Housing generally has not ranked high on the scale of priorities for social spending and state governments have tended to rely upon local authorities to meet the problem. Efforts at providing low-cost rural housing have been minimal, despite the creation of the Federal Mortgage Bank of Nigeria in 1977, and shantytowns and slums are common in urban areas. Overcrowding in urban housing is a serious problem. It has been estimated that about 85% of the urban population live in single rooms, often with eight to twelve persons per room. Living conditions are poor. In 1996, only about 27% of urban dwellers had access to piped water. Less than 10% of urban dwellers had an indoor toilet.
As of 1979, about 37% of all housing units were cement or brick roofed with asbestos or corrugated iron; 34% were mud plastered with cement and roofed with corrugated iron. In the same year, 44% of urban dwellings were rented, 37% were owner occupied, 17% were rent free, and 2% were "quasirented" at below-average rates. The total number of housing units in 1992 was 25,661,000.