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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.

Propertywire.com 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

Real estate remains Nigeria’s 5th biggest GDP contributor – Report

An online real estate firm, PropertyPro.ng, has released a report of the Nigerian real estate sector for the first quarter of the year 2018.

The report, according to a statement from the firm which was made available in Lagos, focused on trends in the Nigerian real estate market in the year 2017 and the first quarter of 2018.

PropertyPro’s Chief Business Officer, Sulaiman Balogun, stated that statistics from the report makes it evident that the real estate sector is experiencing a significant growth to retain its position as the 5th biggest contributor to the GDP of Nigeria.

It analysed how impactful the economic recession was in the real estate market and examined going prices for properties within the residential and commercial umbrellas of the sector.

The statement quoted the firm’s CEO, Fikayo Ogundipe, saying “a lot is happening in the real estate sector, especially in Nigeria, and we feel it is something worth talking about. With this report, everyone interested in the real estate sector in Nigeria will be able to understand the current trends of the Nigerian real estate sector.”

It explained that the report was influenced by the rate at which properties are searched for online by Nigerians.

“We monitored the most searched types of properties by Nigerians along with the price range that fell within the interest of online real estate end users,” said Seyi Ayeni, the Chief Technical Officer of PropertyPro.ng.

 Originally published in Daily Trust

How to Protect Your Home in Rainy Season

Rainy season naturally attracts mixed feelings. You are glad the days of excessively hot weather are finally over and happily welcome nights of sound sleep, but then you dread heavy rainfall, high winds, thunderstorm, flood and other destructive consequences.

You can never be too prepared for rainy season, especially due to climate change and a rise in global sea level in recent times.

A rainy season dos and don’ts would come in handy but before then, see below some tips on how to protect your home in rainy season:

Maintain your roof

Strong and sustained winds are common during heavy rainfall and this can damage or remove your roof totally. Therefore, you need to invest in the maintenance of your roof.

During this process, you’d have the opportunity to identify minor damages and repair them before they become major problems and cost you more eventually.

Maintain a healthy drainage system

Inefficient drainage system is one of the major causes of flood and building collapse during this season. You should keep your drainage system functional and clean in order to intercept, collect, transport and dispose of water and keep away from your home as much as possible.

One of the best ways to maintain a healthy drainage system is to be mindful of what goes in there. The second is to clean you drainage system regularly.

Inspection after rainfall

After every heavy rainfall, you just can’t be sure of what you will discover. It is important to carry out a post-rain inspection to spot and clean up water or identify any damage that might have been done. Carry out both internal and external inspection: Check the basement, rugs, gutters, roof, windows, wall etc.

Whatever you discover, try not to procrastinate before repair. The next rainfall might just do the final damage to what you discovered.

Examine windows and doors

Even when you think you are fully prepared for rainy season, water can still seep through windows and doors because they are the most vulnerable to leakage. Carry out monthly inspection to be sure they are in good condition.

Painting wooden doors or windows can protect them from absorbing moisture or rain water during rainy season.

Other Tips

  • Keep up with weather forecasts
  • Trim trees and bushes next to the house
  • Eliminate branches
  • Look for erosion

 

 

 

Experts explore benefits of smart construction tech

With smart buildings gaining momentum – and as the technology behind them becomes more sophisticated and prevalent, built environment experts have called for the adoption of smart buildings in line with global best practices.

Smart buildings are structures that use automated processes to control building operations in areas such as ventilation, heating, air conditioning, lighting, and security among other systems. Currently, some old structures have started to convert to smart buildings in some countries to meet up with the demands of modern time.

The experts spoke at the 17the edition of the 2018 Lagos Housing Fair (LHF), held in Lagos. The event, which is an exhibition of products and services in construction industry, featured all the professionals in the sector including building artisans.

Speaking on the theme of the event; “Smart Buildings”, the Chairman of organising committee, Moses Ogunleye, a town planner, observed that the issues of resource consumption; energy efficiency and technology application should be at the front burner in the nations’ quest for development.

According to him, with the era of climate change, and instances of extreme climatic elements, the designs of homes, construction and usage must be done with the consciousness of making the structures most pleasurable and comfortable.Toward this end, he explained that a smart building saves its owners so much cost in construction and maintenance in view of the role of housing in economic and social growth of a nation.

He noted that the choice of the theme is to allow for a searchlight on adoption of durable and energy efficient homes in the country.“As a country, Nigeria should not only be concerned with increasing the number of housing units in various states or settlements, efforts should be geared at ensuring that what is built by stakeholders meet the requirements of smart buildings. A smart home should serve the intended purpose, enhance ventilation, minimise water consumption and be safety conscious among others”.

Expanding the theme; the First Vice President of the Nigerian Institute of Building; ((NIOB), Biodun Awobudu said it is high time Nigeria converts some of its local buildings to scientific smart ones to join the league of nations adopting the option of smart building.He posited that smart buildings involve addition of scientific additives into building finishing. This he stated, would helped the country to improve on design and build a lot of homes with many technological inputs.

“Architects and building researchers should investigate on how to construct smart buildings. NIOB has been engaging our members to develop initiatives that could ease the cost of building”, he said.

On his part, the National President of Building Collapse Prevention Guild (BCPG), Akinola George, an architect, said Nigeria should be inspired by the global trends in the use of smart buildings and not wait until the country is ready for the technology before moving in that direction.

According to him contrary to the most popular notion that the technology is expensive, it is rather cheap provided the necessary infrastructural investment has been put into place.For instance, he said, Nanotechnology has tremendously changed the face of paints production with its current ability to last for over ten years. He explains that smart technology in construction sector will make building development cheaper and help Nigeria out of a corruption riddled society.

“Smart building requires special intelligence based on real time interaction using data and innovation based eco-system in a sustainable environment. Professionals in the built environment must upgrade to a city based sensor network that requires energy management, efficient water management, smart lighting, efficient traffic monitoring and heat resistant coating materials among others”.

George called for advocacy, engaging government at all levels through affirmative and collective effort to develop policies that would benefit the built sector while artisans and other professionals must also develop their thinking minds and interest in technology for rapid transformation of the country.

On the demand for affordable homes for the people, Oba Akiolu declared that what the government needs to do is to provide basic infrastructure like; electricity, good road, water and other important facilities in choice locations for the citizen to conveniently build and own their personal houses. To him, such facilities are the most important needs in the quest to surmount the challenge of adequate and affordable housing in Nigeria.

“Government should provide welfare initiatives for the people, the private sector must also support efforts of the government like it is the practice abroad. For instance, three states government could come together, clear a very large expanse of land build houses for the people or go into agriculture and produce food in large quantity”.He charged housing professionals to collaborate in tackling the problems of building collapses, land grabbers and illegal development in towns and cities as part of efforts to achieve a smart building environment.

Originally published in The Guardian

5 Reasons to Renovate Your Home

Improving the aesthetic appeal of the place where you spend most of your time is a big deal. It doesn’t really matter if you’re doing this because you want to sell or you just got tired of the present state, a lot of benefits come with home renovation.

Home renovation can greatly improve your quality of life. It also has an array of short-term and long- term benefits. Though this entire process can totally disrupt your daily routine, here are 5 reasons to renovate your home:

Increase property value

Just a fresh coat of paint on the exterior of your home can instantly increase quality and value. This is because it’s the first thing buyers or visitors notice most of the time. Apart from highlighting architectural details, it also serves as protection against elements such as rain, storm and sun.

Painting is one of the cheapest forms of renovation. Emulsion paint could range between N800 to N1, 200 and gloss paint from N1, 200 to N1, 500 per square meter, depending on the brand.

Increase functionality

One of the benefits of home renovation is increased functionality.  For example, if you notice there’s unutilized space, you may convert this into extra bathroom, kitchen or bedroom and instantly increase the value of your property.

You can also upgrade facilities during this process.

Reduce maintenance cost

Home maintenance cost increases when minor repairs are ignored over a long period of time. One of the benefits of home renovation is that it will take into cognizance all the repairs and replacements to be made, thereby reducing future maintenance cost.

Better security

Another benefit of home remodeling is that you have the chance to upgrade existing security features, replace windows, doors, siding etc.

You can also consider installing proper locks, alarm systems, home automation technology and maybe cameras to protect your home and loved ones.

Enhance energy efficiency 

One of the ways to save money during home renovation is to make moves to save energy. Simply upgrading plumbing and fixtures alone can make a lot of difference.

Changing the light bulbs, upgrading your bathroom/kitchen appliances and insulating walls are some of the ways to enhance energy efficiency during home renovation.

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