The context of this research study is provison of afforedable housing for Nigerians especially for the low income households.
Housing is the provision of shelter; an abode to live in. Shelter should be adequate, affordable and decent. Adequate in that there are enough good quality rental and owner occupier housing units for low income families. Affordable in that total housing costs are affordable to those that have low income. Decent in that it provides a foundation for good physical and mental health, personal development and fulfillment of life objectives.
Affordable housing is however a major problem here in Makurdi. Informal settlements and slums have continued to grow and a large percentage of the urban population lives here. The slums are characterized by congested tin roofed and mud houses. There is also poor infrastructure with regards to sewerage system, electricity, clean water and access roads.
The overall demand for housing according to a UN Habitat survey is 150,000 housing units as compared to 35,000 housing units being delivered in the market. The supply shortage has left private developers focusing on highest return market segments which are the upper income class.
It has been cited that the housing problem cannot be solved starting at the bottom because the poor will still be overshadowed. Houses meant for the lower end could still be snapped up by individuals in the higher income class thereby distorting prices and displacing the target market. The solution would be for the government and socially motivated entrepreneurs to offer homes for the bottom end of the market while commercial players and maximum profit driven entrepreneurs take care of the upper income segment (Macharia, 2011).
The research study focused on the challenges faced by housing developers in the low income market. Challenges identified included the high cost of land in urban areas, the complicated land acquisition process, high transaction costs, outdated planning and building regulations, and the lack of adequate infrastructure.
1.1 Background Information
Affordable Housing Overview
Housing has a central importance to quality of life with considerable economic, social, cultural and personal significance. Though a country’s national prosperity is usually measured in economic terms, increasing wealth is of diminished value unless all can share its benefits and if the growing wealth is not used to redress growing social deficiencies, one of which is housing (Erguden, 2001). Housing plays a huge role in revitalizing economic growth in any country, with shelter being among key indicators of development (Ireri, 2010). The universal declaration of human rights gives one of the basic human rights as the right to a decent standard of living, central to which is the access to adequate housing (United Nations, The Human Rights – article 25, 1948). Housing as a basic human right demands that urban dwellers should have access to decent housing, defined as one that provides a foundation for, rather than being a barrier to, good physical and mental health, personal development and the fulfillment of life objectives (Seedhouse, 1986). The focus of this research is housing for low income households or what is commonly known as affordable housing. Affordable housing is a term used to describe dwelling units whose total housing costs are deemed “affordable” to those that have a median income. A median income refers to the average pay scale level of the majority people in a population which is often low. Although the term “affordable housing” is often applied to rental housing that is within the financial means of those in the lower income ranges of a geographical area, the concept is applicable to both renters and purchasers in all income ranges (http://www.answers.com). Low-income housing is aimed at individuals without enough income to provide adequate housing for themselves and/or their families. These families are usually unable to purchase a home because they fail to qualify for a mortgage. Most families choose to rent based on their income and family situation; unfortunately, there may not be enough rental housing or enough good-quality rental housing for low-income families (http://www.ehow.com).
1.2 Statement of the Problem
Provision of adequate, affordable and decent housing for low income households is clearly in short supply. The players in this industry are too few and there seems to be a minimal interest of other private sector housing developers to provide low income housing units. These private sector developers as by their success in the middle and high income housing markets, implies that they may have the capacity and skill set to supply the low-income housing required to alleviate, at least partly, the housing shortfall in the country (Hassanali, 2009). But they have shied away from the low income market mainly because the profitability margins are lower as compared to housing developments for the other markets.
There are also many other factors affecting the supply of housing from private sector housing developers prominent of which is the cost of production and the opportunity cost to the developer’s finite funds in either providing middle income housing or high income segment housing or low income housing. The developers have to consider the rate of return to their investment and how fast they’ll realize this. But these are not the only factors affecting the supply of low income housing and the other factors should also be put into consideration. Provision of low cost housing to the increasing number of lower and middle income classes in the country has also been hugely affected by the cost of land and inadequate infrastructure (Bonyo, 2010).
The problem that this research seeks to address is that of the shortage in housing supply for low income households and the challenges faced by both existing and potential developers in this market. Issues to be addressed in this research study include the factors affecting low income housing supply, the motivating factor to existing developers in venturing into this market and the housing models they have adopted in their projects.
1.3 Research Objectives
The purpose of this study is to research on the factors affecting housing development for the low income market. It seeks to achieve the following objectives:
- To identify the motivation behind existent players in the industry whether profit, social or other.
- To analyze the housing model that has been adopted here in Makurdi by existing housing developers for the low income market.
- To examine the challenges faced by housing developers in the low income market and hindrances to their efforts.
1.4 Research Questions
The research aims to answer the following key questions:
- What is the motivation behind existing players of housing development in the low income market?
- What are the housing development models that have been adopted in Makurdi for affordable housing projects?
- What are the challenges faced by the developers in the low income housing market?
1.5 Importance of this research study
This research study will be of benefit to the following key stakeholders in the housing industry: Housing Social Enterprises.
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