Between Official Orthodoxy and Received Wisdom: Explaining Urban House Vacancies in Nigeria




housing, housing market, natural vacancy, Nigeria, real estate, urban migration, vacancy rate


Housing policies demonstrate the importance of shelter in the hierarchy of human needs. Therefore, Nigeria has a history of initiatives, handled by a ministry of housing, to stimulate   housing production. However, recently expressed views by the housing minister suggest a new official thinking which, if officially embraced, could have undesirable implications for the sector. The views dispute the much mentioned 20 million-unit housing shortfall; deny the existence of any shortfall because of observed urban vacancies; suggest that all vacant houses are available for use and can be utilised for existent urban needs; and attribute rising urban housing demand exclusively to rural-urban migration. In this paper, these views are examined, particularly because Nigeria has ordinarily not been associated with housing sufficiency; Nigeria’s characteristic situation of rapidly rising rents suggest a supply insufficiency; every vacant house may not be available for occupation; and urban migration can also come from non-rural sources. Data for the study comes from the archives, received wisdom on the operations of the housing industry and empirical findings in housing economics. The findings reveal that a lack of data evidence is enough justification for the minster’s dismissal of the much mentioned 20 million-unit shortfall, but not the complete absence of a shortfall. The assertion that vacancies imply an oversupply is equally unsubstantiated by data and unsupported by received wisdom. Also the view that all vacancies imply availability is misplaced; and the claim that urban migration is entirely of rural origin disregards urban-urban migration. The conclusion is that the claims of an oversupply and absence of a housing shortfall are unfounded, particularly in the absence of data evidence, the same grounds for official dismissal of the 20 million-unit shortfall. The study recommends that the ministry should have a “rethink and understand the problem”, particularly how the housing market works.



Download data is not yet available.

Author Biography

Ndubisi Onwuanyi, university of benin,benin city,edo state,nigeria

lecturer I in estate management




How to Cite

Onwuanyi, N. (2022). Between Official Orthodoxy and Received Wisdom: Explaining Urban House Vacancies in Nigeria : . Journal of African Real Estate Research, 7(1), 57–76.