Obaseki Advocates Long-term Financing for Housing Sector

Edo State Governor, Mr. Godwin Obaseki,

Oluchi Chibuzor

With housing deficit in the country estimated at 17 million, Governor of Edo State, Mr. Godwin Obaseki has advocated a long-term financing model that will give room for single digit interest rate in the housing sector.

This is just as experts in the estate and surveying industry reiterated the need for a robust mortgage system in the country, flexible for every citizen to own a house.

The Governor, stated this at the send fourth and investiture event organised by Knight Frank, Nigeria, for its outgoing and new Senior Partner/Chief Executive Officer (CEO), held over the weekend in Lagos.

Obaseki, stressed that the challenge facing the country was finance and high interest rate. He called for a reduction of interest rate to single-digit to support affordable housing.

“I do not think the problem is in building, but in long term financing required for off-takers. 

“If we find a situation where whatever you pay as rent today could be substituted for your mortgage payment, i am sure you will own your home.

“But for us to achieve that, interest rate has to be at certain level, which is beyond the control of the state.

“Is important that household names in whatever industry – real estate or financial services – to be present in Nigeria because they help set those standards, because there is huge demand for real estate. Having a global name like Knight Frank is key and significant,” he said.

On his part the incoming CEO, Knight Frank, an independent residential and commercial property consultancy firm, Mr. frank Okosun, stated his desire to increase the level of professionalism in the company and take it to the next level in the industry.

In addition, he said the firm would focus on capacity building and train more young people to become professional surveyors.

With Nigeria’s housing deficit growing at 20 per cent yearly, according to the World Bank, he noted that reducing the figure would be his focus as the new CEO.

“Our focus is to reduce the housing deficit in the country, which can be achieved by increasing more development in all the areas of the states; putting more property in the market and ensuring that there are mortgages for the young ones to own houses,” he stressed. 

The outgoing president, Chief Albert Orizu advised the new CEO to resolve clients’ complaints within the shortest time, saying people remains central to the firm’s business.

“The main problem we have is providing affordable housing because mortgages are not working very well in Nigeria and the housing cost is very high. 

“There is a lot of room for the government to try as much as possible to participate more in the low income and middle income housing because that is where the main problems are, once we are able to make land available and get a good mortgage system, then it would be easier for the middle class to be able to have their own houses,” he added.