The other day I was watching a documentary about the housing crisis in the U.S and other major European cities. Of course those mostly affected are millennials; young people who juggle two/three jobs and still cannot afford to pay rent for a decent apartment. It is common to see two/three persons sharing a one room apartment in those cities, just to get some extra money for food. This is for those whose parents do not have a home, otherwise, at 25 you are STILL living with your folks.
Why are millennials so broke? So many think pieces have been written about it. Check HERE and HERE, my favorite is this one, The Urban Poor You Haven’t Noticed: Millennials Who’re Broke, Hungry, But On Trend .
You can argue that Lagos is not as developed as these other places, but looking at our housing issue now you can see we are heading down that route.
We are going to have a major housing crisis sooner than later because who is going to rent/buy these glass houses and luxury flats springing up in every corner around Lagos? Millennials? Or the generation coming after us?
According to recent statistics, the population in Lagos is expected to double by 2050. Yet, instead of investing in sustainable infrastructure, and low cost housing units the generation ahead, and building companies are investing their money in luxury homes and glass apartments, and what is the government doing about this coming crisis? Painting under bridges and erecting ugly statues.
I met someone recently who lives in a per-night billing space. If you don’t return on time, you won’t get space to sleep. So it’s basically a room, a certain number of guys split the rent per night, just to get a safe place to sleep. In the morning, he goes to work. Of course amenities are non-existent. You just find a place to do your toilet business and bathe. What kind of life is that? This person has a regular 9-5. He is trying to save his salary so that by the end of the year he’ll be able to afford paying rent in a place reasonably close to his office, because why live in Mowe and work in Lekki?
A group of boys rented one of those luxury flats in Lekki axis. They didn’t work, they only left the house at night or weekends to party etc. The landlord became worried, wondering what kind of people rented his apartment? So, he called the agent to inquire and the agent said: ‘When you were renting the house for N6 million per year, who were you expecting to rent the house? People who have regular 9-5?’
I laughed so hard when I heard the story.
In addition to the housing problem, some landlords are still requesting for two years rent upfront, or 1year and 6 months. Yes, the state has placed a ban on it but who is checking? How many landlords can you drag to court? And how much is the legal fee, agent fee and caution fee? Why pay such fees in the first?
Young people in Lagos are basically working for landlords and bus drivers, all your earnings go into paying for a house, transport, data and food. Let’s not forget about the black tax. After those there is nothing left but we are also supposed to save. Save what please? Our blood?
I was in the market last week, 4 average-sized tomatoes were selling for N400. What the hell? How are young people with kids coping in this economy?
Also, are we going to be the generation to raise families in shared apartments?
Nothing good can come out of this problem if it is not fixed immediately.
P:s- Millennials are people born between the early 1980s and early 2000s.