Mr Olayinka Omotosho, Chairman, Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS), has appealed to the Federal Government to provide long-term funds to mortgage institutions to enhance their scope of operation.
Omotosho told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Monday in Lagos that affordable housing could only be achieved through effective mortgage system, which was not available in the country.
He said the conventional banks offering mortgage loans were charging high interest, which made such loans unaffordable by the common man.
“It is unlikely that the low and middle income earners without multiple streams of income can benefit from it or access them.
“For the mortgage institutions to efficiently render mortgage services there must be availability of long-term funding to the institutions to enhance their lending capacity.
“Lack of availability of cheap long-term fund is a major hindrance to effective operation of the mortgage institutions in Nigeria,” he said.
According to him, with the current state of the mortgage market and challenges of the housing sector, there is no hope for low-income earners to own landed property in Nigeria.
Omotosho said an effective mortgage system was the only way out of the nation’s housing deficit, saying that until it was achieved, the housing sector might not record any remarkable growth.
He said an effective mortgage system was supposed to be designed to target the middle/low-income earners, widows, less-privileged, the poor and not the rich who could easily build or buy a house.
The real estate expert said it was through the mortgage market that other countries developed and sustained their housing sector.
According to him, in the United States of America, the mortgage system is structured in a way that low-income earners like the cleaners and drivers can own houses.
“Unfortunately, the current situation in the country’s mortgage system does not make it feasible for the average Nigerians to afford a decent accommodation.
“It was only about five years ago that the loan one can receive through the National Housing Fund (NHF) was increased from N5 million to N15 million.
“But the conditions for accessing the loan are tough, including the required deposit by the applicant,” he said.
Omotosho, therefore, called for revival and restructuring of the NHF system to enhance access to the fund, to ease housing development in the country.
He lamented that there were so many obstacles in the housing industry, saying it would be difficult for the average man to meet all the requirements and obstacles.
“The Land Use Act of 1978 is a major cause of the difficulties and if it is not reviewed, the hope of curbing the housing deficit will be defeated,’’ he said.