Mortgage financing in the country received a major boost yesterday, as Cantor Fitzgerald & Co, a global private investment firm with strong expertise in asset- backed mortgage securities announced its plan to invest a minimum of $1billion (about N200 billion) in the Nigerian mortgage sector.
The firm has also made arrangements to build 10,000 houses in Kaduna, Lagos, Enugu and Abuja within the next one year.
Representative of the company, Mr Jack Heffernan, managing director of the firm’s Debt Capital Markets division, signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with Professor Charles Inyangette, CEO of the Nigerian Mortgage Refinance Company (NMRC) in a ceremony presided over by the Coordinating Minister for the Economy and Minister of Finance, Dr Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, yesterday, in Abuja.
Okonjo-Iweala said that the entry of such an important player into Nigeria’s mortgage sector was yet another signal that the Jonathan administration’s vision on making affordable housing available to Nigerians was gaining the confidence of serious international investors.
She said that the prospects of achieving the core vision of the NMRC which is to get young Nigerians convenient access to the means of owning their own homes has been achieved.
“Cantor Fitzgerald’s presence in Nigeria shows that our mortgage strategy is attracting the right kind of attention from the right kind of people around the world and this will deepen and diversify and ultimately reduce the cost of mortgage and housing in Nigeria.
This shows that President Jonathan’s vision of making housing available to Nigerians is working,” said Okonjo-Iweala.
Heffernan described the NMRC as “exactly the right business model to bring liquidity to Nigeria’s housing sector”.
According to him, the double digit interest on mortgages currently applicable in Nigeria would gradually give way to single digit as liquidity increases in the system and more houses are made available.
He said, “I have been in the mortgage sector for about 30 years in the U.S. When I first started interest rate was 12 per cent and over 30 years, it has dropped to four per cent Nigeria can experience same,” Heffernan said.