L-R: Mr. Ibrahim Kangiwa, Investment Supervision Department- PenCom, Prof. Charles Inyangete, Managing Director – NMRC, Prince Gbolahan Lawal, Hon. Commissioner Housing, Lagos State, Mr. Sonnie Ayere, Chairman – MWFL and Mr. Adedeji Adesemoye, representing Director, OFISD Central Bank of Nigeria at the Housing workshop held in Lagos.
The Lagos state government today partnered with the Nigeria Mortgage Refinance Company Plc (NMRC) and Mortgage Warehouse Funding Limited (MWFL) to organize a one-day workshop aimed at identifying innovative financing solutions in its quest to address the 3 million housing deficit in the state and provide its teeming citizens with affordable housing. a one-day stakeholders’ workshop which held at Eko Hotels and Suites, Victoria Island – Lagos.
The workshop themed “Building an end –to-end Ecosystem for Affordable Housing” was convened to engage conversations with an array of stakeholders that included chieftains from mortgage lending banks, pension fund administrators, National Pension Commission, mortgage brokers and Lagos State Housing Developers.
The forum identified the constraints of construction and mortgage financing with guaranteed off-take as a major issue. Building an effective ecosystem therefore makes access to financing easier as Mortgage Warehouse Funding Limited (MWFL) is positioned to bridge the gap through short term pre-financing (for a period of six months in the books of the member mortgage banks) prior to long term refinancing by Nigeria Mortgage Refinance Company (NMRC) – the nation’s secondary mortgage lender which will provide liquidity in both mortgage and housing markets for up to 20-year tenor to mortgage lending banks.
Lagos State Commissioner for Housing, Prince Gbolahan Lawal in his address remarked that in pursuance of the mandate of the State Ministry of Housing since its creation in 1999, the government had directly made available about 30,000 housing units. noting “that this is a drop in the ocean in view of rapid urbanization, population increase, and uncontrolled migration to Lagos”.
Director, OFISD – Central Bank of Nigeria, Mrs. Tokunbo Martins in her presentation, which was delivered by Mr. Adedeji Adesemoye (Deputy Director, OFS – Analytics & Special Examinations) stated that “there is an abundance of definitions of “affordable housing”, but the one constant factor they all have at their core, is that the home owner should not become “house rich and (money) cash poor”, adding that “from a regulator’s perspective therefore, we view housing as affordable, where the homeowner has the capacity to meet his housing obligations without default, at the time of acquisition and throughout the term of ownership”. She also noted that the CBN’s regulatory perspective is centered on the “value chain engagement” approach, designed on a paradigm shift from the current “supply-driven demand” to the more sustainable “demand-driven supply” philosophy and that the issue of affordable housing must be addressed in a step-by-step approach, from Land to Building Materials to Primary/Secondary Finance to Capital Market.
Effective collaboration among all stakeholders is key towards fostering a transformative partnership for affordable housing. According to NMRC’s Managing Director/CEO, Professor Charles Inyangete, affordable housing will be enhanced through reduced transaction costs in land acquisition/titling; reduced transaction time between construction and sales of completed houses; relative assurance for building quality and provision of adequate infrastructure and increased marketability of mortgage backed securities. Professor Inyangete further illustrated this with some key goals which include: Maximum of 5 steps to register title; Maximum time of 30 days for perfection of title; Maximum perfection cost of 3 percent of property value; Maximum of 6 months to foreclose on a property; Maximum of 10 percent of property value in total costs and Large-scale production of housing for N3 million and less.
Mr. Ibrahim Wushishi, on behalf of the Lagos State Developers said Developers are required to source funds to take the development to a required level, adding that funding is usually sourced at high rates of interest which serves to further increase the price of the housing unit and reduce affordability.
On mortgage finance, Mr. Wushishi said that by their very nature, both the mortgage and pension sectors operate in the longer term and will serve to complement each other. He said the ability to leverage on pensions to fund mortgages would substantially empower buyers and create a massive liquidity boost for the sector.
Chairman, Mortgage Warehouse Funding Limited, Mr. Sonnie Ayere described the ecosystem as one that will propel mutual benefit to stakeholders and ultimately, the first-time home owner. Mr. Ayere opined that “a significant reduction to the high interest rate to bridge the affordability gap as well as active contribution of both formal and informal sectors in Pension funds creates an opportunity for more houses to be developed at affordable costs. So long as the individual remains consistent with contributions to the pension scheme, he/she will continue to enjoy a single digit mortgage rate. These are some proposals we are making towards building an end-to-end ecosystem for affordable housing”.
Processes for an encompassed pre-financing, leading to the construction of affordable houses, home ownership accessibility through various proposed schemes and the mortgage refinancing structure were some key areas highlighted for further review at future stakeholders’ meetings.
By Marc Philips