Practical examples of housing market interventions

Posted: 7th November 2019

At Altair International we have developed a significant amount of experience of a wide range of interventions which have been implemented to tackle housing shortages across the world. We also pride ourselves on ensuring that the interventions we are involved in, are practical and are supported by sufficient skills transfer activity to ensure that they are effectively taken forward.

Below are examples of the interventions we have been involved in developing across the world.

  1. Assisting Sub Sahara Africa’s largest housing fund to provide 500,000 homes to help address Nigeria’s growing affordable housing crisis.

In October 2017, Altair International was commissioned to prepare a business plan and develop a business model for Family Homes Fund (FHF) Nigeria. Registered in 2017 and commencing operations in 2018, the Family Homes Funds is Sub-Sahara Africa’s largest housing fund focused on affordable homes for Nigerians on low income.

It is a social housing initiative promoted by the Federal Government of Nigeria as part of its Social Intervention Programme with initial shareholding by the Federal Ministry of Finance and the Nigeria Sovereign Investment Authority. Over the next 4 years, the company aims to invest up to N1.3trn (US$3bn) in the development of 500,000 homes for people on low income. In the process, the Company also aims to create up to 1,500,000 jobs and enable homeownership through its creative products.

The first phase of the assignment completed in March 2018 involved Altair International undertaking a review of the Nigerian housing sector, housing need, effectiveness of existing supply and demand interventions, review of the housing value chain, developing and validating FHF business model to address supply challenges, preparing a medium and long term financial plan, developing a range of housing products to address demand risk, developing a sustainable financial model, detailed implementation plan, governance and staffing structure and providing assistance to apply for funding from the World Bank. During the period we engaged and tested the concepts with over 100 stakeholders.

The second phase of the assignment completed in March 2019 involved Altair International providing additional assistance to design the housing finance intervention recommendation in the business plan called “Help to Own”  which is a home loan assistance product to support FHF’s objective of improving access to affordable housing for those in middle to low income taking into account the constraints of  the existing mortgage sector that is expensive and not accessible to those in low income.  The objective of FHFL is to: (a) Have a fully designed, modelled and developed ready to market “Help to Own” Scheme (including long term viability model, operational model and procedures, MIS system, branding etc.) which can be scaled up as necessary to support up to 500,000 Help to Buy Loans over the next 5 years.  (b) Have a pilot “Help to Buy” scheme (including long term viability model, operational model and procedures, MIS system, branding etc.) to support an initial 1000 Help to Buy loans by December 2019.

The Help to Own (HTO) is a programme where households buy a new home by contributing only a 10% deposit rather than the traditional 20% deposit. The remaining 90% is funded by a 20-year term conventional 50% mortgage from PMIs or banks on commercial terms negotiated with FHF taking into account risk mitigations resulting from limited exposure with the balance of 40% being a soft loan from FHF. The FHF loan requires no repayment of capital and interest in the first 5 years. After the first 5 years, the borrower repays the loan over 15 years with initial incremental payment starting at an interest rate of 3.5% per annum in the sixth year which increases over the 15-year period. In order to own the home outright, both loans have to be fully repaid by the end of year 20.

The work undertaken by Altair international included developing a conceptual model for the Help to Own Scheme including a detailed process map; carrying out testing of the conceptual model with real market information including house prices, income levels (particularly civil servants), consumer insights and preferences to inform detailed design of the key aspects of the Scheme; We developed a detailed set of Standard Operational Framework, Policies and Procedures for the Scheme including internal controls; We defined roles of partners specifically a panel of primary mortgage institutions and banks. As part of the assignment we prepared detailed Long Term Financial and Viability Model for a programme comprising of 100,000 loans per annum for 5 years. This included a balance sheet and P&L projections. We also prepared a detailed long term financial and viability model for a pilot programme as well as a technology and management information system framework to support the product, a detailed branding and communication plan for the initiative. We finally worked with FHF lawyers to develop appropriate legal agreements covering agreement with the prospective purchasers, mortgage partners, loan administration agreement between FHF, the prospective purchasers and the PMIs, deed of legal mortgage between PMI and the homeowners as well as inter creditor deed between FHF, PMI and security trustee.

2. Altair International providing support to Krygystan State Mortgage Company to boost supply of energy efficient homes

The Kyrgyz housing sector is challenged by aging, poorly maintained buildings and public infrastructure and risk prone conditions with a general vulnerability against frequent natural hazard events, besides prevailing poverty and low purchasing power, especially among rural households.

The objective of this consultancy project is to assist the State Mortgage Company (SMC) in developing solutions for low-cost, low-density housing design, construction techniques and materials suitable for local climate and cultural identity in rural areas, and support stakeholders in rural mid-sized cities to initiate corresponding pilot construction projects. The main goals of the company are to provide affordable housing for the citizens of the Kyrgyz Republic and to create a long-term, sustainable mechanism for attracting financial resources to the sector of mortgage lending and economy class housing.

While SMC is already planning to build high-density buildings in cities under consideration of historic housing policy standards, this pilot scheme is intended to expand the diversity of housing supply and targets affordability, energy efficiency and climate resiliency, and lower the risk of financing through portfolio diversification.

The experiences from the project shall also be used to help complement national policies by maintaining close stakeholder relationships especially with the national government institutions.

There are three housing finance projects operating in parallel.  The projects and their policy goals are shown in Fig. 1.

Fig. 1: Illustration of interrelation of the three lots of the project and their general goals

The outcome from the project led by Altair International working with a number of other advisers as well as Sweco and Affordable Housing Institute, is to have pilot projects prepared which integrate energy efficiency/climate resilience principles with affordable, risk free lending for the rural population. The core tasks of the project are to:

  • Conduct general housing market analysis for Kyrgyz Republic in up to 7 cities
  • Assist the creation of Special Purpose Vehicles (SPV) for land acquisition, infrastructure servicing, and real estate development including business plan elaboration (up to 3 cities)
  • Support SMC in developing simple and flexible low-cost- density housing solutions suitable for rural areas.
  • Identify pilot projects for new low- density construction in rural, mid-sized cities of Krygyz Republic.

We are mid-way to completing this exciting assignment and a design workshop is scheduled in the next couple of weeks to explore best practices for standardized, climate-efficient, low-cost rural housing.

For further information about the work of Altair International or to have a more detailed discussion please either visit our website or contact or

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