Why rents remain high in Abuja

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This report examines factors responsible for the hike in rent rates in Abuja, the nation’s capital.

 Housing or shelter is a basic need of all human beings. Housing, which is one of the basic needs and an indicator of the quality of life that a citizen enjoys, also helps in creating conditions pertaining to health, sanitation and the living standards of the people.

Abuja and influx of people

Housing has become the hardest problem to solve in many countries of the world. It’s a problem many administrators and housing stakeholders in Abuja, Nigeria’s capital are also battling to solve. Abuja witnesses a huge influx of people into the city on a yearly basis. This migration creates huge housing challenges.

There is a large difficulty in getting rental accommodation in the city as the prices are so exorbitant that low income earners cannot afford them.

Why rent is high

But why are the rents so high in Abuja? The major reason is the cost of buying land in the city. Africahousingnews.com survey shows that a piece of land in places such as Utako, Maitama, Katampe extension, as well as Jabi District, goes for between N300m to N500m. This is why the rents are very high per annum. The land lords made it so in order for them to recoup their investments.

Some of them even borrow money from banks at very high interest rates, and the only way that developers can get back their investment is by charging high rents.

Residents move to outskirts  

The high rent in the city centre has forced many residents to migrate to perceived less expensive areas such as Suleja and Madalla in Niger state, and Mararaba in Nasarawa state among other such places, where they can get comfortable accommodation for as cheap as N200, 000 to N255, 000 per flat.

The areas where these cheap apartments are located are majorly without good infrastructure like access roads and water.

Africahousingnews.com survey put rents for a two-bedroom bungalow in Maitama, Asokoro, Wuse and Garki at between N2.5 million and N3 million per annum. Our survey also puts the cost of the same apartment in the satellite towns of the FCT such as Kubwa, Lugbe and Karu, among others, at between N800, 000 and N1.2 million per annum in private housing estates.

Strangely, there are hundreds of unoccupied houses littered in the city centres while thousands are either homeless or living in substandard apartments.

Many houses in FCT not unoccupied

Unarguably, many of the private housing estates in the FCT have remained unoccupied years after they have been completed by their owners.

A cross section of civil servants said the high cost of renting houses in the FCT, mostly populated by civil servants, is a threat to the wellbeing of the residents.

The need to regulate rent rate

A staff of one of the federal ministries, Aisha Abubakar, called on the government to help regulate the prices of houses and establish appropriate rent tribunals to check the activities of shylock landlords in Abuja.

She lamented the difficulties she gone through over the years in trying to secure accommodation in the city.
Also, a resident of the FCT, Mr. Monday James, advised the Federal Government to construct affordable housing estates in different parts of the country as it was done in the 80s so that the average Nigerians could have access to decent accommodation, without having to pay huge money as rents every year.

It is hoped that estate developers will be a bit flexible with their terms of payment for houses, if that is done, the high cost of rent would drastically reduce in Abuja.

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