My husband and I have gone house-hunting only once in our lifetime. We eventually found a place, but I can guarantee it is an experience we never ever want to repeat.
Finding a home to buy in most parts of the country can be gruelling and has recently worsened, mostly due to the record-high inflation. This is evidenced by our low home ownership rates—10% compared to 54% in China, 33% in Malaysia and 47% in Ghana.
Thankfully, the National Pension Commission (Pencom) recently approved guidelines allowing workers to use part of their pension contributions for home ownership. This development was received positively as owning homes in Nigeria is usually done through self-funding. Prospective homeowners save up for years and then start developing land they’ve bought. If they are lucky, they can complete it with their saved-up funds. If not, they stop and then start again after saving up some more.
In developed countries, homeowners typically buy existing homes and pay over long periods—say twenty to thirty years. Stable currencies, low inflation rates and vibrant mortgage industries in these countries make access to homes relatively easier.
Similarly, the PenCom development seeks to plug Nigeria’s funding challenge from the demand and supply side. Basically, the pension for mortgage scheme means workers like you, and I can now access lump sums to purchase existing homes. At the same time, this increased demand unlocks funding for property developers, real estate managers and stakeholders on the supply side of the housing value chain to provide more homes.
However, as we will soon see below, Nigeria still faces a huge housing deficit. This suggests