Mrs Aderonke Oyelami, Chairperson, Women Quantity Surveyors of Nigeria, on Wednesday attributed the incessant increase in house rent in the country to inadequate buildings.
Oyelami told the News Agency of Nigeria in Lagos that rent on housing would come down if developers could engage in mass production of houses, to reduce the gap between demand and supply.
Nigeria, with its over 170 million population, currently faces over 17 million housing deficit, with the Federal Government putting in place measures to close the gap.
According to the Ministry of Power, Works and Housing, Nigeria is in need of about 720,000 housing units per annum, while the annual aggregate production is about 100,000 housing units, leaving a huge gap.
The ministry, as part of efforts to close the gap, plans mass housing units in every state of the federation for public workers annually, in the next three years, to enable them to own their homes.
Oyelami urged developers to collaborate with the government in its mass housing scheme to make houses available at affordable rates.
“The simple truth is that scarcity results in price increase while abundance decreases price.
“Therefore, the solution to continuous increment in rent is mass house production. If large numbers of houses are built, the price of accommodation will reduce,” she said.
According to the WAQSN chief, if the housing deficit is reduced, many more Nigerians will be able to own houses.
“Today, the cheapest completed house is within N5 million and N7 million. How many low-income earners can afford such?” Oyelami asked.
She said that mass housing would not only result in bulk purchase of housing materials at discounted prices, but would also create room for easy access to mortgage schemes.
“The benefit of mass production is not only low cost, but also increase the rate of turnover, which implies that developers will be able to recoup their investment within the shortest possible time.
“Mass housing is more economical; it is the only viable way to crash the high cost of accommodation in the country,” she said.
Oyelami said, however, that involvement of more developers in mass housing schemes would depend largely on government’s ability to provide the enabling environment.