According to a UN-Habitat report, an estimated $3-4 billion is needed every year to tackle the worldwide shortage of affordable housing.

The report titled “Unlocking the Potential of Cities: Financing Sustainable Urban Development” stated that land values are very high and suitable land is in short supply.

It stated, “It is estimated that 28.25 million new housing units per year will be required to address the housing shortage. To meet the targets set by SDG11, the world needs to invest about $3tn to $4tn a year to achieve adequate housing for all.

“In addition, a substantial amount of funds will be needed for maintenance and improvement of the existing housing stock.”

According to the report, owing to rapid urbanisation, the gap in investments is growing, and social and demographic changes are leading to a greater demand for housing.

“People are living longer, and choosing to marry later, and in recent years, there has been a rise in the number of single-parent families. The result is an ever-larger number of smaller households, all requiring accommodation. However, building new, affordable homes in urban areas is difficult. Land values are very high and suitable land is in short supply.

“Increase in costs of construction, labour shortages, commodity price including, supply chain bottlenecks also contribute to the difficulty for the provision of affordable housing.”

UN-Habitat estimated that about 830 million people were living in slums in the world, and considering another 2 billion additional urban population by 2030, about 3 billion people, or 40 per cent of the world’s population in 2030, would need new housing.

It added, “According to a study of 130 countries by Pew Research Centre in 2020, the average household size in the world is 4.9 persons, while it is 6.9 persons in Sub-Sahara Africa, 6.2 persons in the Middle East and North Africa, and 5 persons in Asia Pacific, and 4.6 persons in Latin America and Caribbean, 3.3 persons in North America.

“3.1 persons in Europe, 565 million new housing units will be needed. If this number is broken down on an annual basis for the period 2011 to 2030, 28.25 million housing units per year will be required. This estimate means that 77,397 housing units per day or 3,234 per hour, will need to be built.

“As the cost-of-living crisis in the global north and the expansion of informal settlements in the global south indicate, cities are hard-pressed when raising adequate financial investments to meet this singular challenge. They are also constrained by urban poverty and a lack of adequate financial resources at the city level in many developing countries.”

The report further stated that there was a huge gap in infrastructural investment, adding that it was not just in developing countries but throughout the world, including the most developed countries.

It added, “According to the United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs’ estimate, the global infrastructure investment gap is $1.1tn to $1.5tn in developing countries. The infrastructure investment gap is around $180bn a year for the Asia Pacific region, $24bn a year for Latin America, and more than $93bn a year for Africa.”

For fragile African states, the report disclosed that more than 37 per cent of GDP needed to be invested in infrastructure.

It stated, “Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development estimates that the global need for infrastructure investment ranges from USD30tn to $40tn in the next two decades.

“The infrastructure challenge facing the developing world is particularly severe. A large proportion of the population lacks access to basic infrastructure.

“The World Bank estimates that 1.1 billion people live without safe water supply, 1.6 billion people without electricity, 2.4 billion people without sanitation services, and more than 1 billion people do not have access to basic roads.”