Govt unveils 200 homes monthly, lists eligibility
By Tope Templer Olaiya, Assistant Lagos City Editor, and Tunde Alao
No doubt the www.lagoshoms.gov.ng, website of the Lagos State Home Ownership Mortgage Scheme would be getting hits after hits 72 hours after it was launched. The reason being that shelter is one of the intrinsic needs of man and in Lagos, there is a huge housing deficit occasioned by overpopulation.
For many Lagosians, who had long stopped hoping of owning a home, the new development seems to have brought back the thought of a better future. From the 4th of March, the first of the monthly draws will be held for the first 200 homes. This number is expected to increase to 300 every month subject to the ability of the contractor to deliver the units on schedule.
In Lagos millions of residents are in dire need of decent accommodation. While those who are prepared to weather the storm have found succour in slums, many unfortunate ones have fallen victim to swindlers and land grabbers in their desperate search for a place to lay their heads.
Inaugurating the Lagos State Mortgage Board on Monday, Governor Babatunde Fashola took great delight at fulfilling another electioneering campaign promise. “I am proud because this project is a product of many years of grueling work, long hours and devotion by our team.
“In Lagos, we hold the view that a home is not something you buy in one day, but over time in a way that your ability to acquire it is tied to your income and continued prosperity. It is an asset that outlives you. As we flag off this scheme, there are 1,104 completed homes with another 3,156 at various stages of construction,” he said.
The buildings are blocks of four floors, containing 12 flats of one, two and three bedroom on each flour, in an optimal use of limited land space at Igbogbo Ikorodu, Agbowa, Gbagada, Igando, Mushin, Shitta Surulere, Ilupeju, Shogunro Ogba, Omole, Magodo, Sangotedo and Lekki.
Sites yet to take off include those at Iponri, Ibeshe Ikorodu, Ajara Badagry, Sangotedo Phase II, Obele, Akerele Phase II, Oyingbo, Ilubirin and Ijora Badia.
The rules of eligibility, Fashola vowed, would be strictly adhered to and enforced to ensure sustenance of the mortgage scheme.
From Right: Lagos State Deputy Governor, Mrs. Adejoke Orelope-Adefulire; Governor Babatunde Fashola;
Commissioner for Finance and Chairman, Lagos Mortgage Board, Mr. Ayo Gbeleyi; his Housing counterpart and member of the Board, Mr. Bosun Jeje; Executive Secretary, Lagos Mortgage Board, Mr. Akinola Kodjo Sagoe; two Executive Directors, of the Board, Mrs. Bola Fashola and Mr. Bayowa Foresythe during the launch of the Lagos State Home Ownership Mortgage Scheme (Lagos HOMS) on Monday.
“Applicants must be first-time home owners. Only those who have never owned a home, whether acquired privately or bought from government, will be eligible,” he stated and that: “Applicants would be required to swear to an affidavit that they have not got houses else-where in the contract that entitles us to repossess the house anytime, even in the 10th year if we have proof that a beneficiary owned another home when he applied to the scheme.
“In addition, only Lagos residents, not indigenes, who are tax payers will benefit. Applicants would be required to show us their residency card under the Lagos State Residents Registration exercise. Apart from residency, applicants must show proof of payment of tax for a continuous period of five years preceding their application.
“We also expect successful applicants to immediately pay a deposit of 30 percent of the cost of the house they choose as their equity, while the balance would be paid on a monthly basis for over 10 years. Accordingly, we would match house choices to applicants’ proven income sources to determine eligibility and it is only eligible applicants, whose forms would go into ballot from which successful applicants would be picked.”
The governor explained that the final eligibility for ownership was being left to chance after a transparent balloting system because demand far outweighs supply, as government was committed to abide by the rules that would stand public scrutiny.
He advised applicants to bid only for houses in the areas where they are prepared to live and not for every house that is put on the market.
“We would not allow any successful applicant to rent out the houses. If you do not live in the house that you win, you would have violated our first homeowner rule and it is a ground to repossess the house, pay you off and offer it to those who really need a home. We would only allow you to rent it out after 10 years when you would have fully paid for the house.”
As people eagerly await the advertised rates of the houses, it was gathered from sources in the Ministry of Housing that houses in the Emeka Anyaoku Estate, in Ikeja GRA, are going for N35 million, while the three-bedroom flats at Gbagada and other mainland areas would be offered for between N10 million and N15 million.
In defence of the project cost, Fashola said: “In terms of pricing, the Lagos HOMS is about affordability and accessibility.
“This is so because we have not yet found cheap or low cost cement, neither have we found low cost iron rod or low cost labour.
“The continuity and sustainability of the entire project depends on our ability to build more at break-even cost without profit. Accordingly, we have applied an across the board discount of 25 percent to the total actual cost of land, infrastructure and building, which is the total cost of the home.
“The houses become more competitive against what is available on the open market because there is a minimum period of 10 years to pay for it and the mortgage will attract a maximum interest of 9.5 percent per annum.”
Lagos State Governor, Mr. Babatunde Fashola (left) addressing Royal Fathers, Dignitaries, Party Chieftains, Media Executives and other stakeholders during the launch of the Lagos State Home Ownership Mortgage Scheme (Lagos HOMS) at the Banquet Hall, Lagos House, Ikeja, on Monday, February 03, 2014.
The governor added that prompt payment of monthly mortgages would be enforced as studies show that default of payment and difficulty of repossessing houses from defaulters have been a major disincentive to investment in the property sector by private sector developers.
Fashola stated further that the Lagos HOMS is not about providing a home alone, but it is also about a total lifestyle change.
“We are moving our people from a desperation for shelter to an orderly and planned living.
“Because it is a mortgage-driven scheme, we expect that people would take their jobs more seriously and apply themselves more diligently in order to retain the ability to pay the mortgage. You will lose your home if you lose your job, but we expect to see not only increased productivity but also a progressive reduction of unethical conduct in the workplace,” he said.
He hinted that the ultimate plan by government is to become guaranteed purchasers to developers, who will acquire their own land and build according to specifications on agreed prices.
“This way, more houses can come on stream because of the private sector participation, and government would use the Internally Generated Revenue (IGR) from tax payers’ money to buy from developers and sell to beneficiaries on mortgage.”