Real estate: ‘Inaccurate data repels investors’

Real estate: ‘Inaccurate data repels investors’

February 11, 2020 Dayo Ayeyemi

Lack of accurate housing data on the type, usage and affordability ratio is one of the major factors investors are not showing interest in real estate, New Telegraph has learnt.

As a result of inadequate data, many houses under construction have been abandoned, while many completed housing units are yet to find buyers.

Many of these houses have remained unoccupied in major Nigerian cities such as Lagos and Abuja in the last six years.

To change the narrative, stakeholders in the industry have now agreed to work together and get data from all the sources for land administration, business survey, housing condition and affordability, with a view to educating all the participants in the housing sector value chain.

Bemoaning lack of data in the sector, President, Real Estate Developers Association of Nigeria (REDAN), Mr. Ugochukwu Chime, said that stakeholders’ cooperation was vital in tackling the lingering issue of unavailability of accurate housing data in the nation.

According to Chime, accurate housing data will help government at all levels to determine the type of houses people can afford, where they are living presently, the amount of money they are paying and where they move next to.

He said: “Lack of data has led to growing number of houses unoccupied. We have several housing units abandoned across this country. So when we are talking of data deficit, we are looking at surplus in some housing types

“We have had a lot of houses in this country abandoned. In Abuja where we are, we have a lot of duplexes. This is as a result of lack of data that investors need to determine what the market need is and who can afford these houses they are building.”

Chime pointed out that the issue of data was vital to policy makers, investors, developers, off takers and mortgage providers to make informed decisions.

He stated that over the years, stakeholders had spent huge amount of money operating solo, noting that different organisations were just taking a small portion of the big elephant.

Chime said: “So, we are now discussing data with a view to making sure that policy makers at the Federal Government level, state level, investors and also those who are off takers, developers, the mortgage companies have all the information they need.

“We realise that over the years, we have spent huge amount of money operating solo, different organisations taking a small portion of the big elephant, but now we have been able to work together.”

Chime, who doubles as the Chairman of the National Real Estate Data Collation and Management Programme, disclosed that 16 organisations comprising the Federal Ministry of Works and Housing, Central Bank of Nigeria, Federal Mortgage Bank of Nigeria (FMBN), Nigerian Mortgage Refinance Company (NMRC) and REDAN, among others were working together to change the narrative of inaccurate data in the sector.

He expressed delight that both private and public sector have agreed to get data from all the sources, with a view to educating all stakeholders in the housing value chain.

At a forum jointly organised by the Nigeria Mortgage Refinance Company (NMRC ) and the Centre for Affordable Housing Finance in Africa in Abuja, Head of Investment & Network@ Reall, a UK-based organisation, Chris Hutchinson, said the organisation was greatly involved in data to support Nigeria’s housing sector.

Hutchinson said that Reall was focusing on investing in affordable housing in Africa, particularly in Nigeria, adding that it had worked with pan organisations in the last five years, trying to build a movement for affordable housing in the country.

He said: “We do that in two ways: we invest in policy changes, we research and impact the way legislation and financial policies are working. We also invest in affordable projects that can be examples for the future in two ways; the fund can be attracting into affordable housing or we can build a project that can make a real difference in building lines.”

Chime noted that the outcome would help in creating housing policy changes rich in logical decision, facts, and devoid of suspicion.

To make policy changes, he stated that accurate data was essential, adding that they must be analysed to really focus on what needs to be done.

“Only by collating that data that we are going to make informed decision that can lead to that policy changes that will improve affordable housing,” he said.

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