COREN advocates reintroduction of weighbridges on highways to check overloading

The Council for the Regulation of Engineering in Nigeria (COREN) has urged the Federal Government to reintroduce weigh bridges on highways to reduce overloading of trucks in the country.

Mr Kashim Ali, the President of COREN, who made the call on Monday in an interview with the Housing News  in Abuja, said that overloading was responsible for the destruction of most of our roads.

Ali said that the roads in the country were designed according to the axle load expected but expressed dismay over a default in the recommended loads on Nigerian roads.

“Way back even in the 60s when the roads were not well developed, we had weighbridges, what happen to them?

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“I am aware in the Ministry of Works that they commenced the procurement process for weighbridges many years ago and they have not completed the process, why?

“Those are the questions they need to answer, why have they not shown sufficient interest in putting weigh bridges on important roads?” he asked.

Ali said the roads in the country were built according to the expected highest axle load to be on it.

“Overloading is a big problem when you design a road; you design it based on the expected loading.
“In a road structure, you have expectations, what is the highest axle loading that you expect on that highway? So, you design to accommodate the highest.

“So, when the highest changes and the road have not been redesigned, the problem will come,” he added.

According to him, I was at a conference in Ghana many years ago and we were told about some vehicles that were brought into Ghana.

He said the 40 tonnes axle load vehicles that were denied a license in Ghana found their ways into Nigeria and were licensed.

Ali said most of the vehicles that carry goods through Nigerian roads from the ports to Chad or Niger were usually weighed at the border.

“If there is excess load, they must dislodge, they cannot enter Niger or Chad with excess load but anything goes here.

“We should commend the quality of work on our roads, for them not to have collapsed in a manner that we will really reflect on the kind of abuses that come on them,” he said.

Experts call for construction industry development board

Glimmer of hope is beaconing towards solving problems confronting the nation’s built environment as professionals in the sector have entered into strategic move to address the problem.One of the rewards of such move was the call for the establishment of Nigerian Construction Industry Development Board (cibd), which they said would be saddled with the roles of; formulating, implementing, regulating policies and initiatives that will speed up development processes especially in infrastructure across the country.

Before now, the construction sector has been bedeviled with challenges like, absence of construction firms in the stock exchange and international market, dominance of expatriate firms, lack of executive and financial capacity, reluctance of both public and private clients to pay fees for consultancy services.Others are; prolonged delay in projects delivery, high- overrun cost, high accident and injury rates and sub-standard or poor quality of works, dearth of local skilled labour, poor inflow of private sector funds, high level of corruption, payment insecurity, among others.

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To address these challenges and with the exposé that infrastructure development is the basic facilities, equipment, and installations required for the growth of a society, professionals in the industry converged in lagos to sensitise their folds on the desirability of the CIDB for nigeria at this critical moment of infrastructural deficits. the gathering was converged by the Nigerian Institute of Quantity Surveyors (NIQS).
The professionals include the presidents of the Nigerian Institute of Architects (NIA), Nigerian Institution of Estate Surveyors and Valuers (NIESV), Nigerian Institute of Town Planners (NITP), Nigerian Institution of Surveyors (NIS), Nigerian Institute of Building (NIOB), Nigerian Society of Engineers (NSE), commonwealth association of surveying and land economy, and heads of regulatory bodies in the housing sector

Leading discussion on the issue, a former Head of Department of Building, University of Lagos, Prof. Godwin Idoro posited that the proposed CIDB is an agency, which serves as a platform for promoting the growth and development of the construction industry, and reposition it for improved performance to enhance its contribution to the economic growth and development of particular nations. he said the board would spearhead the development of capacity, capability and quality of output as well as domestic and international competitiveness of the construction industry.

According to him, the establishment of CIDB has been one of the key recommendations of several research works on the nature and prospects of the construction industries of developing countries stressing that some developing countries like; Ghana, South Africa, Kenya, India, Malaysia, Singapore and others have embraced the concept with attendant pay-offs especially in the realisation of their national goals.

Speaking on the drivers of  CIDB in a paper entitled; “the need for the establishment of the Nigerian construction industry development board”, he said it can be a government agency which works with and draw guidance and support from a coalition of public and private sector organisations, all service providers in the construction industry, and all arms of government.

It can also be a private sector driven agency comprising all stakeholders which collaborates with all arms of government. the focus of CIDB is all projects or facilities, resources and activities in both public and private sectors that are related to construction. it is thus, an omnibus body to promote the growth and development of construction practices, processes, projects, facilities and entities”, he stated.

He proposed that the board should include; one representative from each of the regulatory bodies in the industry, one representative from each of the professional bodies, Federal Mortgage Bank of Nigeria, Federal Ministries connected with works, lands and housing, one representative from each geopolitical zones of the country, the Green Building Council of Nigeria, the Nigerian Building and Road Research Institute, the construction industry local content board and universities offering construction related programmes among others.

“The board would train for capacity building, monitor economic activities within the industry, consult with all organs of states to identify construction budgets and their application, assess impact of public expenditure on the industry and advise government accordingly, promote export of construction of goods and services, collect statistics from contractors, suppliers, manufacturers and service providers in the industry on their activities and performance such as labour cost, growth rates, units costs, size and volume of projects subjects to nbs law as well as publish periodic reports on the state of the construction industry and others”.

Prof. Idoro however, noted that to achieve the vision, all the professionals and parties couldn’t afford to operate in isolation, as effective delivery of a construction project is the joint efforts of all the professions represented to bring about collaborative or cooperative professionalism in the nigerian construction industry.

The convener of the gathering and NIQS president, Obafemi Onashile explained that the vision when realized would eliminate intra and inter-rivalry and conflicts within each profession, review and improve on the current performance of the industry by collectively focusing and come up with solutions to the urgent problems of; health and safety, housing deficit, shortage of artisans, non-payments of works, and environmental issues.

According to him, cidb would strategically engage the government by speaking with a single but collective voice to the government through policy statements, budget advice and programme monitoring. he further stated that it will engender industry-wide self discipline and self regulation in promoting professionalism, promote successful succession by taking interest in training and growing future leaders for the sector at very early ages, revitalise industrial training fund to pay training institution, establish young professionals’ forum and pursue gainful employments for young entrants.
President of niesv, dr. bolarinde patunola-ajayi who applauded the initiative called for a stakeholder deliberation on the matter as way to ensure speedy take off of the initiative and dissuade those who belief that it is a difficult task.

Also contributing the president of commonwealth association of surveying and land economy; joseph ajanlekoko explained that nigeria would be a better place if the board is established. he pointed out that if the nation should have a vibrant construction industry, it would quicken the paste of development of the country.
“it will create numerous employment opportunities to nigerians and other professionals and the country will retain the giant that it should be in africa. government should play the role of a catalyst and create the enabling environment for the private sector to take it up. there should be efficiency in the setup, professionalism and competency”.

He noted that for the board to takeoff, it would require the act of the parliament particularly the passage of law on the construction industry board and once that is passed, it becomes operational and then all the professionals would come together and do the necessary structuring of the board in his address, the special guest of honour at the occasion, retired general theophilus danjuma who was conferred with the highest honourary fellow of niqs for his strategic contributions and impact in the construction industry, lamented the current high cost of construction in the country and advised that the sectors’ players must do everything possible to reduce the cost.Nse president, kunle mokuolu, in his contributions called for collaboration between the professional bodies for the purpose of exploring the abundant opportunities in the industry as well as in the establishment of cidb.

FCT DEVELOPMENT CONTROL TO DEMOLISH DIAMOND ACRES ESTATE AND OTHER ILLEGAL STRUCTURES

Illegal structures worth billions of naira are set to be pulled down by the Federal Capital Territory Authority (FCTA) in Abuja any moment from now, Housing News reports.
The FCTA will soon resume massive demolition of illegal structures after a few weeks break.
The exercise is intended to sanitize and regain the city’s original master plan.
The types of the structures that will be affected this time include shanties and estates obstructing power transmission lines and major access road networks.
Housing News reports that the exercise has already commenced in some locations like Area 1 Garki district, Zuba interchange, Jabi motor park, Giri junction, Ungwan Saidu, a rising shanty right in the heart of Kado district and a property at Mabushi district said to belong to a former first lady.
It was gathered that areas that will be affected by the imminent demolition exercise include Peace Village, Tudun Wada and Fruit Market all in Federal Housing Lubge.
Some other shanties within the capital city including those in Kubwa, Gwarimpa, Jahi, Kado districts and even those in highbrow areas like Maitama, Asokoro, Guzape, Katampe and Jabi districts may also be pulled down.

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Some of these communities within the city centre sprung up as a result of the huge influx of people into the FCT seeking for a greener pastures.
Speaking on the matter, the Development Control Director, Malam Muktar Galadima, said that all the shanties built directly under the high tension in Tudun Wada, Peace Village, and on either side of the electricity facility will be brought down.
He added that properties that breach the legally permitted 30 metre-proximity to the high tension particularly at the Lugbe FHA Fruit Market and others would also be removed to pave way for the commencement of work by the Transmission Company of Nigeria (TCN).
“The distance legally allowed from the high tension is 25 metres, plus 5 metres for contingency, which makes it 30 metres,” he said.


The Development Control boss explained that while his office had severally warned the residents, it has become imperative to quickly carry out this demolition exercise due to a request from the Federal Ministry of Power for the FCTA to clear the area for it to commence construction of a 330/132/33kV substation in Lugbe (West Main).
Galadima added that the substation was one of the major capital projects to be executed in 2018.
“By standard we have to make sure that people do not develop (build structures) within the high tension line and it is not safe for people to live there, you can imagine someone selling gas under the high tension imagine what will happen if there is disaster,” Galadima said.
Our reporter visited Tudun Wada and Peace Village and found that while the affected properties have already been marked for demolition, their owners are yet to evacuate the property.
It was learnt that modalities for payment of compensation had been completed but a cross section of the residents told our reporter they were yet to be paid.
“There is massive injustice in the compensation. For example, the owner of a house worth maybe N2.5m will be given N1m or someone whose house is worth N1m will be given N500,000 but what can we do? We cannot fight them that is why it is compensation,” an affected resident Mr. Abdul Suleiman said.
Also, FCTA officials said another massive demolition exercise planned for this year will affect illegal estates in the city.
For example, an estate named Diamond Acres also situated in Lubge was said to have breached the Abuja master plan as it is sitting right on the proposed Ring Road 4.
The Coordinator Abuja Metropolitan Management Council (AMMC) Umar Shuiabu while speaking to journalists at the project site said that the estate must go.
He said that Diamond Acres Estate was sitting directly on the Ring Road 4, a major road network which could not be diverted because of the illegal project whose owner, he said, has refused to heed many development control notices served on him to stop work.
According to Shuiabu, the developer did not follow due process in obtaining necessary development control permits before embarking on the structures.
When asked why the FCTA failed to stop the said developer before the structures were erected, Shuiabu said, “The structures in that estate have been marked severally to stop work but whenever we mark it for demolition, the developer will wipe it off and continue work and now he has gotten to completion stage.”
Efforts made to reach the developer were not successful.

SOURCE: DAILY TRUST

Lagos Shutdown 20 Illegal Buildings On Lagos Island

By Kazeem Ugbodaga

Officials of the Lagos State Building Control Agency, LASBCA, have shutdown 20 illegal buildings on Lagos Island, Lagos, Southwest Nigeria.

The buildings were shutdown at the weekend for not having building plan approval and having no building submission before their erection.

LASBCA officials, escorted by officials of the Lagos Task Force stormed several streets on the Island and immediately swung into action by sealing the affected premises, while partial demolition was effected in some buildings.

Apart from not having building permits and submissions, most of the buildings have also broken government seals after they were previously shut, an offence that attracts a penalty of N500,000.

Most of the buildings sealed were between three and four storey buildings, with many of them erected with inferior materials.

General Manager, LASBCA, Engr. Olalekan Shodeinde said it was no longer going to be business as usual as government was determined to get rid of illegal development across the state and stem the tide of collapsed buildings.

He said in the past three weeks, the agency had begun the sealing of buildings erected illegally across the state as their owners did not obtain building permits or made any building submissions to the government for approval.

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“Before now, we have been civil in our enforcement, but the developers have remained recalcitrant by continuing in their illegal development. Most of these developers don’t have submission talk less of having permits,” he said.

Shodeinde added that whenever a building had been shutdown, the agency’s officials toke the building so that their owners would come forward to regularize their papers, as well as pay the necessary fines.
According to him, LASBCA should not be running after illegal developers if they did the right thing by obtaining their building permits and submitting other documents for approval.

“Most of these illegal developments were done at night with substandard materials being used. They don’t get the needed permit or follow due process before erecting them. The rains are coming and you can’t stop building collapse when you are not building right,’ he said.

Shodeinde called on Lagosians to report any illegal development in their domains to LASBCA for prompt action in order to avert building collapse.

However, the building shutdown are located at Freeman Street, Odunfa Street, Andrew Street, Joseph Haden Street, Kakawa Street, Olushi Street, Thomas Street, Hawley Street, Foresythe Street, Bamgbose Street, Ganiyu Street and Dumare Street.

NIQS canvasses solutions to construction problems

By Daniel Adubgo
The Nigerian Institute of Quantity Surveyors (NIQS) has asked professional bodies in the Construction Industry to seek industry led solutions to the myriad of challenges confronting the Industry.

This was the submission of the president of the institute, QS Obafemi Onashile at the 1st Construction Industry Institutional Business Dinner organized by the institute in Lagos on recently.

Onashile said the construction industry in Nigeria faced challenges ranging from building collapse, injuries and death on construction sites, non-payment of contractors and consultants fees, high cost of construction and shortage of artisans among others.

He noted that rather than seek government led solutions, professionals should tackle the problems headlong.

The NIQS president called for an industry wide commonly agreed solutions to the problems faced by stakeholders in the industry.

“The time has come for stakeholders of the industry to come together as a matter of urgency to pursue industry-wide reforms that will enhance the operations of the industry and improve the economy of our nation,” Onashile said.

The chairman of the occasion, Gen. Theophilus Yakubu Danjuma (rtd) noted that Nigeria had one of the highest costs of construction in the whole world and called on professionals in the Construction Industry to find a way of cutting the costs of construction in the country.

High point of the occasion was the conferment of Honorary Fellow of NIQS on Gen. Danjuma in recognition of his promotion of Quantity Surveying and various developmental programmes of expanding local capacities for the Construction Industry.

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Notable among those who attended the dinner are, Senator (Mrs) Daisy Danjuma, former Minister of State for Power, Malam Murtala Aliyu, Presidents of Registration Boards of the professions in the Construction Industry, Presidents of the Professional Bodies and their Deputies.

Bank delays deny $50m Chinese loan for Enugu estate

The $50m project funds approved by the Chinese Credit Insurance Corporation, through the Industrial and Commercial Bank of China (ICBC) for the construction of HELIU Residences, Enugu is yet to be accessed, promoters of the project have said.
This is as a result of the delays said to be caused by a bank, which is supposed to provide the local guarantee for the loan.


Our correspondent gathered that out of the project sum of $50m, the Chinese Credit Insurance Corporation, SINOSURE, Industrial and Commercial Bank of China (ICBC) will provide $42.5m or 85 per cent of the total project sum, while FIT Consult will provide the equity of 15 per cent or $7.5m.
The Managing Partner of FIT Consult – the Nigerian Developer constructing the HELIU Residences project in partnership with the Enugu State government, Chief Loretta Aniagolu told newsmen October last year that a Chinese firm, the China Shenyang Internationale Economic and Technical Cooperation Corporation Limited (CSYIC China) has been working with FIT Consult since 2016 to construct the four bedroom duplexes and a number of the ancillary support buildings and services within the estate.
But to date, it is not quite clear when FIT Consult would access the loan for the construction of the project, Aniagolu said expressing surprise over the development,

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“We are currently experiencing delays from bank; and we’re not sure what’s going on, particularly, after we had structured the loan to ensure adequate buffers within exchange rate fluctuations,” she said.
“However, we continue to advance aggressively with our own funds and deposits from property buyers, as you can see from the tremendous amount of work that has been achieved and is going on,” she told Daily Trust in Enugu.
Our correspondent visited the project site covering about 1.2 million square metres containing about 20 kilometres of road network.
It was observed that 70 bungalows have been completed while massive construction work was on-going with heavy-duty trucks loading and off-loading electric poles, and earth-moving machines excavating for the water supply.

THE 12th Abuja International Housing Show – FINDING COMMON SOLUTIONS FOR THE HOUSING CRISIS IN NIGERIA THROUGH ADVOCACY, COLLABORATION & ENGAGEMENT.

Nigeria is not short of land or the options to provide more land. What is lacking is a general consensus on where the land should come from. To find more land, we must draw on the collective wisdom of society and recognize the need for compromises and give-and-take, in order to find a solution that benefits people as a whole.

Partnership & collaboration is something that the organizers of the Abujahousingshow are really promoting. In addition, we are committed to promoting greater housing production and more equitable distribution of affordable housing.

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The Abuja Housing Show is a segment platform that brings under one roof major stakeholders engaged in seeking solutions to affordable housing issues and promotes affordable housing as a driver of economic growth.

The forum brings together policy-makers, academics, urban planners, architects, housing sector developers, non-governmental organizations, donor agencies, researchers, advocates, international organizations and others. Since its inception in 2006, the Housing Show has brought together more than 15,000 people from over 20 countries. Many Governors, ministers, senate president,speakers , commissioners for housing, lands, works, urban planning, housing finance experts from world bank, cbn , AUHF, OPIC usa etc and professionals from architecture, Town planning, estate management, building , quantity surveying and engineering

We welcome all who share the passion for the need for decent housing and all voices that further the cause. To learn more about the industry, developer financing & requirements, mortgage options available to Nigerians, and how you can join conversations about smart growth strategies, register to attend the 12th Abuja International Housing Show on www.abujainternationalhousingshow.com or down load abujainternationalhousingshow app from goggle store into your phone.Testimonials from exhibitors, participants and visitors made it the best in Nigeria and Africa at large.Abuja international housing is powered by fesadeb media group owners of housing prog on channels, ait and housing time on Raypower

A Comparative Analysis of Housing Indicators in China and Nigeria

In our previous review of “Nigeria’s journey towards sustainable housing provision”, we highlighted several housing indicators in the areas of housing deficit, mortgage interest rate, mortgage down payment rate and repayment period, policy reforms, cost of housing, which were used to explain the current state of the housing in Nigeria. In this second edition of the review, a simple comparative analysis of housing in China is done to further explain the dire need for the complete overhauling of Nigeria’s housing sector.

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China is a socialist state, with a government with crystal clear vision of its role. China is the most populated country in the world with a population of about 1.4 billion people. Given this population, one would assume that China would suffer from extreme housing deficit, but the numbers in China’s housing sector are fairly good. While Nigeria has a housing deficit of 17 million, 90% of families in China own their homes and 80% of these families acquired the homes outrightly, without mortgages or loans.

China has seven of the world’s top ten most expensive cities for residential property. The prices of houses in China are very high when compared to their income, price-to-income ratio (PIR). This however, does mean that the country is in a severe housing situation, the system can be said to have been managed almost effectively by forces of “government policies” and “way of life”.

The process and qualification for getting mortgages in China is relatively straight forward and low, respectively. At most, the mortgagor will need to have a monthly salary that is at least twice the monthly repayment rate of the loan. The outcome of this is that mortgages perform well in China, and in 2013, default rate was a mere 0.17%. Usually, a down payment of 30% is made on mortgages, which is 5% higher than that of Nigeria. However, interest rate on mortgage in China is about 6%, almost 4 times lesser than Nigeria’s. It is important to recall that mortgages are uncommon in Nigeria due to high interest rate and the arduous process of getting a mortgage.

Majority of the Chinese don’t mortgage, just 18%, as earlier mentioned 80% of homeowners acquire their homes outrightly. Hence, mortgages contributed 15% to China’s GDP in 2012. This is still higher than Nigeria’s 0.5% mortgage contribution to GDP in 2012.

China also has a Housing Provident Fund. In a way, the Fund works like the Nigerian pension system in which employees and employers co-contribute to a pension account. A part of the Housing Fund, included a savings plan initiated by the government in which employees are given the option to contribute a portion of their monthly wages and have it matched by their employer to assist them with buying a house. This has contributed positively to mortgage acquisition in China, as prospective home owners are able to make the required 30% down payment.

Just like Nigeria, China has had several housing policy reforms, but so far, the difference in both countries has been the approach. While Nigeria’s style is for each administration to come up with a policy that can be attributed to the office holder, without good reference to learning points from previous reform(s) as every effective policy reform should do, China has transitioned from one policy reform to another with the soul aim of scaling up successful practices and downscaling non-performing ones. For China, policies have resulted from current realities. Among the latest drive by the government of China, is to regulate the rising rent cost in cities.

The success story of housing in China is as a result of an interplay between culture and systemic and intentional policies driven by its government to ensure sustainable housing provision for its citizenry. The government has largely charted housing in the country onto a sustainable path. Housing policy reform after reform, the government’s aim has simply been to provide adequate housing for its people. As for culture, the Chinese treasure home ownership, to many of them it could be their lifetime’s biggest achievement and they would work diligently towards saving up to buy one. Parents go out their way to support their children in getting their own homes, owning a home is somewhat of a yardstick for being fully prepared for marriage.

We have seen where Nigeria stands from the comparison; we can also deduce who/what the major actors in China’s housing sector have been. The last article in this series will be released in two weeks from today and will basically feature solutions to Nigeria’s housing woes. It will involve a mix of adoptable policies, low cost housing option and many others, till then, please stay tuned.

How People In China Afford Their Outrageously Expensive Homes

I was surprised when the owner of the run-down, 82 square meter apartment outside of the core downtown area of Xiamen that I once rented told me that he was selling it for nearly US$300,000. The apartment was in a well-worn 15 year old building — old in a country where housing only lasts for 25-30 years — and had grime covering the walls, tiles from the kitchen floor that were peeling up, water oozing up from the shower drain, and fixtures that were all mismatched . . . and dilapidated at that. Although at 22,000 RMB per square meter I couldn’t say that this place was priced abnormally high — this is just what people pay for homes in the east of China.

An average 80 square meter apartment within Shanghai’s Inner Ring Road goes for upwards $886,000; while in the city’s hinterlands it sells for around US$200,000. In Beijing, the average cost of a home of this size is roughly US$310,000. This is all in a country were $5 can get you a bulging armful of food from the local market and $70 gets you a bunk on a train that’s going all the way across the country.

According to the IMF ’s house price-to-wage ratio, China has seven of the world’s top ten most expensive cities for residential property. All through the country’s tier-one, tier-two, and even some tier-three cities, housing prices are severely out of proportion with the incomes of the people who live there.

In Xiamen, a coastal city with a perpetually hot property market, $300,000 for an apartment is normal — even though the minimum wage there is hardly $200 per month and the average wage is around $1,000. Even for the city’s middle class residents, who make between $1,200 and $5,000 per month, the price seemed prohibitively high.

However, the people of China can afford to buy these extremely expensive properties. In fact, 90% of families in the country own their home, giving China one of the highest home ownership rates in the world. What’s more is that 80% of these homes are owned outright, without mortgages or any other leans. On top of this, north of 20% of urban households own more than one home, according to Nomura . So with wages so out of whack with real estate prices, how can so many people afford to buy so many houses?

Before we can understand how people in China can afford to frolic in their country’s over-inflated housing market, we must look at where this market came from. Hardly 20 years ago China’s real estate market didn’t exist. It wasn’t until the mid-90s that a series of reforms allowed urban residents to own and sell real estate. People were then given the option to purchase their previously government-owned homes at extremely favorable rates, and most of them made the transition to being property owners. Now with a population provisioned with houses that they could sell at their discretion and the ability to buy homes of their choice, China’s real estate market was set to boom. By 2010, a little over a decade later, it would be the largest such market in the world.

When we talk about how people afford houses in China today, more often than not we’re not talking about individuals going out and buying property on their own — as is the general modus operandi in the West. No, we’re talking about entire familial and friend networks who financially assist each other in the pursuit of housing.

At the inner-circle of this social network is often the home buyer’s parents. When a young individual strikes out on their own, lands a decent job, and begins looking to pursue marriage, getting a house is often an essential part of the conversation. Owning a home is virtually a social necessity for an adult in China, and is often a major part of the criteria for evaluating a potential spouse. As parents tend to move into their children’s homes in old age, this truly is a multi-generational affair. So parents will often fork over a large portion of their savings to provision their children with an adequate house — oftentimes buying it years in advance. If parents are not financially able to buy their kids a house outright, they will generally help with the down payment, or at the very least provide access to their social network to borrow the required funds.

Take for example the case of Ye Qiuqin, a resident of Ordos Kangbashi who owns two houses across the country in Guangdong province, where she is originally from. Together with her fiancé, she makes roughly US$3,200 per month from running a cram school. For her first home she made a down payment of roughly US$20,000; of which $3,300 came from her parents, $10,000 came in the form of loans from her sister and friends, and the rest came from her savings.

To decrease the amount of volatility in China’s often hot property market, there are very strict rules as to how much money people can borrow from the bank for purchasing real estate. Although this slightly varies by city and wavers in response to current economic conditions, for their first home a buyer must lay down a 30% down payment, for the second it’s 60%, and for any property beyond this financing isn’t available. So for people to buy homes in this country they need to step up to the table with a large amount of cash in hand. In fact, 15% of all residential property in China is paid for in full upfront.

Why there is so much liquid cash available for these relatively large down payments is straight forward: the Chinese are some of the best savers in the world. In fact, with a savings rate that equates to 50% of its GDP, China has the third highest such rate in the world. As almost a cultural mandate, the Chinese stash away roughly 30% of their income, which is often called into use for such things as making a down payment on a home — which is the most important financial transaction that many Chinese will ever make.

Another way that Chinese home buyers are able to afford their down payments is via the country’s Housing Provident Fund. This fund began when the country started privatizing urban housing as way to help residents afford to buy their homes. Part of this fund included a government initiated savings plan where employees are given the option to invest a portion of their monthly earnings and have it matched by their employer to assist them with buying a house.

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Once the down payment is accounted for, getting mortgages in China is a relatively straight forward affair, and the standards for qualifying are relatively low. For the most part, a borrower’s monthly salary must be at least twice the monthly repayment rate of the loan. Interest rates hover around 6%. On average, those who have these loans will devote between 30% and 50% of their monthly income towards paying them back.

While there is much talk in China and abroad about the increasing number of Chinese home buyers taking out mortgages, relative statistics should quell the hype. Just 18% of Chinese households have mortgages, compared with half of all home owners in the USA. China’s home mortgage-to-GDP ratio was just 15% in 2012, whereas in the USA it was a staggering 81.4%. Although monthly wages in China tend to be relative low, non-performance on mortgages is virtually unheard of — in 2013 the default rate was a mere 0.17%.

Although we must remember here that China’s banks are fully owned by the Communist Party, and social stability often takes precedence over the raw pursuit of profit, so their lending practices cannot be compared like-for-like against those of Western banks.

Part of China’s boldness when it comes to spending relatively large amounts of money on housing comes from the assumption that wages will continue rising. Nominal income growth in urban China has been going up at a 13% clip annually over the past decade, while annual per-capita disposable income has risen from $1,800 in 2006 to around $4,800 today.

This is to say that the Chinese are able to afford their homes, even though they are extremely expensive.

Nigeria: What The Numbers Say About Her Journey Towards Sustainable Housing Provision

Author ~ Ebuka Onunaiwu
As a social scientist, numbers mean a lot to me, whether these numbers are used to explain trends in the health sector, financial or economic performance, surplus or deficit in infrastructure, sporting analysis, or perhaps behavioral patterns of a specific population, I take numbers seriously and I know that the leaders of our country Nigeria pay similar, if not more attention to numbers, when it relates to oil and politics. However, I strongly believe that it is high time Nigeria paid the needed attention to the troubling numbers in the housing sector. In this article my aim is to quickly shed light on some key figures in Nigeria’s housing sector.

“They say numbers are beautiful, but those of Nigeria’s housing sector are not”, what then does the numbers say about housing in Nigeria?

Read More: WHY YOU SHOULD EXHIBIT AT THE 12TH ABUJA INTERNATIONAL HOUSING SHOW

Nigeria, a country with a population of about 180 million people, has a housing deficit of 17million, and according to the World Bank, at least 59.50 trillion naira will be needed to bridge this deficit. For the records the needed amount is over 7 times the total national budget of Nigeria. If you over-exaggerate the provision housing units at about 500,000 per year, it would take 34 years to bridge the gap created by the deficit and this is without considering the population growth rate.

Mortgage financing has been an effective tool used in tackling the housing problem in many countries, but Nigeria has not been able to utilise this tool. According to the National Bureau of Statistics, the Real Estate contribution to the Gross Domestic Product was about 7.73 percent in 2012. Of this figure, the mortgage loans and advances contributed 0.5 percent. This minimal contribution by mortgage loans is as a result of the high interest rate between 11 – 29 percent demanded by Mortgage Banks and commercial banks. Even at this high interest rate, many commercial banks demand a down payment of 25 percent of the mortgage value and the repayment period for the mortgage is usually between 10 – 20 years. Also, the housing units built for the poor in Nigeria cost between 5 -20 million naira, which is not affordable to poor people in Nigeria. The case is the same with rented apartments in Nigeria. Families pay through their noses to live in decent apartments in urban areas. Anything lesser than the usual high end rents will mean living in suburbs or city outskirts.

There is also a problem of high cost of land registration and titling. There are about 21 procedures to register and process land titling in Nigeria and the entire process of transfer could last 274 days. This speaks volume of the nature of Nigeria’s land tenure system as well as the ease of doing business in the country.

Political stability is another limiting factor in the housing sector. In 33 years, that is between 1981 – 2014, the country had 5 different National Housing Policy documents. Administration after administration, the National Housing Policy has been reviewed or reproduced, and this has not been to the advantage of the sector. On the contrary it has inhibited growth in the sector and has scared away investors.

However, the case is not all gloomy, there seems to be some light at the end of the tunnel. In 2017, the Federal Government of Nigeria revealed that the sum of N1 trillion would be committed to construction of housing accommodation in the country. The allocated sum will be used to provide 2.5 million housing units. Also, the Society of Real Estate Developers of Nigeria, has committed to assisting the Federal Government in tackling the housing deficit in the country by constructing and delivering 10,000 housing units for each of the 37 states in Nigeria including the FCT. These promises to be somewhat far-reaching if indeed they are actioned. But until the project kicks off they remain mere promises.

Indeed, the numbers predict a bleak future but like I earlier said, there seems to be some light at the end of the tunnel. In about two weeks from now, I will release the second part of this article which will focus of how other countries have gotten it right with regards to housing, this would then be followed by a third edition that would detail possible sustainable solution to the housing problem in Nigeria. See you in two weeks’ time.

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