The Housing Development Advocacy Network (HDAN) has given reasons on the importance of data in the housing sector in Nigeria.
HDAN stated that the country needs to have correct data to be able to address the current housing gap.
This is as the Minister of Works and Housing, Babatunde Fashola and other stakeholders have different figures of housing deficits in Nigeria.
HDAN in its position paper on Saturday posits that this should not be so if there was adequate data on housing.
HDAN said “there is the need to have information on the numbers of low income earners under-housed, the loxations among other things.
“To ensure affordable housing in Nigeria requires data. How many low income earners are under-housed? In which parts of the country are they? What are their housing needs? How much can they afford as housing payment? Housing is not required by a working class in an area off his or her working area. How grave will relocating them be to their means of income? Who should cater for the housing needs of the low-income, the market or the government? All these questions must be answered before we can talk of affordable housing,” it stated.
It further added, “To provide affordable housing in Nigeria, the housing affordability index must be considered. The Housing Affordability Index (HAI) in an area measures whether or not an average family earns enough income to qualify for a 30-year fixed mortgage loan on a typical single-family home without spending more than 25% of the income on payment for principal and interest.
“Assuming low income earners in Nigeria are those workers earning less than N100,000 per month (less than US$20 per month), the only way to give these people affordable housing in Nigeria is social housing. There are two ways to satisfy the housing needs of low income people in poverty-ridden states: subsidised and social housing. Subsidised housing cannot work in Nigeria because of lack of maintenance culture and poverty level.
“Subsidised housing will lead to slum and substandard housing. Beneficiaries will not be able to maintain them. That is not the idea of affordable housing. The idea of affordable housing is to make sure everybody is accommodated as a right and basic need to thrive. Social housing is a public asset that is owned and maintained by government. The wealthy in the society contributes, through tax, in the regular maintenance of social housing for the low income earners in the society. Can anybody imagine if all residents have to pay to trek and drive on our roads through rent payment?
“That will be horrible and stressful! That is why roads are social goods. Most developed countries like United Kingdom have social housing to cater for the low-income earners and home for the homeless to cater for those that are not on income.
“Even capitalist America has Section 8 which allows for subsidies for those who cannot cope with their housing and home for seniors (elders that are over 65 years old and are vulnerable). Affordable housing is sociological and must be constructed with acceptable standard so that the occupants of the houses are not stigmatized.”
Citing Austria, HDAN stated, “The Austrian government saw housing as a common need of all citizens apart from food and clothing. As a form of bridging the gap between the rich and the poor, Austrian government is providing all residents with social housing. It has achieved 60% of its target now and promised to provide government accommodation for all in the year 2030.”