Affordability tops Abuja housing show agenda

FESTUS ADEBAYO

The issue of affordability continues to be the heart of the discussion in real estate for so many reasons; rent and sale prices are the seemingly obvious culprit causing concern with affordability.

While it can be agreed that working to decrease costs to renters and potential homeowners is important and arguably has the most immediate impact, it’s possible this has become the scapegoat of larger concerns.

This is the thrust at the 12th edition of the Abuja International Housing Show (AIHS) an offshoot of the International Housing and construction show limited, with the theme: ‘Housing affordability versus affordable housing’, taking place from July 16-19.

According to the coordinator of the show, Mr. Festus Adebayo, housing affordability is an expression of the social and material experiences of people, constituted as households, in relation to their individual housing situations. Affordability expresses the challenge each household faces in balancing the cost of its actual or potential housing and its non-housing expenditures, within the constraints of its income.

“In a period of doubtful economic times and scarce resources, it is more important than ever to ensure that there are affordable housing options for families and individuals in need for generations to come. Abuja International housing show is working to be a catalyst that causes our Nigeria’s policy makers to find ways to radically increase capacity and production to close the gap that exists between the supply and demand for affordable housing.

“Although different countries have different definitions for affordable housing, it is largely the same, i.e. affordable housing should address the housing needs of the lower or middle income households. Affordable housing becomes a key issue especially in developing nations including Nigeria, where a majority of the population isn’t able to buy houses at the market price.”

Mr. Adebayo noted that disposable income of the people remains the primary factor in determining affordability. As a result, it becomes the increased responsibility of the government to cater to the rising demand for affordable housing. “For example in India, the Government of the country has taken various measures to meet the increased demand for affordable housing along with some developers and stressing on public-private partnerships (PPP) for development of these units.”

An important component of Abuja international housing show’s strategic plan is its public policy education and advocacy goal which is to support efforts to promote policies—both legislative and regulatory— aimed at improving housing opportunities for those in need. The show engages every level of an organization as well as our experience to develop and promote national, state and local policies aimed at narrowing the housing affordability gap of affordable homes for low-income persons and stabilize communities. We will work with other stakeholders, practitioners and advocates to advance our goal.

Adebayo added that the show continues to occupy a unique position of being able to directly communicate a stakeholders perspective with three decades experience (the promoters) developing, financing and managing affordable housing.

The goal is to communicate and inspire action to address prevailing narratives and resource availability regarding how safe, decent, affordable rental housing positively impacts poverty, health outcomes, the needs of the workforce, and Nigeria’s aging population.

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