Real estate remains a significant contributor to Nigeria’s GDP, accounting for approximately 10% of the services sector and 6% of overall GDP in 2022. This is a growing and important sector in the economy; however, this growth does not necessarily imply it is solving the problem of housing deficit.
In Nigeria, access to affordable housing has largely remained a pipe dream for the vast majority, particularly the middle and lower income earners, who are about 80% of the populace. Housing deficit has gotten worse over time, with successive governments struggling to solve it.
Some causes of housing deficit include: lack of favourable government policies, high property costs, and lack of access to credit for potential homeowners. Performance of real estate is one of the yardsticks used to assess a country’s health. Housing, like food and clothing, is most fundamental of the three basic human needs, its availability is critical to the well-being of all people.
According to Federal Mortgage Bank of Nigeria, housing deficit is currently at 28 million units as at January 2023. This means that 28 million people or more are homeless. The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has estimated an amount of ₦21 trillion to finance this deficit. With a growing population of 200 million Nigerians, the current deficit is extremely high.
Furthermore, experts believe only 10% of those who want to own a home in Nigeria can afford it, either through purchase or personal construction, compared to 72% in the United States, 60% in China, and 92% in Singapore. In Nigeria, cost of housing has increased sharply. This is a growing concern among developers who see a solution to this issue in form of more affordable housing.
The president, Nigeria Institute of Building, Prof Yohana Izam, at a two-day workshop organised by Nigeria Institute of Building, held in Abuja with theme: “Innovation and technology in housing development, said there is urgent need for mass housing provision for Nigerians, urging the incoming administration to consider it a priority.
“Provision of mass housing units will not only address the housing deficit but will also solve a social welfare problem,” he said.
From Yobe State University Damaturu, Ismaila Adamu, said Lean Technology techniques will help low income earners own homes. He described it as a technique for project protection management, where one uses the cut down cost through eliminating waste and activities that does not add value. “When you use this construction techniques in providing housing units, you will find that you have produced at the end, affordable housing units with low cost. Why? Because you eliminate waste and any activities in the production process that does not add value to the building.”
Managing director of Gtext Holdings, Dr Stephen Akintayo, in a discussion with TVC News, December 2022, mentioned “accessibility” as key to solving Nigeria’s housing deficit, whereby a potential homeowner may have access to a property and be able to make payment over a longer period of time, allowing middle to low-income earners in Nigeria to own properties rather than just the wealthy.