Apparently disturbed by low home ownership among Nigerians, former President of the Nigerian Institute of Building (NIOB), Chuks Omeife, said the nation lacked adequate mortgage system to facilitate housing purchase on behalf of people.

This, he said slowed down the development of housing which has accumulated over the years causing huge deficit in the national housing stock. Besides, he said the issue of high building materials’ cost has not helped affordability of houses.

“Housing affordability is a play or interaction of many factors which includes majorly the low percentage of the local component content in housing development, unfortunately as at today, majority of input component into building construction are imported especially the finishing materials. The few components that are locally produced are not optimally produced, hence the high level of importation of building components which sadly have flooded the building materials market across the country,” he said.

On how to bridge the housing deficit among the low-income Nigerians using Malaysia’s affordable housing model, he said that housing policy in Malaysia was an initiative that combined quality, quick delivery process and affordability in housing provision and delivery.

The model, which is the initiative of government, according to Omeife, was a structured mixed housing development, adding that the policy was designed to create a robust and an interactive housing estates where both the high-income earners, middle income earners and the low-income earners live within a layout.

He said, “The affordability aspect is designed in such a way that the high income /middle income earners subsidise the purchase of low-income earners or group making their price very affordable.

“In a typical land layout, the development model is mixed to accommodate all strata of the society. Government as the initiator of the development provides land free to developers who designed various house types with compulsory 30 percent of the layout earmarked for the low-income group.

“The initiative is designed with human face and with the government living up to its responsibility of providing affordable housing for the people. The government and the developer agreed on price for the low-income earners based of the price placed on the luxurious house type for the high/middle income group.” According to the him, the model can work in Nigeria if there is sincerity and government’s readiness to provide enabling environment for housing development.