November 25, 2014

Nigeria & Home Ownership: 51% Live in Rented Accommodation

Dolapo Omidire

Results from a study by NOI Polls have shown that 51% of Nigerians currently live in rented accommodation, 40% of which are paying between N20,000 and N100,000 yearly (across Nigeria). Only 31% of Nigerians surveyed said they lived in their ‘personal house’ which they may have built, purchased or inherited. The results also indicate that 85% of people would consider mortgage financing as an option for home ownership. However, when asked why they would not consider mortgage financing, 25% of respondents explained it was because they do not have a stable income.

Aside the pride of home ownership, there are many benefits in investing in an appreciating asset, building home equity and also gaining freedom of control. However, results like this show that the government and private sector players need to be dynamic in approaching the housing problem Nigeria currently faces. Some have suggested that the renting culture should be supported/augmented and even embraced; but as a typical citizen matures into full adulthood, renting is often viewed as an unstable and less secure option.

The Local and Federal governments have tried to tackle the housing problem in Nigeria with various commendable initiatives including the NMRC and the Lagos Home Ownership Scheme, however much more needs to be done. Trying to approach the problem from the mortgage aspect may not be as successful as financial history and depth of data are still largely unavailable, meaning that many eligible candidates are often left out. The same can be said for eligible candidates with steady incomes who have not been able to save up enough for a down-payment.

The Nigerian government should be embarking on the mass development of low cost housing across the country, even if it may not be particularly lucrative. The leadership of many established economies across the globe built homes over the 19th and 20th Century and many, like the Victorian Homes in the United Kingdom built during the reign of Queen Victoria (1837–1901) and the Industrial Revolution are still occupied today. The private sector cannot be entirely relied on to solve the problem – mainly because they are after returns. Most times, these returns are found in the more up market real estate sectors, as construction costs remain sky-high.

These polls are a great way of demonstrating socio-economic issues and understanding the Nigerian population much better. It should be used to strategically and adequately allocate resources to Africa’s newest heavy weight.

According to NOI Polls, the opinion poll was conducted earlier this month and involved telephone interviews of a random nationwide sample. 1,000 randomly selected phone-owning Nigerians aged 18 years and above, representing the six geopolitical zones in the country. NOI ensured a 95% confidence that the results obtained are statistically precise – within a range of plus or minus 3%.

NOI Polls was founded by Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala in 2007 through a partnership with her existing company, NOI Global Consulting and the Gallup Organization, US. The goal was to introduce an opinion polling and research organisation into the Nigerian polity.

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