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NMRC up-scales housing finance, raises debt issuance to N440 billion

To deliver on its mandate of making housing finance more affordable and accessible, the Nigeria Mortgage Refinance Company Plc (NMRC) shareholders have approved the up scaling of the company’s debt issuance programme from N140 billion to N440 billion.

The shareholders gave their nod at its Annual General Meeting held at the Eko Hotel, Victoria Island last week, where the company Plc (NMRC) released its Annual Report and Accounts for 2017.

In the result, the company’s net interest income increased by 31per cent from N3.022 billion in 2016 to N3.976 billion in 2017.

Profit before income tax increased by 50 per cent from N1.289 billion in 2016 to N1.945 billion in 2017.

NMRC’s performance is further buttressed by the conferment of an investment grade rating with a positive outlook by Global Credit Rating Company.

The Chairman, Dr. Charles Okeahalam noted that NMRC had a successful year in 2017. According to the Chairman, the company grew its revenue and balance sheet, as well as improved its relationship with existing and new member banks.

The new banks that joined the NMRC are – FBN Mortgages, Brent Mortgage bank, Gateway savings and Loans, Omoluabi Mortgage bank Plc, Lagos Building and Investment Company Limited and Delta Mortgage bank.

The Chairman further noted that the company enhanced its service offerings, maintained its risk profile, and improved the rate of execution on refinancing its member banks while delivering on its strategic priorities.

The Company’s Acting Managing Director, Mr. Kehinde Ogundimu, noted that the company recorded significant improvements and created value for its stakeholders despite the challenging macro-economic environment.

According to Mr Ogundimu, earnings per share increased to N1.04 in 2017 from N0.72 in 2016 while total assets as at December 31, 2017 was N42.54 billion, an increase of N1.75 billion over 2016 balance of N40.79 billion.

The Acting CEO also noted that NMRC’s cost-to-Income and capital adequacy ratios and other regulatory and performance metrics were significantly better in 2017 than in 2016.

Originally published in The Guardian

Don’t Lose Sleep: 5 Ways to Secure Your Home

The fear of intrusion or unauthorized entry into our homes is one of the greatest fears of all. Great enough to keep us awake. An ideal approach to home security would be to combine latest security systems with best home security practices. However, we would focus on safe security practices in this article.

Break-ins are quite common in our environment today. The richer or more resources you have access to, the more susceptible you may be to attacks.

Don’t lose sleep. Below are 5 ways to secure your home and properties:

Eliminate all hiding spots

Trees, untrimmed garden and bushes are good covers for burglars. They either hide there to get in or hide there on their way out, especially if they are close to the doors or windows. Tall trees that are close to the building with extended branches may also serve as supports to get in through the window.

Ensure regular gardening and keep your environment clean.

Lock all windows

There’s a general misconception or a rule of thumb that suggests that only ground floor windows need to be locked and that windows on the first floor don’t need to be locked. This is not true. Windows on other floors asides the ground floor may also be accessible.

If there are two burglars, one climbing and the other assisting, that makes other windows accessible. Therefore, always lock all windows, especially when you will not be at home for a long time. You could also make use of reinforced glass, window bars and alarms that trip off if glass is forcefully broken.

Get a Dog

The general saying” The bark matters more than bite” is very applicable in the case of burglars. Though a dog is not a home security system, they won’t let strange movements go without a bark and that is to your advantage as a home owner. Dogs are reliable and know how and when to use their sharp claws, jaw strength, unparalleled sense of smell and fearlessness to your defense.

Monitor service providers

Most burglars need at least a bit of information on how to get into your home or move around once they gain access. A lot of scouting is done sometimes by service providers for this purpose. Keep your home secure by conducting background checks and keeping an eye on them when they are around.

Light up

Although majority of housebreaking occur during the day, some occur at night while homeowners are fast asleep. The darker it gets; the more confident burglars get and the easier it becomes for them to operate.

Light up your landscape. You could improve protection by installing lights that are equipped with motion sensors. Once there is movement in that area, they come on. That makes them feel someone is watching and might be less motivated to break in.

MD/CEO, Afriland Properties Plc, Uzo Oshogwe, Promotes Women’s Participation and Empowerment at the 12th Abuja Housing Show

The Managing Director/CEO of Afriland Properties Plc, Uzo Oshogwe, has endorsed the role of women in economic development and social transformation at the launch of the Women in Housing Sector Initiative convention. The convention which was one of the highpoints of the 12th edition of the Abuja Housing Show, held at the International Conference Centre, Abuja, was themed “empowering women… empowering our future.”

Speaking during one of the panel discussions, she stated that ‘empowering women is key to economic development and social transformation. Women must begin to shape, grow and believe in themselves and their businesses. We all must promote active participation of women in all the sectors.”

Other members of the panel include Director of Procurement, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Mrs. Ade Iyabo Ogunyannwo; Ms. Saadatu MD Aliyu; Executive Director, Sinoni Limited, Mrs. Mercy T. Iyortyer and Executive Director, Strategy and planning, NMRC, Dr. Chii Akporji.


Top 5 Landmarks in Lagos

Landmarks are the reason some people have not walked into a one-year old’s birthday party instead of a formal interview with a prospective employer in Lagos. Has anyone ever described a location to you using up to 5 different landmarks: ‘When you go straight down you will see a green mosque, by that mosque you will see a road to the left, don’t go that way, take the one to your right after the church.’ Typical right?

They are easily recognizable, outstanding and some have historical backgrounds.

See below top 5 landmarks in Lagos:

Tafawa Balewa Square

Popularly known as TBS, two features that stand out and make this landmark truly unmissable are the gigantic sculptures of four white horses and seven red eagles at the gate, the symbols from the national emblem signifying strength and Dignity respectively.

The square is a 14.5-hectare ceremonial ground in Lagos Island, Lagos.  It was constructed in 1972 in memory of Alhaji Tafawa Balewa, the first prime minister of Nigeria over the site of a defunct rack for horse racing.

The square conveniently accommodates over 50,000 people.

Third Mainland Bridge

This bridge is definitely one of the top 5 landmarks in Lagos. Of all the 3 bridges connecting Lagos Island to the mainland, 3rd mainland bridge is the longest and the busiest. Built by Julius Berger and commissioned in 1990, it was the longest bridge in Africa until 1996 when the 6th October bridge in Cairo took that position.

Measuring approximately 12 kilometers on water, with several billboards advertising top brands and products, there’s absolutely no way one would miss this landmark that starts at Oworoshoki and ends at Adeniji Adele interchange.

National Arts Theatre

The National Arts Theatre in Iganmu is indeed an architectural masterpiece, not just for its significance but also for the exterior design which is shaped like a military hat. It is very visible from Eko bridge.

Inaugurated by General Yakubu Gowon’s in 1973 and completed in 1976, the 23,000 square meters wide and 31 meters tall cultural landmark was constructed for the preservation of Nigeria’s arts and culture.

National Arts Theatre is indeed a significant landmark as commuters  refer to the structure in distinguishing between Ijora and Costain exits on Eko bridge.

Lagos Lagoon

The Lagos lagoon is one out of about 10 lagoons in Lagos. When setting out on a trip to visit Lagos for the first time, one of the most important things you are told to look out for is the 50 km long and 3 to 13 km wide lagoon.

The lagoon receives the discharge of the Ogun river and the Osun river. It is separated from the Atlantic Ocean by a long sand spit to 5 km wide.

Balogun Market

Arguably referred to as the largest market in West Africa, you’d find anything in this market, as long as it can be sold. If someone is ready to buy it, someone is ready to sell it in Balogun market. Located in Lagos Island, Balogun market is a place you would get the best bargains provided you are careful enough not to buy counterfeit products.

However, you can easily get lost in this market due to it’s size and many streets that look almost the same.

Photo credit: Pinterest

Reference: Wikipedia

Nigerians to enjoy 0% equity on housing loans below N5m – Fashola

The Federal Mortgage Bank of Nigeria (FMBN) has been mandated to grant zero per cent equity to Nigerians who wish to obtain housing loans not exceeding N5 million. Minister of Works, Power and Housing, Mr. Babatunde Raji Fashola disclosed this while speaking at the 7th National Council on Lands, Housing, and Urban Development, in Gombe state.

He also disclosed that for housing loans costing between N6 and N15 million, it has approved for the FMBN to allow Nigerians deposit only 10 per cent equity to it to be able to access the loan.

The text of the minister’s speech which was made available to journalist in Abuja said that the new mandate to the bank was in addition to a planned re-capitalisation of the FMBN and the opening of the National Housing Fund (NHF) to non-government employees.

The minister added that between May 2015 and July 10, 2018 the FMBN has issued 3,862 mortgages to Nigerians to acquire their own homes.

Fashola said his ministry was working with the Ministry of Petroleum Resources to develop standards for pipes and installations that will facilitate domestic use of gas for cooking and heating.

He said the initiative has become necessary because the country is at the moment under utilizing its gas resources especially in the area of domestic use for cooking and heating.

Originally published in Daily Trust

Property prices in key global cities drop

Prices in key cities around the world are rising at their slowest rate since the third quarter of 2015, up by four per cent in the 12 months to March 2018, down from 6.4 per cent a year ago, the latest index shows.

According to Propertywire , the Indian city of Surat leads the annual rankings with a rise of 22 per cent over the 12 month period, followed by Izmir in Turkey with a rise of 16.5 per cent, Hong Kong up 15.6 per cent and Vancouver up 15.4 per cent.

The global residential cities index from Knight Frank also shows that prices rose by 14.9 per cent in Berlin, by 14.8 per cent in Rotterdam, by 14.4 per cent in Budapest, by 14.1 per cent in Hobart, Australia, and by 12.9 per cent in Seattle, which is the top performance in the United States.

At the other end of the scale prices fell by 7.2 per cent in Abu Dhabi, by 7.1 per cent in Turin, by 6.6 per cent in Genoa, by 6.5 per cent in Darwin, by 6.1 per cent in Moscow, by 4.9 per cent in Rio de Janeiro and in Oslo, by 4.8 per cent in Delhi and Dubai, and by 4.5 per cent in Chennai.

The index report points out that while a year ago 12 cities exceed 20 per cent growth per annum, this quarter only one city was in this category and this growth in the Indian city of Surat is largely due to an inordinately low base in the first quarter of 2017, caused by the unprecedented demonetisation of high value currency in the country.

Overall, the data shows that Europe’s upward trajectory continues. Eleven of the top 20 cities ranked by annual growth are in Europe with growth of 14.9 per cent in Berlin, 14.8 per cent in Rotterdam, 14.4 per cent in Budapest, 12 per cent in Edinburgh, 11.8 per cent in Reykjavik, 11.7 per cent in Porto and 11.3 per cent in Sofia.

A lack of supply has boosted prices in Seattle with growth of 12.9 per cent with San Francisco recording growth of 11.2 per cent and Los Angeles up 8.1 per cent. In the US, despite three rate rises in the year to March 2018 average prices across the 15 cities included in the index increased by 6.8 per cent over the 12 month period.

The comparable figure for the UK’s eight cities is 4.9 per cent with Edinburgh out in front and Aberdeen the weakest performer with pries down two per cent while London has also seen negative growth with prices down by 0.6 per cent.

Southern Europe is increasingly polarised. Whilst Italian cities are well-represented at the foot of the table, Spanish and Portuguese cities are registering stronger growth. Porto, Malaga and Madrid all sit high in the rankings with annual growth of 11.7 per cent, 10.4 per cent and 10.3 per cent respectively.

Originally pubished in The Punch

Investment in European commercial real estate drops

Commercial real estate investment volumes across Europe are currently on course to meet 2017 levels, after finishing last year on a high.

Levels of investment in the first three months of 2018 was broadly in line with the long term average following one of the strongest final quarters on record, according to international real estate advisor Savills. reports that commercial investment totalled €46bn across Savills survey area, down eight per cent compared to the same period last year but broadly in line with historic trends, down three per cent, despite the traditional volatility of first quarters.

Poland recorded the highest investment growth at 329 per cent, followed by Belgium at 248 per cent and Luxembourg at 144 per cent. In Poland the sale of a €1bn retail portfolio gave quarter one volumes a boost and in Belgium a number of large deals carried over from the final quarter of 2017.

The research also shows that the UK, Germany and France remain the dominant markets for investment, collectively accounting for 63 per cent of activity while the biggest falls in activity were recorded in Romania with a decline of 81 per cent, the Czech Republic down 77 per cent and the Netherlands down 53 per cent.

Originally published in Punch Newspaper

Nigerians lament inconsistency in housing policy

Eggheads and investors are expressing deep emotion over the policy inconsistency in the housing industry, which they blamed for the deficit in the sector.

To achieve sustainable housing delivery in Nigeria, numerous housing strategies, programmes and policies have emerged from colonial era to date.

Although the housing policy also takes into consideration, other vital issues like health, finance, cooperative, provision of infrastructure, building materials (with emphasis on local building materials), periodic maintenance and repair, it could not achieve the expected results.

But the government and experts in the industry said Nigeria could not overcome its 17 million units deficit due to government and inconsistency in housing policies.

The Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF), Mr. Boss Mustapha, admitted recently that policy inconsistencies by successive administrations, hinder home ownership in Nigeria, and therefore compounds the increasing housing deficit in Nigeria.

According to him, the challenge of housing deficit would continue except those saddled with the responsibility of boosting the nation’s housing units ensured that they protect the housing industry from policy summersaults.

Mustapha tasked FHA members to re-strategise and come up with all-inclusive social roadmap that will impact more meaningfully on Nigerians.

“The provision of affordable and low-cost houses to citizens is a primary responsibility of the government because it is a social investment that should ease housing challenges.

“But over the years this objective had not been realised because of policy somersaults by the successive administrations.

“Since government is a continuum all developmental policies of the agency should be sustained and not discarded,’’ Mustapha said.

A member of the Nigerian Institute of Quantity Surveyors (NIQS), Mr Jide Oke, stated that policy inconsistency has remained a hindrance to the success of Public/Private Partnership (PPP) schemes.

Oke said PPP schemes would be more effective with economic stability and regularity in government directives.

He claimed that successive administrations scarcely completed set projects before their tenures elapsed.

“As such, the projects are usually abandoned for new ones by the successors,’’ he said.
According to him, governments should complete projects and execute policies started by their predecessors before embarking on new ones so that PPP would record significant progress.

He said that governments should to build confidence among investors, respect contractual agreements with private firms and provide special incentives to encourage private investments.

He called for the right policies, legislation and regulatory framework that would guarantee stable macroeconomic environment for success of PPP schemes.

Oke urged the Federal Government to focus on expanding the country’s investment, industrial and manufacturing base.

Also the Managing Director of Symphony Garden City, Lagos, Mr. Bola Adeboye lamented government influence in housing. He decried the rate at which both foreign and local investors in the housing industry are moving their investments from the country to other African countries.

Adeboye warned that unless the situation is reversed, investors would keep on avoiding the sector.

Recently, the Lagos State Commissioner for Housing, Prince Gbolahan Lawal, said government cannot be just an umpire in the housing sector because it plays a critical role on both supply and demand side.

He noted that all over the world government’s investment in housing has dwindled, because the conventional source of funds supply is simply inadequate due to emerging infrastructural demands in the urban development.

An Executive Director in the Nigeria Mortgage Refinance Company (NMRC), Dr. Chii Akporji, called for transparency, clarity of purpose and consistency in addressing housing challenge in Nigeria.

According to her, government has not really stamped its feet on the issue because housing has been made a mere political stunt and has not really tied it to improving the welfare of citizens.

She said that the government has not been consistent in creating enabling environment to attract investment in housing because of policy summersault. Akporji said there is need for consistent efforts to make housing investment to thrive.

Similarly, Dr. Kennedy Okonkwo, a developer and Chief Executive Officer, Nedcom Oaks, called for a radical perspective on the part of all relevant stakeholders.

Originally published in Daily Trust

Uzo Oshogwe, Managing Director/CEO, Afriland Properties Plc, discusses where the opportunities lie in Nigerian real estate on Capital Markets Africa

The past two to three years have not exactly been great for Real Estate market in Nigeria. This resulted from a tough 2016, characterized by inflation, weak currency, recession, declining GDP and reduced government spending. Generally, rising interest rates make buying or selling in real estate more difficult while decreasing interest rates make buying and selling easier. Unavailability of cheap funds and high interest rates further deepened the crisis and worsened the situation.

This also resulted in oversupply, low demand, high vacancy rates and poor returns especially in the retail market and commercial sector of the industry. After surviving the storm and coming out of recession in the last quarter of 2017, activities have been rekindled and the real estate sector has been on its way to recovery, albeit in small steps. Confidence is being restored and investors are keeping up with the trends, while closely taking note of the opportunities that currently exist in the market. Though it may take some time for the market to reach its full potential, the following investment options exist and have a good return on investment at the moment:

Read full article on Page 19 and 20 of the June edition of  Capital Markets Africa Magazine

Photos: MD/CEO’s Birthday Dinner

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