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Dubai Land Department launches online payments for service fees

Dubai Land Department (DLD) has launched an electronic system for tenants and home owners to pay service fees, which has been designed to be more fair and transparent.

Operated through its regulatory arm Real Estate Regulatory Authority (RERA), ‘Mollak’ – Arabic for ‘owners’ – allows owners to pay community service fees directly to the system, as opposed to the developer.

It monitors service charge payments in co-owned properties and works within the real estate owners’ databases and the database of real estate units registered and approved by DLD.

HE Marwan bin Ghalita, CEO of RERA, said: “Through the system, RERA seeks to increase the role of governance, regulation, and supervision as well as the participation of private sector specialists to increase real estate transparency and maintain the balance between real estate developers, management companies, and homeowners.

“This is to increase customer satisfaction and happiness in the services provided by RERA as well as facilitate the procedures of real estate unit owners when dealing with management companies and managing service-fee accounts.”

Through the system, 468 bank accounts were successfully opened for project service charges, 88 management companies and 1,212 real estate projects were registered and approved by RERA as well as 200,000 real estate units, comprising residential apartments, villas, offices, and commercial shops.

RERA also attracted seven banks to act as account trustees for co-owned properties and registered eight financial auditors to explicitly audit the application fees that were submitted for accreditation.

Senior director of the real estate relations regulatory department at RERA, Mohammed bin Hammad said: “Thanks to the innovative new Mollak system, co-owned property projects will be managed with the utmost provision of high-quality services in line with the expectations of owners and residents.”

RERA’s registration of auditors and banks to monitor transactions in the system is evidence of its emphasis on security, regulation, and customer trust.”

Real estate unit owners are notified electronically of a unit’s service fees with the publication of a unit’s service-fee-approval data in the service and maintenance fees index on DLD’s website.

The management company then requests owners to pay the services fees through the Mollak system, and sends the service-fee invoices in accordance with the amounts approved by RERA but without any financial additions, especially as the system only works on financial accounts approved by RERA.

The system includes providing easy solutions to enable owners to pay service fees through approved channels that were agreed upon by banks and the electronic payment gateway, Noqoodi.

House price rises on the way ahead of Brexit deadline – claim

House prices are set to jump this summer based on deals that have already been agreed, it has been forecast.

Conveyancing comparison website Reallymoving has analysed property price information from the quote requests it receives.

Based on these prices – which have already been agreed between sellers and buyers –  it has forecast annual price growth of 0.7% in July, followed by 1.2% in August and 3.8% in September.

If correct, this would be the highest annual growth since last November.

It is predicting more volatile pricing on a monthly basis, with values down 0.5% this month compared with last, up 3.2% in August and then falling 1.4% in September.

Rob Houghton, chief executive of Reallymoving, said: “The spring market was more robust than expected and this has prompted positive growth through the summer, particularly for deals agreed in May which are translating to sales in August.

“The chance of us leaving the EU without a deal seems increasingly likely and people are realising that the window between now and the end of October may present their best opportunity to sell.

“The market has proved itself to be surprisingly stable over the last 12 months but this could change if we crash out of the EU on Halloween.

“Annually prices are on an upward trajectory from June through to September, when they are forecast to end the summer 3.8% higher than last September, but the longer term outlook remains uncertain.

“There is huge pent-up demand in the market, however, and if the UK is able to agree a deal with the EU we could see a rush of properties hitting the market in the late autumn along with a surge in buyer demand.

“A mixed picture remains regionally, but there are twice as many regions forecast to see price growth over the summer than price falls, with particularly strong performances in Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland.”

Source: Property Industry Eye

Mortgage market in UK saw stronger annual growth in May

The mortgage market in the UK is seeing stronger activity with the remortgage sector in particular recording strong annual growth in the year to May 2019, the latest industry figures show.

There were 30,720 new first time buyer mortgages completed in May, up 0.5% compared to the same month in 2018, according to the figures from UK finance, and there were 29,430 home mover mortgages completed, a fall of 1.2%.

But in the remortgage market there 21,370 new completions with additional borrowing, up 19.8% with an average additional amount borrowed of £52,000. Additionally, 19,650 had no additional borrowing, up 19.7% year on year.

And the buy to let mortgage market is showing signs of shaking off weakness as there were 5,500 new buy to let home purchase mortgages completed, unchanged year on year while there were 15,000 remortgages in the buy to let sector, up 2% year on year.

‘We can see first time buyer completions are starting to settle, although with the huge numbers over the past year or so this is no great surprise, and that home buyer mortgages are up slightly,’ said , Richard Pike, sales and marketing director of Phoebus Software.

‘But the big news here is the remortgage figures. A lot of the straight remortgage activity can be attributed to the fact that many fixed rate mortgage deals are coming to an end, but I think we are also seeing a bit of a reaction to the ongoing political turmoil in the UK. There is still a great deal of uncertainty and many people are looking to fix their deals in now so that they have a bit more of control over their finances for the next few years,’ he pointed out.

‘I think the rise in additional borrowing is likely linked to the relative slowdown in purchase. In the current political climate, people are reluctant to move but are instead looking to borrow more to fund home improvements and extend rather than upsize,’ he added.

It is really promising to see that people are starting to engage more with their finances, according to Dilpreet Bhagrath, mortgage expert at online mortgage broker Trussle, but the firm’s research shows that three quarters of homeowners are unable to correctly define ‘remortgaging’.

‘Many borrowers are being put at a huge disadvantage by not truly understanding the terminology used in their mortgage agreement. Two million home owners across the UK are losing an average of £375 per month on high interest rates because mortgage switching isn’t currently clear or simple,’ said Bhagrath.

Nick Chadbourne, chief executive officer of conveyancing solutions provider LMS, believes that the positive lending activity is good news for the market, and remortgaging continues to help drive overall performance.

‘Longer term fixes remain the most popular products, with LMS data showing 44% of borrowers are opting for a five year fixed rate. As home owners prefer to stay put, it’s no surprise to see lenders offering increasingly competitive remortgage deals,’ he explained.

‘Continuing growth in demand for both new enquiries and completions is expected as we move through the summer with interest rates expected to remain at near record lows. There are great opportunities out there for borrowers to remortgage and save on their monthly repayments,’ he added.

Source: Property Wire

Jos building collapse: Police confirm 3 deaths, 7 injured

The Plateau Police Command has confirmed the death of three persons with seven severely injured from the collapse of a two-storey building at Dilimi community of Jos North Local Government Area of Plateau.

DSP Terna Tyopev, the Police Public Relations Officer (PPRO) of the Command, confirmed the incident to newsmen on Monday in Jos

Tyopev, who did not state the cause that led to the collapse of the building, however said that the structure, located at Butcher Line in the area, is owned by Alhaji Rufai Kabiru. Maihaja: Arewa group frowns at House of Reps allegation against NEMA DG(Opens in a new browser tab)
“This evening, at about 5 p.m. we received a distress call that a two-storey building located at Butcher Line in Jos North has collapsed.
A search and rescue team was immediately mobilised to the scene. “Seven persons were rescued unhurt, three persons were rescued with various degree of injuries while three persons lost their lives,” he said.
The PPRO said the injured were currently receiving treatment at the Plateau Specialist Hospital and Bingham University Teaching Hospital, respectively. He said search and rescue operation was still ongoing at the scene, adding that security personnel have cordoned the vicinity.

Source: Vanguard

 

World Bank to empower 19,200 in Kwara

No fewer than 19,200 poor and vulnerable people will be taking part from the World Bank empowerment programme in Kwara State. The beneficiaries will cut across all the 16 local government area of the state and the programme will last for one year, after which they are expected to start a petty trade from whatever they are able to gather from it, officials have said.

To this end, the state government has started orientation for the beneficiaries who are mostly youth for the second phase of the World Bank assisted public workfare (PWF) scheme.

Speaking during validation, enrolment and orientation programme for the stakeholders and beneficiaries of the scheme, which is under the Youth Employment and Social Support Operation (YESSO), in Ilorin, the head, PWF in the state, Mallam Shamsudeen Aregbe, said that the programme was meant to graduate beneficiaries from poverty level to self-sufficiency status.

Aregbe, who said that beneficiaries would receive monthly stipend of N7,500 each, added that about N1.6 billion would be expended on the programme by the state government in one year. He also said that the beneficiaries are expected to work in their communities four hours a day and five days in a week except weekend and public holidays and in such areas as environmental sanitation, desalting of drainages, road rehabilitation, cleaning of public places among others.

The PWF coordinator, who said that the scheme had commenced on July 1, 2019 and would end June 30, 2020, advised the beneficiaries to make good use of the opportunity to alleviate poverty among vulnerable youth.

Source: Daily Trust

debt

12 states reel under N2.1tr debt burden

Twelve states where there was a change of government recently are reeling under heavy debt burden amounting to over N2tr, Daily Trust investigations have shown. Analysis of official data from Debt Management Office (DMO), National Bureau of Statistics (NBS), and various reports of transitional committees revealed that the debt increased under the immediate past governments in the states.

Findings by this newspaper revealed that some of the debts were not captured in the DMO and NBS official data, suggesting the figure may be more. For instance, the DMO data did not include debts incurred using local contractors, suppliers, and consultants. DMO data only covered debts incurred by states through official borrowings such as multilateral and bilateral foreign and local financial  institutions, investment securities like bonds and treasury bills.

These debts rose despite a series of billions channeled to the states by the federal government as federal allocations (FAAC), bailouts, Paris fund refunds, among others. Former Governors Akinwunmi Ambode (Lagos), Kashim Shettima (Borno), Rochas Okorocha (Imo), and nine others increased their states’ domestic debt stock by over 200 percent from N412.98bn as at when they assumed office to N1.37tr as at when they left the office. During the same period, the 12 governors combined increased their states’ external debt stock by 81 percent from $1.75bn as at the inception of their tenures to $2.16bn as at when they vacated their offices. The 12 states combined also recorded total Internally Generated revenues (IGRs) of N1.14tr during the period.

The other ex-governors included Abdulaziz Yari (Zamfara), Ibrahim Gaidam (Yobe), Mohammed Abubakar (Bauchi), and Ibrahim Dankwambo (Gombe), Muhammadu Bindow (Adamawa), Umaru Al-Makura (Nasarawa), Ibikunle Amosun (Ogun), Abiola Ajimobi (Oyo), and Abdulfatah Ahmed (Kwara). The governors borrowing increased their states’ domestic debt stock by over 200 percent and their foreign debt stock by over 81 percent. While Ambode, Abubakar, and Bindow spent four years in office each, the rest spent eight years, except Gaidam, who spent 10 years.

N612bn debt left by Yari, Dankwambo, Ajimobi, Bindow  For instance, four former governors Yari, Dakwambo, Bindow, Abubakar, and Ajimobi have left behind over N612bn debts, according to reports of transition committees. The Zamfara State transition committee said Yari has left behind a debt of N251bn – an amount he denied without giving the actual figures he left. Dankwabo left behind debts of N110bn, while Bindow and Abubakar left N115bn and N136bn respectively. Oyo State Governor Seyi Makinde announced last week that his predecessor, Ajimobi had left behind over N150bn debt. These debts profile released by the transition committees is far above what Daily Trust obtained from the official websites of DMO and NBS.

Data from DMO revealed that Zamfara’s domestic debt stock grew to N59.90bn as at December 31, 2018, from the N12.97bn recorded as at December 31, 2011, when Yari took over. The external debt stock also rose to $33.52m from $26.31m during the same period. Zamfara recorded a total IGR of N32.23bn from 2011 to 2018, shortly before the Yari vacated office. The state also got N188.5bn as federal allocations, between 2013 and 2017. The domestic debt stock of Bauchi State grew to N92.37bn as at December 31, 2018, from the N57.62bn recorded as at December 31, 2015, after Abubakar assumed office as governor. Bauchi’s external debt stock also rose to $133.93m to $85.34m during the same period.

Data from NBS showed that Bauchi State’s IGR from 2015 to 2018 stood at N28.13bn, rising from N5.39bn in 2015 to N8.68bn in 2016 and down to N4.37bn in 2017 and up to N9.69bn in 2018. Bauchi also received N234.9bn as federal allocations between 2013 and 2017. Gombe State also witnessed a rise in domestic debt to N63.34bn as at December 31, 2018, to N7.17bn as at December 31, 2011, while its external debt stock rose to $37.41m from the $28.37m recorded during the same period. Gombe’s IGR from 2011 to 2018 stood at N36.27bn, about double the size of the states’ domestic stock when the governor vacated office. From 2013 to 2017, the state got N172.1bn as FAAC.

Adamawa State State’s domestic debt stock rose to N89.66bn as at December 31, 2018, from N47.20bn as at December 31, 2015, after the governor assumed office. The external debt stock also rose from $97.79m as of December 31, 2018, from $49.06m recorded as of December 31, 2015. The state also recorded a total IGR of N22.64bn from 2015 to the end of 2018, being the last four years under review. Between 2013 and 2017, N213.7bn accrued to Adamawa as federal allocation. The reports of transition committees were mostly made public in states where different parties took over from the outgoing governors. Yari, Dankwambo, Abubakar, and Bindow handed over to governors from the opposition parties.

Rising debt burden  Data sourced from DMO show that Lagos States’ domestic debt stock rose to N530.24bn as at December 31, 2018, shortly before Ambode left office from N218bn the 218.54bn recorded as at December 31, 2015, shortly after he assumed office. Lagos State’s foreign debt stock also rose to $1.43bn from $1.21bn during the same period under Ambode. Within the same period, data from the NBS said Lagos State generated N1.29tr as IGR. In 2015, the state generated N268.2bn, N302.4bn in 2016, N333.9bn in 2017 and N382.18bn in 2018.

Lagos got N479.1bn as federal allocations between 2013 and 2017. Yobe State’s domestic debt stock increased to N27.77bn as at December 31, 2018, from the N2.09bn recorded as at December 31, 2011, while the state’s externals debt stock reduced to $27.49m from N$31.18m within the same period. Yobe State recorded a total IGR of N23.94bn from 2011 to the end of 2018, shortly before the governor vacated the office.

The state received a total of N216.7bn as federal allocations from 2013 to 2017. While Borno State recorded a total IGR of N27.32bn in the last eight years, the state’s domestic debt stock rose to N68.38bn from the N1.68bn recorded as at December 31, 2011, while its external debt also to $21.62m from $12.96m in the same period. Borno got N263.2bn FAAC allocations from 2103 to 2017.

In Imo State, domestic debt rose to N98.78bn at December 31, 2018, from N25.42bn recorded as at December 31, 2011, while external debt rose to $59.52m from $50.28m during the same period. Imo State’s IGR from 2011 to 2018 stood at N61.32bn, being N37.46bn short of the total domestic stock the governor bequeathed to the state after he vacated office. Imo’s FAAC allocation between 2013 and 2017 is N226.4bn.

Nasarawa State saw a rise in domestic debt stock to N85.36bn as at December 31, 2018, from the N5.34bn recorded as at December 31, 2011, while the state’s external debt stock also rose to $59.18m from $37.06m during the same period. Nasarawa State earned a total of N96.05bn as IGRs from 2011 to 2018, slightly higher than the state’s total debt stock as at the end of 2018. It also received N186.2bn as FAAC between 2013 and 2017. The domestic debt stock of Ogun, Oyo and Kwara States rose to N98.72bn, N91.52bn and N59.14bn respectively as at December 31, 2018, from N30.14bn, N4.81bn and N25.25bn respectively.

During the same period, the external debts of Ogun, Oyo and Kwara States also rose to $103.26m, $104.99m and $48m respectively from $94.58m, $78.09m and $43.99m respectively. The total IGRs of Ogun, Oyo and Kwara States stood at N562.86bn, N136.75bn and N113.55bn from 2011 to 2018. ‘Debts are lifetime burden for states’         Most of these debts were incurred to fund salaries and overheads and therefore, become lifetime burden on the states, Dr Aminu Usman, of the Department of Economics at the Kaduna State University, said.

“When you borrow to finance fiscal operations of the government, then it becomes a lifetime burden on the state. That is exactly what we do,” he said. Dr Usman said another major problem of the debt is that the lenders do not tie the funds to specific projects and even when tied to projects, the lenders do not monitor to ensure that the funds are used specifically to the projects.

He added that external debts are bad for states due to exchange rates instability and states not earning enough foreign currencies. Auwal Musa Rafsanjani, executive director of the Civil Society Legislative Advocacy Centre (CISLAC), a governance tracking organisation, blamed the “state governors’ frivolous and irresponsible borrowing” on “poor legislative oversight of state assemblies.”

He said most of the debts accumulated by states over the years have been siphoned in the guise of project implementation, jumbo allowances for ex-public office holders and corruption in general. What the debt can finance If the N2tr debt profile is to be used for the rail project, the money will be enough to build four standard gauge rail lines across the country, the equivalent of the 386km Lagos -Ibadan modern rail project, which is being built at the cost of N568bn ($1.58bn.)

The debt is also enough to construct another standard rail gauge six-times that of 186-kilometer Abuja -Kaduna, constructed at N314.6bn ($874m). The total debt stock can also fund the 3,050MW Mambilla hydropower project, which includes the construction of four dams and 700 kilometres of transmission lines, awarded by the federal government at the cost of $5.792bn (N2.085tr) to a Chinese consortium.

What states can do over debts – Experts  On the way out of the debt debacle, Dr Usman said “I think any serious governor should not have a retinue of too many aides. Even if it makes political sense, it does not make financial sense because the cost will be overbearing,” he said. He said states need to harness their potentials in IGRs by overcoming the usual political considerations on policies bordering on increasing IGRs. “States need to actually put emphasis on internally generated revenues vigorous. They need to cut a lot of wastes in the way of project implementation, especially the cost of contracts,” he said. On his part, the CISLAC chief said there is a need for laws to restrict borrowings that are unjustifiable, not tied to capital projects and have no direct impact on human development.

Source: Daily Trust

Biggest PFAs return 4.6% in H1 2019 as total portfolio hits record high

The intensity with which pension funds in Nigeria generate returns for contributors seems to have waned in the first half of 2019.

Although both the Retirement Savings Account (RSA) and retiree fund category of pension funds ended the first quarter of the year with a positive performance, BusinessDay analysis of the half-year return of the seven biggest Pension Fund Administrators (PFAs) reveals that these PFAs delivered an average return of 4.6 percent and 5.2 percent on Fund II and Fund III, respectively, while total portfolio for RSA hit N6.9 trillion.

The choice of Fund II and III is based on the fact that these fund types dominate total RSA funds.

Figures from the National Pension Commission (PenCom) reveal that total funds in RSA as at March 31, 2019, stood at N6.9 trillion, with Fund II at N4 trillion, followed by Fund III (N2.1 trillion), Fund IV (N732 billion), and Fund I (N12.7 billion).

Under the multi-fund structure introduced by PenCom in 2018, the Fund II type is meant for middle-aged contributors – below the age of 49 – and this accounts for 58 percent of the total RSA fund.

Fund III, which is the most conservative fund for active contributors designed for people close to retirement and meant for persons above the age of 50, accounts for 31 percent of the pension fund.

Fund I, which is meant for active contributors who were 49 years and below as at their last birthdays, and Fund IV, meant strictly for RSA retirees, account for a meagre 0.19 percent and 11 percent, respectively.

Taking account of inflation, which accelerated to 11.40 percent in May, a 0.03 percentage point higher than 11.37 percent in January, PFAs within the coverage of this analysis returned 4.57 percent and 5.17 percent on Fund II and Fund III, respectively, in nominal terms.

This means the funds are largely returning below inflation or negative in real terms.

For Fund II with a maximum 55 percent exposure to variable income securities, Pension Alliance (PAL) emerged top performer with 6.5 percent as the unit price increased from N3.56 on January 2, 2019 to N3.79 on June 30, 2019.

Premium Pension emerged the second top performer with a 5.8 percent return as price per unit from N4.1 on January 2, 2019 to N4.34 on June 30, 2019. ARM Pension’s unit price appreciated 5.8 percent from N3.78 on January 2, 2019, to N4.34 on June 30, 2019. Stanbic IBTC Pension’s unit price climbed 4.7 percent higher from N3.82 on January 2, 2019 to N4 on June 30, 2019.

Sigma Pension returned 4.1 percent as price per unit advanced from N3.14 to N3.27 between January 2 and June 30, 2019. Trust Fund Pension delivered 3.9 percent return as unit price appreciated from N3.34 on January 31, 2019, to N3.47 on June 30, 2019. Leadway Pensure returned 2.5 percent as unit price moved from N3.21 on April 10, 2019 to N3.29 on June 30, 2019.

For pre-retiree Fund III with 20 percent maximum limit to variable investment securities, Premium Pension topped peers with positive half-year return of 6.6 percent as price per unit moved from N1.06 to N1.13 between January 2 and June 30, 2019.

Within the six-month period, Sigma Pension’s unit price advanced from N1.02 to N1.08 and delivered 5.9 percent return. Pension Alliance (PAL) and ARM Pension returned 5.7 percent as their unit price increased from N1.05 and N1.04, respectively, to N1.11 and N1.10 respectively. Stanbic IBTC Pension’s unit price climbed 4.7 percent higher from N1.05 on January 2, 2019, to N1.11 on June 30, 2019.

Trust Fund Pension delivered 4.8 percent return as unit price appreciated from N1.04 on January 31, 2019 to N1.11 on June 30, 2019. Leadway Pensure returned 2.8 percent as unit price moved from N1.06 on April 10, 2019 to N1.09 on June 30, 2019.

The seven PFAs have a combined 75 percent market share in the pension industry, with Stanbic IBTC Pension leading the space with 37.2 percent. ARM Pension, Premium Pension and Trust Fund Pension have an individual market share of 8.8 percent, 7.9 percent, and 6.4 percent, respectively. These are followed by Sigma Pension (5.5 percent), and Pension Alliance and Leadway Pensure with 4.8 percent share each.

Pension assets rose by 4.5 percent to N9 trillion while pension to GDP stood at 28.3 percent in Q1 2019, from 24.52 percent in Q4 2018. In 2018, total Asset Under Management (AuM) was N8.14trn ($26.6), more than the combined assets in Egypt, Ghana, and Kenya.

In the full-year 2018, Nigeria’s pension to GDP was 6.7 percent. By comparison, it stood higher than Egypt’s 1.5 percent, Ghana’s 4.4 percent but below Kenya’s 12.9 percent. Meanwhile, Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) member countries averaged 53.3 percent in 2018.

By OLUFIKAYO OWOEYE, SEGUN ADAMS & ISRAEL ODUBOLA

FG may repeal Land Use Act for Ruga, SMBLF alleges

The Southern and Middle Belt Leaders Forum has said there is a surreptitious plan by the Federal Government to repeal the Land Use Act and take over the control of lands in the country from state governors.

This, it said, was to enable the government to subsequently implement the suspended Ruga project.

The forum said it gathered that the FG suspended the Ruga Settlement Programme due to the Act which restricted its access to land, adding that the government may move to repeal the law in order to facilitate the implementation of the Ruga grazing scheme.

SMBLF cautioned Southern lawmakers in the National Assembly to be vigilant and to guard against the introduction of any bill intended to repeal or amend the Land Use Act.

The forum said this in a statement in Abuja on Sunday by its co-spokespersons: Yinka Odumakin (South West), Prof. Chigozie Ogbu (South East), Senator Bassey Henshaw (South South), Dr. Isuwa Dogo (Middle Belt).

The group stated that it was not impressed by the suspension of the Ruga Settlement Project, which it declared as “an expansionist agenda on behalf of the Fulani nomads.”

The statement reads, “It is being alleged that there will be moves to repeal the Land Use Act in the (Ruga) suspension period so the Federal Government can have authority over land which is currently under the states.

“We therefore call on all our members in the National Assembly to be vigilant about any surreptitious bill that may be introduced to tamper with control of land and thwart such without any waste of time.

“The 2014 National Conference debated this issue at length and resolved to retain the Land Use Act in the Constitution.”

The forum further warned the lawmakers against passing the ‘Bill to establish a Regulatory Framework for the Water Resources Sector in Nigeria,’ sponsored by the executive, noting that it was meant to give the FG sole authority and control over the nation’s rivers and underground water.

The group added, “When this obnoxious Water Bill is taken alongside the Ruga programme and the speculated assault on Land Use Act, the internal colonialism agenda is complete and we would have no one but ourselves to blame if we don’t effect our no-pasaran (They shall not pass — a slogan used to express determination to defend a position against an enemy).

“It is pertinent to ask why the FG is not going ahead with Ruga in some northern states that have accepted the policy if the whole idea was not about land-grabbing in the South and Middle Belt states,” it said.

The political pressure group stated that the FG’s support for local government autonomy was hinged on the Ruga scheme to allow “aliens” to take over allotted land under the programme.

It vowed not to relax its opposition to the project, stressing that only outright cancellation of the initiative was acceptable to the forum.

“The whole policy has opened our eyes to the reason why the President has been harping on local government autonomy now and then,” the group stressed.

Source: Punch Ng

10 Reasons Why You Should Marry an Architect

You know their faults, but it is time you know their even more valuable merits. They have a complicated but interesting mindset which has learned to deal with anything and everything, personal relationships included. At first, they may seem peculiar, but then you get used to their pattern, and if you are patient enough you may uncover all their hidden gems.

  1. They can masterfully handle the pressure

An architect’s job can be really stressful. They have to deal with many givens, satisfy different clients, and finish before the deadline. So, in relationships, they can be calm and rational, no mood swings.

  1. They get it faster than you can imagine 😉

Architects can be detail-oriented, and that means they will remember the smallest details about you. They need to be capable of understanding their clients to offer them something that suits them. It is a skill that works pleasantly when it comes to personal relationships.

  1. They are organized (even if it doesn’t look like it)

    Part of the Logical thinker and planner package is being organized. They may seem messy, their rooms, studios, and even their cars. But they actually have their “own system”! They may be the only ones who know how to deal with it, so don’t bother but don’t worry either.

  2. They are logical thinkers and natural planners

Architects are both engineers and artists. So, they have to be able to think like engineers, and by that, we mean think logically. Also, without a plan, things can fall apart pretty badly, and so it becomes part of their daily routine to think of the future. 

  1. They are very creative; it is public knowledge

The artistic side of the architects makes them very creative. Their need to think out of the box in order to solve unpreceded problems and work out appealing and functional designs changes their thinking manner. They become creative by habit, and it reflects on their surrounding environment.

  1. Their teaching capabilities are superb

Architects have loads of information in all sorts of fields gained through learning and working experience. Their creativity and logical thinking translate into their teaching methods. They know what to say and how to say it. They can make the teaching experience something quite interesting.

  1. They have no commitment issues

They are used to working on projects for very long durations, and they can’t back out. They commit to their demanding, sometimes illogical, clients, and they don’t give up on their tasks. So, when it comes to personal relationships, they take them seriously, not minding a commitment.’

  1. They may procrastinate but never give up

They take their time thinking about a concept and figuring out an optimal design, but they never give up on a project. They keep coming and going, trying to achieve the best outcome. Taking the easy way out is not in their vocabulary.

  1. They are brilliant problem solvers

Problem-solving is part of their job description. So whenever needed, they can solve their own, their partner’s, and their entire household’s problems. They don’t need help from professionals to solve problems like a wobbly chair or a stained wall. They can figure it out.

  1. They have this superpower called ‘admitting to one’s mistakes’

They get used to it. After all, their work is a series of trials and errors. Having the ability to re-think their behavior, admitting to their mistakes, and find convenient solutions becomes part of their character, which tends to influence their social behavior.

Source: Arch2o

Furniture giant Ikea set to build affordable housing in the UK

Ikea is set to make its first foray into UK housing, after being granted permission to build up to 162 new homes in Worthing.

With houses in the seaside town selling for around 11 times the average salary, Worthing Council says this innovative move will utilise unused land and improve affordability for first-time buyers.

But how expensive will the homes really be, and is a return to prefabs really the answer to the housing crisis?

Ikea to build houses in the UK

Worthing Council has voted in favour of a partnership with Ikea to build affordable homes in the town.

The flat-pack favourite will build houses through its development company, BoKlok, which is a joint venture with the construction firm Skanska. While the name might be new to the UK, BoKlok has already built around 11,000 homes in Scandinavia.

BoKlok primarily builds low-cost modular homes, which are created offsite in a factory and then assembled on location. The homes in Worthing will range from one-bedroom to three-bedroom apartments, and all will include Ikea kitchens and interior furnishings.

There’s good news for cash-strapped first-time buyers, too, as BoKlok has promised the homes will be sold with 25-year mortgagesat a price that’s ‘affordable for a single parent.’ Currently, the average salary in Worthing is around £25,500.

Worthing Council will be allocated 30% of the properties to use for social housing, and the developer will sell the rest itself through a ballot system.

It’s expected that the new homes will arrive by 2021, and if the partnership proves successful, a deal is lined up to build 500 more properties.

Can modular builds solve the housing crisis?

Ikea is best known for its flat-pack furniture, but it wouldn’t be fair to describe these homes using that term.

Rather, they’ll be high-quality modular properties created in factories.

When you think of modular homes, your mind might move towards the garish prefabs of a few decades ago, but the truth is that both design and technology have improved significantly since then.

This has even resulted in some developers, such as the German company Huf Haus, building high-end energy-efficient modular homes to the specifications of individual buyers.

Some experts believe factory-built properties could solve the housing crisis, as they can be delivered more quickly than bricks and mortar homes (due to mass production techniques and a lack of exposure to the elements), and with better quality control.

The German developer Huf Haus creates energy efficient timber-framed modular homes.

Are developers embracing modular homes?

With the government aiming to build as many as 300,000 homes a year by the mid-2020s, factory-built properties are an attractive option, on paper at least.

And in the last year or two there’s been a significant swing towards modular housing.

Just last month, the housing association Places for People agreed a £100m contract to buy 750 factory-built properties, while Homes England invested in a venture with the Japanese Modular company Sekisui House to build thousands of new modular homes.

And there are signs that the biggest developers are taking notice, too. Last December, Berkeley Homes announced it was on track with the construction of its own modular housing factory, which is expected to be completed in 2020.

Persimmon and L&G Homes are also in the process of building factories.

Central Park, in Sydney, Australia, is one of the most unusual examples of modular housing

Cost issues with modular housing

Despite all of these positives, there remains some distance to run before factory-built homes can compete with traditional methods of construction in the mainstream market.

One barrier is cost. In April, the property analyst JLL said that while traditional methods are unsustainable in long-term due to an ageing working population and a reliance on eastern European bricklayers, modular housing isn’t necessarily a viable alternative.

JLL claims that many major developers are still shying away from off-site production, as the construction cost is 12% higher than traditional methods. It concludes that many modular factories are only surviving because they are taking on hotels, student accommodation and commercial units to increase their profits.

Some critics have also raised concerns that while land values remain so high, it’ll be difficult for modular homes to be a truly affordable alternative to bricks and mortar.

Mortgages for off-site homes

As the popularity of modular homes grows, it’s likely that mortgage lenders will need to come up with specific lending policies.

Right now, modular properties are sometimes categorised alongside self-build homes as ‘modern methods of construction’, or MMC.

Most major lenders don’t currently have a clear policy on MMC, for two reasons.

First of all, the MMC category contains vastly different types of home. A self-build will require finance being released at different points of the project, while a modular home will require a more traditional mortgage offer.

Then, there’s the question of valuations. Lenders might not have the specific expertise to assess a modular home for valuation purposes as they would with a traditional bricks and mortar property. Throw in questions around insurance, and it’s easy to see how much work must be done.

With this in mind, it remains to be seen how the biggest banks will adapt their eligibility rules over the next few years as more off-site homes are built.

Source: Which Uk

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