Real estate operators have advised the government to explore a sustainable mortgage system as a way of addressing the challenge of affordable housing for Nigerians.

The Executive Secretary of the Association of Housing Corporations of Nigeria, Toye Eniola, said the housing deficit could be linked to the affordability deficit.

“This is because high-income earners can buy properties outright unlike low-income earners. It is more of an affordability deficit, and the lack of an effective mortgage system is not helping matters, because there is no mortgage to support these low-income earners.”

According to Eniola, a very vibrant mortgage system is the way forward to bridge the gap.

He said, “We need a mortgage system where any worker can easily access mortgage loans to purchase properties at their level.”

In the same vein, a land surveyor, Damola Isaacs, asserted that the players in the industry are the ones creating the deficit.

He said, “It is not possible to purchase a property overnight. Landed property for an instance is transferred from generation to generation, which means the parents hold the land in trust for the children, and once the children are older, the value would have appreciated, and then they become owners of the property.

“For us to be able to clear the deficit on the affordability of properties in the country, those in the sector have to collaborate with several sectors, particularly the financial sector to deploy a proper mortgage scheme.”

Meanwhile, the Chairman of the Nigerian Institute of Town Planners, Federal Capital Territory Chapter, Lami Ayuba, noted that 70 per cent of the challenges confronting the housing sector was associated with affordability.

She said, “It is difficult to access mortgage in Nigeria, so unless the government engages in social housing to meet the needs of low-income earners, getting there might be no deficit bridging. Most people work in the private sector, also most are in the business of petty trading. Hence, if you are really trying to bridge the housing deficit, who are the people being targeted? Most mortgage banks request for a salary statement and most of these low-income earners do not earn as much as those who can buy a property outright.”