Housing sector: Expert seeks increased private sector participation

A real estate expert, Mr Babajide Odusolu, has urged the federal and state governments to provide more incentives to increase private sector participation in their mass housing drive and reduce the nation’s housing deficit.
Odusolu, the Chief Executive Officer, Octo5 Holdings, made the appeal on Tuesday 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 that increased collaboration would make serious developers acquire viable land and build more homes to address the challenge of shelter gap aggressively.
The expert said there was an urgent need to build homes with good infrastructure, adding that the World Bank estimates that Nigeria would need to provide at least 700,000 units of housing to meet its deficit.
“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 state and federal levels should offer fiscal incentives to capable developers and guarantee off-take for public sector workers.
“With such incentives, serious developers would acquire viable land and build homes to address the challenges aggressively,” he said.
He said that the increasingly changing demographics of housing demand required varied solutions and most could not be addressed by the government.
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 said 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 speaking at the ceremony, Mrs Tundun Aderibigbe, Chief Financial Officer, Octo5 Holdings, called on governments to ensure review of mortgage policies.
Aderibigbe said that the mortgage policies should make long term single-digit interest housing loans available to Nigerians for more people to be able to key in to own homes.
“I think the rules of how mortgage institutions should work should be reviewed to be more international. Here mortgage seems to be more of 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,” she said.
Aderigbe listed various flexible instalment payment packages as well as the online subscribers Stow App that gives opportunities for contributions of N50,000 or more towards home ownership.
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. (NAN)


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