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Lagos living: Solving Nigeria’s megacity housing crisis

 

Nigeria’s largest city Lagos is facing a housing crisis. The BBC’s Nancy Kacungira looks at how entrepreneurs are trying to solve the crisis.

Affordable housing is a considerable challenge for urban areas with large populations, and this is particularly prevalent in the Nigeria’s city of Lagos.

More than 500,000 people move to the city every year, and across Nigeria, there is already a housing deficit of more than 17 million units.

There are on-going projects of varying scale trying to address the shortage; one is reclaiming land from the Atlantic Ocean to build a new city suburb called Eko Atlantic on the shores of Victoria Island.

Tonnes of sand and heavy rock were poured into the ocean to provide 10 sq km (3.8 sq miles) of land for shops, offices and homes.

Protected by an 8km long sea wall, the city will have its own power and water supply, and even an independent road network.

Eko Atlantic will be able to accommodate more than 500,000 people, but the multibillion dollar project has been perceived as being “only for the rich”.

Ronald Chagoury Jr, one of the developers, says it is a perception they have been trying to shake off.

“From the beginning we always thought that this would be a city for the middle income.

“We know that the middle income has grown significantly in the past 15 years and we know that it is going to grow even more.”

‘Living with granny’

Still, some residents of Lagos feel that there are already many housing options – they just cannot afford them.

Properties are pricey and landlords typically require annual, not monthly rent payments.

Banking consultant Abimbola Agbalu tells me that he has to live at his grandmother’s house, because renting his own place would be too expensive.

 

“If I wanted to rent a house where I would prefer in Lagos I would be spending at least 80% of my pay cheque to move in because I would have to pay two years’ rent upfront, agency fees and maintenance fees.

“And from then on I would have to spend another 60-70% of my pay cheque every year on rent, which doesn’t make sense.

“The problem is not that there are no houses. If you look around, there are empty houses all over Lagos; some can even go a year without being rented out.

“The problem is that people can’t afford them. We need better alternatives.”

Refurbishing shipping containers

One Nigerian company is thinking inside the box in order to provide a cheaper housing option – by making homes out of cargo containers.

Dele Ijaiya-Oladipo says he co-founded Tempohousing Nigeria to provide a creative solution in a city that desperately needs low-cost housing.

“The only way we can get the housing deficit sorted is by providing good quality houses at affordable rates.

“You can’t build a million homes at a price that no-one will ever afford – that doesn’t achieve anything.”

Mr Ijaiya-Oladipo’s container homes are 25% cheaper than traditional housing, and can be built in as little as two weeks.

“But the concept is still foreign to many Nigerians; so most of his clients tend to use the containers to build office spaces, not homes,” he says.

“Until a potential client actually sees our past work, they can’t really picture how a shipping container can be used as a finished house or office.

“We have to encourage people to visit our office which is made out of containers, so they can see what we are talking about.”

From a self-sustaining city to refurbished-shipping containers, private sector real-estate developers are offering both big and small solutions – and Lagos needs them all.

The city is Africa’s largest, and its population is expected to double by 2050; putting even more pressure on already limited housing options.

Source: BBC

Building Collapse in Nigeria: 6 Early Warning Signs

Things that happen when a house is about to collapse

There are quite a number of reasons why a building collapse could happen. It could be as a result of an act of terrorism, a structural failure or natural disasters like an earthquake, hurricane, flooding, landslide, tornado or a mudslide.

Nigeria has suffered its share of building collapse in the past with several cases of buildings collapsing and killing scores of people. On December 10, 2016, Nigeria was hit by a tragedy when a church collapsed in Uyo, the capital of Akwa Ibom; killing over 200 people.

The Akwa Ibom State Governor, Udom Emmanuel was among the lucky survivors of this tragic incident when the church building collapsed right in the middle of a Saturday service.On September 22, 2015, a building collapsed in the Lekki axis of Lagos State. In May 2016, a four-storey shopping complex collapsed in Ogun State, which left many deadIn October 2015, a three-storey building collapsed in Lagos. Sadly, there has been an increase in the number of collapsed buildings in Nigeria in the last 10 years.According to the General Manager, Lagos State Building Control Agency, Sola Adeigbe, a total of 1,104 buildings were sealed from Between June and October 2016 across Lagos State as a result of defective or illegal construction.

The fact remains that buildings do not just collapse. There are always warning signs. In many cases, the building control agency of several states in Nigeria carry out a non-destructive integrity test.

This test according to real estate professionals is to ascertain the structural stability of the building. This helps the state know if such buildings can be renovated or re-engineered.

In cases where building are detected to have a defect, building owners are asked to take the test before further actions are taken by the state.

As part of our commitment to ensuring the safety of homeowners as well as those who live or work in properties in Nigeria, we have compiled a list of 7 warning signs that should not be taken for granted.

The moment you notice any of the warning signs we will discuss in this article, immediately evacuate the building and make it a point of duty to notify your nearest Local Council Development Area (LCDA)

1. Major cracks in the wall

Thermal movement remains one of the most potent causes of cracks to appear in the walls of buildings. If overlooked, this could eventually lead to the collapse of the building.

A crack in the wall of a building is a natural sign that the structure is unable to accommodate the movement or load to which it is subjected. When cracks appear in the walls of a building, it is either a structural crack or a non-structural crack.

While structural cracks appear as a result of incorrect design, faulty construction or overloading, non-structural cracks appear due to internally induced stress on the materials used in constructing a building.

2. Gaps between floors

When there are gaps between the walls and floors of a building, you must understand that this is a structural defect that could end very badly.

In 1995, a building with gaps between the floors and its walls eventually collapsed and killed three people.

Uneven spaces and sloping floors are not to be taken lightly. For instance, take a look at the house from the street. Is the front entrance straight? For contemporary homes, sloping floors are a really bad sign.

 3. Deteriorating support structure

Deterioration can result due to different reasons including;

Substandard materials used: As building components fail, they can directly impact on the exterior walls. The collapse of interior floors can push against masonry exterior walls and this eventually paves the way for the collapse of buildings.

Tears and fissures in foundation structures: This can also happen when fissures appear in welds of steel during construction or over time. A building is likely to undergo progressive collapse when a primary structural element fails, resulting in the failure of adjoining structural elements, which in turn, causes further structural failure culminating in a building collapse.

Deformed siding: Siding is what protects your building from the moisture and the elements. It can be found on the inside and outside the walls of the buildings that are well constructed. When not kept in good condition, it can deteriorate and result in weakening of foundational structures; something that often leads to building collapse.

4. Creaking and popping sounds

When the house you live in begins to make creaking and popping sounds, you should be very worried. In September 2016, a resident heard creaking sounds on the 7th floor of a building, which eventually collapsed.

When a house creaks, what is happening is that the metal parts contract much more than the wood does. As a result, the nails, pipes and air ducts rub against the wood.

Also, the wood rubs and grinds against other wooden parts of the structure, which creates the creaking sounds.

If you ever find yourself hearing weird sounds and cracks especially during strong winds, it’s a sign you should pay attention to.

5. Mould and water stains on walls and collapsing ceilings

There is usually one way mould and rot are caused – Water got to a part of the house that should not be wet. Professionals prefer to call this ‘moisture penetration.’

When there is an excess of moisture that can’t escape within the structure of a house, it is c

alled a damp.

The natural tendency of moisture is to spread out from wet parts of a house to the dry areas. The moisture would also move downwards with the under the influence of gravity. Your house construction should allow for this.

If this does not happen, it could result in clay lump walls collapsing.

 

6. Moving house

One of the most dangerous warnings of an impending collapse is when the house is moving. The movement here does not refer to the way a human would move. Rather, this means that over a period of time, certain parts of the house have shifted from their original position as a result of foundation problems. Technically, when the foundation of the building shifts, it sets into motion, a disturbing number of serious events throughout the house, which forces the house to move.

Final thoughts

A building does not suddenly collapse in one night without any warning sign. The signs are usually there to be seen. One of the biggest problems with these signs is that if neglected, they make the collapse of the building inevitable. In essence, early warning signs should not be handled with levity.

Do you have any questions or worries around building collapse you would like to share with us? Reach out to us in the comment section below.

The Rising Cost of Building a House in Nigeria

 

Why Previously Affordable Homes are Now Out of Reach For Many

Despite the biting economic effects of the recession in Nigeria, the cost of building a house has continued to rise. Between October 2016 and April 2017, several building materials have become more expensive than they used to be. In October 2016, it cost N2,500 to buy the ¼ white plywood board whereas, in April 2017, the same plywood was sold for N4,200 per unit.

As expected, this holds grave consequences for developers, the government, Nigerians planning to rent or buy property as well as other stakeholders. Industry experts have bared their minds on this topic as seen below:

The Sun

“When former President Olusegun Obasanjo assumed office in 1999, a bag of cement was sold at N500 per bag. Despite various policies and interventions, if any, the price of cement has continued to rise. It is the same story all over the country. Since 2015, the price of cement has climbed from N1,400 to between N2,500 and N3,000, depending on the location and quality. A bag of cement costs between N2,550 and N2,600 in Calabar, Cross River State, while it costs N2,800 in Aba, Abia State. In Port Harcourt, it is sold at between N2,700 and N3,000, depending on the quality. One can buy a bag for between N2,700 and N2,800 in Jalingo, Taraba State, while it is sold at between N2,800 and N2,850 in Abuja.”

For more info: http://sunnewsonline.com/building-houses-with-tears/

The Guardian

“Another dangerous trend is that many developers and engineers have resulted in cutting corners to ensure that they remain in business in order to feed their families and make ends meet. The resultant effect is that proposed materials may not meet specified standards due to high cost… If you need 3O bags of cement to mix certain measurement of gravel, you may need to reduce to 15 bags in ensuring that projects are not abandoned.”

For more info: https://guardian.ng/property/developers-firms-in-dilemma-over-rising-building-materials-cost/

 

Daily Times

“Due to the depreciation of the Naira and high exchange rates, prices of building material have recorded about 150 to 200 percent increase as very high percentage of building materials are imported. A bag of cement has gone up from N1, 500 to N2, 500 and as high N3, 000 in some areas in Lagos, the cost of rod has skyrocketed from N160, 000 per tonne to N320, 000 which signifies about 200 percent increase. A tipper of 5 tonnes washed gravel now goes for about N32, 000 as against the price of N 20, 000 few months ago, a tipper of granite 30 tonnes now sells for N147, 000 compared to the previous price of N80, 000 to N85, 000. This scenario, according to President, Nigerian Institution of Structural Engineers, Oreoluwa Fadayomi, has impacted severely on many projects as many projects are now stalled as clients could no longer continue due to the high cost of all the building materials.”

For more info: https://dailytimes.ng/business/rising-cost-building-materials-dangerous-trend-stakeholders/

Nigeria Real Estate Hub

“Nigerians would continue to pay more for accommodation in major cities until the cost of building materials is subsidised. Many completed housing estates across the country have remained unoccupied because of the high rental and sale prices attached to them as against the meagre income of the average Nigerian worker. More so, it is worse now due to the economic recession. The increase in the prices of building materials has multiplier effects on housing development, many projects are not completed on time due to the cost of materials which have been on the increase. Besides timely completion, high prices of building materials form a crucial constraint to improving housing conditions in Nigeria.”

For more info: http://nigeriarealestatehub.com/implications-cost-building-materials.html/

 

Our View

The implication of this is that housing schemes initiated by the government are not affordable to the average Nigerian. As expected, this impacts negatively on the projection of the government to cut down the visible housing deficit that the country has endured for years.

The government has, over the years, launched initiatives to provide affordable housing to the teeming population and encouraging homeownership through site and services schemes but with the rising cost of building materials, this goal proves elusive.

What can be done to free the country from this real estate trap? Perhaps the government should establish policies that will be aimed at bringing down the cost of building materials.

Power of Attorney does not confer ownership interest in Real Estate transactions (3)

The wordings of a Power of Attorney are strictly construed as they are. So it is important for a donor to know exactly what powers he wants to confer and what the limits of the powers will be. Usually, before a lawyer drafts a Power of Attorney for his client, he will ask a series of questions of the donor so that at the end of the day what is stated in the Power of Attorney is the true intention of the donor. A Power of Attorney can be revoked expressly, impliedly or by operation of law. An express revocation leaves one without doubt. The revocation is communicated, usually in writing, that the powers have been revoked. The form of an express revocation will depend on how the Power of Attorney was created. If it was created by a deed; then the revocation has to be done by a deed simplicita.

Where the donor gives a Power of Attorney to a donee and then still goes ahead to deal with the subject matter of the Power of Attorney in a way that makes it impossible for the Donee to effect his authority under the Power; an implied revocation would arise from the actions of the donor. The fact of the donor giving a Power of Attorney does not extinguish his right to do the same act or do with his property what he wishes.

For instance, where a land owner gives a Power of Attorney to an agent to sell his land and then goes ahead to sell the land himself, before the agent has done so, it can be implied that the Power of Attorney has been revoked. This is very aptly made In the case of Chime v. Chime:

“… The better view is that so long as the donee has not exercised the power comprised in the Power of Attorney it is clearly open to the donor to exercise the same power. Therefore, where the donee has in fact exercised the power under the Power of Attorney the donor’s power in this regard expires.” Wali, JSC, Chime v. Chime, (Supra. at page 34, paragrah. A.)

It is very important to note that Revocation by operation of law simply means that the law provides certain circumstances that automatically revoke a Power of Attorney. If the donor dies, becomes insane or bankrupt, or suffers any other legal incapacity while the Power of Attorney is still subsisting, then those aforementioned situations will revoke the Power of Attorney. There are however exceptions to this general rule such as where the Power of Attorney is coupled with an interest, it is irrevocable until the interest is exhausted. That means, for instance, if a donor grants the donee power to collect rents from his property to set off a debt owed to the donee, the Power of Attorney is not revoked until the debt sum has been realized by the donee in the circumstance.

Power of Attorney is not given as proof of transfer of land asset to a buyer. When using a Power of Attorney to deal with land matters, there are quite a few rules, and in some instances those rules vary from state to state. In this regard, it is important to know that a Power of Attorney does not confer interest in land. Therefore, on the purchase of land, where the seller grants the buyer a Power of Attorney, as is the practice in so many cases, the buyer must perfect his title to that land in the form prescribed by the law so that his interest in the land is protected. Anything different from this is a wild goose chase!

Abia Governor stresses need for good urban planning

Governor Okezie Ikpeazu of Abia State has harped on the need for good urban planning and responsible implementation of such plans, if city residents intend to enjoy the benefits of metropolitan dwelling.
Ikpeazu, who stated this during a three-day interactive workshop of the United Nations – Habitat tagged “Urban Thinkers Campus” organised by Vicar Hope Foundation in collaboration with some line MDAs, noted that the meeting was most timely because of the way people abuse their environment.
“I believe if you don’t take care of your environment, your environment will kill you. We need to care for our environment for the sake of the future generation,” the governor said.
He said the cities of Aba, Ohafia and Umuahia had no master plan and wondered how previous administrations carried out physical development, and charged the Urban Thinkers Campus to think about how to achieve better, affordable housing in the cities and cleaner, safer environment.
Nkechi Ikpeazu, wife of the governor earlier in her speech, urged participants to evolve ideas and realizable action plans that would help turn around the conditions of the cities and make the cities better, cleaner, safer, functional and more profitable to dwellers and visitors.
She described “The City We need” as beautiful, habitable, and runs the entire gamut from affordable and qualitative housing, to functional sanitation, infrastructure, security and emergency services.”
 The wife of the governor, who is the founder of Vicar Hope Foundation, thanked the UN Habitat, the World Urban Campaign, the International Women Communication Centre and the Huairou Commission for collaborating to host the Urban Thinkers Campus in Abia.
UN-HABITAT programme manager in Nigeria, Kabir Yari, said the essence of the event was to promote sustainable urbanization.
Yari was represented by Steve Onu, a member of the UN Steering Committee on making cities resilient, expressed the hope that the meeting would come out with a road-map on how to tackle the challenges posed by rapid population growth in the urban centres.
In her speech, the Executive Director, International Women Communication Centre, Limota Goroso Giwa, said that the meeting provided an opportunity for the cross-fertilization of ideas on how to achieve the UN objective for the new urban agenda.
Giwa commended the governor’s wife for her passion and commitment toward achieving sustainable urbanization in Abia. She said that her initiative had given Abia visibility on the global map.
Osita Igbe the chairman of the meeting, said Abia State was aspiring to have one of its cities as part of the 74 cities that would enjoy intervention and support from the United Nations Human Settlements Programme – UN Habitat, and buttressed the need for a report that would be in congruence with the desires of the habitants.
The event featured lectures from renowned urban planners Chibuzo Odimuko and Lekwa Ezuta who discussed City resilience, and the role sections of the society could play in realizing The City We Need project.
Among stakeholders that attended the meeting were community development associations, Civil Society Organizations, members of the state legislature, clergy, security administrators, grass-root groups, women, youth, labour Unions, workers in the mass transit sector, Farmers, pensioners, Media, Persons with Disabilities, professionals in the built environment such as town planners, civil engineers and architects, and others including lawyers, doctors.
UDOKA AGWU, Umuahia

Retail market records increased interest in Q3 2017

Despite the challenges arising from a hash operating environment, the retail market in Nigeria in the third quarter of this year witnessed increased interest from international retailers, which, in some cases, translated into active negotiations as well as concluded leasing transactions.

Though general activity in the market remained sluggish, enquiries and demand from retailers from the Far and Middle Eastern countries increased significantly. Miniso provides a case in point as one such retailer from the Far East looking to establish a firm presence in the retail market.

A new report by Broll Nigeria reveals that Miniso commenced trading in the third quarter in a number of shops across core locations, taking up close to 4,000m2 of retail space with plans to open additional stores in other secondary markets.

Over the past 12 to 18 months, the macroeconomic challenges that faced the country resulted in reduced demand from European retailers and US. As these retailers adopt a wait and see approach, retailers from China and Turkey have intensified their interest in the Nigerian retail sector.
“From a local perspective, existing retailers continued to remain cautious given their experience in the market. Many continue to reassess their strategies, halting expansion plans into newer schemes, simultaneously consolidating operations in the best performing locations and malls in which they have a presence,” noted Nnenna Alintah, Head, Occupier Services at Broll.

During the quarter, vacancy rates dropped from 58 percent to 30 percent and 41 percent to 38 percent in core and secondary locations respectively, but Alintah pointed that this reduction in vacancy levels came on the back of longer negotiation periods and the willingness of landlords to consider and extend concessionary leasing conditions.
“Already established schemes such as Palms Lekki and Ikeja City Mall continue to benefit from first mover and locational advantages, commanding the highest rents and recording near 100 percent occupation levels”, adding that average asking rentals for spaces between 100 square metres and 200 square metres are currently around US$44 per square metres per month and US$30 square metres per month in core and secondary locations respectively.

Landlords did not find it easy within this period and so, in order to remain competitive, maintain and drive up occupancy levels in malls, most of them across the market have continued to utilise concessions to stay attractive. This has especially been the case in recently opened malls that have increased the supply of retail space across the market.

“Concessions which are typically geared towards reducing retailers’ initial capital outlay are adopted differently by landlords and continue to be extended on a case by case basis.
“They range from lower rents and longer rent-free periods to lower and fixed exchange rates. These tend to offer more certainty around rents, which are usually stated in US dollars but payable in naira. Some landlords have also been willing to consider different rent structures including payment in installments and stepped rentals,” she said.
The outlook for the retail sector is not so promising. The sector has continued to face some challenges despite the recovery recorded in wider macroeconomic indicators. The effects of a fairly stable naira, reduced inflationary pressure and the economy’s emergence from recession are yet to have significant ripple effects on the retail sector.
We expect that developers who are keen to commence new projects will adapt their plans given the realities of oversupply, a shallow tenant pool and slower leasing activity in the market. Mall sizes are likely to be smaller than previously seen, incorporating a wider range of uses in their concepts and designs.
Over the next 3 to 6 months, about 28,000square metres of retail space is anticipated to be supplied across the market. 80 percent of this supply is expected in core location with the delivery of Gateway Mall and the retail element of Central Office Park in Abuja. This will fuel the existing oversupply in the market hence putting further pressure on rentals.

Another look at mortgage sector slow growth

As time ticks towards the end of 2017, individuals and institutions are taking stocks and reflecting on issues, especially those that border on the various sectors of the economy including households, and how they have impacted on lives in the past 12 months.

The mortgage system is a critical component of the financial system which, arguably, forms the nucleus of any economy. This perhaps explains the concerns about its operations and the interventionist measures so far introduced by supervising authorities with the aim of making it grow and develop.

A major feature of the mortgage system in Nigeria is its slow growth. The frequently cited reason for this is low capital base. The primary mortgage institutions (PMIs) recapitalization and consolidation of the past nine years (2008) was aimed to address this problem.

From the statutory N100 million capital base, the PMIs were asked to recapitalize to the tune of N2.5 billion and N5 billion for regional and national operators respectively. This exercise which swept aside many of the operators following mergers, acquisitions and outright transmutation to other financial portfolios, was hailed by many as a sure path to growth.

But with the reduction in the number of operators from over 100 to below 40 at the moment, the narrative has hardly changed. Not even the revised operational guidelines by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) which stripped them of other business concerns and compelled them to face their core business of providing mortgages and housing finance for home ownership and other forms of property acquisition, has helped matters.

There is, therefore, a missing link which necessitates the need to take another look at the slow growth which this sector has suffered over the years. “The problems of mortgage banks revolve around their small capital base and so there isn’t much they can do. For all the money I have, unless I raise additional capital, I don’t think I can do 1,000 mortgages”, says Ayodele Olowookere, the CEO, Omoluabi Mortgage Bank Plc.

But there is more to the slow growth. “I think mortgage banks need to do self-enlightenment and education to grow the industry”, Olowookere notes, explaining that, over time, there has been wrong perception of the mortgage industry which, he thinks, is understandable because a lot of mortgage banks have also done what is not right like collecting money from people and not giving back.

A lot of people say they will never go near mortgage banks because of some unethical conducts like this. Though Rose Okwechime, CEO, Abbey Mortgage Bank Plc, would attribute some people’s apathy to mortgage banks to the “newness” of the mortgage system, Olowookere insists it is as a result of lack of self-education by the operators.

Undoubtedly, the mortgage banks have their challenges. Part of these challenges comes from allied operators in the financial system. For instance, the deposit banks are seen to be usurping their functions. These deposit banks own everything in the property industry from funding development to providing mortgages.

A mortgage bank like Union Homes was a very strong player in the market and was also focused, but there was a bit of a gap. The 2008 restructuring programme in the sector and the need for all the banks to strip themselves of their non-core businesses, led to specialized mortgage banks standing up, but they lack all it takes to do so.

Elsewhere, the mortgage sector is a huge contributor to economic growth. Here it remains a sad story that the sector’s contribution to GDP is less than 1 percent. At a time like this when the government needs all it can get to grow the economy, the mortgage sector is a strong possibility.

If there is a particular way, therefore, government can call all the mortgage banks together, it will be quite beneficial for the economy. “This is one sector that can grow the economy more than any other sector because if people take mortgages to build houses, the multiplier effect is unimaginable. A lot of jobs will be created for professionals, skilled and unskilled labour, artisans, manufacturers, etc”, Olowookere says.

According to him, government needs to sit down with the mortgage banks and discuss because they are the ones that meet property off-takers and so they understand the market more than the government.

Mortgage operators also understand the market more than the federal mortgage bank of Nigeria (FMBN) and that is why the FMBN says anybody who wants to take a mortgage should go through a primary mortgage bank.

Government needs to know that if the mortgage industry is well run and there is a good policy thrust to support its operations, it will diversify the economy with job creation. The focus on other non0oil sectors, especially agriculture is good because Nigerians need to feed themselves, but everybody also needs shelter and this can only be possible if the mortgage sector is made functional.

The operators have been pointing out, since 2005, that there’s need to change the Land Use Act of 1978 to no avail. This is the time for government to give that accelerated action.

There is also need to quicken processes leading to title transfer and building approval. Cost and time of perfecting titles need to change. The FMBN needs to be restructured to meet the demands of today. The national housing fund (NHF) also needs to be restructured for same purpose. There should be special focus on the sector and how they are funded.

UK housebuilders to prefabricate hundreds of homes in factories

One company says it can build house in 20 days in factory, then erect it on site in hours

One of Britain’s major housebuilders is to prefabricate up to a quarter of its homes in a factory, in the latest attempt by the construction industry to tackle the housing shortage.

Berkeley Homes, which builds 4,000 homes a year, is planning to create a facility in Kent next year where builders will work to produce up to 1,000 houses and apartments annually which will then be craned on to sites.

Another company, nHouse, is setting up a factory in Peterborough with the capacity to build 400 homes a year, complete with light fittings, bathrooms, bookshelves and kitchens. Production is expected to start in January.

Fears of a shortage of skilled construction workers caused by an ageing workforce and an exodus due to Brexit are part of the reason for the revival of prefabrication, which last provided a significant number of homes after the second world war.

The government has set a target of building 300,000 homes a year by the middle of the next decade. Despite recent increases in activity, the last annual figure was 190,000.

A Berkeley spokesman said: “We have acquired a 10-acre brownfield site from the Homes and Communities Agency to build a factory for modular homes in Ebbsfleet, Kent. This will have the potential to deliver up to 1,000 homes a year.

“Construction of the factory could begin next year. While the speed of production and the impact on skills and labour are important factors, our real driver is the quality we can achieve with modular housing.”

The nHouse has been designed by the architect Richard Hywel Evans and is made in four modules from engineered pine panels which are transported on the backs of lorries and are then clipped together on site and connected to pre-existing services. Its built-in features include solar panels, a robot vacuum cleaner and even a drone landing pad – looking forward to a time of aerial deliveries.

A three-bed house is on sale to developers or individual householders from £170,000 to £185,000, which is about the same price as a standard house built using wet trades.

Nick Fulford, the director of nHouse, argues that with 100 workers operating on an indoor production line rather than on muddy building sites in the elements, the homes will suffer from fewer snagging problems.

Project loans check rural-urban migration in Lagos –Ambode

All the capital projects executed with borrowings by the Lagos government have so far helped to check rural-urban migration in the state, its Governor, Akinwunmi Ambode, has said.

According to the governor, who disclosed this during the just-concluded  9th annual Bankers’ Committee retreat in Lagos,  the current massive infrastructural renewal in every part of the state is a strategy  to create employment at the bottom of the pyramid  and keep the youth from migrating to the urban centres.

He added that by so doing, he has been able to accelerate growth and helped the economy reflate itself.

His words: “Everything that I am doing, even when I take a loan from a bank, even when I do bond, I only try to defend the economy. Each construction site that you see in Lagos, I am trying to create employment at the lower level so that the artisans, the bricklayers, can go home with N5000.I don’t need to do something in Badagry , but I need to employ people there so that they stay in Badagry and they do not need to come to central Lagos.”

The governor was disappointed by the brickwall met while processing bank facilities to execute the projects, saying that such obstacles were capable of stifling  growth and commerce.

Hear him: “I, as a state government, I want to take a commercial loan from a bank.They tell me, I should go and get a letter from DMO; I should go and get approval from the Federal Ministry of Finance; I should go the CBN.Who does that?  And you want to accelerate growth? When you take the extra money outside the IGR, you are only trying to help the economy to reflate itself. And that is why you are able to excite yourself with the growth that you have seen in the third quarter that you say was 1.5 per cent.

That is not the number that we want. So sometimes, government seems to shoot itself in the leg. Why should Lagos State go and be meeting DMO: I want to take a commercial loan when 80 per cent of my IGR can pay the loan itself back. So you see that there is some sense of homogenuity in  the policies that we make, but sometimes they are not really flexible. And you end up,  you come back and say you want to create jobs. But the things that create jobs are the things that we are actually working against. And you create unnecessay competition in the system.”

Recall that the state recently paid N141.59 billion to bond holders in its various fixed rate bond programmes  it  undertook to support its developmental agenda. The bonds included the Lagos State N80 billion fixed rate programme two, series one  floated in 2012 with a maturity date of 2013; N87.5 billion fixed rate programme two, series two floated in 2013 with a maturity date of 2020 and N47 billion fixed rate programme three, series two floated in 2016 with a maturity date of 2023.

Addressing participants at the AGM, the Commissioner for Finance, Akinyemi Ashade, noted that the various bonds had been used to upscale infrastructural development in the state in the areas of roads and bridges construction, water, transportation, health and waterfront infrastructural development.

According to him, $50 billion was needed to address infrastructural deficits in the state, which he said, was part of the reasons the government floated bonds to bridge the gap, adding that over time, two bridges had been constructed with the proceeds from the bonds while major infrastructure were upgraded across the metropolis.

Real Estate: Bright Future 

The real estate and construction sector of the economy has all it takes to contribute more to the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) in this fiscal year. But this is only if certain conditions are met. Experts are convinced that with the right indices in place to spur the contributions from the private sector, despite the Federal Government’s paltry N555.88 billion 2018 budget for Power, Works and Housing ministry, good times may be here for the industry, MUYIWA LUCAS reports. 

By virtue of her sheer population of 170 million, Nigeria presents very viable market opportunities for goods and services, making it an investor’s haven. Such opportunities also present themselves in the real estate and construction sector of the economy.

The sector, believed to hold huge potential in job creation and contribution to the Gross Domestic Product (GDP), was undermined in the last two fiscal years (2016 and 2017) by some economic factors, such as the uncertainty suffered by the currency; falling production and double digit inflation that saw the country fall into negative growth. These doused heavily investors’confidence in the real estate sector, nay, the economy.

But with the country out of recession, the negative economic indices may be giving way to a brighter prospects. Experts are convinced that as the economy improves in 2018, the picture for real estate, both for occupational and capital markets, will start to improve as well.

One of such experts who holds this opinion is Mr. Thomas Mundy, Head of Advisory for Sub-Saharan Africa, Jones Lang LaSalle Incorporated (JLL), an American professional services and investment management company expert in real estate.

Mundy, at the West Africa Property Investment (WAPI) summit held in Lagos, last November, disclosed that though there would be the usual lag between economic and market recovery, but for real estate, which has suffered from a sharp supply demand imbalance, widening vacancy rates and falling rents, 2018 will be a year of consolidation and recovery for the sector.

His views are underpinned by more quantifiable progress in some areas across the economy. “First, importantly for real estate investors, the market is starting to gain more confidence in the economy backed by an improving external environment.The government policy-making is gaining some credibility through plans to support diversification and fiscal consolidation with the backing of external bodies. Also, we are starting to see evidence that the decline in rental rates in Lagos is reaching the bottom of the cycle,” he explained.

Mundy revealed that these factors have been further complemented by the legislative framework being put in place for real estate pricing to mitigate the impact of a volatile economy, including an improvement in the structural undersupply of investment in real estate stock, which he noted will provide increasing opportunities, for both local and international investors in the economy this year.

Government initiatives

Although the Federal Government set up several agencies to tackle the housing needs of Nigerians, especially the Federal Housing Authority (FHA), it is disappointing that over the last two years, the FHA has not added a block to the housing stock. Highlighting the docility of these agencies, Costec Consultants Managing Partner, Mr. John Agele Alufohai, revealed that Nigeria’s mortgage system, cannot support a housing policy that will deliver affordable houses to Nigerians because of high mortgage rates, which are usually given at short tenures; a difficult business environment, high inflation, and unstable policies.

However, the initiatives of the other agencies like the Nigeria Mortgage Refinance Company (NMRC) may pay off this year. The NMRC has entered into several partnerships with housing focused bodies and organisations. For instance, last November, the Company signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the Lagos state government and a consortium of developers to buildand deliver 20,000 housing units in Lagos. The MoU, signed by the parties, is in line with the Lagos Affordable Public Housing (L.A.P.H.) initiative of the Governor Akinwunmi Ambode-led administration, geared towards building 20,000 housing units through a joint venture initiative (JVI). It is hoped that the dividends from this partnership will trigger the real estate market into higher gear this year.

On the part of the Federal Government, its efforts might also begin to have effect in the housing market. Minister of Power, Works and Housing, Mr Babatunde Fashola, last year, disclosed that the government was working on avoiding mistakes of previous housing projects that saw the houses abandoned. He explained that some houses constructed by some past administrations were not occupied because they did not take into cognisance the issues of culture of the people, climate and location of projects.

“At this moment we are constructing houses in 33 states, when we finish then we would subject that design to affordability test. When we find its works then we will subject it to acceptability test,” he said. This, on completion, these stock will also ginger the sector.

Hot properties

According to the Head, Property Management, SFS Capital Limited, Victoria Island, Lagos, Mr. Bolarinwa Odeyingbo, this year would be better for the sector, especially as the recession is easing out gradually. He explained that some properties would set the tone for the market this year. This will be mainly in retail sector that is, malls, including the mass medium income category on the Mainland part of Lagos State, which drove the market. He observed that areas, such as Yaba and its environs, Surulere, Maryland, Magodo Phase 2 (Shangisha/Ketu Ikosi axis), Gbagada, and some other central areas on the Lagos mainland, will experience a boost. In Abuja, Phase 3, comprising Galadimawa, Kabusa, Lokogoma down to Apo resettlement will experienced a boost. For instance, he explained that the success of the $68 million Novare Gateway Mall in Abuja last year presents an indication of what is to expect this year.

Private sector initiatives

Private sector investment will also influence the industry this year. Some of these projects are expected to get to an advanced stage, bringing in more money into the business, and they include:

Imperial International Business City

The Imperial International Business City (IIBC), is a $300 million, 200-hectare housing project, promoted by the Elegushi Royal Family (ERF) of Lagos and ChannelDrill Resources Limited, a real estate development firm. The development, which started last August, will further stimulate the property market this year with its huge investment opportunities. The IIBC, is being built on the Lagos lagoon, and will run from Freedom road to Kunsenla Road, to Oba Saheed Ademola Elegushi Road, through Lekki Phase 1. The IIBC is being designed as a smart business city.

RMB Waterport

Developed by RMB Westport, The Wings development of close to 27,000m² GLA is situated in one of the most exclusive addresses right in the heart of the CBD on Victoria Island and is anchored by Oando Plc.

The development comprises two towers allowing for about 27,000m² of lettable area. The building is a game changer in the way developers are fusing sophistication, design, and functionality in office development with high quality finishes, 360-degree views and energy efficient features.

Royal Gardens Mall

Developed by RMB Westport, the Royal Gardens Mall will offer just a little below 30,000m² of quality retail space. The mall is strategically located next to the entrance for the Royal Gardens Estate where approximately 126, 000 vehicles ply daily. The mall will also be competing with Novare Lekki Mall owned by Novare Equity Partners.

Eko Atlantic

Eko Atlantic is a brand-new city that is being developed on reclaimed land adjacent to Victoria Island. The city has created 10 million m² of prime real-estate on which office andresidential developments are breaking ground. The Business District alone will have 650,000m² of GLA to offer the market.

On completion, Eko Atlantic will be home to 500,000 residents with an expected commuter volume of 300,000 people. Eko Pearl Towers is the first completed residential building of a five-tower proposed development in the cities Marina district. The development comes in addition to the completion of the major road infrastructure.

Lekki City, Lagos

Rendeavour’s Lekki project development site is located on 1,000 ha within the Lekki Free Trade Zone, the largest free trade zone in West Africa. The site is adjacent to the approved location for the proposed Lekki International Airport and in close proximity to the deep sea port and a number of planned industrial developments. The project is at planning stage, and is a joint venture with the Lagos State Government.

Landmark Village

Landmark Village is a mixed-use development by Landmark Africa, a real estate and property development company in Nigeria. The 38,000m² development in Victoria Island will embody the “live, work, play” concept that is central to Landmark Africa’s developments. It is aimed to mirror nodes like Melrose Arch, Rosebank and Illovo in Johannesburg and developments like Canary Wharf in London. The development will have two office towers offering grade A accommodation, residential apartments, retail outlets, a 250 room four star hotel and a convention centre. The development will offer other amenities like leisure and recreational facilities.

By and large, this year looks very promising for the real estate industry.

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