ASSESSMENT OF THE RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN ENVIRONMENTAL QUALITY AND RESIDENTIAL HOUSING RENTS IN ENUGU METROPOLIS, NIGERIA
One major factor that influences choice of residence in a particular urban environment and willingness to pay for rental housing is the quality of environment. Environmental quality entails the varied characteristics that relate to natural environment as well as the built environment, such as air and water purity, infrastructure, pollution, and the potential effects which they have on people live and their wellbeing. This study empirically examines the environmental quality in Enugu and its effect on residential housing rents. The objectives of the study are to: (i) identify the indicators of environmental quality in Enugu; (ii) determine the nature of urban environmental quality index in the city; (iii) assess the relationship between environmental quality and residential housing rents of different neighbourhoods in Enugu; and (iv) examine the spatial variation of environmental quality among the residential neighbourhoods densities in Enugu. From these, three hypotheses were formulated and tested: (i) There is no discernable pattern of environmental quality in Enugu Metropolis; (ii) There is no significant relationship between environmental quality and residential housing rents in Enugu; and (iii) Environmental quality does not differ significantly in Enugu Metropolis. The study design was cross-sectional survey. Data collection was from direct rfield observation, measurement and questionnaire survey of 1,399 households through stratified random sampling. The research questionnaire was adequately developed and tested to ensure unbiased results. It was validated by the researcher’s supervisor, a statistician, and environmentalist. The research instrument was ensured to be adequate in terms of the content, context, and construct from the preliminary survey conducted, which proved this. Finally, the test-re-test results were subjected to the Cronbach alpha test, and a high result of 0.80 obtained determined the reliability of the instrument. The 32 indicators verified were aggregated into six components. They were Physical Environment and Housing Condition; Economic Viability and Transportation; Community Facilities; Social Services; Security and Energy; and Flooding. There was a positive relationship between residential housing rents and environmental quality. The result shows an R2 = 0.989 with a P value of 0.026. This could be linked to the nature of environmental quality with high for low density areas and the reverse for high density areas. There was also a significant difference in environmental quality among the neighbourhoods (P=0.49).The study would constitute policy implications for the implementation of sustainable projects through the verified environmental quality indicators.