Real estate expert advocates housing investment education to bridge shelter gap

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By Grace Alegba

Lagos, Oct. 6, 2020 A real estate expert, Mr Babajide Odusolu, on Tuesday called for intensive awareness campaigns that would lead to the elimination of substandard housing

He said that the campaign would boost qualitative affordable mass shelters in Nigeria which would bridge the huge deficit.

Odusolu, the Chief Executive Officer of Octo5 Holdings Ltd., a real estate development company; made the call during a combined live/virtual conference to launch STOW, a real estate app.

The app is meant to facilitate the provision of affordable mass housing for workers in the country.

He said that Nigeria is not a poor country but has several low income earners living in substandard houses and they commute long hours daily to their business districts to eke a living.

He said that substandard housing and ignorance of how to access low interests housing financial opportunities were some of the factors responsible for the over three million housing shortfalls in Lagos State alone.

He urged government to realise its inadequacies in handling housing shortfalls and the need by it to collaborate with private developers.

He said that such collaboration would help Nigerians to change their heavy consumption mindsets to embracing investments in homes.

“Unfortunately, 80 per cent of Nigerians spend their incomes on consumption and that has to change through this kind of awareness we are doing by bringing all the stakeholders together.

“Without private sector involvement, there will be no housing in Nigeria today.

“In the last three years, all states owned housing agencies combined in Nigeria built less than 10,000 houses, and in the same period, private sector had delivered 100,000,’’ he said.

He added that COVID-19 had exposed the dangers of substandard housing for the country’s working population, adding that the issue should be treated like a security issue to improve tge living conditions of the citizens.

Odusolu said Octo5 was partnering mortgage institutions and other stakeholders to deliver quality and affordable mass shelters to Nigerian workers at near single digit interest rates, and leveraging on its newly launched real estate app, the STOW.

Delivering a lecture tagged “Housing in Nigeria: 60 years and still counting” Odusolu gave a detailed history of evolution of Nigerian cities and made comparisons as well as lessons learnt from various housing development modules.

He noted that the Lateef Jakande model had been the most successful in Lagos State.

He added that the roads constructed by former Gov. Lateef Jakande-led administration between 1979 and 1983 are still opening up new cities in the state.

He commended the Federal Government and also the state government for creating policies that are empowering mortgage institutions, developers and other agencies to build affordable homes across the nation.

He said that the STOW platform would address issues and homebuyers’ concerns which had impeded real estate investments in Nigeria in the past.

According to him, STOW is a web and app-enabled home purchase platform for offplan and new build homes provided by proven real estate developers.

Mrs Lauretta Odusola, Octo5 Director of Utilities, also advised women to rise above the mindset that they cannot own properties to begin to invest in real estate through various small savings schemes.

She explained that the firm offered incentives to women through the STOW app to remove various limitations discouraging women from being owners of houses.

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