Housing deficits and rent costs are likely to increase in 2023, industry experts have predicted.

The experts, who made their projections in separate interviews with The PUNCH, said high inflation, cost of building materials and interest rates would add to the number of homeless persons in the country.

In his submission, the Executive Director, Housing Development Advocacy Network, Festus Adebayo, said the damage caused by the current figures of housing deficit, multidimensional poor persons and building collapse may not reduce as the current economic and government policies cannot cause a change in the industry.

He added that the government has only addressed social, mass and affordable housing issues verbally, while high-income earners patronise luxury homes.

He said, “As we step into 2023, the coast is not clear for the housing and real estate sector because of the challenges of interest rate, inflation and high prices of building materials.

“On that note, one can predict that in 2023, the affordable housing sector would suffer; private investors do not want to produce affordable housing when they cannot get affordable cement or iron rod.”

He projected that a lower rent rate is unlikely in 2023 because of inflation, which has affected the prices of food and rent cannot be an exception.

“The costs of housing cannot be reduced. What would happen in 2023 is that some of the developers who have been building affordable housing would have to leave that corridor to deliver what is not affordable.”

Adebayo further lamented that despite the sector contributing over 5 per cent to the country’s gross domestic product in 2022, no single improvement has been made to facilitate an increase in the housing stock.

“There is no doubt that our housing deficit gap will remain the same because we are reproducing children, while we are not building houses to assuage the number of births.

“In a year, Nigerians give birth to about 5 million, while we can’t construct up to 100,000 houses even with private investments. Even the Federal Ministry of Works that started this eight years ago didn’t build 10,000 houses,” he claimed.

On his part, The President and Chairman of the Council of Real Estate Developer Association of Nigeria, Aliyu Wamakko, noted that only a change in government policies would trigger the changes needed in the housing sector.

He also predicted that improvement in the sector would be minimal in 2023, if the current policies are not overhauled.

He said, “It was obvious in the year that a lot of building projects went down the drain due to inflation, the high cost of building materials and that is why we are looking for affordable finance.

“There is a need to reform the current policies and what is limiting the sector is the availability of funds for affordable housing which is very meagre despite contributions by the Federal Mortgage Bank. The government has to recapitalise that bank because it is the only institution that guarantees people houses at an interval of 20 to 25 years.”

He called on the government to adjust its policy in terms of housing provisions.

“If the government converges its entire budget from the local, state and Federal Government in one pool to deliver affordable housing, it will solve some problems or it may give it to private investors at a single digit interest rate, so that all can be satisfied and the housing deficit reduced,” he declared.