By Onyebuchi Sampson
To reduce the nation’s shelter gap, real estate experts have called for review of mortgage policies to drive more housing production.
They also urged governments at all levels to provide more incentives that will increase private sector participation in their mass housing drive.
Chief Executive Officer, Octo5 Holdings, Mr. Babajide Odusolu led the call in Lekki, Lagos, during the handover of Heron’s Beak Residences, a vertical community of medium-rise apartments within Ocean Bay Estate, to beneficiaries.
He said increased collaboration would make serious developers acquire viable land and build more homes to address the challenge of housing gap aggressively.
Odusola said there was an urgent need to build homes with good infrastructure, adding that the World Bank estimates that Nigeria would need at least 700,000 units of housing to meet its deficit.
He said: “Efforts such as the National Social Housing Programme, set up by the government to make social housing a reality, are commendable.
“However, funding is a major challenge towards meeting the huge demand, hence the need for more private investors.
“Governments at States and Federal levels should offer fiscal incentives to capable developers and guarantee off-takers for public sector workers.
“With such incentives, serious developers would acquire viable land and build homes to address the challenges aggressively.”
He said that the increasingly changing demographics of housing demands require varied solutions, which could not only be addressed by government alone.
Odusolu said that the key to meeting the growing demand for housing was to innovate solutions that empowered young professionals and families to own or rent homes with ease.
He stressed that projects like Heron’s Beak Residences were deliberately designed to encourage and meet the needs of young families and many professionals who now work remotely.
The Octo5 Holdings boss added that until average professionals could comfortably own homes through monthly income or mortgages, the housing problem would remain insurmountable.
“When the Heron’s Beak Residences project was flagged off, the off-plan introductory prices were deliberately made low to encourage early investors, and people that took advantage of the offers had positive capital gains.
“Octo5 Holdings, being a pioneer real estate development company, is committed to making housing accessible and affordable using several housing solutions, while revealing the prices on some offers.”
Also, the Chief Financial Officer, Octo5 Holdings, Mrs. Tundun Aderibigbe, stressed the need for governments to review the nation’s mortgage policies.
Aderibigbe noted that the mortgage policies as presently constituted make long term single-digit interest housing loans almost impossible.
According to her, there is a need to make long term single digit interest housing loans available to Nigerians for more people to own their homes.
She said: “I think the rules of how mortgage institutions should work should be reviewed to be more international. Here, mortgage seems to be more than a decade if you are lucky, but all over the world, it is a lifetime affair.
“So, if we have some fiscal policies that can make it easier for mortgage banks to offer longer term type fund facilities, which create a pool of funds that can be deployed towards mass housing, I think those policies can be worked out better than they are now.”
Aderigbe listed various flexible instalment payment packages as well as online subscribers Stow App that gives opportunities for contributions of N50,000 or more towards home ownership in the firm.
An investor in one of the Octo5 Holdings properties, Mrs Florence Oladejo, expressed satisfaction with the speed of completion of projects in spite of the COVID-19 pandemic challenges.