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Why homeownership remains low in Nigeria, by experts

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Experts in the real estate sector have identified a lack of proper knowledge of property market dynamics by prospective homebuyers as one of the reasons for the low homeownership rate in the country.

They reasoned that with proper enlightenment of the home-buying public, it is possible to own property in Nigeria.

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According to them, most people venturing into home buying do not understand what it takes to buy properties, thereby leading to loss of valuable investment and blame on developers.

The experts spoke at the virtual conference and launch of Stow, a demand aggregation platform, by The Octo5, formerly Legacy Realties Limited in Lagos.

Chief Executive Officer, the Octo5, Mr. Babajide Odusolu, who led discussions, lamented that Nigeria is not where it should be in terms of house production and homeownership.

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he said, it is disheartening that the Nigeria housing corporations have only been able to deliver 10,000 housing units, which is a fraction of what private developers have been able to build.

With recent laudable initiatives such as the Nigeria Mortgage Refinance Company (NMRC) and Family Homes Fund by the Federal Government and initiatives such as Lagos HOMS, the challenge, he said, remains unabated, as there is a perennial mismatch between the desired homes and what is available for career professionals.

According to him, the twin challenge that stops many from buying properties in planned communities with a good title is the need for payment flexibility and fear of non-performance. “Despite an increase in private sector investments in the Nigerian real estate industry, the country’s housing deficit keeps getting worse,” he said.

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On her part, Head, Business Development, Nigeria Mortgage Refinance Company, (NMRC), Mrs. Dorothy Obata called for a paradigm shift in the administration of mortgage as people have had their fingers burnt in the past because of mortgages.

According to her, NMRC provides liquidity for primary mortgage lenders and enlightens Nigerians on the issue of mortgages.

NMRC, she said is collaborating with all stakeholders across the housing value chain to create awareness and enabling environment for mortgages.

Also speaking, the acting Managing Director /Chief Executive Officer, Abbey Mortgage Bank PLC, Mr. Madu Haman, said providing a home for all is possible through a gradual process.

Prospective homeowners, he said, need collaboration between government and private developers to ensure that the right environment is in place for the benefit of all.

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