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‘FCT minister should revoke undeveloped plots’

Bala Kaoje is a former president of Nigeria Institute of Building (NIOB) and former president Association of Professional Bodies of Nigeria. In this interview, he spoke on the need for the FCT Administration to revoke undeveloped plots and use the money generated from it to open up new areas.

What is your view on the move by the FCT Administration to revoke undeveloped lands in the city?

The leadership of FCT has been very generous in the past in terms of developing areas by providing all the necessary infrastructures and giving people allocation at peanut cost by asking you to pay maybe N100,000 and after paying you get a land allocated to you and the government has spent billions to provide infrastructure in such areas. And you have a situation today where there is serious paucity of funds for government to continue developing new areas. How do you now find resources to develop and open up new areas within the FCT administration so that the congestion is reduced within the few districts that we have so far that are developed. So I think many of these plots are there undeveloped and already infrastructures are provided and these plots were allocated to the owners at peanut prices, no consideration of infrastructure  was taken into  account and they have left them for 30 -40 years undeveloped. And they are making the Abuja city look awkward in terms of beauty. So I think government should do something about it by asking the people to come and develop within a specific period of time.

So how should the government go about it?

Government should call on these people after identifying them and let them develop them at a specific time and if they refused then the government has the right to revoke and re-allocate to another person because this same plots are being sold for millions of naira so why should government sit there and make individuals richer and the government is looking for funds seriously to open up other districts.

Are you saying the FCTA lacks financial power to fund infrastructure?

As I speak the budget of the FCT  is still at the National Assembly and this is the month of October going to the end so the year is gone. And the FCT is waiting even for their budget to be approved and that budget of course is based on envelope perhaps with the IGIS rent they raise in the FCT. All that put together might not allow the minister to actually achieve all these projects he wants to achieve. So if these plots are revoked they will actually go into open market and sell them at high prices and may not be as high as that of normal speculators. If the FCT minister can raise billions within the next few months  he can probably go and open up  new areas and invest this money and allocate the area. So everybody should be careful the way he uses what he gets from government so that he doesn’t get government overstretched unnecessarily.

 Originally published in Daily Trust

FMBN seeks partnership to address housing deficit

The Managing Director of Federal Mortgage of Nigeria (FMBN) Ahmed Dangiwa has enjoined stakeholders to join the Bank in creating initiatives that will promote housing affordability for Nigerians.

Dangiwa stated this in a paper he presented at the 2017 housing summit titled “Real estate investments and mortgage financing in Nigeria: problems and prospects” organized by Media Options Communications limited held recently in Abuja.

He called for a framework to be developed for greater utilization of pension funds in housing finance as well as government at all levels to live up to responsibility of providing primary infrastructures for estate development.

The FMBN boss said that all legal and institutional impediments to the development of the real estate sector must be addressed by government in collaboration with the National Assembly.

He said, “I am happy that the National Assembly is an active promoter of this event. It has the most critical role to play in putting  a robust legal framework which is the foundation we need especially through the review of extant laws that have become archaic and out of tune with present –day reality and have largely become impediments to housing finance. The government must also sustain its efforts at promoting and encouraging the development of the sector,” he said.

He called for special intervention fund to ease access to housing construction finance by the operators in the sector as done by CBN in other sectors.

Originally published in Daily Trust

Top 3 Reasons Your Home is Still on the Market

One of the major challenges most homeowners or property investors face is the time it takes to sell off a property. The longer it stays on the market, the more difficult it may be to sell. Buyers often ask how long it has been on the market for two reasons:

If the property was so good and the offer is right, how come it stayed so long? There must be something wrong with the home! Have you noticed the moment a potential buyer is aware there is another buyer with an offer, they tend to sit up? The reason is simple, no one wants to be interested in what nobody is interested in.

Secondly, buyers believe there may be a lot of repairs since it’s been vacant and on the market for too long.

With the vast majority of sellers still assigning the sale of their property to estate agents, you might still be stuck with them for weeks or years if you choose the wrong ones. So, it ‘s an advantage if you are aware of these three tips.

Your house is overpriced

The moment you introduce your home to the market for sale, it will naturally attract a lot of traffic. Seeing that it is newly introduced, prospective buyers would call your agent to make enquiries, book for inspection, consult with the buyer and make offers.

However, if the price is too high, they would move on to look for better deals. You should be able to compromise at some point. Always do your research to understand the reasonable rates in that neighborhood before you place a value or better still carry out a pre-sale property valuation.

An unrealistic asking price would make a house linger on the market for too long.

Cumbersome inspection procedures

The more prospective buyers inspect your property, the higher your chances of selling. Don’t get tired. It should not be hard for your potential buyers to inspect the home they want to buy.

You also need to be prepared for the inspection and be ready to provide answers to any questions. Gather necessary paperwork, draw a map of the property or locate your survey, fix what needs fixing and be prepared to negotiate. You can also turn on utilities and ensure the process is easy.

It’s not attractive enough

You need to do better especially if you’re selling a used house. If you can’t get potential buyers past the front yard, then there’s problem. Clean the gutters, remove posters from the wall, paint the front door, and clean the windows.

Buyers want to see the potentials. A cluttered and dirty environment would defeat that. If you could stand at your front door, act like a prospective buyer and take a close look around, you will notice a couple of things that need to be attended to.

A quick checklist for home maintenance

Oh yes, there’s a checklist for every task under the sun. Whether you plan to sell your home or not, it’s important to carry out regular maintenance and repairs. Home maintenance is a preventive measure and it helps to ensure the value of your home does not depreciate.

It will cost you more to replace eventually than to maintain and repair regularly:

  • Inspect roofing for missing, loose, or damaged shingles and leaks.
  • Change the air-conditioner filter.
  • Clean window and door screens.
  • Polish wood furniture, and dust light fixtures.
  • Remove leaves and debris from gutters and downspouts.
  • Replace the batteries in smoke and carbon monoxide detectors.
  • Have a professional inspect and pump the septic tank.
  • Inspect sink, shower, and bath caulking for deterioration.
  • Vacuum lint from dryer vent.

 

Chairperson, Afriland Properties Plc, Erelu Angela Adebayo, Elected into Stock Exchange Council

Chairperson, Afriland Properties Plc, Erelu Angela Adebayo, has been elected into the council of the Nigeria Stock Exchange (NSE) during the 56th Annual General Meeting (AGM).

The National Council is currently made up of Thirteen​ (13) Members who direct the fin​ancial affairs, strategy, structures and policies of the body.

Born in the United Kingdom, she holds a BSc with honours in Social Science, an MBA and MPhil (Cantab) in Land Economy both from the University of Cambridge.

She has cut her niche in the banking and real estate sectors of the economy. She managed a leading real estate company, Quintecca, from 1990 and serves on the board of so many companies amongst which include DN Meyer Plc and Dangote Foundation.

Erelu was the first lady of Ekiti State between 1999-2003. She is a traditional chieftaincy titles holder in Ekiti State, (Aare Erelu of Ado Ekiti and Erelu of Iyin Ekiti).

BCPG, others harp on standards in construction industry

Pressed by the need to overcome the menace of building collapse and restore the glory of the built environment profession, the Building Collapse Prevention Guild (BCPG) has called for strict enforcement of standards in the construction sector.

President of the association, Kunle Awobodu who gave the charge during his valedictory speech at the 2017 Annual General Meeting of the organisation in Lagos, said “in an organized society where citizens naturally obey the laws that govern their conduct, building collapse is seen as an aberration but in a society where the simplest evidence of a disregard to law despite provision for specifications, there is a need for concern.”

He observed that some builders rarely obey the law that provides minimal airspace between the building and the fence. “What is observed in many places is at conflict with the specification thus gives an inkling and a deduction that the person, who supreintended over the construction of such buildings must have disobeyed many other specifications in the building construction process.

He said, “A person that cheats on the recommended setbacks is aware that he or she has created problems of insufficient ventilation, lighting, parking space, privacy and protection from fire incident in the adjoining or neighbouring building”.

According to him, one of the unique achievements of BCPG is that it has succeeded in dousing the unhealthy rivalries, bickering and discrimination among the Nigerian built environment professionals and created a platform where various construction professionals have learnt to work through the BCPG cell/grass root model.

Awobodu emphasized that BCPG’s collaboration with the Standards Organisation of Nigeria (SON), Lagos State Ministry of Physical Planning and Urban Development, Lagos State Safety Commission and other bodies should be strengthened as the main objective of the Guild is not for immediate pecuniary gains but for the promotion of standard construction in Nigeria to save lives.

In his keynote address, the Commissioner, Ministry Of Physical Planning And Urban Development-, Lagos State, Anifowoshe, Wasiu Abiola assured the association that government is ready to provide necessary assistance in tandem with the constructive engagement and high point of planning inclusion as enshrined in good Urban Governance of the State.

“The state places high premium on the collaboration of regulatory authorities with other Stakeholders. To this end, it welcomes suggestions, brilliant ideas, technical and professional advice toward curbing the incidence of collapse in Lagos State”, he stated.

The Director-General, Lagos State Safety Commission, Hakeem Dickson, said some professionals are obviously cutting corners with the use of substandard products. “This is highly unacceptable and must be nipped in the bud”, he said.

For the Chairman, Association of Professional Bodies of Nigeria (APBN), Lagos State Chapter, Wasiu Akewusola, government stands to benefit more in tapping on the abundant experts in all professional areas from the areas of policy formulation, development of strategies to implementation of policies and programmes of the government.

Originally published in The Guardian

Uzo Oshogwe at NIRESE 2017: Nigeria needs to embrace alternative construction technologies in a bid to reduce costs

Over 50 leading Nigerian companies and counterpart firms from the UK, Ghana, South Africa and UAE gathered recently at the 2nd Nigeria Real Estate Summit and Expo held at Federal Palace Hotel, Ahmadu Bello Way, Victoria Island, Lagos. The event with the theme “Collaborating, innovating and growing to achieve adequate and affordable housing delivery in Nigeria” focused on housing issues in the nation.

Uzo Oshogwe, MD/CEO, Afriland Properties Plc, spoke on one of the panels, identifying access to cheap fund, inadequate financial support and irrepressible fall of naira as some of the major hindrances in the housing sector. She advocated technology as one of the missing puzzles in Nigeria’s affordable housing plight. ” Affordability is a fundamental challenge facing even our most successful cities and as technology continues to shape the future, it becomes more obvious that this is one of the ways to solve the housing challenges in the country.”

Former Lagos State Commissioner for Physical Planning and Urban Development and National Vice President of the Nigerian Institute of Town Planners, TPL Toyin Ayinde, spoke on the bureaucracies, stating that the process of land titling creates a huge gap in realizing the dream of every Man to own a home. “The long and tortuous journey of processing Certificate of Occupancy delays the progress of works”. He advised professionals to always take into consideration safety, security, comfort and productivity, when building estates.  Also on the panel was Builder Kenneth Nduka, President, Nigerian Institute of Builders.

Nigeria has a house deficit of 17million, home ownership rate of 25%, urbanization rate of 4.39% and a projected population of 450million by 2050.

REDAN to hold national real estate data collation & management conference

Concerned on the need to reverse the dearth of data in the housing sector, the Real Estate Developers Association of Nigeria (REDAN), will organize a stakeholders’ conference on National Real Estate Data Collation and Management Program. The National Conference is scheduled for Thursday September 28, 2017 in Abuja.

A statement issued by REDAN stated that the focus of the conference is to comprehensively collate and manage data for planning and decision making relating  to preconstruction, construction and post construction activities in the nation`s  real estate sector.

The statement reads, “Specific areas will include land administration practices, formal and informal housing activities, housing affordability mapping and other key indicators that will aid effective policy and investment decisions.

“The objective of the program is to provide accurate and realistic data on the housing stock, housing types, Mortgage facilities/Institutions, occupied/unoccupied houses, tenement rates, selling/renting prices, skilled manpower availability, construction cost, prices for varying categories of houses in various locations and operational challenges. Others vital data to be collected include Cost of obtaining Title Documents, Access to Land and building materials, market prices for building materials, housing needs of various level of income earners and families, affordability profiling, housing deficit, housing development prospects. At the end of the exercise, it would be a worthwhile legacy that would be bequeathed to the housing industry for regular update.”

It states that the Central Bank of Nigeria, Federal Ministry of Power, Works and Housing and housing sector stakeholders will be in attendance of the 1 day event.

Originally published in Daily Trust

FMBN, FIRS partner on NHF scheme

The Federal Mortgage Bank of Nigeria (FMBN) has sought for partnership with the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS) to get non-contributing corporate organisations to key into the National Housing Fund Scheme by accessing FIRS’s database to obtain list of corporate organisations in the country.

The Managing Director of the Bank,  Ahmed Musa Dangiwa said this when  he  paid  a courtesy call on the Management of the FIRS in Abuja.

Dangiwa said the data is required by the bank to expand its client base, boost NHF collection and increase the bank’s liquidity in order to provide long term housing finance to Nigerians.

The FMBN Managing Director  said that the partnership with the  FIRS management was part of the efforts of the bank to reach out to its customers, sensitize them on the activities of the bank and the benefits of the NHF scheme of providing decent and affordable housing to low and medium income group at soft interest rate of 6%.

The Managing Director highlighted some of the products market by the bank to include Cooperative loans, Rent-to-own, Home Renovation Loan and the National Housing Fund Loan. He said  that to enhance the affordability status of borrowers, the bank has recently reviewed downward the personal equity contribution.

Dangiwa who  lamented   the reluctance by some corporate organisations and state governments to deduct and remit 2.5% of basic salary of their workers to the bank, thus having an adverse effect on the operations of the bank and the NHF scheme. He said the bank is presently collaborating with relevant agencies of government to enforce compliance.

In his response, the Executive Chairman of Federal Inland Revenue Service, Mr. Tunde Fowler, assured FMBN Management of  readiness to partner with the bank in achieving  its mandate. He promised to allow the bank access FIRS database inorder to have list of all corporate organisations with a view to boosting the bank’s NHF collection.

Mr. Fowler also called on FMBN to offer its services to staff of FIRS to enable them own their houses.

Originally published in Daily Trust

Why monthly rent payment will not work, by experts

Amid the decision of the National Council on Lands, Housing and Urban Development (NCLHUD) to impose monthly rent payment on Nigerians, experts have urged the governments to tackle the inherent problems inhibiting housing rather than delving into issues expected to heighten problems in the industry.

The experts, comprising estate surveyors and developers who  expressed divergent views say, the proposal will increase house rents, discourage property investments, engender black market dealings, others argue that the government should launch social housing  programme to assist the low-earning and provide cheaper housing finance to developers at a single digit loan.

The Council which is the highest assembly of senior officials of the Federal and State Governments, and experts in the housing sector had declared that enforcement of a law on monthly rent payment across the federation would ameliorate the challenge of access to housing in Nigeria, which puts existing housing stock at 23 per 1000 inhabitant making home prices and rents to grow astronomically ahead of the nations’ general inflation.  Currently,
property owners/landlords compulsorily demand between one to two  years’ rents from their tenants.

Speaking on the proposed law, the Lagos State Chairman of Nigerian Institution of Estate Surveyors and Valuers (NIESV), Rogba Orimolade said the reality is that there is existing shortage of housing stocks hence bringing regulations will amount to imposing a black market situation.

According to him, the government has failed in all their projections for over a decade in housing delivery, adding that due to their failure, it is only the private sector that could be relied on to meet their yearnings for adequate housing.

He noted that the private sector in turn are not building houses for charity but to make profits from huge borrowing from the banks based on double digits loan.

“ It doesn’t work that way. Government should face the core mandate, which is involves jump-starting the housing sector especially in the area of housing finance and let sources of housing finance be cheaper for developers. We need a positive situation where they could take loans by single digit and individuals can still afford to take loans. As long as the housing deficits is still huge, and government on its own is not doing anything thing in reducing it. We have a long way to go, we can talk about social housing in which government can subsidize housing that are coming in. Government should rather focus on those areas.”

He said, although the resolution passed on to the Federal Ministry of Power, Work, and Housing is a populist song for anybody to clap for, but inherent is a bigger challenge.

He emphasized that the main issues, which revolve round the vicious circle of the challenges affecting the sectoo include finance, cost of building approvals, the cost of doing business in terms of building stocks of houses, titling, making registration of governors consent cheaper.

“Government must take social housing as more of their socially responsibility. You can’t expect the developer to take double-digit loan and be collecting rents monthly. We will look at it as professionals and take a position”, he stated.
For instance, he said less than 5per cent of all lands in Nigeria is titled due to the expensive nature of titling.

He added that this is the reason for the slow growth of the mortgage sector, “for mortgages to thrive, you must give loans withtitles. If the conditions are not right, the only thing that developer can do is to step out and move to a more friendly clime”.

For the Chairman, Faculty of Estate Agency and Auctioneering, NIESV, Mr. Sam Eboigbe, if such proposal is to be implemented, core professionals and relevant stakeholders must be consulted for effective implementation . According to him, if the cost of funding and other variables required in making housing available is still high, the reality of such resolution is in doubt for the housing sector.

“If there are so many things that the private sector cannot control like the price of cement and other building materials, government must put a law in place so that if anybody defaults in paying the monthly rent, it should be easier to get possession of the property back. There should be a legal framework for defaulters that would say for instance five days after defaulting the developer must get his property back. If there are no legal framework, the impact of such proposal could also be a lot of behind the scene dealing and discouragement for investors”.

The Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer, Tetramanor Limited, a property development Company Mr. John Beecroft observed that the initiative has been in practice in other countries such as the United States of America but remarked that Nigeria standard is not ripe for it based on some observable loopholes in Nigerian legal structure.

“For me, rent is even expensive when you pay within a shorter period, if my rent is N1.2million yearly, if you are paying per month, I would charge you N200, 000 instead of the actual N100, 000 however, the other side is that rent is more convenient to pay on a monthly basis. In one of our property, what we did was that we gave our tenants three options, you can pay one year, or six months or monthly with high premium and so a few of them opted for that but luckily for us because we have a good working relationship with our tenants, it has worked well”.

He explained that in the immediate term, nothing would change because people would just continue as usual, stressing that such proposal if implemented, would drive more people outside the legal system because the landlords and the tenants will not have the need to do any contractual agreement.
On whether the law would discourage developers from investing in the housing sector, he stated that a developer who has high-in clients with good jobs and more investment in the luxury sector of housing sector would not be discouraged from investing in the housing sector but for those in the lower segment with clients who don’t have steady jobs, it would discourage investors because such clients might not be able to pay their rents promptly.

Another developer Mr. Olukayode Olusanya of the Oaks Homes opines that government wants to implement such law as a social programme to assist the low-earning capacity of Nigerians but expressed worries that it might not be a good move for property owners who would expect to collect the one or two years rents in bulk in order to re-invest, take themselves and families on vacation and boost existing housing stock.

He said such policy might also cause fluctuations in house rents from the side of the landlords who will in turn respond to emerging hike in prices of goods and services in the market, to jack-up the price of rents to the detriments of the tenants.

Originally published in The Guardian

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