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School of Estate, stakeholders move against housing deficit

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A Special Interest Group SIG, comprising individuals operating in the real estate sector have come together under the aegis of the School of Estate to address the myriads of lingering housing challenges in Nigeria.

School of Estate is a business training school that specializes in Real Estate and Estate Management courses. They adopt concepts that enhance participants’ knowledge of real estate, particularly in Nigeria where there is a flexible entry and exit into the market.

Edo State Governor, Mr. Godwin Obaseki inspecting ongoing construction of housing units at the Emotan Gardens Estate in Ikpoba-Okha Local Government Area, Edo State.

Subsequently, as part of a triangulation approach to scientific policy work on challenges and opportunities in funding housing development projects in Nigeria, a focus group session was organised recently at the Maryland, Lagos office of the school for the group to officially commence its activities with key players in the housing sector in attendance.

Speaking at the event, Mr. Gbadebo Adejana of Realty Point Ltd challenged developers to take the bull by the horn and stop waiting for the government to do everything while they sit, relax and shift blames.

According to him, the housing deficit quoted in 2005 which was at 10 million has increased to 21million according to the last statistics quoted by the media, stressing that what this means is that the sector is not meeting its yearly requirement. He said instead of hanging everything on the shoulder of the government, he wondered why stakeholders do not go beyond discussions and start taking actions.

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Mr. Adejana therefore called on real estate professionals across board start an organisation that is self-regulating, and where they can project themselves and make themselves known to the world, adding that with this, it would be easier to resolve issues within the organisation because everyone knows the necessary channels to go to, as if one arm is not performing to its responsibilities, it would be easy to know who to hold accountable. “It is high time we stopped passing the ball around and taking actions” he said.

In the focus group discussion, participants proposed that government should, as a matter of urgency, declare a state of emergency in the real estate sector, noting that some of the issues confronting housing sector that require urgent attention include gap in the knowledge-base on project financing, the short-term nature of available funds, high interest rates and a lack of a database on funding sources etc.

According to a policy consultant, Mr. Olufemi Omotayo, a report has shown that only about 10 per cent of Nigerians can afford housing, insisting that housing policies need to be involved to bridge the gap. He listed some of the problems facing the sector as high cost of labour, land and building materials which make the whole process cumbersome.

The group noted that prior to the dialogue, the literature review and survey showed that housing deficit had lingered for too long in the sector and no one seems to be ready to own up to it, pointing out that the theoretical framework also acknowledged the role of government and the organised private sector have played in recent times to aid housing development with initiatives like Nigerian Mortgage Refinancing Company, Family Homes Fund, Mortgage Warehousing etc.

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