
Chief Executive Officer, Family Homes Fund Limited, Femi Adewole, said large amounts of capital are trapped in the industry with an estimated yearly turnover of rental flows in the market, amounting to about N10 trillion. “If this cash flow was formalised and properly harnessed, it could provide significant depth to the housing finance market.
“Significant partnership working to make this happen is required including, government agencies, private sector, capital market and the public. We firmly believe that the challenges in the housing finance market are best addressed through strong partnerships between players across the value chain,” Adewole stated.
In a presentation titled, ‘Activating Dead Assets as Veritable Tools for Development of Affordable Housing, Mr. Sesan Obe, of Centre Base Consult Limited, said the possession of titles within a specified period of not more than five years after acquisition of property should be made mandatory, stressing that those acquired and occupied without title above five years should be declared as illegal by law.
He stated that all property acquired in Nigeria should compulsorily be registered with the proposed central geographical information database that capture all property and information of the owners for easy search and mortgage purposes.
“All occupied and unoccupied lands and buildings in the country should be taxed and income generated from such taxes should be reinvested in creating active capital to develop the property system,” he said.
Obe explained that unused, unoccupied and excised lands to community and families should also be titled and developed within 10 years, failure of which such should be converted to public use that will generate income to the system with compensation accruable to the land owners or communities.
According to him, there was need for change in housing policies to accelerate development and reduce cost of titling to attract more people into the system.
He said: “There is need for deliberate policy to attract registration of land with little or at no cost, encourage a shift from short term and cash based economy to saturated mortgage system in property transactions, promulgation of effective foreclosure laws and procedures in all the states, adequate enlightenment about mortgage system and digitisation of land registry to capture all land in all the states.”
Managing Director, Federal Mortgage Bank of Nigeria (FMBN), Ahmed Dangiwa, stressed the need to explore partnership in solving affordable housing challenges.
According to him, it was encouraging that partnerships and collaborations are developing in the housing sector, especially with regards to inter-agency collaborations.
Dangiwa said there had been collaborations between federal institutions and state governments, adding that states had shown increased readiness to partner with federal institutions by making land available for housing developments.
Permanent Secretary, Lagos State Ministry of Housing, Mr. Wasiu Akewusola, called for decentralisation of activities of National Housing Fund(NHF), government incentives on housing, liquefying property documents and re-invigoration of job creation in the sector.
Akewusola added: “Interest on housing finance should be redefined and excess fund with the insurance, banking and other financial sectors like pension fund managers should be used to fund housing.”