The Estate, Rent and Commission Agents Association of Nigeria has called on the Federal Government to declare a state of emergency in the housing sector.

The President of the association, Mr. Emmanuel Dare, said during the 19th Annual General Meeting and Conference of the Lagos Chapter, that housing was an essential need and that the government must place priority on the provision of homes for the citizens.

The theme of the conference was: ‘Provision of affordable homes and infrastructural development in Lagos State’.

Dare said, “Every government in the world takes housing seriously. In our country, the state of infrastructure is degrading and the crisis in the North-East, among others, has placed pressure on housing needs.

“We call on the Federal Government to declare a state of emergency in the housing sector, especially in the North-East, and set up housing initiatives in all states of the federation.”

He also said that the government could reduce the housing deficit in the country by supporting local producers of building materials through the provision of an intervention fund.

The presenter of the conference lecture, Mr. Deji Juba, said the government should widen the mortgage market to accommodate non-salary earners, adding that they constituted a small percentage of the country’s population.

The Chairman, ERCAAN, Lagos Chapter, Mr. Godwin Alenkhe, said the real estate sector had suffered a setback in the last few years with the global meltdown and political instability resulting in lower annual gross revenue from the sector.

According to him, it has become critical to look into the availability of affordable homeownership and building a stronger infrastructure base.

“A well-articulated policy of public and private partnership is the only solution to homeownership and affordability,” he said.

Alenkhe said the association, in a bid to ease the stress of homeownership, had acquired 10 acres of land in Agbowa-Sagamu through a joint venture agreement to build its own estate.

A guest speaker and publisher of Nigerian NewsDirect, Samuel Ibiyemi, urged members of the association to take advantage of the economic downturn to boost growth in the sector.

“In this period of downturn, it is important to approach our lives and businesses strategically. As professionals in real estate, while the price of crude oil is down, investors are looking into selling off properties, which you can key into. You must focus on transactions that will bring you revenue,” he said.

An estate surveyor and valuer, who was also a guest speaker, Mr. Kunle Adedeji, spoke on the need for proper property valuation before sale.

Another guest speaker and an auctioneer, Mr. Jogunola Onabanjo, advised real estate agents to learn the art of auctioning properties as it would become popular in the country in the years to come.

The association also gave out awards to individuals and corporate organisations, including Punch Nigeria Limited for in-depth reporting of the real estate industry by newspapers in its stable.

Online real estate marketplace, Lamudi, also received an award for exceptional service at the forum, while an estate surveyor and valuer, Mrs. Linda Patunola-Ajayi, got the outstanding personality award, among other recipients.

SOURCE: PUNCH NEWSPAPER

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