It is commonly accepted that the well-being of both individuals and families is substantially affected when the need for satisfactory housing is not met. Access to adequate housing has long been viewed as a basic human right and is considered to be an integral factor for the employment of other economic, social and cultural rights. According to the United Nations (UN) Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, satisfactory housing consists of: Legal security of tenure, availability of accessible services, facilities and infrastructure; habitability; accessibility (e.g access to employment, health services, school e.t.c), Cultural adequacy and affordability.
Housing, being one of the basic needs and an indicator of the quality of life that a citizen enjoys, also helps in creating conditions conducive to the achievement of crucial goals in matters pertaining to education, health, sanitation and the living standards of the people. The Housing sector is the bedrock of the economy of most developed nations, an important tool for simulating growth. Housing construction indices are some of the most common measures used by analysts to gauge economic trends in OECD countries.
The housing sector has the potential to generate employment, increase productivity, raise standard of living and alleviate poverty. This is because investment in housing affects all facets of life through multiplier effect on economic development through forward linkages to the financial markets and backward linkages to land, building materials, tools, furniture and labourmarkets. However, the location of any housing development has a lot to determine the realization of all these laudable dreams. A housing development that lacks appropriate location reduces its property value. Location refers to the specific placement of a house which affects housing choices. A home is part of a neighborhood and should be viewed in the community setting. Each occupant has needs which must be met in the larger community. Facilities for education, transport, worship, healthcare, shopping and recreation are factors to be considered when making housing choices. Location choices also range from Urban to sub-urban to rural. A home that takes advantage of its surroundings reflect the character of the area. For homes should always fit their surroundings. Location is thus an important consideration in the design and construction of a home. The materials used to build the structure as well as the furnishings used to decorate the interior can be affected by the location.
A good housing location can mean different things to different people, of course, but there are also objective factors that determine a home’s value. A home is much more than just an investment and as such seekers are objective in their consideration. Some of the considerations include the following:
1) Centrality: where you choose to live within a city or town will undoubtedly affect how much you pay for your home. Land is a finite commodity, so cities like Lagos that are highly developed and don’t have a lot of room for additional growth, tend to have higher prices than cities that have too much room to expand. Some of these communities have a larger number of homes that are uninhabited and areas that have fallen into despair. In most cases, this Urban sprawl occurs as a result of population growth.When Sprawling cities experience a population exodus, it’s the outlying areas that tend to suffer the most severe declines in property value.
2) Neighbourhood:The neighbourhoods that appeal to you will largely be a matter of personal choice. However, a truly great neighbourhood will have a few key factors: accessibility, appearance and amenities. Your neighbourhood may also dictate the size of the lot on which your house is built.
In terms of accessibility, you should look for a neighourhood that is situated near your city’s major routes and that has more than a point entry. Commuting to and from work is a big part of many people’s day. So a house with easy access to road and/or public transportation will be more desirable thanone that is tucked away and can only be accessed by one route.
The appearance of the neighbourhood is also important. Large trees, Landscaping, and nearby green or community spaces tend to be desirable.Agreat neighbourhood should also include important amenities such as grocery stores, shops and restaurants without forgetting safety. A neighbourhoodthat has a low crime rate and is an inviting and safe place to be outdoors and commune with neighbours is the type of place where most people want to live.
3) Development: it’s not just present amenities that matter, but future ones as well. Plans for Schools, Hospitals, Public transportation, and other public infrastructure can dramatically improve property values in the area.
4) Lot Location:it is important where the house is located. In this instance, there are a few things to consider. If the house is on a busy road or very near a high way, you can probably get it for a lower price, but it will also be more difficult to sell later on. The same may hold true for houses that stand next to or back onto commercial property, such as a grocery store or gas station, or houses or streets that get an unusual amount of parking traffic and parked cars, such as those near large churches or community centers. Alternatively, a house with a wonderful view or near a body of water is likely to be more valuable, both now and when it comes time to sell it.
5) The House itself: the size of a plot countsmuch more than the nature of the house structure put on it. The reason is that houses can be updated, added on to, or replaced altogether but the lot can’t be charged. This therefore speaks more on the value of the property.
The national housing policy reform and programmes in Nigeria is beset with major dilemma of how to strike delicate balance between market liberalization, government intervention, and social mechanisms. It is evidence in the literature that past housing delivery strategies have failed to address the housing shortages in Nigeria. Those housing policies and programmes faced numerous challenges including restrictive and discriminatory land-use policy and acquisition constraints, high cost of building materials, absence of proper coordination of public housing agencies and legislation, poor project supervision due to insufficiency of supervisory technical staff, indiscriminate and un-coordinated location of housing projects. The institutional framework hitherto engaged in by stakeholders in housing delivery were grossly inadequate in addressing burgeoning affordable housing challenges in Nigeria, therefore, the government of Nigeria in overcoming these challenges have to addressed the above highlighted limitations to encourage private investment in the delivery of affordable housing to Nigerians.
It is therefore obvious that a home seeker considers objectively a number of locational factors before making his choice. An investor in housing development that neglects this objectivity is bound to meet with a great loss not minding the huge investment. In other to take care of this risk factor, an investor in housing development should of necessity engage a Professional Urban and Regional planner to guide the investment from the onset.
The Urban and Regional Planners are responsible for the planning and management of the growing urban and rural settlements; interpret development policies as they manifest in space and behavioral patterns in response to Settlement development; and develop appropriate strategies to manage human settlement problems which arise from growth settlements. Planners are into community development by proposing interventions inform of policies, programmes, projects, and plans to help shape communities. Planners are trained to determine appropriate site location for any development as well as implementation through site analysis considering several parameters. Planners help to determine how communities will grow and how they will adjust to change. The planner therefore has the mastery to guide any investor in the appropriate choice of location in housing development, considering his wealth of knowledge in national and localized development policies and paradigms. His services to housing development is therefore very imperative.