Tackling Nigeria’s Housing Deficit

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Yemi Osinbajo

Kemi Olaitan writes on a new innovation by private real estate companies to address housing deficit in Ibadan

That shelter is one of the basic needs of human beings is not in doubt. However, the population of the country growing at an alarming rate coupled with urbanisation has been seen as constituting danger for a rise in housing deficit which is estimated to be between 17 and 20 million housing units at a growth rate of 900,000 units per annum.

Indeed, research has revealed that the difference between the demand for housing and supply is incongruent, especially with the high cost of building materials, stress of getting land and the prevalent economic challenges, making solving housing issues a challenging venture for government.

The Vice-President, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo, speaking on the development, at the Housing Summit held in Abuja, had lamented that the country’s housing deficit was too high, stating that although no nation had been able to provide all the housing needs of its citizens, the housing crisis in developing countries, including Nigeria was very bad.

He maintained that it was obvious that the deficit in housing requirement was unacceptably high despite various policies and strategies adopted by the federal government to combat the housing problems of the citizenry and not much had been accomplished, emphasising that the major problem that stood against the delivery of adequate housing in the country was the challenge with land ownership.

Also, corroborating him on the bad housing situation, the Managing Director of a Kenya-based pan-African housing development and finance institution, Shelter Afrique, Mr. Andrew Chimphondah, said his organisation was committed to aiding significant growth in Nigeria with an investment of more than $180 million (N650.9 billion) with focus on providing construction finance for Public-Private Partnerships (PPP) projects to help reduce the housing deficit and increase the supply of affordable housing units to above 100,000 units annually.

Thus, the need for an urgent solution of adequate and affordable housing supply. How Nigeria will overcome the housing deficit has been a source of concern for stakeholders in the real estate development sector.
However, to fill this vacuum, some private institutions are stepping in to make modern housing units available in a way that buyers will not go through any stress. It also eliminates the stress of bureaucracies involved in land acquisition and perfection of title which is usually a difficult process hindering effective housing delivery for individual owners.

As a result of this private participation, housing units are on the rise even in Ibadan, the Oyo State capital, where many believe the traditional way of doing things will create a hindrance.
Speaking on the evolution of housing estates in Ibadan, a prospective tenant of Crimson Court, Janet said, “those ready to move in houses play a vital role in making people’s dreams of owning houses a reality through innovation and trustworthy services, it is easy to have a house now without going through all the hazards of building it.

“I don’t have to fight land grabbers or dubious building contractors and site engineers; those houses already have every required facility and come with 24 hours security. The fact that you don’t have to hustle for land ownership or certificate of occupancy is a plus for me.

“I didn’t know such is available in Ibadan until recently, I know we can find such in Lagos and Abuja. For me, the design and layout of Crimson Court meets every housing standard and shows we can live the good life in Nigeria. The design is just like the houses we see in the UK.”

She explained further that the evolution of the housing sector will definitely create an effective provision of affordable housing that will meet the needs of most Nigerians especially in developing cities, adding that since there are diverse housing estates, every individual will definitely find one that suits their pockets.

The experience of a bank worker, Modupe Adebayo, explained this better. When she got a call from her cousin that his family would be moving into their home in an estate in Kolapo Isola GRA, Ibadan, she took it as an expensive joke mainly because two weeks earlier, they had a conversation on the difficulty of getting a stress-free land and building it in Ibadan with both of them stating that they would jointly look for land to purchase.
She, nevertheless assisted them to move into a home in Legacy Estate in the GRA. She was surprised because the move was fast and unexpected.

But she confirmed that buying such houses seems the best way to get a house without going through the attendant stress.
“I couldn’t believe it until I got there, but it was true, And I will confess that that seems the way out of the housing issues in this country; you don’t have to buy land three times or fight building contractors, neither will you have to wait for long to build a house or battle the high cost and long processing duration of property registration, just pay and get a key. I am also considering such, I am only surprised many people are already taking that route in Ibadan,” she said.

And for Kayode Adewale, a civil servant, what he saw at the Legacy Estate in Ibadan already shows that people in the ancient city are already embracing the products of real estate companies rather than go through the stress of building houses by themselves.

According to him, “I followed my cousin to their new house in Legacy Estate at Kolapo Ishola GRA, expecting to see many houses not inhabited. But to my surprise, virtually all the houses had been bought and many people had already moved in.
“This shows that buying these ready-made houses is the way forward. And if my Ibadan people who are very conservative are embracing this, then, it is a success.”

He may not be wrong in his assessment as a visit to the serene Legacy Estate, revealed that all the exquisitely four-bedroom bungalows had been sold out while the phase two is already on.
Though it has four-bedroom bungalows six-bedroom duplexes, one unique thing about it is that the Legacy Estate owners also allow people to pay in installments or buy land to build houses by themselves if they don’t want to pay the huge amount even though there is a condition attached to this provision.

The house to be built must be the same design and must meet the same standard with other houses in the estate.
However, the Crimson Court at Jericho GRA is one for high income earners and was described as an architectural masterpiece conceptualised in 3D design with panoramic views.

The residences which the owners proclaim to bring to reality the 21st century modern luxury living experience consists of 12 units of five-bedroom terraces divided into three blocks in an echo friendly environment.
It boasts of facilities which include 24 hours professional security guards with CCTV monitoring, swimming pool and gym facilities, industrial boreholes with treatment facilities, three dedicated parking spaces per home, adequate electricity with back-up generator, a complete kitchen with gas stove and microwave oven, 10 air conditioning units per home and a complete inverter system.

The Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer of Structuracasa Limited, a real estate company that deals with selling finished estate homes in Ibadan, including Crimson Court and Legacy Estate, Mr. Babajide Alade, while speaking on the housing innovation, said housing estate is the new and easiest way of getting personal homes adding that with the current issue of housing deficit, people should embrace the evolution in the industry, adding that there are houses for every social status and financial class, stating that the houses are built in a way that the houses will not destroy the layout and natural setting of the areas where they are cited, explaining that the friendly communal way of life will not be affected by modernity.

According to him, “Our houses are built to cater for all needs. For example, the Legacy Estate is built like a garden estate which is different from just buying land outside and building your own house where you construct a big fence for security. There is a kind of sense of community and you don’t choke yourself up with big fences because there is a central security, houses are also well built and uniform in design, size and colour.”

On the Crimson Court’s technology and space management, Alade stated that the tri-level apartments are not only spacious, but well designed, adding that, “what you should just envision is Banana Island, Ikoyi or Ikeja GRA in Ibadan.
“It is a similar type of concept; this kind of housing is not about just owning a house, it is for people who value building technology and are not interested in taking care of landscape or spreading clothes outside.

“But I can say that the reception in Ibadan is good, we are already moving to the second phase at Legacy Estate and this to me shows Ibadan has moved with the times because there are many housing units in Ibadan now.”
With more people focusing attention on ready-made houses, it is expected that Nigerians with taste for quality will continue to wonder if this is the best solution to housing deficit in the country.