Renowned international housing expert, Marja Hoek-Smit has said that the current string of economic shocks has battered emerging market economies across the globe, with major impact on housing programs, affordability and supply with Nigeria not exempted.
She stated this during a session at the 16th Africa International Housing Show (AIHS) held in Abuja.
Marja noted that in spite of the multiplier effects of housing, the sector remains untapped in stimulating economic recovery as well as guarranting enormous opportunities including employment.
Highlighting the required policy incentives to address the macro and fiscal challenges of housing delivery in the country, Marja urged the government to expand and de-risk financial/capital markets for housing, reform poor and costly policies, and review measures to unlock supply in underserved markets.
According to her, the Coronavirus pandemic plunged many nations into fear of uncertainty and high debt levels due to soaring global inflation, leading to tightening of monetary policy in advanced economies.
“This has resulted in deceleration of economic growth – EMDEs GDP per capita growth and expected growth 2 to 2.5% from 4% pre-pandemic, while shifting investors away from EM bonds. It also collapsed the benchmark index of dollar-denominated EM sovereign bonds”, she added.
Reeling out ways the Nigerian housing sector potentials can be tapped given current macro constraints, she said there is need to urgently expand the financial sector for housing to deal with new financial risks through primary lending and capital markets.
Speaking further, she noted that housing supply must be scaled up through targeted private and public sector actions, using innovative methods without adding fiscal stress as well as create a common housing platform for public and private decision makers to achieve speedy actions.
She also sued for a healthy synergy between policy-makers from Public, Private, Non-Governmental Sectors at national, state, and local levels.
“Government should create urgency around the housing sector in the current downturn and build a coalition among top decision-makers at all levels including private/NGO/DFI players – lenders, investors, developers. It is also important that the government focus discussions on top priorities for the housing sector to reach scale while creating understanding and political will at the highest political level to make the housing sector a national priority”, she stated.