The federal government finally rolled out its planned 10,000 Nigerian Mortgage Refinancing Company (NMRC) mortgages to make home ownership affordable to Nigerians.
The Coordinating Minister for the Economy and Minister of Finance, Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, while speaking at the event in Abuja on Thursday stated that low income earners would begin to have the opportunity to own their houses under a flexible payment package with the commencement of the scheme.
Dr. said: “This is a serious scheme for serious people who want to own their own houses seriously.
“The government is determined to deliver on President Jonathan’s pledge to enable Nigerians to own their own homes through mortgage. But we must make it clear that applicants must meet specific eligibility criteria to qualify.
“That is the best way to create a level playing field and make the scheme sustainable so that more Nigerians can benefit,” she said.
The minister also said the process had been simplified for Nigerians to own their houses through affordable mortgages.
Under the new framework, the processing time for application for the mass housing project has been reduced from 18 months to six weeks.
According to her, the federal government “wants Nigerians to own their houses at affordable cost The NMRC mission is to provide long term funding for the housing sector.
Under the housing scheme, a unit of two bedroom apartment might be sold for between N4.5 million and N7.5 million depending on the location while that of a three bedroom could go for around N8 million given the location.
The ability of banks to provide mortgages is limited by the fact that 80 per cent of all deposits are on 30 day period
“So instead of people not being able own houses as they would have to pay up in 12 or 18 months, we are changing that now so that for 10 to 15 years, people can be able to pay for their own houses” the finance minister said.
Also speaking at the event, the Minister of Lands, Housing and Urban Development, Mrs. Akon Eyakenyi said apart from the mortgage/housing financing project being spearheaded by the NMRC, the ministry was implementing other supporting projects to help provide affordable houses for Nigeria.
The minister explained that the current framework for getting title documents for lands is currently being reviewed so as to remove the bottle necks associated with land ownership while efforts are on to update existing databases to help government increase the national housing stock.
Speaking to journalists at the end of the roll out, the Chief Executive Officer of the NMRC Mr. Sonnie Ayere said the scheme is targeted at Nigerians who earn around N500,000 to N3 million per annum to cover different categories of housing types from Studio apartments (Self Contained) to detached and semi-detached houses either standing alone or as blocks of flats.