Friday, September 12, 2014

66,402 apply for FG’s 10,000 housing units

The Federal Government on Thursday said it had in the last one month received 66,402 applications for the first phase of its 10,000 mortgages under the Affordable Home Ownership Scheme.
The project, to be spearheaded by the newly established Nigerian Mortgage Refinancing Company, will enable Nigerians to own their houses through mortgage loans at low interest rates under a flexible payment package.
Findings revealed that under the housing scheme, a unit of two-bedroom apartment would be sold for between N7.5m and N10m, depending on the location; while a three-bedroom house would be sold for N10m and above.
The Minister of Finance, Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, while giving an update on the implementation of the scheme in Abuja on Thursday, said since the commencement of the programme on August 11, many people had expressed interest in the project.
She said the applications were spread across the 36 states of the federation and the Federal Capital Territory, with 63 per cent of applicants being male.
Okonjo-Iweala said, “As of Friday, September 5, 2014, the initial closing date of the registration exercise, we had received 66,402 valid applications, with more still calling. That is more than six times oversubscription to our initial 10,000 pilot. We are extremely pleased with this outcome
“The applications were spread across the 36 states, including the FCT. Sixty-three per cent of applicants were male, while 37 per cent were female.
“Eighty-nine per cent of applicants applied for themselves – that is in their own names, even our women. Everybody seems to want to own their homes.”
Of the 66,402 people that applied, Okonjo-Iweala said 96 per cent of them were currently living in rented accommodations, while 51 per cent of the applicants preferred to live in Abuja and 18 per cent in Lagos.
“This shows that almost 70 per cent of applicants want to live in the two main urban areas and there is a strong belief in Nigeria showing that Abuja is truly the centre of unity,” she added.
The minister, who said only 11 per cent were joint applications (husband and wife), also added that about 60 per cent of the applicants were in the 31-40 year age bracket, and 15 per cent in the 21-30 year bracket.
Interestingly, she said Nigerians showed that they preferred three-bedroom flats/houses, with 62.7 per cent of the applicants signifying intention to acquire this property type.
Okonjo-Iweala added that 32 per cent of the applicants wanted two-bedroom flats, while a small percentage applied for one-bedroom flats and one-bedroom self-contained apartments.
In terms of employment status of those seeking to own these properties, the minister said that 92 per cent of the applicants were in stable employment positions, while only eight per cent were self-employed.
When asked what the government would do now that the first phase of the housing scheme had been oversubscribed, she said, “Now, due to the over subscription by six times, a decision has been taken to give all applicants to the lending members of the NMRC to share on a pro-rata basis.
“Lending members of the NMRC are expected to have the refinancing window of up to 20 years. They will sift through, then analyse and pre-qualify all applicants, culminating in the amounts each lender is willing to advance to the applicant.
“This lets the applicant know the value of property he/she can afford. Lending members of the NMRC have promised to complete this exercise within six to eight weeks from the receipt of the list.”
The minister said owing to the importance that President Goodluck Jonathan attached to the scheme; the first completed 10,000 mortgages would be published in the media, while subsequent qualified applicants would be notified.

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