THE TRIANGLE OF HOUSING AFFORDABILITY: POLICIES, FINANCE AND INFRASTRUCTURE

THE TRIANGLE OF HOUSING AFFORDABILITY: POLICIES, FINANCE AND INFRASTRUCTURE

(Developing Countries and Developed Countries – with extra focus on Nigeria, Africa, MENA, India, US, Australia and others)

Abstract

Since we can’t talk about housing without talking about land, it is germane and central to this paper that we remind ourselves that the father-characteristics of land is that It is relatively fixed in size. This, at is were, is originally is the first basis that gives rise to the issues on housing affordability because it connotes some sense of scarcity which translates to its affordability being directly proportional to it income of a owner or an aspiring owner.  

 

Though Housing is regarded a basic good, the provision of affordable housing exerts great stress on every nation’s means to deliver it. Perhaps we can say with the continuous tussle between agriculture and industry in a country with a vast segment employed in agriculture and with a policy attempting to boost the manufacturing sector has its undesired effects on sectors like housing therefore impairing its affordability.

 

Many international institutions have turned away from the housing sector over the past 15 years. Some successful programs were not widely replicated, while others withered as donor funding shifted toward other priorities .The result has been assistance strategies that missed important opportunities for advancing economic, social, and civic development. And many national and local housing institutions have not maintained the commitment or sustained level of intervention needed to make a substantial difference in housing outcomes. The result is a growing crisis.

 

This paper is driven by the realisation and recognition that housing affordability is more than just a personal trouble experienced by individual households. It has implications not only for housing but also for employment, health, labour market performance, aged care, finance, community sustainability, economic development and urban, regional and global development.

 

This articles bulges our eye on the three capital constraints of affordable housing which are polices, finance and infrastructure. It, on a wholistic coverage, spreads it wings across the other two constraints, economy (demand and supply) and physical features of land. All of these factors make the five sharp stones in the hand of David if one is to kill the goliath of housing affordability as would been in the proposing model down the paper.

 

The paper touches almost all the crucial spots of ‘housing affordability’ if not all. Using facts and examples from countries from different regions of the world and different level of development do drive the point home.

 

 

 

 

 

 

  1. 0 Introduction

Housing is a basic human need, yet one-sixth of the world’s population lives in slums. For many in the developing nations and even for some in the developed nations, vision of “Affordable Housing for All” remains unattainable. That is, having a decent home and suitable living environment remains a dream because affordability of houses is an intransigent problem that most nations of the world have not come to a close solving. It is one of the greatest problems confronting our nation, Nigeria – developing nation.

The importance attached to critically examining the whole egg of housing affordability under the light is one of great measure. How do I mean?

Housing has been generally accepted as the second most essential need after food and is one of the basic needs of every individual, family and community in general (Aribigbola 2006). Housing is the single largest expenditure for most households and as such housing affordability has the potential to affect all domains of life that are subject to cost constraints, including health. Andrews (1998) described severe housing burdens as 50 percent or more of household income. Researchers have shown that housing can affect mental and physical health, both positively and negatively (Fanning, 1967; Macpherson, 1979; Riaz, 1987).

Housing can be seen as Builder of Wealth according to (Duane, K. et al. 2006) likewise A study by Case, Quigley, and Schiller, analyzing data from the United States and 14 other countries, also suggests an increase in consumer spending due to increases in housing values.

However, Ogieto (1987) has said that the disparity between the price and quantity of housing on the one hand, and the number of households and the money available to them to pay these prices on the other, constitutes the central problem of housing.

The reason behind the un-affordability of housing has been blamed on many things. A recent study by the Johannesburg-based Centre for Affordable Housing Finance in Africa still holds that factors such as poverty, a lack of long-term financing, land management systems in need of reform, and a rising cost of building materials remain the constraints.

Failure to settle the problems of land distribution and housing in the world’s cities threatens not only . . . the developing world— it also threatens world stability. Urban poverty will become the most significant and politically explosive problem in the 21st century. (Duane, K. et al., 2006)

Housing markets have significant macroeconomic impacts as Homebuilding accounts for a notable portion of annual GDP. A recent newspaper report on the broader impact of the housing market on the economy of the United States showed a positive association between growth in the housing market and employment increases in the appraisal, building services, architectural, financial, contracting, and material supply sectors of the economy.

Housing is in fact a store of wealth going by a study of three countries — China, India, and Indonesia — indicated that more than 40% of the wealth of urban dwellers in those countries is in their housing. A study of the housing market in South Korea shows that up to 55% of consumer wealth is in housing, excluding underlying land values. Housing is a location for business and provides other intangible emotional and cultural benefits

Housing is a Multiplier Effect on Local Economy. Data from the United States show the extent to which housing is a driver of the national economy. The National Association of Realtors reports a multiplier of 1.34 to 1.62 for every dollar spent on direct housing activity. Furthermore, with respect to jobs, for every job in housing construction, 2.448 other jobs are generated in other industries. By some measures, up to 40% of a house- hold’s income is spent on housing-related purchases. Much of that spending is local, resulting in stronger local economies as well. Duane, K. et al. (2006

 

 

  1. 1 Urbanization: Housing Market, Affordability in Developing Nations (Africa) – Nigeria

 

According to the U.S. Department of Defence: Large numbers of rural people will migrate to cities in search of a better life only to find worse conditions. Unable to afford urban dwellings, these migrants will settle in slums and shantytowns on the outskirts, creating a fervent ground for crises, conflict, insurgency and other forms of political violence. Housing alone does not address the complexity of security, but it undeniably mitigates threats.

Urbanization is not the problem, poverty is. Cities are engines for economic, social, technological, and cultural progress. Urban economies provide more than one-half of the economic growth of every country of the world, with percentages ranging from 55% in developing nations to 85% in the developed countries. 69 Urbanization also correlates with improved household income and health and declining household size. Globally, cities accommodate 3 billion people, and many cities — large and small — work reasonably well. The challenge is that the cities of the developing world will have to accommodate another 3 billion over the next 25 years and they lack the resources and the capacity to do so.

Taking a look at the Nigerian real estate market; obviously, we faced recession between 2008 and 2009. Coming back to Nigeria, if you look at the Nigerian real estate market, obviously, we faced recession between 2008 and 2009. However, since 2010, we have been seeing a recovery in the market. Our view in this company is that the recession has bottomed out and that the trend can only go upwards. Now, we tend to divide the real estate market into four because the dynamics and characteristics of each market is not the same. First is the retail market, which is just growing; there are very few shopping malls for instance -UACN 2013

 

Data from recent studies show that as much as 70% of the urban housing stock in sub-Saharan Africa, 50% in South Asia, and 25% in Latin America and the Caribbean was of poor quality and out of compliance with local regulations. Median usable living space in sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia was about 7 square meters (75 square feet) per person compared to 32 square meters (350 square feet) in the industrialized countries, and per capita expenditures on roads, sewerage, drainage, water supply, electricity, and garbage collection was 10 to 40 times greater in the industrialized countries than it was in developing countries. Almost a quarter of a billion people in urban areas lacked potable water and more than half a billion lack basic sanitation

Thirty percent of the world’s urban population lives in poverty. Though the poor migrate to cities in search of jobs, urban poverty can be as devastating as the rural poverty they left behind. The Woodrow Wilson Centre Comparative Urban Studies

Program looked at studies of slums in Argentina, Brazil, Hungary, Mexico, and Russia and found that “those left behind in the accelerating process of globalization are more marginalized with fewer paths out of poverty . . . .”Housing plays several important roles on that path

 

While there is a significant supply of upscale or luxury housing in many markets across Africa or growing developing nations,   there remains a lack of more affordable housing. Urban land mass is under severe constraint to meet the housing requirement of the country’s urban population which is growing rapidly. A recent study by the Johannesburg-based Centre for Affordable Housing Finance in Africa finds that affordability remains a major challenge in African housing markets. Nigeria is one of the most rapidly urbanizing countries in Africa and the challenges that come with this, especially in the provision of adequate housing and basic services are major challenges that government faces (FMH and UD 2003).

 

In the recent years, in Nigeria, the consequences of the population pressure, urbanization and socio-economic growth have social and economic problems connected with land uses. Due to urbanization, many people are moving from rural to urban areas where modern facilities are available; population pressure in cities and town has made residential accommodation a peculiar problem. The congested urban places are in need of expansion but the lands where this expansion is to be made is scarce. Land has become of great marketable value and no longer the ordinary land known to Africa tradition as a gift of nature to mankind.

 

According to the 2006 Census by National Population Commission (NPC), Nigeria has a population of over 140 million people, and working with this figure, providing adequate and affordable housing in Nigeria is definitely an issue of dire national importance. Perhaps the increased population amidst unmanaged urbanisation is one reason why the housing-for-all program initiated during previous military regimes fell far short of target.

 

House affordability remains one of the continuing challenges posed by unprecedented urbanization in developing countries, including Nigeria.The number of people in urban cities and towns has gone up substantially primarily as a by-product of demographic explosion and poverty induced rural-urban migration. This situation has resulted in tremendous pressure on urban infrastructure and consequent increase in the number of homeless people living on the streets because urbanization moving not at par with housing affordability is a catastrophe in the womb waiting to be delivered.

 

Housing needs in developing nations have been high as a result of population growth, which has averaged 3.0 per cent per annum in Nigeria’s case .There is a real paucity of common or non-agricultural land for meeting the housing needs of the poor; whatever little is available is pre empted by the demands from other sectors. The lack of vibrancy in the market for village properties and the marked volatility in agricultural incomes combine to dampen the prospects of this nebulous sector.

More so, as with almost every other developmental sector in developing nations, the outlay on housing has been rather low, and does not seem to warrant the priority it demands. Most urban dwellers in these nations today live in dilapidated houses lacking basic amenities, unsanitary conditions or running water. In fact, most urban areas are the worse for wear as far as infrastructure and housing are concerned, and this mostly due to our notorious maintenance culture or lack of it.

On another note, Affordable housing in Africa is focussed on dwellings available for rent rather than for sale. The relative importance of these two sectors (rent Vs sale) varies between countries and between the national and expatriate sectors of the market, with significant restrictions on foreign ownership of property remaining in many jurisdictions.

 

The preference to rent is not entirely driven by income levels as many expatriates prefer to rent, even when they can afford to purchase. Home ownership levels tend to be lower in those markets with high levels of expatriates. This trend is epitomised in Qatar – which has the highest level of expats in MENA (at over 80%) and one of the

Lowest levels of home ownership, at just 22%

 

A recent research deduces the demand for affordable housing as calculated from an analysis of income levels in selected markets across MENA. The size and composition of the ‘low income’ sector of the market, varies between markets as summarised below:

 

The total population of these 7 countries (as at 2010) was over 185 million, with almost 85 million (45%) of this total in Egypt. The other major population centres are Morocco, Iraq and KSA, which together account for another 49% of the total population. Not surprisingly it is these four countries that offer the greatest opportunities for affordable housing. There are around 26.8 million low income households, comprising 72% of the total of 37.6 million households across the 7 major MENA markets covered in this report. The percentage of households within the ‘low income’ definition varies from 43% in the UAE, to over 80% in Egypt and Bahrain

 

 

Hence, there is currently a shortage of more than 3.5 million dwellings of affordable housing in all the markets considered in this report. The extent of this shortfall varies from more than 1.5 million units in MENA’s most populous market (Egypt), to just 15,000 units in the Sultanate of Oman. This shortage is expected to increase over the next few years as the supply of affordable housing fails to keep pace with the increased demand

 

Another case raised for the market is the challenge of how to ensure that affordable housing projects remain affordable into the future. Earlier projects in MENA (such as the Khalifa Committee housing programme in Abu Dhabi) have failed to remain affordable over time due to the lack of effective mechanisms for controlling prices / rents in the secondary market. Original purchasers have benefitted by sub-letting or on-selling properties at higher prices as market levels have increased, thereby making these units less affordable over time.

 

  1. 2 Making a Case on the Concept of Affordability

Though the term ‘affordability’ has been in widespread use in US housing policy since the 1960s, it was not until the late 1980s that it became an integral part of policy discourse in Australia and the UK. Its usage can be traced to the promotion by governments of neo-liberal modes of housing provision; namely, more reliance on the private market and non-government organisations to provide and manage low cost housing, and less reliance on subsidy for public housing provision. This is not to say that difficulties in accessing housing have not previously been a concern, but the problem was never couched in the language of affordability.

“Affordability” as a concept is very generic and could have different meanings for different people based on differences in income levels. Different countries have defined affordable housing to present the economic potential of an individual buying a house. In developed countries like the US and Canada, a commonly accepted guideline for affordable housing is that the cost of housing should not exceed 30 per cent of the gross income of the household. Let’s examine a few scholars and researches view on affordability;

–          Andrews (1998) defined the term “affordable housing” as that which costs no more than 30 percent of the income of the occupant household.

 

–          ‘Affordability’ is concerned with securing some given standards of housing or different standards at a price or rent which does not impose an unreasonable burden on household incomes. In broad terms, affordability is assessed by the ratio of a chosen definition of household costs to a selected measure of household income in a given period (Maclennan and Williams 1990)

 

–          ‘Housing affordability” refers to the capacity of households to meet housing costs while maintaining the ability to meet other basic costs of living (AHURI 2004). According to Malpezzi et al. (1985), housing affordability describes the extent to which households are able to pay for housing.

 

–          Malpass (1993) argues that the important determinant of what consumers regard as affordable housing is the scope for trade-offs between different forms of expenditure and their relative attraction. He concluded that affordability “is virtually undefined concept and certainly cannot be neatly or simply understood in terms of a fixed percentage of income”.

 

–          Jiminez and Kieare (1993) opined that housing affordability is a behavioural concept and it changes with time. It is also individualized as the relationship between incomes and how much the household is ready to put into housing is not a direct one.

 

–          The Chartered Institute of Housing (1992) identified four key variables or items which will determine whether accommodation is affordable or not. These variables are: Rent levels which will have an impact on the ability of a tenant to afford accommodation; Household income; the type of household (that is Family makeup, whether couple, single parent, elderly, etc.) and whether the household is eligible for housing benefits.

 

–          RICS (2010) saw   Affordable housing is that provided to those whose needs are not met by the open market.

 

 

  1. 3 Income and Housing Affordability

Drawing out from the foregoing, affordable housing is usually defined by income of the populations served. According to HUD standards, the population is divided into “very low income” (below 50 % of the median income), “low income” (below 80%) and “moderate income” (81 – 120 %). “Affordable housing” generally therefore, means housing priced to cost no more than 30 percent of the income at each income level. Thus, affordable housing may therefore be described as housing in which the occupant is not paying more than 30 percent of his or her income on.

However, The 30 percent threshold has been criticized in the literature as deceptive, for low income families, spending 30 percent on housing costs leave very little for all other necessities, whereas for middle-income families, it is an appropriate expenditure level (Andrews 1998). Mayo et al. (1990), contend that such rule of thumb is inconsistent with what people actually spend on housing. Despite these problems, the 30 percent threshold is currently the most widely used and widely accepted indicator of housing affordability (Andrews 1998).

 

 

 

 

 

  1. 4 Often Mistaken Ideologies in Housing Affordability

Difference between Affordable housing and low-cost housing: are often interchangeably used but are quite different from each other. Low-cost housing is generally meant for the Economically Weaker Sections (EWS) categories and comprises bare minimum housing facilities while affordable housing is mostly meant for the Low Income Groups (LIG) and the Middle Income Groups (MIG)

Bichi (2002) differentiated between housing affordability and housing finance affordability. Housing affordability according to him is generally an issue of absolute poverty. That is, it embraced those households that cannot afford even the minimum standard available and thus requires initiatives to rental housing services assistance and other forms of assistance. On the other hand, the housing finance affordability describes essentially the problem of the low and moderate-income groups with regard to the high cost of financing housing. In other words, it relates the issue or problem of accessing or raising adequate finance to build or rent housing by the low and medium income households.

 

1. 5 Why should Affordable Housing be a Concern?

For wealthier and even not-so-wealthy people, affordable housing may hardly be a concern at all. Homeowners may not think much about renters. Renters living comfortably may not think much about those barely making ends meet. It’s a natural human tendency to pay most attention to issues which are immediate and which affect us personally; affordable housing issues may not qualify on either count. The problems of those without affordable housing may seem far away. Thus most people fail to realise lack of adequate housing is not only a burden for many of the poor, but it is harmful to the larger society as well, because of the adverse effects of inadequate housing on public health. It is held by (HUD 2005) that Families who pay more than 30 percent of their income on housing are considered cost burdened and may have difficulty affording necessities such as food, clothing, transportation and medical care

Healthy:Substandard housing contributes to childhood health problems, such as asthma, anaemia, viral infections, stunted growth, and other health problems, sometimes leading to expensive hospitalizations. Poorly-housed children in these situations are significantly more likely to have behavioural problems and to fall behind housing-stable students in school.

Housing affordability issues can have serious ramifications for the health of the people. Crushingly high rent burdens leave poor families with little money for food, doctor’s visits, or other necessities. Thus, households lacking affordable housing are vulnerable to diseases and illness associated with malnutrition and inadequate health care. Doubling or tripling up lead to overcrowding and having to navigate relationships with other families, which is stressful. In extreme cases, a lack of affordable housing can result in homelessness. As a substantial body of research attests, these types of psychological stressors can have a negative impact on health

Economy:  If you look at the global real estate market, you will see that the economies where the real estate market has shown the best recoveries in the past few years are those economies where the larger economies themselves are growing. And so, you cannot really divorce property from the economy.

 

One of the countries that have done very well in the past few years is Sweden. If you look at Sweden, you will see that the economy itself is very strong, and the real estate market is riding on the back of the strong economy. Whereas, if you look at other real estate markets that are not doing well, such as Ireland, France and Spain where they still record a dip in the growth of the real estate market, it is on the back of a weak. Economy UACN 2013 .

Housing affordability issues can also be a clog in the wheel of local, national and global economies. Greater wealth for the majority unavoidably puts upward pressure on housing prices, squeezing those with less income.

High housing costs may require excessive debt, making households sensitive to future interest rate rises and creating the potential for greater economic instability as people wind back consumption to avoid falling into mortgage arrears. High housing costs may result in wage pressures and affect the competitive advantage of firms locating in areas of high house prices by virtue of being unable to attract key employees. This may not be a problem just of large metropolitan areas but regional towns where there are fewer housing choices if prices rise to non-affordable levels for key workers. High housing costs and associated high debt levels can reduce savings and effect investment in other sectors that are essential to the long-term growth of the economy. Differentials in affordability between areas may create labour market impediments by discouraging people from moving to employment in areas of low affordability and conversely discouraging migration to areas of high affordability as the low house prices and rents indicate low capital gain potential and poor employment prospects. Part two of this project will examine in more detail the macroeconomic implications of housing affordability and high dwelling price issues.

Social: Social view of housing relates to a situation in which all citizens have access to housing without limitations as to one’s socio economic background or status in society. The relevance of this view to housing accessibility is in ensuring that housing provision is not focused on some ‘chosen’ segments of the society but all members of the community have equal opportunity to choose their own accommodation according to their means or affordability level (Okewole and Aribigbola 2006)

Evidence also links the lack of affordable housing to a variety of negative social outcomes. High housing costs and consequent affordability problems can lead to significant social problems. High housing costs in the private sector increase construction costs for social and special needs housing, reduce the availability of stock and/or force stock to be located in areas of poorer amenity, with implications for employment, health and social connectedness. In an era of aspirational values, blocked access to home ownership because of affordability problems is potentially a source of personal hardship and social and political tension.

Without affordable housing, our communities may become more uniform. We may lose the opportunity to interact with people who may be in different economic or cultural circumstances, to learn from them and to enjoy their company. Likewise, for our children in addition to that face that Studies also show that when children are forced to move from school to school because their families can’t find affordable housing, academic and future success are compromised. Some people may prefer to live in uniform and homogeneous communities; but others feel that something is gained by living in a community which not only supports diversity — and accordingly, affordable housing — but also acts to ensure it.

High housing costs accentuate financial hardship for low income families by leaving too little in the household budget for necessities other than housing (Burke and Ralston 2003) and place some households at risk of not being able to sustain their tenancy, creating an increased potential for homelessness. Placing yet another stress on already fragile families or relationships may accelerate relationship breakdown with all the associated personal and social costs.

High housing costs are likely to lead to over-crowding, which in turn can affect the health of household members and may lead to outbreaks of contagious diseases, as evidenced by the New Zealand experience in the 1990s (Baker et al. 2000). High housing costs and low affordability have as their corollary substantial increases in the asset levels of residential property owners and therefore a widening of the wealth distribution between them and the sizeable minority of non-owners.

Spatial / slum: The high concentration of low-income households in areas of high affordability can undermine social cohesion and community bonds and increase levels of crime and anti-social behaviour. It can also reduce local spending power and deter investment, creating areas of urban blight with poor social infrastructure (Stegman 1998). In both the UK and the US, there has been concern about ‘food droughts’ where lack of investment by major supermarket chains has left large areas without access to affordable fresh produce. The sifting and sorting of households in response to differentials in relative affordability across large metropolitan areas can create spatial polarisation and impair economic and social sustainability. Increasingly polarised cities foster defensive behaviours, not just by those in areas of deprivation but also by more affluent citizens who may demand housing estates and building forms constructed on principles of safety and security, e.g. gated communities. This in turn can undermine a sense of wider citizenship as people retreat to and structure a life around their own small, gated world and ignore their broader social obligations. This in turn may lead to a growth of ‘NIMBYism’ and greatly increase the difficulties of government in trying to address issues of housing and urban planning.

Cultural: It is precisely the role of housing beyond shelter that renders market-oriented approaches somewhat difficult in some areas of the developing world. Whereas in many Western countries housing is treated almost exclusively as an asset, the situation is far more nuanced in other cultures. Some African groups, for example, place such a high and personal value on housing, they do not sell it.

 

Cultural differences and informal settlements systems also suggest that other Western

reforms — development of a secondary mortgage market, municipal bond financing, improved financial markets, better bank regulation and supervision, and bankruptcy and foreclosure reform — may require different approaches.

 

Environmental/Design: High housing costs may inhibit progress towards more environmentally sustainable dwellings. In the interests of keeping dwelling prices down in a context of declining affordability, the building and development industries will be reluctant or unable to undertake the innovations needed for greater environmental sustainability, e.g. re-use of grey water, greater use of energy rated building material and appliances, more efficient use of insulation, better laid out but more expensive estates that maximise orientation to the sun, greater use of quality multi-unit housing. These economic, social, spatial and environmental costs are not just incurred by individual households or firms as internal costs. Collectively the unintended side effects of a lack of affordable housing and/or the spatial divides between areas of high and lower affordability potentially create major expenditure implications for government in terms of increased health, aged care, homelessness, criminal justice and policing costs. In addition there are the potential costs of forgone investment, environmental clean-up and economic instability. More subtly, these outcomes can lead to a loss of public faith in both market and government decision-making. All these costs are contingent on the form, scale and duration of the affordability problem. There is no consensus regarding the nature of the risks posed by housing affordability issues in Australia. The extent of these problems is unclear and there is limited understanding of the causal relationships between any of the problems and affordability.

1.6 Types of Affordable Housing

People live in a very wide range of housing settings; virtually all these settings can be made affordable. Without going into great detail, some types of affordable housing include:

  • Newly built housing developments, in which the entire development is specifically planned to be affordable. (One variety of this type, but not the only one, is government -assisted public housing.) These developments can range from individual houses to apartments to single-room-occupancy facilities.
  • Newly built affordable housing units, as part of a mixed-income development. These units can also take the form of individual houses or apartments.
  • Existing housing units renovated or converted from their previous use, so as to become affordable.
  • Existing and already-affordable housing units, neither renovated nor converted, but which are intentionally maintained and conserved so that they will remain affordable.

1.6.1 Specialized Types of Affordable Housing such as:

  • Co-housing, or congregate housing, where residents have separate bedrooms, but share common areas such as kitchens or yard spaces.
  • Transitional housing, designed for temporary use by people who are recovering from physical or emotional problems. This type of housing, which may also involve shared space, is often accompanied by support services nearby or on site.
  • Categorical housing – that is, housing for members of certain social groups. Seniors are one of the most common of these groups, but specialized housing has also been constructed for the disabled, for victims of domestic violence, for people living with AIDS, for grandparents serving as parents, and (lest we forget) college students. If a specific group has particular housing needs, customized housing can be created to meet them.

 

 

 

  1. 7 Sustainability in Affordable Housing

There is a growing awareness of the importance of environmental factors in the affordable housing sector of the market. Green building codes are being developed in a number of markets across the region. Among the most advanced of these is Estidama in Abu Dhabi. This program (named after the Arabic word for sustainability) aims to create more sustainable communities, through initiatives such as the Pearl Rating System, which will transform the way communities and buildings are designed, constructed and operated.

 

This will require greater consideration being given to the delivery of quality living environments through the integration of buildings, community, natural and economic Systems:

–          Lower unit Costs Through system building solutions; despite the challenges to the more widespread use of system building technologies in the region, there remain opportunities for more mechanised and modular technologies including precast solutions. These could result in savings of up to 20% of construction costs, while still providing a standard of accommodation that is culturally acceptable

–           

–          Due to more efficient use of space and smaller units, affordable housing is by nature more sustainable.

 

–          Consideration should be given to quality environmental management throughout the life of the project, not just the initial design and construction phase.

 

–          Greater use of passive design optimisation rather than more active Mechanical and renewable systems.

 

–          Education and training of residents and building managers to reduce energy and water use and minimise waste production is key to achieving sustainable objectives while minimising costs.

 

–          Site and energy optimisation; water conservation; environmentally preferable products; optimisation of operation and maintenance practices.

 

 

On another note, there is an increasing recognition of the importance of ensuring that

Housing is not only affordable upon its initial sale (primary market), but remains affordable over time (in the secondary market). A number of strategies have been used across the region to meet this objective, these include; providing preferred access to Key Workers (tenant selection policies) and Controls on the prices / rents that units can be subsequently offered to the market

 

 

  1. 8Premising Facts on housing affordability in Nigeria

At the inauguration of a committee constituted by the Federal Government to produce a National Housing Policy for the country in 1985, the then Minister of Works and Housing had said, “Government plans to take positive steps to ensure that the less privileged members of the society, including the wandering psychotics who require confinement and rehabilitation, have access to dwelling houses.”

 

The UN-Habitat estimate, which is still the authentic reference material, puts the housing deficit in the country at 17 million units.

It is also estimated that it would require production of 720, 000 units annually to bridge the housing deficit gap. The Federal Government too is aware of the problem and has estimated through National Transformation Agenda (2011-2015) that it will cost about N60tn to bridge the gap, if put at the conservative price of N3.5million.

Over the last three decades, Nigeria, like several developing countries, has emphasised public housing schemes, but with little success (Ogu and Ogbuozobe, 2001).

A minimum of 1 million housing units is required annually to avert a serious housing crisis by 2020

In 2012President Goodluck Jonathan admitted that Nigeria faces a bleak future in housing. He disclosed that the government requires $30 million (N4.8 billion) per annum to provide adequate shelter and build an extra 60 million housing units to meet the housing needs of the country.

Since 1991 when the National Housing Policy, (NHP) was promulgated, the daunting challenges facing the country’s housing sector, such as poor policy implementation, bureaucracy, political instability and corruption, are yet to be surmounted. – Various housing researchers.

Going by the estimates of the Federal Housing Authority, new housing construction in Nigeria is about 10,000 units a year. To meet ever-growing demand, the country needs ten times more or at least 100,000 new housing units annually

Nigeria’s housing needs have been high as a result of population growth, which has averaged 3.0 per cent per annum, rapid urbanisation due to rural-urban migration, the high cost of building materials, ineffective and insincere housing policies.

Nigeria’s drive toward “housing for all”, as contained in the National Housing Policy, which aims at providing affordable housing for all, has so far been what it is – all on paper and no serious effort, deliberately or otherwise, at implementation and continues to be an illusion and a frustration to the larger population. Successive efforts to meet every set target have failed as housing deficit now stands at over 16 million units in Nigeria. (Peterside, 2003)

The target date for accomplishing the “housing for all” goal was 2000 – almost nine years ago, and while the objective has not changed, a new deadline for accomplishing this national objective has not been set, despite its inclusion in President Yar A’dua’s 7-point agenda as estimates show that Nigeria needs an average of 1 million housing units per year not only to replenish decaying housing stock, but also to meet rising demand. (Peterside, 2005)

 

 

  1. 9Housing Affordability in some Developing and Developed Countries.

The issue of affordable housing takes on a different perspective in different markets across the world and there is therefore no ‘one size fits all’ solution that can be applied. Some countries examined include;

 

Egypt: There is an acknowledged lack of affordable housing in Egypt, where most private developments have targeted the luxury sector due to the higher margins available. This situation is now changing rapidly because of: Government recognition of the social consequences of not providing sufficient affordable housing and Lower returns now available from the luxury market that has moved into excess supply.

 

Given its large population (circa 85 million) and relatively low income levels (over 80% of households are in the low income sector); it is not surprising that the highest current shortfall of affordable housing in the region is in Egypt. This market provides the greatest potential opportunity for the development industry with a current need for an additional 1.5 million affordable housing units across the country. The majority of those seeking affordable housing are low income local citizens, with only low levels of expatriate demand.

 

The interim military government has recognised the need to provide more affordable housing and the Ministry of Housing has announced plans to construct one million new residential units across 22 different cities throughout Egypt. These units (with an average size of 63sqm) are to be provided for those currently priced out of the private housing market. The proposal is for the government to provide the land and for the private sector to undertake the construction for an agreed price. The average construction cost of each unit is estimated to be EGP 60,000. While details of the sales prices have not been released, the likely pricing of between EGP70, 000 and EGP 80,000 is well below the price of similar sized units in the private market. Housing for the 84% of Egyptian households with a monthly income below EGP2, 000 (USD340)

 

Iraq: The prolonged war and subsequent period of under investment have led to a significant undersupply across all sectors of the residential market in Iraq. The large population base (circa 33 million) and the shortage of investment in the real estate sector over the past 30 years have combined to create a major housing shortage across Iraq. A recent government study (undertaken in association with the UN Habitat) quantifies this shortage at around 2 million units and we estimate that over 1 million of these are in the affordable housing sector. The government has recognised the problem and created the National Investment Commission of Iraq (NIC) with a mandate to construct 1 million economic housing units for Iraqi citizens across the country. Housing for the 62% of households in Iraq that currently earn less than IQD499, 000 (USD430) per month.

 

Morocco: Morocco is the most mature affordable housing market in MENA, with the government having applied experience from across Europe in providing social housing for low income local families for many years she has been addressing the need for more affordable housing for many years and has one of the most mature affordable housing sectors in MENA. Despite the introduction of a broad range of government initiatives to encourage private sector involvement in this sector (including the provision of subsidised land and tax breaks to developers), there are still significant opportunities for further investment, with a current shortage of around 600,000 affordable dwellings. The Moroccan government defines two types of affordable housing units: Low Real Estate Value (LREV) housing with a capped price at MAD 140,000 (around USD17, 500) and social housing with a price capped at MAD 250,000 (around USD31, 000).

 

Saudi Arabia: The need to provide more affordable housing was one of the major aspects of the stimulus package announced by the King in March and April 2011 in response to the regional political and social unrest. This package includes a commitment to providing a further 500,000 affordable housing units across KSA .The major driver of demand is the young and fast growing population base, with an estimated 1,000,000 new households to be created across KSA by 2015 which will further exacerbate the current shortage

It has recognised the need to provide more affordable housing as indicated by the recent (SAR500 billion) financial stimulus package announced by King Abdullah. We estimate the current shortage to be around 400,000 units across the country, with the gap increasing in future years as the rate of household formation continues to exceed levels of proposed supply. Housing aimed at the 58% of Saudi households with an average monthly income of below SAR5, 000 (USD1, 400)

 

 

 

Bahrain: While the shortage of affordable housing is lower across the rest of the GCC, there remain opportunities in each of the markets, with a current shortage of around 40,000

 

In the years preceding the global financial crisis, real estate developers across the Kingdom of Bahrain focused on the luxury residential market. These included numerous villa developments around golf courses and high-rise residential towers on reclaimed islands just off the coast. This development belied the fact that over 86% of households in Bahrain currently earn less than BHD 400 (USD1, 050) per month.

 

Bahrain was one of the GCC countries hit hardest by the global financial crisis. The country had long been the regional financial hub, with international firms such as BNP Paribas, Investcorp, and Arcapita operating from Manama. Indeed, financial services comprised 23% of the 2007 GDP. In the ensuing years, discontent grew, particularly amongst the large Shia population. In response to the political and social unrest in Bahrain in early 2011, the GCC announced a ten year stimulus package of USD10 billion to be spent on affordable housing, healthcare, education, and infrastructure. However, Housing aimed at the 86% of households earning less than BHD 400 per month (USD1, 050) per month.

 

 

Oman: Oman is also one of GCC countries with a lowering shortage of while the shortage of affordable housing presently put at 15,000. Moreover, there remain opportunities in this of the market. This shortage is focussed on the needs of the local population (nationals) in Oman and Bahrain, while the greatest need in the UAE is for more affordable housing for low income expatriates.

While Oman has a relatively small population, a high percentage of households fall in the lower income category. Given the relatively low number of expatriates, affordable housing in Oman is primarily concerned with nationals. Housing for the 73% of Omani households that currently earn less than OR450 (USD1, 220) per month

 

UAE

While the shortage of affordable housing is lower across the rest of the GCC, there remain opportunities in each of the markets, with a current shortage of around 20,000 in the UAE.

The shortage of affordable housing in the UAE is focussed on the Abu Dhabi metropolitan area. There has been a major adjustment in pricing in Dubai in recent years which has effectively solved the shortage of affordable housing, while there is also a sufficient supply of affordable housing in the rural parts of Abu Dhabi Emirate and in the Northern Emirates (Sharjah, Um Al Quwain, Fujairah, Ajman and Ras Al Khaimah).

India, as mentioned earlier, the mortgage to GDP ratio is estimated at around 7 per cent. This contrasts with mortgage to GDP ratio of over 51 per cent in USA. However, even if one were to benchmark with more comparable counterparts, the ratio ranges between 15 and 20 per cent for South East Asian countries. The penetration level of mortgages is miniscule when compared with the shortage of housing units. This problem is more acute for low income families seeking affordable house

 

There are two very distinct residential markets in the UAE, one for locals and one for expatriates. Local Emirati families benefit from access to free land and heavily subsidised housing finance through projects such as; Mohammed Bin Rashid Housing Establishment (Dubai) – provides free land and housing finance; Sheikh Zayed Housing Scheme (Abu Dhabi) – Grants and Loans to a maximum of AED 500,000; RAK– Saudi Housing Programme– Allocates land plots for local housing projects. The expatriate worker sector is divided between: Worker accommodation / staff housing– provided by major employers And Low cost housing provided by the private sector in schemes such as International City and Discovery Gardens in Dubai. Housing for the 43% of households in the UAE that currently earn less than AED9, 000 (USD2, 450) per month

 

India: Housing shortage has always been a major problem over the years in this country sinceIndependence. Such shortage estimated as excess households over houses includingHouseless households, congestion (number of married couples requiring separate house), and replacement/ up-gradation of kutcha/ unserviceable kutcha houses andObsolescence/ replacement of old houses, etc. had grown over the decades.

 

The Working Group on Rural Housing for the Eleventh Five Year Plan (2007–12), has estimated the total housing shortage in rural areas at 47.43 million units at the end of 2012. As per Government estimates, the total housing shortage in the urban areas, at the beginning of the 11th Plan period was around 24.71 million units and is likely to go up to26.53 million units by 2012. The urban situation is equally appalling with 99 per cent of the housing shortage pertaining to the Economically Weaker Section (EWS) and Low Income Group (LIG) categories. It is also of major concern that 90 per cent of the rural housing shortage (approximately, 42.69 million units) are in respect of Below the Poverty Line (BPL) categories.

 

According to a report of ICRA1, housing loans as a percentage of GDP have remained at

Around 7 per cent, significantly lower than the levels achieved in most of the developed

Countries. It indicates the extent of opportunity for deeper penetration of such market. With improving demographics and economies of scale, the mortgage to GDP ratio is likely to increase. The stakeholders, however, need to reckon with problems and impediments in the process which may arise from changes in the economic cycle, uncertainties surrounding land acquisition policies, changes in the policy framework and systemic risk that could arise out of rapid credit expansion with lax due diligence standards

 

Australia: In Australia, affordability emerged as part of the policy language in the 1980s as a response to mortgage interest rates of the order of 17 per cent and a housing price boom, and to policy reports such as the National Housing Policy Review and, later, the

National Housing Strategy. Over the last few years, it has re-emerged, again as a consequence of rising house prices placing pressure on lower income households and, increasingly, middle income household seeking to purchase their first home. While first home ownership and rising costs have been addressed in Productivity Commission reports, there is now a concern by many policy makers to widen this debate about affordability to consider the implications of rising house prices in the context of a declining public rental stock.

 

What is driving housing policy debate is the significant increase in housing costs experienced by many Australians, especially first time buyers and those on lower incomes renting in the private market. In practice, rising costs have generated a complex set of policy challenges for Commonwealth, state and local governments about the most appropriate ways to intervene. However, as Burke (2003) points out, despite the research and numerous reports around affordable housing, progress in addressing the issue has been limited. While there has been some Commonwealth response, largely focused on ownership through First Home Owner Grants and tax breaks and on private rental through Commonwealth rent assistance (RA), there is increasing concern, particularly at the state level, that current policies are not sufficient to address the problems being experienced by many low income households. Though much has been written on housing affordability in the Australian context, it has proved difficult to secure agreement about the right mix of responsibilities for housing policy among the various tiers of government and how best to address housing affordability.

 

 

US: In the United States, the issue of housing affordability and the development of housing affordability targets emerged in the late 1960s, largely in response to the urban riots of the mid-1960s (Stone 1993: 341). It provided a basis for targeted allocation of subsidies to low and middle income households seeking accommodation within the private rental market (Maclennan and Williams 1990: 9).

 

In the US, affordability targets have been a key component of housing policy since the 1970s. Here the conventional public policy indicator of affordability is the percentage of income spent on housing (Linneman and Megbolugbe 1992: 371; Bogdon and Can 1997). Typically, households that spend more than 30 per cent of their income on housing are defined as being in housing stress, although the level at which this benchmark has been set has varied over time. This approach to affordability is reflected in the National Affordable Housing Act (1990), which directs localities in the US to develop regional affordability strategies. Under the Act, each locality is required to calculate the number of households that spend more than 30 per cent of their gross income on rent and utilities (Chaplin and Freeman 1999: 1,951). The focus on housing finance and consumption, as opposed to housing need and supply, was consistent with the broader social policy environment in the US, in which policy makers have designed government intervention and provision in a way which facilitates market mechanisms.

 

 

In contrast Canada, the UK and other European nations, housing affordability emerged in the 1980s as part of a general retreat away from an administered social housing system towards multi-faceted, market-based policy responses (Cahill 1994; Hulchanski and Shapcott 2004; Maclennan and Williams 1990). The emergence of housing affordability in Australia and New Zealand is somewhat consistent with the experience of Europe, but unlike the UK and Europe, the social housing sector is small and the adaptation to a more diverse and market-orientated approach has been achieved with a broader coalition of support. UK   has been conceptualised more broadly to include housing supply, housing needs and housing costs. Indeed, there has been considerable criticism of measures that focus on the housing costs incurred by household units to the exclusion of other factors such as the ability of households to borrow and the interaction of planning and social policies (Freeman et al. 2000).

 

  1. 01Making a Case for Housing Quality or Standard 

After establishing and broad ground on affordability, it is necessary we also establish a good ground of what ‘housing’ in this context wholistically entails. That is what we should have behind our minds when making a case of housing quality or standard which we further match us deeper into What types of affordable housing exist having behind our minds the right ideology of what standing housing means ….

The statutory standard of fitness was first introduced as a concept in the UK around 1919 and remains in use as the key legal standard for the assessment of housing conditions. Stewart (2002) identified the main defect of fitness standard as merely providing for a pass or fail checklist for some housing parameters. Part 1 of the UK Housing Act 2004 now provides for the Housing Health and Safety Rating System (HHSRS), a health and safety based system for local authorities to adopt as the basis for enforcement against poor housing conditions (ODPM, 2004).

 Housing standards vary from one nation to another and also within a particular country; variations in climate, culture, degree of urbanisation, and socio-economic progress affect standards. The UNO (1969) stated that standards derive from a people’s cultural level of attainment. It has been argued that standards should combine the best features of traditional practice with the economy and rationality of modern techniques. The Nigeria’s Federal Ministry of Housing and Environment has yet to come up with a definite housing standard for the country. However, in a study on Benin City, Onokerhoraye (1985) empirically classified housing standards in Nigeria into two categories: first, space standard, which defines housing intensity development in terms of plot sizes, number of buildings per unit area of land and occupancy sizes. The second relates to performance standard, which describes the quality of the environment.

This approach is a modified form of the housing standard specified by the American Public Health Association (APHA) in 1945, 1946 and 1950. The APHA method minimises individual opinions so as to arrive at numerical values of the quality of housing that are comparable with results from other cities and can be reproduced in the same city by different evaluators using the same system. The APHA method, used in the present study, measures the quality of the dwelling units and the environment in which they are located. The method uses a system of penalty scoring rather than positive scoring, that is, the higher the arithmetic score of a condition being judged, the more substandard is the situation.

 

  1. 02Housing deficit

Housing deficit is the difference between the numbers of houses available (that is the supply of housing) and the total number of houses needed (i.e. the demand) for houses in an economy. When the demand for housing is greater than the supply of houses in an economy we say there is a housing deficit. Currently most developing countries in the world are experiencing a huge deficit in decent and affordable shelter for their citizens. Housing shortages or deficit are mostly a concern of the middle or low income groups. According to a World Bank (2010) this, this is as a result of rapid population growth, increased urbanisation, high income inequality, and displacement of people by conflicts and disasters. The reports also points out that there is a shortage of about 38 million housing units in the south east Asian region, taking into cognisance the average household size, this translates into about 212 .5 million homeless people.

 

According to the United Nations Centre for Human Settlements about 1.1 billion people are living in inadequate housing conditions in urban areas alone, an estimated 21 million new housing units were required each year, in developing countries, to accommodate growth in the number of households between 2000 and 2010. 14 million additional units would be required each year for the next 20 years if the current housing deficit is to be replaced by 2020 (UNHCS). Thus it can be seen that the quest for decent and affordable housing is not just a Nigerian problem, but one confronting the bulk of the developing countries.

 

  1. 03Housing Problems and Housing Deficit in Nigeria

Existing housing stock in Nigeria is so dismal, yet studies show a direct correlation between affordable housing and better living standard. It is evident that there is an acute shortage of housing in Nigerian cities and towns. As at 2010, Lagos had an average of 3.8 per square room, coupled with severe density ranging between to about 5-7 persons per room (Omrin, 1998); Housing problems in Nigeria are compounded by a combination of factors. Most of the houses in Nigeria are in squalid and uninhabitable conditions. Extra housing is needed to alleviate the problem of overcrowding in Nigerian urban centres. Thirdly, natural increase in population requires additional housing units to house the increasing population. Fourthly, the massive rural-urban migration which has spiralled out of control in the last three decades has worsened the housing demand in urban centres which is not made even worse due to a lack of equilibrating supply of decent and affordable houses.

 

The 2005 World Bank Development Report on Nigeria points out that 31% (43.4 million) out of which only 10% (4.3 million) are engaged in an organised private sector. Approximately 60% of the working class is the middle and lower classes and more than 70% of them(1.81 million) cannot afford houses that cost more than N5 million. This statistical trend has not changed significantly since 2006. This amount will not be enough to purchase a decent real estate in most cities in Nigeria. The government’s inability to achieve its dream of housing for all by year 2000 is a pointer to the fact that we need a mortgage finance framework that is sustainable with a strong financial base that can absorb the housing need and to progress as a nation in terms of housing provision for the citizenry and its consequent positive impact on economic growth. Also, as we approach 2015 for the realisation of the Millennium Development Goals, the need for a more robust, functional and sustainable mortgage finance system is a condition sine qua non. Speaking at a stakeholders round table discussion , organized by the World Bank and the CBN, the minister of housing, lands and development, Ama Pepple pointed out that currently, Nigeria has a housing deficit of about 17 million and that it was going to cost Nigeria about 60 Trillion Naira for provision of adequate housing for all Nigerians. Pointing out that this was only an average conservative cost of N3.5 million Naira per unit. With an estimated national population of about 150 million people, rising population growth rate, growing urbanization as well as increased demand for sustainable housing across the country the problem can only get worse in nothing is done to begin to address this issue.

 

The Association for Housing corporations of Nigeria, project that base on the 2006 census, that at least 200,000 dwelling units should be provided annually throughout the country so as to close the housing deficit; and that government authority should produce at least 10,000 housing units annually so as to close this housing deficit gap. An erstwhile UN report on housing in Africa did not present a positive picture on the housing provision subject due to population growth and urbanisation. The United nations Committee on Housing, Building and Planning (2005), reported that only very little progress has been achieved in the area of housing provision in Africa (Nigeria inclusive). The United Nations Development Decade (1960 -1970) states that over 100 million people in Africa, Asia and Latin America and about half the population of this population were either homeless or living in poor quality housing.

 

 

 

 Image

Model by author showing the ‘Triangle of Housing Affordability’

 

Explanation

Policy here is seen at the apex of the triangle which in fact is a rectangle as seen in the diagram above. It is the source point .It shows why or explains how policy is the superintendent of all factors that affect availability of housing. This is reflected in how we have finance polices, infrastructural polices, economy or fiscal policies and physical polices. Policy is seen here as the Central Nervous System of the body of housing affordability. Coming out straight, everything is subjected under policy. Policies can create for hardship as it can for easiness.

The other two sides, infrastructure and finance, which makes the completion of the triangle were as well looked into in-depth. However, the broken lines in the diagram which shows an extension of the triangle into a rectangle mentions the other two factors, physical constraints and economy constraints , if one is to look with a magnifying lens. Thus these five factors make the five pillar of housing affordability anywhere in the world.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

  1. 0 Infrastructure

The vulnerabilities to the housing sector are often thought to be limited to the delivery system for housing materials, services and finance. The sector, however, is deeply affected by infrastructure deficit – roads, electricity supply, drinking water and sanitation.

 

Affordable housing encompasses not only the static structure called a house but the entire spectrum of environmental factors that make living acceptable and comfortable. Among them are good access routes, ventilation, sanitation and access to basic human need such as water. Housing affordability therefore involves the ability of households to consume other basic necessities of life such as food and clothing in addition to accessing adequate housing. It includes the ability of households to consume other basic necessities of life such as food and clothing in addition to accessing adequate housing. It includes the ability of households to consume housing that permits reasonable standard of living, ability of mortgagors to effectively meet mortgage obligations, and households’ access to adequate standard of housing without denying them access to other basic necessities of life. Housing affordability therefore encompasses not only the cost of housing but also housing standards, environmental factors, the price of other necessities of life and the cost of mortgages (Boamah 2010)

 

Part of the commonly used indicators of housing quality includes structural adequacy, neighbourhood quality, residents’ perception of neighbourhood safety, level of public services provided, access to work and other amenities, room density and housing affordability (Okewole and Aribigbola 2006). In other words, infrastructures affords us a level of   housing quality which radiates through a spectrum of various factors especially that of the physical condition of the building’s environment and other facilities and services that make living in a particular area conducive. The quality of housing within any neighbourhood should be such that satisfies minimum health standards and good living standard, but should also be affordable to all categories of households.

The resultant tremendous pressure on infrastructure especially owed to urbanisation translates to the consequent increase in the number of homeless people living on the streets. The need for high quality estate and property management is particularly relevant in the affordable housing sector due to the large scale of such projects. Overseas experience has shown that the physical quality and financial value of affordable housing projects will deteriorate rapidly over a relatively short time frame (5–10 years) unless sufficient attention is paid to the physical upkeep of public areas and facilities.

Another innovative program, the Community-Led Infrastructure Finance Facility (CLIFF), has helped more than 2,700 families in India with shelter needs, and has funded two sanitation projects benefiting some 215,000 families. CLIFF provides funding to organizations within the informal sector directly, bypassing, but yet supporting, programs available from communities or banks. By using CLIFF funding, organizations in the informal sector can attract other funding, thus leveraging CLIFF funds and making them even more productive and beneficial. The program is being expanded to Kenya.

The tendency for most affordable housing projects to be located in peripheral and relatively remote locations (to benefit from lower land values), has resulted in problems of higher social and infrastructure costs. Consideration should be given to providing more affordable housing in central locations that provide residents with better access to existing urban infrastructure

While affordable housing initiatives need to be sensitive to local cultural considerations, there is scope to reduce costs and improve the quality of projects through more innovative planning and design solutions, including strategies to increase density by reducing the size of villa plot

 

  1. 1 The Economies of Land and Infrastructural Cost in the Face of Housing Affordability in Africa;

 

The world is facing a global housing crisis. In cities around the world, almost 1 billion people live in sub- standard housing without clean water or adequate sanitation. More than 14 million refugees and internally displaced people live in tents or other temporary shelters. Millions of homeless men, women, and children live in the streets of Washington, DC; Sao Paolo, Brazil; Johannesburg, South Africa; Mumbai, India; and other cities. And the problem is getting worse: Every week more than a million people are born in or move to cities in the developing world, driving up the need for new and better housing.

Given the scale of demand, the shortage of affordable housing cannot be met one unit at a time. There are clear economic advantages to undertaking large scale, high density developments that benefit from shared construction processes and efficient infrastructure provision. The adoption of tried and tested ‘system building’ approaches can significantly increase the speed and improve the efficiency of large scale housing development.

 

For Nigeria, it is held 30 to 40 instead of about 5 percent of the budget prepared for a residential development for low- cost housing had being spent on road construction to the site, water supply, electricity and a host of other infrastructural provisions which should, in actual fact, be a full or partial responsibility of the government. What most commercial and industrial concerns spend on infrastructural development is even higher. This is reflected in the end price of the product.

 

 

2. 2 Solutions under Infrastructure

Government needs to take on the role as facilitators to create the enabling environment to encourage greater private sector participation. In the entire process for creating an enabling environment for affordable housing, the role of Government is extremely critical. The government can consider measures to control the spiralling increase of land prices and curb speculative activities for developing land and also check unregulated and environmentally damaging land development activities. Another aspect which may be considered is the promotion of high density housing in selected areas in cities through appropriate amendments to zoning and land use regulations. This may obviate the necessity of costly land acquisition and avoid high infrastructure costs. State Governments may also revisit the current provision of tenancy rights and promote rental housing by creating a balance between the interests of the landowner and the tenant. This will pave the way for supply of rental housing at affordable rents and act as an incentive for people to build houses for themselves and for others.

 

 

2. 21 Rural- urbanization

To address the problems of high infrastructure costs and social exclusion resulting from locating affordable housing projects in remote locations beyond the urban fringe, consideration should be given to delivering more affordable dwellings on sites closer to existing urban centres where transport links and service provisions are readily available and commuting to and from work would be more efficient.

However, while smaller cities and towns are fast emerging as centre of demand, the pressure on existing metros remains enormous. A crucial factor behind this tendency is the barrier for major players in real estate in tapping the vast land potential in rural areas reinforced by poor enforcement of laws against encroachment of public lands as well as lack of clear titles to private lands causing an artificial scarcity of land in rural areas. Another major issue is absence of large scale digitization of land records and the easy access to such records for checking titles/encumbrances.

With growth in the rural sector, demand for low-cost and affordable housing is expected to increase. However, the dynamics between rural and urban housing demand is also different with housing in rural still largely for own use rather than for sale and resale. A possible reason for this, among other things, could be the problem of transferring ownership rights. As we reach limits to urbanization in metros, rural areas should increasingly come under the focus of real estate development and we would require strong legal framework to prevent the bottlenecks.

 

As seen in the trending cases of the rapid development of residential housing in the areas quite far from the CBDs or rural areas e.g. the housing estates in Mowe Ibafo, Badagry Agbara, Magboro, Isheri, Ikotun and other areas in Ogun State . thou this housing projects are majorly embarked upon by developers and some by the government, they were meant to be and are seen as see as ‘low-cost or affordable ’ housing but they are in actual fact far for affordability or cheapness.

 

2.22 Making a case of developers and private investors as stakeholders

 

An important constraint that has been existent all along for the housing sector is finance for the developers as well as finance for the households, particularly for the low cost/affordable housing category. The current financing mechanism prevalent in the country mostly targets middle and high income sections of the society while the households falling under low income and economically weaker sections category find it difficult to secure formal housing finance. Commercial banks and traditional means of housing finance typically do not serve low-income groups, whose income may vary with crop seasons or is below the “viable” threshold to ensure repayment or those who cannot provide collateral for loans

 

Also, there is the infrastructural challenge because today, every developer is a mini local government. You do your primary facility, internal as well as secondary infrastructure. You do your boreholes, your water and water treatment and all this tends to increase cost of buildings and that is why housing costs are a lot higher in Nigeria, than in other parts of the world.

The inability to acquire land at a price allowing developers to deliver housing at an affordable price remains one of the major challenges. This is a particular problem in those markets (e.g. UAE and KSA) subject to significant levels of speculation and trading in land, which has increased prices to unsustainable levels.

 

A first order approximation is that land costs should not exceed 30% of total development costs. Affordable housing is particularly susceptible to land pricing, and land cost burdens have resulted in many projects being in isolated or otherwise marginal locations. This works against the integration of affordable housing projects into the wider community and can lead to significant additional costs being incurred for utilities, transportation infrastructure, social services and community amenities.

 

Infrastructure costs per dwelling increase with distance from the centre of the city. Whole project costing and financing models should therefore form an integral part of any comprehensive low or middle income housing policy. By highlighting the full extent of project costs these approaches may cause a re-evaluation of the true burden of land costs and lead to more centrally located projects able to benefit from existing infrastructure and services

 

 

The predominant business model for the development of residential real estate in the region over the past few years has been based on ‘off plan sales’. This has resulted in a situation where the highest returns to developers were realised from the supply of up- market residential units sold to investors for far higher prices than low income families can afford. The perception that ‘high end resulted in highest returns’ has been challenged by the collapse of the investment market across the region since 2008 and the inability to sell more units into an increasingly oversupplied market, as evidenced by the increased number of unsold (and often) incomplete high end projects. This has resulted in a shift from ‘luxury’ or ‘high end’ projects to those that are more affordable to potential end users.

 

There is an increasing recognition that the affordable sector can provide strong, sustainable financial returns. A good example of this trend is Addoha (Morocco’s largest listed developer) which has produced very strong financial returns from its focus on the low to middle income sector. The ability to convert the housing needs of low to middle income earners into a financially attractive market niche is likely to form an increasingly common characteristic of successful real estate developers across the region over the next 5 years

 

2. 23 Public Private Partnerships (PPP Arrangements). Governments may contemplate forging Public-Private Partnerships to ensure a fair return on investment to the private land owners/developers through guided development and availability of serviced sites for allotment to low income families at affordable prices. Incentives and provision of infrastructure can induce private sector entrepreneurs to invest in housing including that for the poor.

In Morocco, the government and private developers are working closely together to address the need for more affordable housing. Five years ago, the government launched a programme aimed at reducing the number of shanty towns and substandard dwellings and to ease the housing shortage by 25% by 2012. Access to land was identified as a major constraint and the government has therefore offered over 3,800 hectares of land at a reduced price to developers to construct around 200,000 housing units. To qualify for this subsidised land, developers must agree to sell flats for below 140,000 Moroccan dirham on one third of the allocated land and for 200,000 dirham on another third. On the final third of the land, developers are allowed to build other types of properties. Such arrangements can be financially attractive to developers. Addoha is Morocco’s largest developer and the first to be listed on the Casablanca stock exchange since 2006. Addoha has achieved strong financial returns (with revenues up 57% in 2010) based on a business model with almost 80% of its projects targeting low and mid-income housing.

 

There are a number of factors that explain why these PPP arrangements have worked well in Morocco, these include the ability of the government to offer subsidised land and tax breaks to make affordable housing projects more attractive to private developers. In other markets, the government has less scope (particularly in relation to tax breaks) and this has reduced the interest in this sector from private developers.

The experience of PPP’s in Turkey provides some useful potential lessons for the provision of affordable housing in markets in the MENA region.

 

However, With the exception of Morocco, the experience of public private partnerships (PPP’s) has not been encouraging to date. There is a need to rethink the nature of these agreements to attract further interest in affordable housing from the development industry.

Taking a cue from Turkish experience; The Turkish government has utilised a form of Public Private Partnership (PPP) to deliver mass housing projects through TOKI (Housing Development Administration of Turkey). As part of its objective of providing ‘adequate shelter for all within a liveable environment’, TOKI issues tenders for the disposal of government owned land for mass housing projects. Private developers are invited to submit plans indicating how many dwellings they propose to provide and what proportion of these they are willing to provide back to TOKI for the government to rent or sell to those in need of public housing. This approach avoids the need for the developer to purchase the land (thereby improving their cash flow situation), with title on the portion of the site remaining in private ownership being transferred to the developer upon delivery of the agreed number of units to TOKI. This approach allows the private sector to develop mass housing for the government and avoids the problems of land speculation and the constraint that high land values have imposed in delivering affordable public housing in other markets. This approach is well accepted by developers and TOKI has delivered more than 500,000 housing units in over 2,000 projects across Turkey over the past 25 years. TOKI has the authorisation to acquire and dispose of all surplus government land on which it can change the zoning. This has proved to be a successful method of delivering mass market housing that could be adopted and applied in other markets across MENA where the government has control of large areas of land

 

 

 

 

 

2. 24 Design and Planning strategies

 

Actively involving local communities and placing greater emphasis on urban design and community building to avoid the development of residential ghettos. Adopting a holistic approach to urban planning and the widening of the urban planning frameworks to areas beyond the periphery of the current metropolitan area

To avoid the social problems associated with mass housing projects in other regions, it is important to ensure affordable housing projects create attractive liveable communities and not just low cost housing estates in inaccessible outer urban locations. This requires attention to the following principles of good urban design and planning:

 

  • Providing a range of housing styles / sizes in order to create a more mixed / balanced community.

 

  • Provision of sufficient facilities (schools, retail, F&B, etc) to support the local community. There has been a shift of attention to smaller, community based retail centres across MENA markets and this model could work well within affordable housing communities.

 

  • Greater attention to the level and design of open space / Public areas.

 

  • Recognition that low income families have less access to private transport and the design of affordable housing projects should therefore incorporate lower levels of parking provision and greater levels of walking / cycling and public transport. Policies and mortgage work hand in hand financing schemes are still subject to policies

 

More so, higher standards of property and asset management (PAMS) will be an increasingly important requirement for all sectors of the real estate industry across MENA over the next few years. As the market moves from its previous focus on development (asset creation), the quality of the ongoing asset management will play a major role in distinguishing between successful and unsuccessful projects.

 

 

 

  1. 0 Finance: Access to finance is also a paramount point in the triangle of housing affordability. As with the developed nations, government comes in to assistance the people through diverse ways. Common among such ways is provision of mass housing on a mortgage pans or repayment schemes, through the financially institutions and policies, primary and secondary, plan, to assist the people and through general land access or use policies.

Countries like the US and Canada, a commonly accepted guideline for affordable housing is that the cost of housing should not exceed 30 per cent of the gross income of the household

The financial arrangements for affordable housing can vary as much as the physical housing itself. The financing to build the housing can come from federal, state, or local government, from quasi-public housing corporations or partnerships, from social agencies, or from purely private developers. Banks can supply loans on varied terms. On the other side, residents of affordable housing units may be partly or fully subsidized by direct government or private subsidies, vouchers, or loans. They may also contribute their own labour or services in return for a reduction in rent.

There is also funding problem, both at the development end and at the retail end. The interest rates are obviously too high, long-term funding is obviously not available, which is why we are going on all these creative measures of raising long-term funds from our existing assets. And at the retail end, there are no mortgages available; interest rate is around 18-25 per cent and that is killing to whoever takes such a mortgage. And so, the reality of the matter is that because it is all these challenges and when you look at them it makes the real estate industry not to appear as attractive as it should be. It is a very strong industry, with strong prospect for growth. The housing deficit is around 16-18 million units at the last count by International Finance Corporation (IFC).
I know the Federal Government is making efforts to address the problem of housing deficit.

Despite this high importance placed on houses and property. Low income households typically do not have access to mortgages or other long term sources of housing finance and are therefore effectively confined to the rental sector in most markets. Even in relatively mature markets such as the UAE, a minimum monthly household income of around AED 20,000 (USD 5,500) is required to access housing finance in the form of bank loans and mortgages, while 45% of households in the UAE currently earn less than AED 15,000 (USD 4,100).

 

Countries like the US and Canada, a commonly accepted guideline for affordable housing is that the cost of housing should not exceed 30 per cent of the gross income of the household it noted that only 10% of those who desire home ownership can afford to acquire it either by way of purchase or personal construction as against 72% USA, 78% UK, 60% China, 54% Korea and 92% Singapore. Careful examining the following data, will automatically picture to one the appalling state of housing in our nation.

Onibokun (1985) and Ebie (2003) stated that rent in major cities in Nigeria is about 60% of an average workers disposable income which is very much higher than the 20-30% recommendation of the United Nations. Interestingly also, the national minimum wage is N44, 000. 00 per annum. About fifty-seven percent (57%) of the Nigerian population falls below the poverty line, which is on the average of US$1 per day .This, by implication indicates that about seventy percent (70%) of Nigerians fall into this category, which also forms the nucleus of the nation’s economy. Hence is one is weigh the possibilities of a poor man owning a house in his lifetime it would be that of looking for a needle in a haystack.

Let’s examine the ways government has been using to finance affordable housing in Nigeria and how well they have fared;

 

 

 

  1. 1 Public intervention Program in Housing in Nigeria;

 

Housing shortage has always been a major problem over the years in our country since independence. It is held that Public intervention in housing in Nigeria began in the colonial period following the out-break of bubonic plague in Lagos in the 1920s. During the period 1900 to 1960, government involvement was centred essentially on the pro-vision of quarters for expatriate staff and for selected indigenous staff. In this period, conscious effort was not made to construct houses for the general public by the government. There- after, successive governments in Nigeria sought to confront the nagging problem of accommodating an increasing number of Nigerians.

 

The post-independence government in the country did not fare better than the colonial government in terms of housing for the public. The concepts of Government Residential Areas (GRAs) were not only retained but were embraced and promoted with greater zeal. Those who took over government saw in them (GRA) a mark of distinction to stay in the GRA (Aribigbola 2000). After independence, aside from the creation of Federal Mortgage Bank of Nigeria (FMBN), the Federal Government did little in the area of ho- using intervention until 1980 when it embarked on an elaborate National Housing Programme based on the concept of affordability and citizen participation.

The housing-for-all program initiated during previous military regimes fell far short of target, but at least ignited the current awareness and modern mortgage industry in Nigeria According to CASSAD (1993), the Federal Government of Nigeria has been involved in housing delivery in two areas, namely, (1) The Federal Low-Cost Housing Project (1972-1979, and 1975-1983); and (2) The Site – and – Services Programme (1984 –1988).

 

The state governments have also been involved in housing provision with similar programmes to that of the federal government in the form of direct housing construction, staff housing loans, site development and services schemes, and mortgage lending to individuals.

  1. 12 New Public intervention program in housing in Nigeria;

in recognition of the acute shortage of residential accommodation in some major cities in the country such as Lagos and Abuja, and in order to facilitate actualization of the policy, the federal government introduced some intervention measures commencing with a pilot project that involve the construction of new forty thousand (40,000) housing units per annum nationwide with at least 1,000 units in each state of the federation, 1,500 units in Kano and River states, 2,000 units in Lagos State and 3,000 units in Abuja

  1. 2 Policies, mortgages and financial institutions in Nigeria:

In order to address the growing housing shortages and affordability problems in Nigeria, a number of policy initiatives have been articulated and introduced. Thus, the components of the main policy packages are briefly highlighted in this section of the article. The National Housing Policy launched in 1991 had as its ultimate goal, ensuring that all Nigerians owned or had access to decent housing accommodation at affordable cost by the year 2000 AD. The main objective of the policy was to make the private sector the main vehicle for the organization and delivery of housing products and services (Yakubu 2004).

Towards the achievement of the goal of the policy, a two-tier institutional financial structure, with Primary Mortgage Institutions (PMIs) as primary lenders and Federal Mortgage Bank of Nigeria (FMBN), as the apex institution with a supervisory role over a network of the PMIs was established. The FMBN later ceded the supervisory function over PMIs to the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) in 1997 (Yakubu 2004). The FMBN as deconsolidated by Decree No. 82 of 1993 was empowered, among other functions, to collect, manage and administer contributions to the National Housing Fund (N.H.F) from registered individuals and companies. The FMBN is, however, a wholesale mortgage institution and only disburses the proceeds of the N.H.F through PMIs licensed to do so. Prospective borrowers who must be contributors to the fund thus make application to the PMIs who in turn resort to the NHF through the FMBN. Funds on lent by the PMIs must be underwritten by them while they must be participants in the loan making to the tune of 20 percent. Under the programme, workers earning above #3,000 per annum, are compelled to save 2.5 percent of their monthly income into the NHF as contributions. Commercial as well as Merchant Banks were expected to offer to FMBN 10 per cent of its non-life funds and 40 percent of its life funds in real property development out of which not less than 50 per cent must be paid to the FMBN.

The recognition of the growing housing problems in both the rural and urban areas of Nigeria and the acceptance of the failure of the expired 1991 National Housing Policy prompted the federal government of Nigeria to set up a 15- Man Committee to review existing housing policy and articulate the New National Housing Policy (NNHP) of 2002. The 2002 NNHP has as its primary goal of ensuring that all Nigerians own or have access to decent, safe and sanitary housing accommodation at affordable cost with secure tenure through private initiative, that is Real Estate Developers on the basis of mortgage financing.

The most significant innovations or change is the transition from government-built to privately developed housing (Mabogunje 2003). Just as in the UK, a high proportion of homes were previously council-owned, but the numbers have been reduced since the early 1980s due to initiatives of the Thatcher government that restricted council housing construction and provided financial and policy support to other forms social housing. In 1980, the Conservative government of Margaret Thatcher introduced the “Right to Buy” scheme, offering council tenants the opportunity to purchase their housing at a discount of up to 60% (70% on leasehold homes such as flats). Alongside “Right to Buy”, council-owned stock was further diminished as properties were transferred to housing associations.

As a consequence, many of the estates built in the 1950s and 1960s are now being sold to private individuals and organizations through competitive bidding. In sum, there is disengagement of public sector in housing provision to that of private. Another major innovation introduced by the NNHP is the emergence of Real Estate Developers Association of Nigeria whose formation was initiated by the Presidential Technical Committee on Housing and Urban Development. Beside the above, the new NNHP introduced .a range of measures to ensure easier accessibility to mortgage loans by contributors to NHF, PMIs and Real Estate Developers

  1. 21 new policies in financial institution

Under the new policy, amortization period for NHF loan repayment has been increased from 25 to30 years, while the loan repayment period for developers is 24 months. Interest rates charged on NHF loans to PMIs has also been brought down to 4 percent from 5 percent while loan lending rates to contributors is now reduced to 6 percent from the previous 9 percent it used to attract in the 1991 housing policy. The policy permits a graduated withdrawal of contributors who may not obtain loan under the scheme. Such contributors may withdraw 30 percent of contributions after 10 years of contribution; 50 percent after 15 years; 70 percent after 20 years and the balance at 60 years of age. The policy also makes contribution to the scheme optional for persons earning less than the national minimum wage. The reason for this is that such a person is not likely to be able to bear the burden of loan (Yakubu 2004).

3.3 Solution under finance

increased Access to housing finance is a critical component to providing more affordable housing across the region as there is currently a mismatch between the latent demand (number of households) and their ability to pay (even at subsidised prices). Providing increased access to long term housing finance (through conventional mortgage or sharia compliant products) therefore forms a key part of the overall solution required across the region. In some markets this is being promoted through government entities (e.g. the Real Estate Development Fund in Saudi Arabia), while in other markets (e.g. UAE) government controlled banks such as Emirates NBD and Dubai Islamic Bank have been refinanced and are now able to inject increased levels of liquidity into the residential market.

 

In the United States, the United Kingdom, and several other countries, housing prices in the past several years have appreciated while the respective central banks forced interest rates to historically low levels, thus permitting new home owners to enter the market and existing homeowners to withdraw their equity in the form of loans secured by second mortgages or cash-out refinancing of first mortgages. This increase in funds available for consumption has fuelled demand for both domestic and imported goods, thus contributing to increases in GDP. In 2001, for example, consumer spending increased significantly due in part to increased home sales and refinancing.

Housing expenditures in mature economies respond quickly to interest rate changes. As a result, the housing market is often referred to as the handmaiden of monetary policy. The encouragement credit bureaus, introducing mortgage insurance, allowing real estate mutual funds and creating a favourable environment to facilitate foreign direct investment in housing for genuine and needy customers will help stimulate the housing finance sector.

There is also a felt need for the institutions involved in the financing of housing sector to consider developing segment specific credit products to enable more people to afford a house. One such product could be savings induced home loan or a home loan deposit. The willing consumers may be induced to generate a savings balance by way of monthly or periodic deposits. This will enable creation of a track record for repayment of a future home loan product. Once the customer reaches a threshold balance, the financial institutions can consider sanctioning of a housing loan. The balance in the account could act as collateral or the margin. The amount deposited every month would act as the base to assess the repayment capacity of the customer for the purpose of calculating the monthly repayment instalments. The credit risks originating in the housing sector, particularly low ticket housing segment, should also be internalized through proper insurance schemes for banks and other lenders. The various stakeholders should aim at timely completion of projects, delivery of houses/flats to target segments without cost escalations and with valid titles and all necessary clearances.

 

Housing finance which plays a key role in the urban housing revolution is one that we should have a broader view and culture about. Despite the paramount importance of housing affordability, this front remains one where relatively little progress is being made. Indeed, by the rule of thumb that a household should devote no more than 30% of its income to housing, we are actually losing ground. Much more pathetic in developing countries when even up to 70% by some dwellers are committed into housing yet still to have an house on there.

 

It is then evident that loans, be it short, medium or long cannot alone sustain affordable housing for the mass. Therefore, we are pushed to wall to consider some secondarily used financial scheme or style of adopted in creating affordable housing as employed in other developed countries. This s is where we examine REITs.

 

3.3.1 REITs:  REITs which represents Real Estate Investment Trusts evolved from the United States (US) in 1960 and when the US congress was going to approve REITs as vehicle of investment, part of the underlying objectives was to allow members of the public, that is retail investors the access and the opportunity to be part owners of the properties, which otherwise they would have been unable to own directly. That was the whole essence of the REITs. So, in this case of UPDC, what we have done is to put together our premium assets and we have floated this trust and are selling 60 per cent to the public. Therefore these REITs provide a unique opportunity to the public and other institutional investors to become part owners of this property.

 

REITs provide a way for individual investors to earn a share of the income produced through commercial real estate ownership – without actually having to go out and buy commercial real estate. Looking at it from the angle of the investing public,REITs creates channels of investing in unique asset class capable of stability and regularity of distribution. An additional benefit to investing in REITs is the fact that many are accompanied by dividend reinvestment plans (DRIPs). Among other things, REITs invest in shopping malls, office buildings, apartments, warehouses and hotels. Some REITs will invest specifically in one area of real estate – shopping malls, for example – or in one specific region, state or country. Investing in REITs is a liquid, dividend-paying means of participating in the real estate market

 

REITs can take different forms, some REITs are unique in the sense that the assets are already existing, so investors can see this properties and conduct due diligence, they can see the track record in terms of performance of these properties, they can see the level of occupancy, they can see the rental history of the properties. Thus, it affords investors earnings certainty and has little risks in terms of whether or not you earn the required investment on your returns.

Also looking from the angle of a developer, it gives us the opportunity to unlock value from our assets for the benefits of our shareholders, and so, it is a two way thing. The investors are gaining and UPDC is also gaining.

It is usually and arrangement between the issuing house and co-issuing house, if any, a sponsor and a promoter, joint trustees and a financial custodian.  There are other kinds of REITs like

Mortgage REITs – on the other hand, provide money to real estate owners and operators either directly in the form of mortgages or other types of real estate loans, or indirectly through the acquisition of mortgage-backed securities.  Mortgage REITs tend to be more leveraged (that is, they use a lot of borrowed capital) than equity REITs.  In addition, many mortgage REITs manage their interest rate and credit risks through the use of derivatives and other hedging techniques. 

Equity REITs- It is typically own and operate income-producing real estate. This could be wholly or partially.

Hybrid REITs – Hybrid REITs generally are companies that use the investment strategies of both equity REITs and mortgage REITs.

UPDC currently in the capital market raising N30 billion via Real Estate Investment Trust (REIT).  The UPDC REIT is the first of its kind in Nigeria. It utilises a Deed of Declaration of Trust (DOT), a novel cost- effective means of transferring the properties to be vested in the REIT.

 

3.3.2 Microfinance for Housing;

Innovative programs have been developed, however, to bring lending opportunities to those who do not currently have them. Micro financing is being used increasingly for housing loans, with terms affordable to those with modest incomes. Features of housing microfinance include a maximum 2-year term for improvements or a maximum 5-year term for land purchase; collateral that is usually not required, although co-signers may be necessary; loans for housing that may be bundled with loans for business development; and microfinance housing loans that are specifically targeted to low-income salaried workers, micro-entrepreneurs, or the poor.

In recent times, the Private Specialized Mortgage Lender/(ing) are beginning to play a pivotal role in housing finance. This is borne out of a response to the residual excess demand for home funding. As a result, many innovative private sector specialized institutions have emerged, extending the housing market down the income scale. This has come in the form of “Low income Finance -“the power of micro finance‖ in the case of Bangladesh. In response to the remaining excess demand for home funding, many innovative private sector specialized institutions have emerged, extending the housing market down the income scale. The microfinance sector has expanded into housing from the low-income band where they lend for home improvement instead of home purchase. Micro finance is well developed in Bangladesh, and is picking up steam in other developing countries such as India; the same can be said of Nigeria. Beginning in 1987 when, Graemen (Nobel Prize winner) first introduced first housing loans following the flood of that year, MFI have made progressive entrance into servicing the finance market. As at 2010, the Graemen housing portfolio stood at $ 3.3 Million with 89 percent repayment rates. In this time period, it has financed 674,435 homes. Loans are usually for a very small amount, maturity is only for few years, interest rates are relatively high, and repayment is guaranteed by a community group approach. Collateral is typically not required. Repayments are made weekly.

 

This initiative has being very responsive to the specificity of the needs of low-income groups, amongst which are the lack of formal documentation, or even title to the land; irregular earning that are difficult to document, cultural, religious and gender constraints. However, the lack of a level playing field for funding that is pervasive in most developing countries with the system has made it unsustainable. In countries such as Pakistan, funding disadvantages have eliminated the specialized housing finance sector, including companies like Asian Housing Finance Limited, Citibank Housing Finance Company and International Finance Limited (World Bank, 2010).

 

Islamic Housing Finance is one of the fastest evolving housing mechanisms in some developing countries with Islamic legal framework. One major characteristic of this model is that it often targets customers with lower than average income. This system is common in Pakistan and to an extent in Bangladesh. The most popular Islamic housing finance product is diminishing musharakah, a declining balance/shared equity partnership. With this product, both parties share the risk and obligation related to the property. Here, ownership is divided into equal units and is purchased regularly by the customer. Under this arrangement, leasing and selling contracts must be conducted separately. It entails the consumer selecting a house, and obtains approval for financing. The financier and the consumer then jointly buy the house and obtain joint ownership through a musharaka agreement. The consumer leases the house from the financier and eventually buys out the financier’s equity, hence getting sole title to the property. It has shared some of the characteristics of a lease-buyback system, only that its terms are strictly Islamic. A typical example is the murabaha system, where the bank buys the property and resells it to the client at a mark -up, owning the property outright until final payment by the client. This arrangement offers the bank a level of security not available with traditional mortgage. In developing countries, like Nigeria there is a potential for Islamic Housing Finance. However, it is amazing that even in countries where it has been used, it has not played much role in lower and middle income home financing. Nigeria can borrow a lesson from Bangladesh

 

3.3.3 Development of Primary and Secondary Financial Markets;

 

The development of capital markets to support housing and collateral investments in

urban infrastructure have been a major factor in the West in creating more open, accountable, and honest local governments. Capital markets scrutinize urban financial practices far more closely than can other levels of governments or citizens. Local governments failing to meet the standards of lenders and underwriters in the municipal credit markets quickly find themselves shut out of these markets. At the same time, active mortgage credit markets promote the effective enforcement of building codes and safety and hygiene standards. Active mortgage markets also provide an important long-term investment for both public and private pension funds — providing the elderly with a more secure income in old age. As more and more countries adopt partial funding for their pension systems, the role of municipal credit and mortgage markets is growing.

 

In conclusion, as more and more people take advantage of recent innovations in microfinance, financial institution, REITs and other targeted loan programs; real estate markets further expand, thereby freeing capital for development and solving the problem of housing finance

 

 

 

 

 

  1. 0 Policies:

 

Land polices affects land before finance, during finance and after finance. Policy is like a blood that cut across all other sector and as such, their effective and efficient survival depends on it. Land policy has been viewed by many authors whom the researcher agreed with as an integral part of socio-cultural framework of every country. It entails the formation of laws guideline strategies and tactics of administering land in the body polity of the country. It has legal implication law rules, rules and regulation to fashion out, monitor, land allocation and ownership.

Essentially land policy consists of two elements that are, subtle strategy and land reforms. Subtle strategies are regulating the exercise of rights in land and land use. For example, Town Planning laws, public health edicts, laws of compulsory acquisition, residential tenancy laws etc. Umeh (1983) has described land policy as a set of rules, principles, objectives, or course of action respecting land ownership, land development, and land resource utilization and further identified eighteen (18) objectives of land policy namely: 1, social justice; 2, social welfare; 3, economic efficiency; 4, economic livelihood; 5, political stability; 6, social cohesion; 7, cultural identity; 8, environmental viability; 9, external influence (social, economic, spiritual, political, cultural etc); 10, independence or self reliance; 11, national unity; 12, self regeneration; 13, continuity; 14, territorial integrity; 15, resource conservation; 16, accelerated development; 17, revolutions or evolutions; and 18, social insurance.

 

Thus, Access to land is a fundamental basis for human shelter, food production and other economic activity, including by businesses and natural resource users of all kinds. Secure rights to land encourage people to invest in improved dwellings and the land itself; they can also enable people to access public services and sources of credit. Property rights can involve combinations of various elements. These include the right to Occupy, enjoy and use; Cultivate and use productively; Restrict or exclude others; Transfer, sell, purchase, grant or loan; Inherit and bequeath; Develop or improve; Rent and sublet; Benefit from increased property values or rental income (UN 2004).

Housing policies or land policy support to the housing sector and shouldn’t be ignored since construction has direct linkages with the manufacturing sector and any boost in this sector is likely to boost the manufacturing sector as well. Housing generates expenditures outside the housing sector itself, thus contributing to the strength of an overall economy. These expenditures arise from two causes; Housing represents a significant store of individual wealth, and increases in wealth are highly correlated to consumption and Housing formation, even without wealth effects, stimulates significant expenditures on both housing-related and non-housing-related services and goods.

Land governance plays an important role in economic development. It is widely acknowledged that security of land tenure is essential to realize the unique potential that agriculture offers for small- holder-based development and poverty reduction (World Bank, 2007). The recent global rush for agricultural land makes it even more important to provide security of land tenure. In principle, both customary and modern institutions can provide security of tenure for smallholders, but both are confronted with governance challenges. Moreover, the shift from customary to modern forms of tenure security requires a process of land registration, which involves its own set of governance challenges as well as substantial costs.

 

There is a major challenge of access to land in developing counties. There are serious constraints in acquiring good titles for lands. Unfortunately In most countries of Africa, Nigeria especially, the legal framework is such that you cannot say for sure at any time in the transaction chain that you have a title which is very good. Land titling is a very major problem, compounded by the Land Use Act, which has exacerbated the cost of title perfection. The Land Use Act was not meant to be a money-generating instrument, but it has been turned into that .A lot of states now see it as money making venture.

 

  1. 1 Land Policies in Nigeria

 

Like most concerned governments of the world, the Federal government of Nigeria has made several attempts at making housing affordable to its citizens. Some of these revolve around the prevailing National Housing Policy and can be traced back to the pre independence era. . The main objectives of the fund amongst others are;

 

(a) To facilitate the mobilization of fund for the provision of houses for Nigerians at

affordable prices.

 

(b) To ensure the constant supply of loans to Nigerians for the purpose of building,

Purchasing and improvement of residential houses.

 

(c) To provide incentives for the capital market to invest in property development.

However, The stead fast problems encountered in obtaining land for national projects beneficial to the country and the community, and the need to streamline and unify land legislation in the country, were among the reasons that informed the promulgation of the Land Use Act in1978.By section 1.of the Act

 

“all land comprised in the territory of each state in the Federation are hereby vested in the Military Governor of that state and such land shall be held in trust and administered for the use and common benefit of all Nigerians in accordance with the provisions of this Decree.”

 

This can be said to be the main legal basis for land governance in Nigeria which limited the role of customary authority in land governance and gave the state a prominent role for in the administration of land resources.

 

Thus, although the Decree has made it easy for governments to acquire Land for Public purposes, drastically minimized the burden of land compensation and considerably reduced court litigations over land. The Land Use Act of 1978 was said to have brought some disequilibrium into the former balance of rights and privileges enjoyed by tenants and landowners. This is because it failed to recognize the continued existence of customary tenancy as both a key feature of customary land tenure and defacto recognition of the ownership rights of landlords by tenant farmers (Fabiyi & Idowu, 1993). The Act has, since its inception over two decades ago, created a new genre of serious problems for land management in the country. Nine of these are indicated below (Uchendo, 1979; Mabogunje, 2002):

 

o   The Decree, as it stands, represents an abrogation of the right of ownership of land hitherto enjoyed by Nigerians, At least in the southern half of the country, and its nationalization by government is inconsistent with democratic practices and the operations of a free market economic system.

 

o   Many State Governments failed to establish the Land Use and Allocation Committee In their states for many years. This has Hampered the steady And continuous delivery of land for building purposes;

 

o   Many Governors do not give the urgent attention needed to their responsibility of granting consent for land assignments or mortgaging, thereby impeding the development of an efficient land market and housing finance institutions in the country;

 

o   Equally Serious is the attempt by some Governors To use the provision requiring their consent for assignments or mortgaging as a means of raising revenue for their States through Imposing heavy charges For granting Such consent, thereby again obstructing the development of an efficient land market and housing finance institutions in the country;

 

o   At least In the Case of One State, The attempt Of the Governor to Declare all Land in His state As urban land gave Rise to considerable Absurdities in the Operation of The land market;

 

o   The inconveniences And delays In securing Statutory Certificates Of Occupancy Have induced many land transactions among Nigerians to move To the informal Market or Be falsely dated As having been concluded Before March 28, 1978, The operative date for the Land Use Decree;

 

o   The exclusion By the Decree Of the rights of families or individuals to develop private lay ‐ Outs has led to the emergence of a disjointed, uncoordinated and incoherent system of physical planning in Nigerian cities and a declining rate of housing provision in the country;

 

o   The Power of Governors and the Local Governments To revoke any right of occupancy over land “for overriding public interest” has been used arbitrarily in the past and helps to underscore the fragility of the rights conferred by the Certificate;

 

o   In Consequence of the above, there is increasing reluctance by both the Courts And the banks to accept the Statutory Certificate Of Occupancy As a conclusive evidence of the title of the holder to the land nor as adequate security in an application for loan

 

 

 

Perhaps, owing to These various weaknesses of the Land Act that afterTwenty five years, the policy statement, and with the coming into being of a new National Housing Policy, ordinary Nigerians are the more homeless with shanties and slums are becoming more prominence and the number of psychotics, which the minister aptly referred to, has assumed astronomical growth, just as millions of Nigerians are wandering the streets with nowhere to lay their heads. We have less than 3 percent of the country’s land resources are formally registered (Adeniyi, 2011: 8), indicating a far-reaching failure of the act and the institutions in charge of its implementation.

It is perhaps Instructive to note that many other African countries were engaged in some form of land reform especially in the 1970s and early 1980s. Of The 40 African countries noted, twenty saw land reform as the “nationalization” of land on behalf of the national community (Mabogunje, 1992: 20). These twenty Countries accounted for nearly 75 Percent of the population in the region. It Is thus, of interest, that almost three decades after, many of them are coming round to accepting that pushing for a serious free market economy requires a land reform that recognizes the rights of individuals or communities to land either freehold or for a relatively long‐term duration and is prepared to document these rights in appropriate fashion.

 

  1. 2Tax Polices

Housing is a basis for taxation — often local government taxation — and is thus a significant contributor to the fiscal health of local governments and their capacity to deliver basic urban services. Properly functioning housing markets enhance local financial and administrative capacities — two key challenges facing many local governments. Local property taxes are a predictable source of financing for local public services. The demands of homeowners have also encouraged local governments to better plan for the delivery of those services and to seek ways to deliver the services more efficiently and responsively. In the United States, for example, 7 of 10 urban planners are employed in local governments. Increased competence of local government staff creates a dynamic, sustainable movement toward more effective local services and

 

  1. 3Solution under Policy

Policies are, as if, a blood because every other nodal point, e.g. infrastructure and finance, still are policies-tied. Policy is what creates for accessibility which is a twin with affordability as they both impede the progress of housing in our country need to be addressed on a sustainable basis. A review of housing policy in developing countries by the World Bank showed investment in housing ranged from 2% to 8% of GDP and represented between 15% and 30% of fixed capital formation. As such efforts of the government are required to strengthen foreclosure laws, land records need to be computerised and archaic land laws, especially rental laws, need a complete overhaul. Steps, such as, digitization of land records, linking of central regulations with state regulations and local regulations should be taken. .

 

Developing new land policies can be a long and difficult process. It is even more so if the policies are to be pro-poor – if they are to help correct the disadvantages that poor people typically suffer in many areas of land policy. Alongside the legal framework, land administration systems are the main instrument of land policy administration. They include organizations and procedures for the survey, demarcation and mapping of land, recording of land rights and transactions, provision of documentary evidence of land rights, as well as resolution of land disputes and competing claims. Land administration systems are generally managed by specialist formal land institutions, established by government. However, responsibilities for land allocation, documentation and the management of rights can be devolved to local, community or customary bodies, and as some services may be delivered by the private sector.

A housing policy designed to fulfil the social contract of providing decent housing for all would be funded at the federal level, as all redistributive programs should; would be funded at levels necessary to ensure that all those with needs could have their needs met, as others have advocated; and would be sensitive to the conditions of local housing markets. Federal funding is most efficient and avoids the problem of localities’ engaging in a race to the bottom, whereby each locality attempts to avoid attracting more poor households by providing overly generous housing benefits.

Making housing an entitlement would not only help meet the needs of all, but would be inherently more equitable than the current system. Affordable housing is now rationed, for the most part, on a first come, first served basis. There is nothing equitable about a system that provides some households with a subsidy worth up to the market rate for rental units in that area, while other equally deserving households receive nothing.

Finally, housing, as a relatively immobile good, cannot be redirected to places where needs emerge, the way food or financial capital can. Hence it makes sense for the federal government to redirect housing subsidies to areas experiencing the most need. Making housing assistance more sensitive to local housing conditions would target aid to localities most in need. To a certain extent this is already done through the use of “fair market rents,” which are based on the local market rate for similar units and are used to calculate the amount of assistance each family receives. But making housing assistance an entitlement would better target aid to cities with the most need.

Currently, the real estate sector is largely unregulated with consumers often unable to procure complete information or enforce accountability on builders and developers in the absence of effective regulation. Moreover, the type of housing assistance needed in a locality will vary depending on the condition of the housing market. Tight housing markets may be more in need of newly constructed affordable housing, whereas markets where affordable units are abundant would be better served by housing vouchers.

 

Effective, well-adapted land administration systems facilitate the realization of the broadly accepted land policy goals of secure land as land-related services are accessible to all land users, including the poor and vulnerable as well as commercial investors. If land rights are to be effectively secured, land access need to be improved, land allocations made fairer, land more productive and demand better matched with available supplies, two conditions must be met: Institutional arrangements for land administration are accessible to all. These are best delivered in a decentralized way, which can respond to local priorities rather than through highly centralized systems And Comprehensive, up-to-date land information systems which can capture the complexity of existing land occupation, use and claims, including overlapping sets of rights. Formal land administration services are most effective when provided at local level.

established authorities should act as the nodal agency to co-ordinate efforts regarding development of the real estate sector and render necessary advice to the appropriate government agencies to ensure growth and promotion of a transparent, efficient and competitive real estate sector and also establish resolution mechanisms for settling disputes between the builders/promoters and the allottees/ buyers. Government bodies can consider single window clearance mechanism for the purpose of further simplifying the approval processes for low cost affordable housing along with reconsideration of the taxation policies. The public agencies and the government at all levels should work to bring efficiency in land market, approval processes, and e-governance viz. introducing electronic record for land and bringing in more transparency in the record of land and houses, etc.

 

Good land policy cannot be divorced from Good governance in land tenure and management, while, the features as reported in Nuhu (2008c) include: the legitimacy of land agencies and land administrators widely recognized by citizens; Land agencies serve all citizens, including the weak as well as the strong; Land agencies provide services that respond to the needs of their customers’ e.g. in the nature of the services and accessibility to them; The results of the services are consistent, predictable and impartial; The services are provided efficiently, effectively and competently. The services are provided with integrity, transparency and accountability.

 

DeSoto has discussed the need to free the “dead capital” locked in housing and other real estate assets because mortgage financing is not available, whether because titles are not properly registered or because mortgage markets do not function. In middle-income countries, real estate reforms may lead to better land registration systems and assist in creating a viable mortgage market. These options may not be currently available in poorer countries or in informal settlements. It is not unusual, in developing or transitional countries, to meet individuals who ignore land registration laws because they simply see no benefit in registering title to their properties. Yet without registration, loans cannot generally be secured by real estate, and the equity real estate represents cannot be freed for other uses.

Reforms in the regulatory environment, along with improvements in titling and registration, are bound to have a catalytic effect on land markets. In improving land tenure system; emphasis should be placed on decentralization and subsidiary by especially encouraging civic engagement and private initiatives or by fostering cross current or so called dialogue planning between bottom and top levels. With a well balanced private public partnerships and proper interrelationship between land policy framework, land information or spatially enabled land administration (like land tenure, land values, land use, land development), institutions, capacity building, education and research and finally services to business and citizens as well as facilitating sustainable development towards a better quality of life

 

Clearly, documented land rights can also facilitate other rights and opportunities. These include the right to civic and political participation, or access to basic services and to bank credit. Forture Ebie and Company (2007) concluded that land is money; land is credit subject to land titling, registration and secured tenure. The importance of land policy is that it is expected to improve: Economic growth- investments, credit, productivity; Poverty eradication: subsistence farming, market surplus, status; Governance: basis democracy, decentralization, no conflicts, accountability; Environmental Sustainability: effective land use, inclusion externalities, state land management.

 

Policies overseeing that Housing in developing countries, especially low-income, single-family housing, is generally constructed with domestically produced goods, which results in a greater benefit to the local economy than would use of imported materials. Furthermore, research has shown that less expensive housing is actually more labour-intensive than more expensive housing. This means that by constructing housing more cheaply, not only can more people be provided with homes, but more low-wage workers can be employed, benefiting them directly and benefiting many others who gain from the multiplier effect

 

  1. 0 General Closing and Conclusion

Are you hopeful that one day there will be housing for all. How can this be achieved?

 

The abysmal housing delivery in Nigeria is the consequence of interplay of several factors encompassing institutional, administrative, policy and cultural elements of our national life.

 

Creating affordable housing is challenging indeed. It is a complex and multilevel problem. But the advantage of multilevel problems is that there are multilevel solutions. The flip side of the challenge is that there are many entry points into the problem, many actions to create affordable housing that one can take. The bigger the elephant, the more ways to mount it and lead it in your direction. The following reasons may help explain why in the next three paragraphs.

Creating affordable housing goes beyond the communication, organizational, and interpersonal skills we have emphasized in this website. Those skills may be relevant here, but so are others. Affordable housing frequently means that new homes are going to be built. So while the affordable housing advocate may need to be excellent at human relations, that advocate may sometimes also need to have at least a passing familiarity with zoning, sewage systems, rocky foundations, proper insulation, and the high cost of lumber.

Creating affordable housing often involves multiple constituencies and multiple social institutions. More is required than simply persuading or satisfying a few people or groups, or even the public at large. Affordable housing activities may need advocates to set the process in motion; developers to acquire the land; architects to design the homes; banks to finance them; local governments to approve the plans; businesses to sell the building materials; construction workers to do the actual building; building inspectors to monitor the construction; agents to sell the homes; and buyers to buy them. To understate the case, the creation of actual affordable housing units takes more than the efforts of a citizen or single group of citizens; it requires highly skilled coordination among many people.

Many of these constituencies have financial as well as ideological interests. The developers, landlords, bankers, businesses, and construction workers all need some income from their work, enough income to justify their time spent. While community workers can sometimes serve without pay, builders and bankers can rarely do so. Their legitimate financial needs must be satisfied, just as the needs of the buyer or renter of the finished home.

In countries where they have been successful in affordable housing, there have been critical drivers of their success. The first thing is that government creates the right environment for affordable housing. And creating the right environment involves easing the process of acquiring the size of land that you can use for affordable housing and creating a separate window for players to network, because it is a network of participants, government, banks, development institutions and others. As it is now, as a developer, if I have to buy land from the open market, I have to apply for approval in the other manner, I have to source funds from the bank to do my development, I have to pay all that I need to pay and that will make it impossible to deliver houses at prices which are affordable. And that is why even government agencies, when they build, they sell at N40 million to N45million because it is impossible. So, what government needs to do is to create the right environment.

In Chad, interestingly, it is a Nigerian company that is working with the government to provide affordable housing. The government of Chad provided land for him and the funds that he acquired from multinational institutions were guaranteed by the government of Chad. They have created a right environment. And so for it to be affordable housing, as a developer, government must understand that you must be interested in both the demand and supply. Affordable housing means that the total cost that goes to housing, that is rent, electricity and others on a monthly basis, is not more than 30-35 per cent of the household’s gross domestic income for the month. So in a country where the minimum wage is N18, 000 per month, for instance, if you do a simple analysis, it means that if the capital cost of the house is N5million without interest, it will take that man 69 years to pay without having the interest so which bank would finance that. And who is the developer that would wait for such number of years to reap the benefit of their investment. So, that is really is the problem.

 

A community (or government, or other organization) can take steps to stimulate affordable housing, or to mandate or require a certain number of affordable housing units. Then affordable housing has legal justification as well.

Not only is the failure to provide adequate housing short sighted from a policy perspective, but it is also a failure to live up to societal obligations. There is a societal obligation to meet the housing needs of everyone, including the most disadvantaged. Housing assistance must become a federally-funded entitlement.

There is, a need for having a market oriented mechanism to meet the challenge of the affordable housing sector as it will be of great total value if the financing agencies can also connect into these developments and together drive the reforms at the federal, state and local levels In order to meet the enormous needs of the housing sector.

Concerted responses and actions should be engineered to improve policies and to increase public and private investment in cities of the developing world so that markets for goods and services in developing countries will not reach their potential; world environmental and health hazards will increase; and world security risks and the costs of crisis intervention will rise. In short, a comprehensive and holistic approach involving easy availability of land, accessible financing, supportive legal framework and innovative technology is required for making housing affordable for all.

Putting our housing affordability to check is translates to putting our economy to check. The community can become richer, and community life ultimately more satisfying. Affordable housing may indirectly contribute to such richness and satisfaction.By providing houses, the potential for creating additional work opportunities is expanded. Housing contributes to More Equitable Distribution of Wealth. In the United States, data from 2001 indicate 68% of households own their own homes. Furthermore, home ownership is not concentrated among the wealthy. The wealthiest 1% of homeowners controls only 13% of the nation’s home equity K. et al. (2006).

Franklin D. Roosevelt   said ‘A nation of homeowners is unconquerable’ so the big question is how unconquerable or conquerable are we in the developing nations?

 

 

 

 

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