Housing is a fundamental human need and plays a critical role in national development, productivity, economic development, and social cohesion. Adequate housing is a prerequisite for a healthy, safe, and productive life, and it is essential for individuals and families to have a place to call home.
A decent home provides a secure and stable environment for individuals and families to live, work, and raise their children. Proper housing can help to prevent the spread of diseases, reduce infant mortality rates, and improve mental health outcomes.
In addition to providing shelter and promoting good health, housing is also critical to the productivity of a nation’s workforce. Adequate housing helps to reduce absenteeism, increases worker productivity, and improves overall job satisfaction.
Access to affordable housing is also essential in attracting and retaining a skilled workforce, which is essential for economic growth. According to Antonio Guterres, Secretary-General of the United Nations, “A decent home is the foundation for every person to build a better life, and for every society to achieve greater stability and economic prosperity.”
Despite the importance of housing in national development, Nigeria still faces a housing shortage. The country has a housing deficit of over 17 million units, and this deficit is expected to increase significantly due to population growth and urbanization. The majority of Nigerians live in sub-standard housing, with many households lacking basic amenities such as running water, electricity, and sanitation facilities.
The state of housing development in Nigeria is further complicated by a lack of access to affordable housing finance. High interest rates, low penetration of long-term financing options, and a nascent mortgage system have made it challenging for low-income households to access affordable housing finance. As a result, many Nigerians are forced to live in informal settlements, which lack basic services and are often prone to natural disasters and health hazards.
How FMBN is Making a Difference
To help address this challenge, the Federal Mortgage Bank of Nigeria (FMBN) is playing a remarkable role in getting Nigerians within the low to medium income brackets to own their homes on very convenient and affordable terms. For over 29 years, FMBN has pursued its mandate with vigor and recorded significant achievements. Statistics show that the Bank has deployed over N386.9bn towards affordable housing development. Key results include constructing over 36,617 affordable housing units, providing over 24,006 home loans, and providing over 103,809 home renovation loans.
In terms of making homes possible, the case of Nnamdi Nwachukwu provides a good illustration. He is a proud beneficiary of a three-bedroom semi-detached bungalow at Anthem estate in Gwagwalada, an FMBN funded project under the Ministerial Pilot Housing Scheme (MPHS). The Ministerial Pilot Housing Scheme (MPHS) is a collaboration between the FMBN and the Federal Ministry of Works and Housing to provide affordable housing for public sector workers, particularly civil servants, by offering them mortgage financing at a single-digit interest rate. For Anthem Estate, the Ministry provided land while FMBN created mortgages for beneficiaries.
As a contributor to the National Housing Fund (NHF) Scheme, which the Bank manages and uses to mobilize cheap and long term funds through monthly contributions from workers salaries, Bar. Nwachukwu was able to secure the 3-bedroom bungalow at the cost N11.5M using an FMBN NHF Mortgage Loan. He has until he is 60-years to conveniently pay back the facility in monthly instalments at a single-digit interest rate of 6 per cent.
“Houses are very expensive. Like where I stay in Gwagwalada, a two bedroom goes for N500 – N650K depending on how well it is built. So, I decided that instead of investing so much renting a house, it would have been better for me to raise the equity and get a house of my own,” Nwachukwu said.
“The monthly payment plan is convenient. To make it easier, I decided to pay N2.8M, which is more than the required 10 percent equity. This means I only have to pay about N60,000 monthly, which is okay by me. This for me is a good way to own my home without having to spend so much at once,” he added.
The Rent to Own Leverage
Another representative story is that of Mr. Mohammed Abacha, a staff of the Kaduna State Ministry of Health, is also a happy owner of a beautiful one-bedroom fully detached bungalow, which he got through the FMBN under very affordable and convenient terms.
As a contributor to the NHF Scheme, Abacha secured the house at the cost of N3.7 million only under the FMBN rent-to-own product. This means he paid no equity to secure the property and will conveniently pay towards full ownership of the property in monthly instalments at only a 7 percent interest rate per annum.
Because the house was spacious and he had a large family, he decided to make modifications to the house.
“What motivated me to renovate is because of the large family I have and secondly because of the space I saw in the house. I converted it to three bedrooms and also built a boy’s quarters. The little renovation I did is only the extension of the parlor we are in now. I now have at least two parlors, at least,” he said.
The house now accommodates his large family and Abacha does not have to worry that a landlord might increase the rent.
“Initially, I lived in a rented apartment with my ten children. Honestly, I suffered a lot along the line because even for you to raise the annual payment, you know landlords keep on pushing for you to give them payments. I always imagined if I am still in a rented apartment. I may not be able to pay the rent,” he added.
The best part for Abacha is the repayment arrangement. He said it would not affect his life in any way.
“Actually, the mode of payment is very convenient. An ordinary civil servant will not feel the pains of paying the amount. They changed the scheme to rent-to-own. There was no equity which is the greatest challenge civil servants are facing presently for them to raise for the primary mortgage banks for them to own a house but in our case, we didn’t give a single kobo for us to own a house,” he noted.
Making Dreams Come True, Steadily
The story is the same for several families in the South West who are leveraging the NHF to make that transition from renting to owning their homes.
An example is Mr. & Mrs. Raheem Adebisi a young couple who are proud owners of a 3-bedroom flat at the FMBN funded 160-housing unit Danbide Estate in Ogun State. As contributors to the National Housing Fund (NHF) Scheme, Mr. & Mrs. Raheem were able to get the property at the cost of N8.7million NHF Mortgage loan from FMBN to purchase the house. They have up to 30 years to pay back the loan from at an interest rate of 6 per annum.
“Getting a house through FMBN saved us from Omonile wahala. We have peace of mind and are not under pressure to pay back,” Mr. Raheem Adebisi.
“One of my business partners introduced us to the scheme. Like many people, at first, we didn’t even believe it will work and it took us a long time to initiate the process. Eventually we made the application and after that paid the ten percent equity for the house. After several months we were able to receive the keys to the house. For the price and the terms, the wait was worth it,” he added.
We are also happy with the repayment plan. We pay a little instalment which is taken from our monthly salary. It’s affordable because we have some money left to pay our other bills and convenient because we are living in our own home without the hassle of landlord rent every year.
In Nasarawa, Mrs. Edna Hassan, a staff of Belhatu Arab Specialist Hospital, Lafia is also a proud owner of a 3-bedroom fully detached bungalow. She leveraged her membership of a Cooperative Society at her place of work to access the FMBN NHF Mortgage loan to purchase the 3-bedroom bungalow at the cost of N7.8 million.
“I feel joyous, I feel happy because, at least, I am going to be a landlady. Instead of the burden of paying exorbitant rents, what will be deducted from my salary to pay back will not stress me. It is convenient for me. I am glad that I joined the NHF Scheme,” Hassan said.
“Using a mortgage from FMBN to own my home is convenient and I find it affordable. The payment has been spread over several years and what will be deducted from my monthly salary will not stress me,” she declared.
The housing challenge remains huge. However, FMBN’s interventions are making a steady difference in the lives of thousands.
The new Management led by Madu Hamman has stepped up efforts to optimize the operations of the Bbank to enable it to make the most of available resources while seeking out innovative ways to bolster its impact.
By wielding a dynamic strategy that blends provision of affordable housing construction finance to developers plus long term, single digit, zero-maximum ten percent equity and rent to own options, the Bank is hitting the bull’s eye when it pertains affordable housing delivery.
This should be sustained, and government should make haste to increase its capitalization to enable it to scale its operations. This is because housing is a critical component of national development, productivity, economic development, and social cohesion and the bank is well positioned to make the required national impact if adequately empowered.
*Ikyaave is a housing policy analyst. He writes in from Abuja.
The housing challenge remains huge. However, FMBN’s interventions are making a steady difference in the lives of thousands. The new Management led by Madu Hamman has stepped up efforts to optimize the operations of the bank to enable it to make the most of available resources while seeking out innovative ways to bolster its impact