1.1 Background Information

Housing has a central importance to quality of life with considerable economic, social, cultural and personal significance. Though a country’s national prosperity is usually measured in economic terms, increasing wealth is of diminished value unless all can share its benefits and if the growing wealth is not used to redress growing social deficiencies, one of which is housing (Erguden, 2001). Housing plays a huge role in revitalizing economic growth in any country, with shelter being among key indicators of development (Ireri, 2010).  The universal declaration of human rights gives one of the basic human rights as the right to a decent standard of living, central to which is the access to adequate housing (United Nations, The Human Rights – article 25, 1948). Housing as a basic human right demands that urban dwellers should have access to decent housing, defined as one that provides a foundation for, rather than being a barrier to, good physical and mental health, personal development and the fulfillment of life objectives (Seedhouse, 1986). The focus of this research is housing for low income households or what is commonly known as affordable housing. Affordable housing is a term used to describe dwelling units whose total housing costs are deemed “affordable” to those that have a median income. A median income refers to the average pay scale level of the majority people in a population which is often low. Although the term “affordable housing” is often applied to rental housing that is within the financial means of those in the lower income ranges of a geographical area, the concept is applicable to both renters and purchasers in all income ranges (http://www.answers.com). Low-income housing is aimed at individuals without enough income to provide adequate housing for themselves and/or their families. These families are usually unable to purchase a home because they fail to qualify for a mortgage. Most families choose to rent based on their income and family situation; unfortunately, there may not be enough rental housing or enough good-quality rental housing for low-income families (http://www.ehow.com).

1.2 Statement of the Problem

Provision of adequate, affordable and decent housing for low income households is clearly in short supply. The players in this industry are too few and there seems to be a minimal interest of other private sector housing developers to provide low income housing units. These private sector developers as by their success in the middle and high income housing markets, implies that they may have the capacity and skill set to supply the low-income housing required to alleviate, at least partly, the housing shortfall in the country (Hassanali, 2009). But they have shied away from the low income market mainly because the profitability margins are lower as compared to housing developments for the other markets.

There are also many other factors affecting the supply of housing from private sector housing developers prominent of which is the cost of production and the opportunity cost to the developer’s finite funds in either providing middle income housing or high income segment housing or low income housing. The developers have to consider the rate of return to their investment and how fast they’ll realize this. But these are not the only factors affecting the supply of low income housing and the other factors should also be put into consideration. Provision of low cost housing to the increasing number of lower and middle income classes in the country has also been hugely affected by the cost of land and inadequate infrastructure (Bonyo, 2010).

The problem that this research seeks to address is that of the shortage in housing supply for low income households and the challenges faced by both existing and potential developers in this market. Issues to be addressed in this research study include the factors affecting low income housing supply, the motivating factor to existing developers in venturing into this market and the housing models they have adopted in their projects.

1.3 Research Objectives

The purpose of this study is to research on the factors affecting housing development for the low income market. It seeks to achieve the following objectives:

  1. To identify the motivation behind existent players in the industry whether profit, social or other.
  2. To analyze the housing model that has been adopted here in Makurdi by existing housing developers for the low income market.
  3. To examine the challenges faced by housing developers in the low income market and hindrances to their efforts.

1.4      Research Questions

The research aims to answer the following key questions:

  1. What is  the  motivation behind existing players  of housing development  in the  low income market?
  2. What are  the  housing  development  models  that  have  been  adopted  in  Makurdi  for affordable housing projects?
  3. What are the challenges faced by the developers in the low income housing market?

1.5      Importance of this research study

This research study will be of benefit to the following key stakeholders in the housing industry: Housing Social Enterprises.

1.6     Scope of the study

This study will identify the motivation behind existent players in the industry whether profit, social or other. The study will also  analyze the housing model that has been adopted here in Makurdi by existing housing developers for the low income market. Lastly, the study will  examine the challenges faced by housing developers in the low income market and hindrances to their efforts. Hence the study will be delimited to Makurdi, Benue State.

1.7     Limitation of the study

In the course of carrying out this study, the researcher experienced some constraints, which included time constraints, financial constraints, language barriers, and the attitude of the respondents.

In addition, there was the element of researcher bias. Here, the researcher possessed some biases that may have been reflected in the way the data was collected, the type of people interviewed or sampled, and how the data gathered was interpreted thereafter. The potential for all this to influence the findings and conclusions could not be downplayed.

More so, the findings of this study are limited to the sample population in the study area, hence they may not be suitable for use in comparison to other companies and locations.


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