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Property price growth is moderating around the world, latest global index shows

Property prices around the world are rising but overall the rate of growth continues to moderate, with values up 4.3% in the 12 months to the end of 2018, the latest global index shows.

This was the lowest annual rate of growth recorded by Knight Frank’s global house price index since the third quarter of 2016.

The highest growth was 15.1% in Slovenia while the long term front-runner, Hong Kong, slipped from first to 22nd place as average prices fell by 6.2% in the final three months of 2018.

In second place was Malta with prices up by 11.8%, then the Chinese mainland up 10.7%, Hungary up 10.4%, Mexico up 9.9%, Turkey up 9.7%, the Czech Republic up 8.7% and Latvia up 8.6%.

Only eight of the 56 markets tracked saw prices decline in 2018 and half of them were in Europe. The biggest fall was 2.9% in Finland, followed by a fall of 2.1% in Israel, while prices fell by 1.9% in Australia, by 1.6% in Sweden and by 0.8% in Italy and Morocco.

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‘With 2019 expected to see greater economic uncertainty, heightened market regulation and a rising cost of debt in major economies we expect the rate of price growth globally to moderate further next quarter,’ said Kate Everett-Allen, head of international residential research at Knight Frank.

She pointed out that rising prices were evident in Central and Eastern Europe (CEE) in the previous index report. When it comes to Slovenia, the International Monetary Fund estimates the country’s economy expanded by 4.5% in 2018 and as a member of the Eurozone, interest rates remain low, aiding housing market performance.

The index shows that despite significant disparities across the Chinese Mainland, the outperformance of some cities such as Xi’an helped lift annual growth from 8.9% last quarter to 10.7% at the end of 2018.

‘Put in context though, some cities were registering annual growth of 30% to 40% two years ago and although prices are still rising overall, sales across China are expected to decline in 2019 and the loosening of property regulations will be a slower process than expected,’ said Everett-Allen.

Europe’s 2018 figures present a mixed picture, Central and Eastern European countries are out in front, Portugal with growth of 6.1% is now outpacing Germany at 5.4% and the UK at 2.5% is only marginally ahead of Greece at 2.4%.

Boosted by annual price growth of 9.9% in Mexico, 8.1% in Colombia and 6.9% in Chile, Latin America was the strongest performing world region in 2018. Africa at 1.6% was the weakest.

‘With 2019 expected to see greater economic uncertainty, heightened market regulation and a rising cost of debt in major economies we expect the rate of price growth globally to moderate further next quarter,’ Everett-Allen concluded.

Source: PropertyWire

Ekiti hands over 41-year-old abandoned road to contractor

Ekiti State Government formally handed over the abandoned Ado-Iyin Road construction project to CCECC Nigeria Limited to commence work. The road was originally awarded in 1978.

Handing the project over to the contractor, Governor Kayode Fayemi said he is committed to fulfilling all his electioneering promises in all sectors, especially in the area of infrastructure, which is a catalyst for development.

The ceremony signified the commencement of work on the road project, billed for completion within 24 months.

Fayemi, who was represented by the Deputy Governor, Bisi Egbeyemi, said the 7.25-kilometre road project is the first phase of the construction work which will stop at the state’s boundary with Osun State.  He said the first phase is the construction of the road from Ado to Iyin, the second phase from Iyin to Aramoko, while the third phase would be from Aramoko to Itawure.

The governor expressed worry that the old Ado-Iyin road had become a death trap because of its unsafe, winding and undulating alignments, which had caused series of fatal accidents on the route, stressing that his administration cannot helplessly watch citizens’ lives and property lost to the road.

“As a government, we understand and appreciate the importance of good road network to our economic development.”

Source: SunNewsOnline

Is UK property still a good investment?

For those considering whether now is the moment to buy, these are disorienting times. When Kate Faulkner recently looked for a home in the city of Peterborough — a growing location for London commuters — she found comparable properties within one square mile whose prices were going up, down or were completely flat.

“There are as many different markets in one city as there are across the country,” said the founder of Property Checklists, a website and advice provider.

With price growth slowing in former hotspots, transaction levels stuttering and an uncertain period for Britain’s economy in prospect, the housing market has been drawing in its horns. Buy-to-let investors are hemmed in by new taxes and regulations, while owner-occupiers are reconsidering high-risk property moves as interest rates start to rise and mortgage affordability rules remain tight.

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This week, Bank of England governor Mark Carney delivered a stunning warning that house prices could be 35 per cent lower than would otherwise be the case three years after a disruptive “no-deal Brexit”.

Some, however, believe today’s uncertain market offers precisely the conditions in which canny purchasers can find opportunities to strike a property bargain. After experts tackled the issues on stage at the FT Weekend Festival last weekend, FT Money assesses the outlook for anyone thinking of pushing the boat out on a home purchase. Is property still a good investment?

A journey of price discovery

A housing cycle is under way across the UK, said Richard Donnell, director of housing market analyst Hometrack, told a packed marquee of FT Money readers at the festival. But depending on where you are in the UK, it could either be coming to an end or it is just getting going. While growth is powering ahead in cities such as Manchester and Liverpool, it is flagging or going into reverse in places like Aberdeen and parts of London, according to Hometrack’s latest prognostications.

 

There are other parts of the UK that are still to see the ripple effects of formerly stratospheric growth in London and the Southeast — a trend that stalled roughly three years ago. “Five cities are 50 per cent higher [in price terms] than they were 10 years ago,” said Mr Donnell, with Oxford, Cambridge and Bristol among them. “But there are four cities such as Glasgow and Newcastle that are still at 2008 levels or even lower.”

The decidedly mixed picture he set out is reflected by lacklustre levels of activity in the housing market. The number of housing transactions has been stuck at the same level for four years — around 1.2m per year — but in London, where the market slowdown has been particularly marked in central or “prime” areas, turnover is down by 20 per cent over four years. Sellers are coming to terms with the fact that there are fewer buyers on the ground, and today’s house hunters are making higher demands of vendors.

But some of those sellers are not yet willing to acknowledge that a material change in sentiment has taken place. One indicator of this is the gap between asking and selling prices, which stands at 10 per cent in central London, said Mr Donnell. In Manchester and Birmingham it has narrowed to about 2.5 per cent.

“In London we’re on a journey of price discovery. [Buying a home] is about finding the people who are serious about selling, who are happy to take that haircut on price to get on with their life. It takes a couple of years for sellers to take that on.”

 

The human factor

Among asset classes, housing often carries a strong emotional connection for its owner-occupiers — a connection that few would ascribe to the equity funds sitting in their Isa. Ed Mead, founder of property services company Viewber, expounded on the limitations of statistics in informing a decision about how to put a roof over one’s head — something that is essentially “a human endeavour”.

To ask the question whether property remains a good investment may have been uncontroversial in the FT Money tent, but Mr Mead, an industry veteran, said it marked a long-term and lamentable shift in public attitudes over the function of housing and the development of a national obsession with house prices.

“In my lifetime, it’s gone from being a home to being an investment,” he said. “The Brits have a macho problem with property prices. I do wish people would stop worrying about their inherent value being associated with their house.”

He was bullish, nonetheless, on the logic of pressing ahead with a purchase today. Pricing may be hard to pinpoint in a sluggish market with low turnover, he said, but the fact that everyone in an area was in the same position meant losses on one side of a transaction can easily become gains on the other.

“I think it’s the best time there’s ever been to buy in London,” he said. “Most people sell because they want to buy something bigger. Say you’ve got a £1m house that’s now worth £850,000. You’re trying to buy your dream house, which might have cost you £3m three years ago, and you can probably buy it now for £2.25m. Who’s winning there?”

His qualified optimism about the capital’s property market — in spite of falling prices in many boroughs — was shared by Henry Pryor, an independent buying agent speaking a stone’s throw away on the festival’s House & Home stage.

“Uncertainty is bringing with it opportunity because people don’t know how their sale is going to go, or how far their budget will stretch,” said Mr Pryor. “As a result, people are jumping the wrong way. Sometimes people are selling for less than they might have been able to get and in other cases other people are sitting tight.”

The difficulty of finding the right price in this climate of uncertainty, however, has brought interesting developments in the way people are marketing their homes. Terrified of putting their house on the market at the wrong level and either sparking no interest or leaving money on the table with a price pitched too low, vendors are increasingly turning to “ off-market sales”.

These allow them to put the word out among selected potential buyers, without publicly advertising the sale. Mr Mead said there had been “real growth” in the number of off-market websites such as Invisible Homes in Fulham — an area where sellers have had to accept lower prices than expected in the past two years. “They’re designed to try and show whether you’ve made a balls-up on the price before you take it to the market. They’ve become very popular,” he said.

 

Buy-to-let pressures

For owner-occupiers, investing in property can mean stretching oneself on a mortgage in the belief that a house is undervalued, or will rise in value following a revamp. But market purists might consider mainstream “property investment” to refer to the buy-to-let sector.

There, the experts agreed, the outlook is not rosy. Landlord investors have been in high dudgeon after a series of tax and regulatory changes that have hit profits and raised the costs of investment. Extra stamp duty in the form of a three percentage point surcharge on buy-to-let purchases introduced two years ago is one drag on the sector. Arguably, the more damaging move for highly leveraged landlords is the loss of higher rate tax relief on their mortgage interest, which is being eradicated in stages, disappearing for good in 2020. Mortgage affordability has also been curtailed by stringent “stress tests” demanded by regulators.

“All the benefits to owning a buy-to-let property are being taken away,” said Mr Mead.

The hit to higher-rate taxpayers has come together with the prospect of higher interest rates on buy-to-let mortgages after base rate rises, causing landlord owners to question their underlying rationale for investment and squeezing out those who pin their hopes on a short-term return via capital growth.

Mr Donnell offered a glimmer of hope in urging a different mindset on landlord investors. What buy-to-let still offers is a pension-style income stream that delivers a monthly cash flow from a property, he said. This can allow investors who are no longer working to benefit from earnings growth in the form of higher rents.

“Yields are low, but if you invest in the right markets this long-term link between rental and earnings growth is to me the underlying attraction of investing,” he said. “Learning to love the cash flow and taking what the housing market gives you on house price inflation is the way to approach investment.”

As London’s rental yields have paled against those achievable in the expanding cities of the north, investors based in the south are fishing further from their home territories in search of better returns. But the arms-length nature of such deals brought sharp warnings from Ms Faulkner about the need for fine-grained research into proposed areas for investment, with good and bad deals aplenty even on the same street.

“Your best friend if you’re investing outside an area you know is sold property price data. This is what you should focus on. You must find a good surveyor and agent and be very wary about property sourcing companies,” she said.

Does the loss of easy returns from price growth mean we will see a return of the classic “doer-upper” investor? Mr Pryor said the option of improving the value of a home through refurbishment or development had not gone away. “You can make money with property by re-purposing something that isn’t attractive today, turning it through 90 degrees, and adding a second bedroom or a mansard.”

In the FT Money tent, though, Ms Faulkner was skeptical, arguing that the “Sarah Beeny” effect, named after the TV presenter who sparked a surge in DIY property development, was fully played out in a crowded market, replete with people inclined to “go bonkers” over a derelict property.

“Far more people want to renovate properties than properties are available,” she said. “Some want to buy just to have the experience. The only way you can do it is to buy with cash, and buy something nobody would touch with a barge pole.”

The Brexit discount

One of the thorniest questions for those mulling a purchase or sale in the next few months is the extent to which the as yet unknown mechanics of Britain’s departure from the EU will affect any move they make in the market. Will a good Brexit deal cause prices to surge, or will they plummet should Britain crash out without agreements in place?

The “wait and see” approach already adopted by those not facing a forced sale or purchase will be followed more widely towards the end of this year, said Mr Pryor, as the political situation comes to a head before March 2019. In his view, this creeping reticence will tell on prices, leading to a drop of roughly 5 per cent in the second quarter of 2019.

“If you’re going out to buy what for most people will be their most expensive single asset, how brave have you got to be to commit to that purchase rather than do what I think most people will do and say — let’s just wait until June?”

Sharing the stage with Mr Pryor — as well as his view of the slowing effect of Brexit uncertainty — was Stephanie McMahon, head of research at estate agent Strutt & Parker. But asked when the clouds might lift in the capital, she predicted the beginnings of a recovery “towards the back end of next year”.

One effect that she pinpointed was a fall in the share of the capital’s homes being bought by overseas purchasers — a trend that is likely to accelerate until the uncertainty over Britain’s future status begins to dissipate.

“We’re seeing less activity from international buyers. UK domestic buyers are now 80 per cent of London transactions. If you’re staying in the UK you have to make decisions, you have to change home whether you’ve had children or changed jobs.”

Neal Hudson, director of market research company Residential Analysts and another speaker on the House & Home stage, said a hard Brexit was likely to result in further stagnation and, in terms of the likely price drop, “a lot more pain than 5 per cent”.

He also cast doubt on the idea that sharply falling prices in London would have a silver lining: that hard-pressed first-time buyers might thereby be brought within reach of a purchase.

“If we had something more severe — a hard Brexit — there would be rising mortgage interest rates and stressed affordability. Prices might come down more, but if you’re a first-time buyer trying to get into the market, the lenders are probably just going to shut up shop.”

Such sentiments were echoed in Mr Carney’s recent comments to ministers about a disorderly Brexit. A property price crash would be driven by rising unemployment, depressed economic growth, higher inflation and higher interest rates, the governor warned.

Mr Mead advised property buyers preparing to weather the turbulence associated with Brexit to take a long-term view.

“You can spend an awful lot of time getting very confused by this stuff. It doesn’t matter what you think is going to happen in the next year or so. People love Britain because it’s safe and economically stable. It’s not going to lose its lustre. So long as you take a long-term view, if you see something you like and it makes sense to you, buy it.”

Is it really harder to be a first-time buyer now?

Today’s conventional wisdom is that young buyers face unprecedented difficulties in getting a first home. For one audience member in the FT Money tent at last week’s FT Weekend Festival, it was an assumption worth questioning.

“I bought my first house in 1971 . . . I didn’t have a Bank of Mum and Dad. I lived with my mother-in-law for free for a few months. The interest rate was 7 per cent and in the 1990s I was paying double-digit interest. Is it genuinely more expensive to get on the property ladder now than it was 40 years ago?” he asked experts on a panel discussing property investment.

With 40 years in the industry, Ed Mead, founder of property services company Viewber, was sympathetic, pointing out that beyond London and the Southeast, nominal house prices had often remained unmoved over the decade. “If nominal house prices are looking the same as they were 10-12 years ago, that’s got to be cheap.”

But the panel agreed that the nature of the challenge facing first-time buyers had shifted over the decades from paying high interest on home loans to paying high deposits, and satisfying much more stringent mortgage requirements to qualify for the loan in the first place.

With current mortgage interest rates at about 2 per cent, it is cheaper for London renters to buy the property they live in than to rent it, said Richard Donnell, director of housing market analyst Hometrack.

But the problem lies in the affordability test required by lenders, for which borrowers must show they can afford much higher rates of interest.

You’ve got to prove to your bank that at a stress rate of 7 per cent you’ve got another £1,000 of disposable income to pay towards your mortgage so you can afford that property. That’s the real binding effect for first-time buyers particularly in London and it’s a huge affordability hurdle for people to get on the ladder.”

Source: Financial Tmes. James Pickford

Fashola faults housing deficit figures

The Minister of Power, Works and Housing, Mr Babatunde Fashola, has faulted the 17 million often cited as the country’s housing deficit figure.

The minister, on Thursday, said the figure had been used over the years and had been revalidated by all professionals without asking how it was generated.

Fashola, who spoke at the opening ceremony of the 49th National Conference of the Nigerian Institution of Estate Surveyors and Valuers, in Lagos, said the continuous use of the 17 million figure was erroneous.

“The figure has remained for many years without adequate data backing; it cannot be substantiated, but it is being repeated and revalidated by various groups,” he said.

While speaking on the theme, ‘A city that works’, he asked estate surveyors and valuers to assist the Federal Government in carrying out an audit of empty and unoccupied houses in the country.

According to him, there is no city in the country without empty and unoccupied houses, adding that valuers owe the country the responsibility of explaining why the houses are empty, for how long they have been empty and what can be done to make them habitable.

He stated that if the evaluation of the unoccupied houses could be done before 2020, it would help the Federal Government to find solutions to the problem of housing deficit in the country.

The Governor of Lagos State, Mr Akinwunmi Ambode, also urged professionals in the built environment, especially estate surveyors and valuers, to help enhance the state’s economy and infrastructure through real estate.

The governor, who was represented at the conference by the Commissioner for Housing, Prince Gbolahan Lawal, said there were so many underutilised and untapped opportunities that could be harnessed to boost infrastructure development and better living standards for the state’s residents.

According to the governor, for a city to work efficiently, it must have infrastructure and technology working together.

“More than 86 persons come into the state on a daily basis without the intention of returning. There is, therefore, a need to create more infrastructure that will match the increasing population which has made existing infrastructure overstretched,” he said.

He stated that Lagos had undergone a lot of infrastructural development processes, but more still needed to be done.

“As a professional body on land management, you hold the key to infrastructure development and wealth creation because there is no human activity that does not happen on land. I believe that this conference will proffer solutions to challenges hindering infrastructure growth in the state and the nation at large,’’ he said.

The President, NIESV, Mr Rowland Abonta, said the government should collaborate with the institution to facilitate effective service delivery in Lagos State as well as the country at large.

He stated that with the support of the government, the contributions of professional bodies to nation building would improve.

Source: Ihua Maduenyi

10 things you need to know about the revised National Housing Fund that may reduce your salary by 2.5% monthly

The revised bill, National Housing Fund (Establishment) Act 2018, allows individuals earning from the minimum wage mark to contribute 2.5% of their monthly income while commercial or merchant banks contribute 10% annual profit before tax to a poll for affordable housing building.

The revised version also introduced a 2.5% tax on every bag of cement, meaning, you pay more to buy a bag of cement and contribute more – just because you want to build an affordable home.

Under the extant NHF law (NHF 1992), every Nigerian earning N3,000 or more per annum is required to contribute 2.5% of their monthly basic salary to the NHF. The funds mobilised will be made available to contributors at affordable interest rates to build homes.

Just like the pension and personal income tax contributions, the NHF is compulsory for a public worker, a private worker or self-employed individuals earning pay from the range of minimum wage and above.

What are the key highlights of the proposed fund?

  • Mandatory 2.5% contribution of monthly income by employees earning minimum wage and above in public and private sectors as well as self-employed individuals.
  • 2.5% on locally produced or imported cement.
  • Employers are to deduct and remit the contributions monthly
  • Penalty for non-compliance of up to N100 million for corporates and N10m for individuals while sanctions include cancellation of operating licence of banks, insurance companies and PFAs for violations.
  • Withdrawal by contributors who have attained the age of 60 years or 35 years of service to be an interest rate of 2% per annum. The Fund and any refund of contributions are exempted from payment of taxes.

Why are people making noise about it now?

  • Although the Fund is not new, many have faulted why the revised is coming without the input of various stakeholders. The NHF Act of 1992 failed before many organisation including government-owned failed to make a contribution to the poll.
  • There were also alleged poor record keeping by the Federal Mortgage Bank of Nigeria (FMBN), the authority charged for the sole responsibility and cumbersome bureaucratic bottlenecks of getting a loan from it.
  • Another shortcoming of the revised bill was its inadequacies to touch on the shortcomings of the 1992 Act on the issue of land ownership and titles as well as the current Land Use Act. The NHF loan is merely for the construction of the building without the acquisition of the landed properties.

What is the cost implication on earners?

  • The cost implication for income earners is that it will take 2.5% from your income every month which is the equivalent of 250% from the PAYE contribution.

Meaning: A N30,000 earner will pay 2.5% (N750) every month to a poll account on the provision of affordable housing for the population.

  • It will increase the price of cement as the revised bill introduced a 2.5% tax on a bag of cement.
  • It will also take 10% away from commercial or merchant bank profit before tax (PBT) in every accounting year.

Source: Aderemi Ojekunle

To Fix Its Housing Shortage HongKong is Building an $80 Billion Artificial Island

Hong Kong will spend around $80 billion to build one of the world’s biggest artificial islands.

Secretary for Development Michael Wong said in a speech Tuesday that around 1,000 hectares of land would be constructed to deal with Hong Kong’s “serious shortage of land supply.”

The project’s total cost will be around 624 billion Hong Kong dollars ($79.5 billion), Wong said.

The new “land” will be formed near the existing island of Lantau, and will provide up to 260,000 residential units, he added. Seventy percent of the new homes will be public housing.

Hong Kong is home to about 7.4 million people. The territory has its own laws and currency, while traditions of transparency, low taxes and light regulation have helped make it a major global financial center.

High demand and short supply have driven property prices to “unaffordable” levels in recent years.

Although Wong said the new island would help Hong Kong “withstand the increasing pressure of the population,” the plans have faced criticism.

Greenpeace responded to Wong’s announcement with a statement urging the government to develop Hong Kong’s former agricultural sites instead, claiming that it would be a more cost effective and environmentally friendly strategy.

Zhu Jiang, senior project director at Greenpeace, said the move was a “retrogression.”

The idea for the development of an artificial island was first floated by Hong Kong leader Carrie Lam, who said in a policy address last year that it would help to ease the housing shortage.

Source: Chloe Taylor, CNBC

BPE says FG is not planning to sell Lagos Trade Fair Complex

Federal Government has no intention to sell the Lagos International Trade Fair Complex, the Bureau of Public Enterprises has said.

In a statement made available to our correspondent in Abuja on Tuesday by Head, Public Communications, Amina Othman, the BPE denied the purported sale of the complex.

However, the privatisation agency said that the Federal Government was in the process of concessioning the complex and had secured the services of transaction adviser in the person of Messrs Feedback Infrastructure Services.

Othman said in the statement, “The attention of BPE has been drawn to the alleged closure of the Lagos International Trade Fair Complex by the Traders’ Associations operating in the Complex and the protest by the said association over the purported sale of the complex.

“For the avoidance of doubt, the bureau states that the Federal Government of Nigeria through the BPE does not intend to sell the complex rather the facility would be concessioned through a competitive transaction process.

“It is for this reason that the government has procured the services of Messrs Feedback Infrastructure Services to advise on the way forward for the proposed concession.

It is apt to inform the public that the bureau on Friday, March 1, 2019, met with the entire Traders’ Associations to explain the essence of the planned concession.”

Othman added, “The bureau had on August 23, 2017, placed a caveat emptor in some national newspapers in the country wherein it stated that the lease agreement that was hitherto executed by the FGN in favour of Aulic Nigeria Limited had been validly terminated and possession reverted to the FGN with effect from 23rd day of August 2017.

“Members of the public were, therefore, warned that ‘any purported allotment, buying, selling, letting, leasing, charging, and subdivision, construction upon or dealings in connection with the said property and parcels of land in any other manner howsoever without the written permission of the FGN represented by the BPE is unlawful, illegal, fraudulent and amounts to trespass’.

“It further warned that any person(s) interfering with the said parcels of land ‘stand to lose their money as the FGN through the BPE will neither honour agreements, contracts nor arrangements entered into with person(s) purporting to have authority to transact the property and or parcels of land whether in the manner described or in any other manner whatsoever nor will it reimburse any monies paid in respect of such transaction’.”

According to Othman, the privatisation agency is willing to collaborate with all stakeholders to ensure smooth and successful completion of the transaction.

Source: Everest Amaefule

Kenya waives building approval fees for affordable housing projects

Kenya’s Nairobi City has waived building approval fees for affordable housing projects as a move to attract more investors into the city as it gears to achieve President Uhuru’s Big 4 Agenda on affordable housing.

Nairobi Governor Mike Sonko said the move by his administration will pave way for the county and national government to start construction of housing units to meet the 200,000 set target in 4 years time.

“My cabinet has approved waiving of building fees for all housing projects in Nairobi as our commitment to support affordable housing programme. This applies to projects being undertaken by private investors, county and national government”, said the governor during a groundbreaking ceremony byEdermann Property in Ngara Estate where they seek to construct affordable houses.

Affordable housing

The affordable housing Programme aims to construct 500,000 housing units across the country by 2022. Nairobi will launch phase one of the affordable housing programme this year in estates such as New and Old Ngara, Jevanjee, Ngong Road, Pangani and Suna road. Phase two of the project will include Bondeni, Lumumba, Shauri Moyo, Bahati, Ziwani, Gorofani and Jericho. President Uhuru Kenyatta will soon launch the national government affordable housing programme on Park Road Estate, Nairobi.

The governor further commended the move by private investors to construct affordable houses in Nairobi urging them to utilize local skills and local materials in their projects to promote the Kenyan economy.

Sonko added that they have developed Nairobi County Housing Bill in order to manage all county houses and also Nairobi County Staff Housing Bill which will help the county in developing houses for its workers.

Nairobi City County Sessional Paper Number 1 of 2018

Nairobi County Government recently passed Nairobi City County Sessional Paper Number 1 of 2018 as a guiding framework for housing projects in the city conducted by either the government or private investors.

“This policy will help us carry our housing agenda and we will require all developers to comply and follow the guidelines stipulated in the session paper. The policy states how housing units will be shared, how tenants can be relocated and how long projects should take, among others,” noted Governor Sonko.

Source: Constructionreviewonline

Lagos Is ‘Sixth Least Expensive City in the World’

Lagos has been ranked as the sixth cheapest city in the world to live in, according to the Economist Intelligence Unit survey.

The survey compares more than 400 individual prices across 160 products and services. These include food, drink, clothing, household supplies, and personal care items, home rents, transport, utility bills, private schools, domestic help, and recreational costs

The report said it has some correlation with its sister ranking, the global liveability survey and thereby confirmed Lagos as being less liveable.

Caracas, Damascus, Tashkent, Almaty, and Bangalore ranked one to five respectively

“After five consecutive years of decline, oil prices bottomed out in 2016 and rebounded in 2017 and 2018, along with other commodity prices. At the very basic level, this will have an impact on prices, especially in markets where basic goods make up the bulk of the shopping basket. But there are further implications” .

The report said Oil prices will continue to weigh on economies that rely heavily on oil revenue. This could mean austerity, economic controls and weak inflation persisting in affected countries, depressing consumer sentiment, and growth.

Here is the full list of the ten cheapest cities in the world:

1. Caracas (Venezuela) 2. Damascus (Syria) 3. Tashkent (Uzbekistan) 4. Almaty (Kazakhstan) 5. Bangalore (India) 6. Karachi (Pakistan) 6. Lagos (Nigeria) 7. Buenos Aires (Argentina) 7. Chennai (India) 8. New Delhi (India)

The survey also listed the top 10 most expensive cities in the world to live in, making Paris, Singapore and Hong a Kong the most expensive city in the world.

The most expensive cities in the world are:

1. Singapore (Singapore)

2. Paris (France)

3. Hong Kong (China)

4. Zurich (Switzerland)

5. Geneva (Switzerland)

6. Osaka (Japan)

7. Seoul (South Korea)

7. Copenhagen (Denmark)

8. New York (US)

9. Tel Aviv (Israel)

10. Los Angeles (US)

Source: Premium times

Corporations and Government Agencies Plan Pilot Housing Schemes in 8 States

A triparite agreement has been reached between the housing corporations, apex mortgage bank and affordable homes focused fund to boost stocks for the low- income earners in the country.

The deal between Association of Housing Corporations of Nigeria (AHCN), Federal Housing Authority (FHA), the Federal Mortgage Bank of Nigeria (FMBN) and Family Homes Fund (FHF), will see the jump-starting of the housing scheme in eight states.

The defunct three regional housing corporations and the Lagos Executive Development Board (LEDB), now Lagos State Development and Property Corporation (LSDPC) established the Association of Housing Corporations of Nigeria (AHCN) in 1964.

The objective of the founders of the association was to solve the then growing housing problems especially in the urban centres by advising governments of the federation on their housing policies, projects and programmes.

AHCN claims that its activities over the decades gave birth to the Federal Housing Authority (FHA), FMBN, the Nigerian Building and Road Research Institute (NBRRI), the 1990 National Housing Policy (NHP) and the National Housing Fund (NHF). These efforts were aimed at making decent accommodation accessible to Nigerians at affordable costs.

Currently, AHCN members have been facing problems ranging from lack of holistic approach to housing matter, lack of finance, high cost of building materials, high infrastructural development cost, appropriate implementation of policy direction and affordability challenge among others.

Recently, the association alleged usurpation of their statutory responsibilities in housing construction and development for the state by the states’ housing ministries, which have caused duplication of duty, distraction, needless rivalry, unfair competition and sheer wastages and repetition of efforts and resources.

Specifically, the pilot scheme will start in eight states, namely Lagos, Enugu, Akwa Ibom, Niger, Kaduna, Imo and Yobe. The target buyers are mainly NHF subscribers as each of the housing units is expected to be between N5million and N10 million.

Under agreement, FHF is providing construction fund, FMBN will support subscribers, especially civil servants with NHF loan while association members will handle the development of the houses. The first phase will consist of 500 units.

Among the first set of developers are Niger State Housing Corporation, Ondo State Development and Property Corporation and Imo State Housing Corporation and Lagos State’s housing arm, LSDPC.

Sources disclosed that the pilot states have already made land available for the development. Locations for the project are mostly major cities, where there is acute housing shortage.

AHCN Executive Secretary, Mr. Toye Eniola confirmed the development to us, He disclosed that a committee has been set-up to ensure that allocations are for NHF contributors and low-income earners.

On the misuse of funds, he said, “there are some guiding rules that have been put in place by FHF to prevent diversion of funds or sabotage of the scheme.”

Source: Chinedum Uwaegbulam

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