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A new U.S. city tops the list as hottest housing market

Las Vegas is the hottest housing market in the country.

The monthly Case-Shiller home price index released on Tuesday showed Las Vegas overtook Seattle to become the hottest housing market in the nation.

Las Vegas had a 13 percent increase in single-family home prices in June compared to last year.

“Population and employment growth often drive homes prices,” David M. Blitzer, managing director and chairman of the Index Committee at S&P Dow Jones Indices, said in a release. “Las Vegas is among the fastest growing U.S. cities based on both employment and population, with its unemployment rate dropping below the national average in the last year.”

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Seattle, which was dethroned, saw a 12.8 percent increase, according to The Seattle Times.

“The Case-Shiller numbers don’t reflect the full scope of the slowdown yet: Partially because it includes a three-month moving average through June (things have cooled even more since then), and also because it reflects the entire metro area,” according to The Seattle Times.

Meanwhile, San Francisco, which landed as the third-highest price gain, saw a 10.7 percent increase, according to King5 News.

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Before the recent turn of events, Seattle topped the country for 21 months straight, which was the second-longest streak in the report’s 31-year history.

Portland, Oregon, topped the list for 23 months in the early ‘90s.

Herb Scribner

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Dangers Of Abandoned Buildings In FCT

Two weeks ago, the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) experienced another incident of building collapse, leading to the death of three persons, while several others sustained degrees of injuries. DAVID ADUGE-ANI writes on the incident and the issue of abandoned buildings in the territory.

Recently, the FCT department of development control had reasons to warn owners of abandoned structures in Abuja to complete them or risk demolition. Deputy Director, building inspectorate division of the Abuja Metropolitan Management Council (AMMC), who disclosed this to newsmen, added that the threat is based on the dangers posed by abandoned structures scattered in various parts of the territory. According to recent statistics, it is estimated that there are about 436 abandoned buildings in the Federal Capital City (FC) alone.

It was gathered that these abandoned buildings have become nuisances to neighbours and even passersby, because apart from the risk of collapsing and injuring people, some them have been converted into residential houses, hotels, clubs and drinking joints. A fortnight ago, a three-storey shopping complex, under construction, in Jabi district of FCT collapsed, killing three persons, while others sustained various degrees of injuries.

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Our reporter gathered that the building had been abandoned for over 15 years by the owner who recently mobilised workers to continue the construction of the structure. In its response to the incident, the Abuja Metropolitan Management Council (AMMC), an arm of the Federal Capital Territory Administration (FCTA), said that it would soon commence investigation to ascertain the circumstances surrounding the collapse of the three-storey building in Jabi district.

Speaking after touring the site of the collapsed building, the coordinator of AMMC, Tpl Umar Shuaibu, explained that the outcome of the investigation would be made public, while necessary measures would also be taken to prevent future occurrences. “We are going to commence our investigation now and where there is any lapse, you are going to be informed and we are going to take adequate measures in order to prevent future occurrence.” Shuaibu however, advised the general public to stay away from the site of the collapsed building, warning that security agencies have been instructed to arrest those who flout the directive. He continued: “What happened is an unfortunate incident.

This incident of building collapse happens all over the world not only in Nigeria. No matter how perfect you think you are, it is only God that is perfect. But there is still room for improvement.” Speaking with LEADERSHIP Friday few weeks before the incident, the director, department of development control, Mukhtar Usman Galadima, had disclosed that the department would soon commence massive integrity tests on buildings in parts of the FCT to ascertain their integrity status.

Speaking during the demolition of a three-storey building under construction, at 3rd Avenue in Gwarinpa district, Galadima expressed the fear that many buildings, both completed and under construction, in the FCT have integrity questions. “In fact, as we speak, the department has decided to embark on massive integrity tests on buildings. This is because we have observed that a lot of buildings in the FCT lack integrity to the point that even when you stand outside such buildings, you can see that their integrity is questionable.” Galadima disclosed that the exercise would be conducted in collaboration with Council of Registered Engineers of Nigeria (COREN) and other agencies to reduce likely cases of building collapse in the FCT.

He also advised developers in the FCT to always engage real professionals, not quacks, in their designs and to obtain their development permits before commencing constructions. In an interview, a fellow of Nigerian Society of Engineers (NSE), Engr Yakubu Ali Garba, revealed that the Council of Registered Engineers of Nigeria (COREN) is seeking an approval from the national assembly and other relevant government agencies to enable it arrest and prosecute non professionals in building construction in the Nigeria.

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Garba disclosed that the council had sent a bill to the national assembly to allow COREN prosecute non-engineers involved in building construction, adding that the council has equally signed a MoU with the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) and the Independent Corrupt Practices Commission (ICPC) to arrest and prosecute nonprofessional involved in building construction.

He noted that the act, establishing COREN, mandates it to penalise members, involved in unprofessional duties, adding that the act also allows the council to arrest or prosecute quacks, infiltrating the profession. Garba, who is also a member, engineering regulatory and monitoring committee, Abuja inspectorate, also observed that many developers prefer to use quacks in their building constructions and warned that buildings would continue to collapse, as long as Nigerians don’t adhere to the use of professionals in building constructions.

“Many Nigerians don’t even know how to erect buildings. They prefer to engage quacks in their building projects. We have a lot of engineers roaming the streets, without jobs. We believe that the quacks are more concerned with the money they are getting and not doing the job.” Reacting to the incident, the Architects Registration Council of Nigeria (ARCON), called for the arrest and prosecution of those who are directly involved in the Jabi building collapse.

ARCON president, Arc (Sir) Dipo Ajayi, who made the call, observed that the incident clearly shows that developers and various institutions, hire unregistered persons posing to be architects/consultants and foreigners to carry out projects in Nigeria thereby subjecting the unsuspecting public to great risk of loss of life and property.

Ajayi stated that in order to mitigate such an incident, the council has set up the ARCON Projects Registration Number (APRN) system, which is a mandatory registration number to be issued to all architects practising in Nigeria, for each of their projects, to certify that these projects are designed, handled and executed by Nigerian citizens fully registered to practice in Nigeria. He explained that APRN is intended to combat the scourge of building failure and collapse through the elimination of quackery, adding that it would also ensure that only fully registered and financially current architects/ architectural firms prepare, produce and submit designs for planning/implementation approval and receive such approvals when they are given.

The ARCON president also stated that architects and architectural firms, who are registered with the council, are to submit architectural building plans for approval/ implementation and are responsible for the supervision of their designs. Ajayi disclosed that the council would soon set up an enforcement and compliance unit, to ensure that only registered architects handle architectural projects in the Federal Republic of Nigeria in consonance with the extant laws.

The measures, according to him, are meant to complement the content and spirit of the National Building Codes, which stipulates that only professionals with the requisite knowledge and expertise of the building process are engaged to carry out building projects. He added, in a statement, that the council is equally working in concert with other interest groups to get the built environment properly policed to avoid or reduce to the barest minimum, the issue of building collapse and its attendant effect on the developer and the national psyche.

DAVID ADUGE-ANI

MORTGAGE: 12 MISTAKES YOU SHOULDN’T MAKE

Introduction: In today’s civilized world the average rich Nigerian or person in the world does not have to own his/her whole housing plan (or burden)all by him or herself, he can choose to exercise options, leverage on his equity or share of ownership and to do this, he or she requires an enabling mortgage system in place, which is working, up and doing.

It is always easy for people to jump towards anywhere there seems to be free money, but what about the catch, is there any trap?

Do you understand the terms and conditions properly?

It is always wise to know what to expect, don’t be fooled by the terminologies financial experts use to confuse novice(s) the legal framework and bottlenecks, you will need to know the obstacles you will face and how to remove them.

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Here now we have two sides of the story, the financial aspect (mortgage) and the legal aspect (which involves the law and a lawyer) we would now however expose you to those mistakes commonly made by the simple:-

1. Make sure you do a careful search through an estate surveyor and valuer who knows his onion well so you are not sold duds as some simple people fall into the hand of fraudster in their pursuit of owning or purchasing land property.

2. Find out why the property you are interested in is been sold, you don’t want to purchase what other people are trying to dispose off. Check very well tosecure a mortgage, set a timeframe, and know the procedures and the right steps to take.

3. Stay away from banks who will tell or trick you to open a mortgage account before they hand you capital to buy or build your house.

4. Talk to one, two or more banks to have comfortable comparative analysis that will give you an advantage in the course of your goal setting and getting it.

5. Consider the penalty clause to redeeem your mortgage. This should give you a flexible plan option to pay off your mortgage or negotiate interest charges with your bank.

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6. Be wise about the documentation and processes, protocols, due diligence the check list and all other criteria such as property description,aerial photographs, if it is an existing property in hard and soft copy, Architectural drawings, bill of quantity, etc the application process, information to the bank about your earning ability or capacity, expenditures and pattern. The bank will ask you this before they tell you how much they can advance you.

7. Do a cash flow analysis of yourself, your profit and loss account and your personal balance sheet.

8. Take good cognizance while inspecting your choice property, protocols of sale& negotiation, research, investigate sales. Establish a good relationship with your broker/ agent or seller; observe very well the regulatory side of property acquisition or purchase.

9. Understand and review clauses banks imposing their estate surveyor & valuer or agents to search value or other services. Be settled about the payment options i.e. down payment to keep seller happy.

10. Deed of assignment transfer from seller to buyer and the proceedings for final payment.

11. Governor’s Consent after transfer of property will take 4-6 months under the land use Act (1992) ownership by leasehold and freehold is 75-99 years as the case maybe if the land does not have a state C of O the head of the district has a jurisdiction that is binding and ultimately the local government area chairman is an authority too.We also have the state and urban development authority.

12. Pay all the fees at once because the quicker the better the process goes don’t make mistakes in any of the above highlight. Never be ashamed or slow to ask questions. Fees include cost of certified true copy of the deed, stamp duties, endorsement fee, survey and facilitation fee, charting and registration fee, administration and consent fee, deed of lease or sublease.

Oluwafemi Amujo

 

Nigeria: Real Estate Sector to Retain Position As Africa’s 5th Largest Contributor to GDP 

A foremost Nigerian online real estate firm, PropertyPro.ng (formerly ToLet.com.ng), has released a report of the Nigerian real estate sector for the first quarter of 2018 which focused on the trends of the Nigerian real estate market in the year 2017 and the first quarter of 2018, saying that the real estate sector is experiencing a significant growth to retain its position as the 5th biggest contributor to the GDP of Africa’s largest economy.

The study analysed how impactful the economic recession was in the real estate market. It also looked at trends and going prices for property within the residential and commercial umbrellas of the real estate market.

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

“The report has been influenced by the rate at which property are searched online by Nigerians and this explains the interest of house hunters in 2017 and the first quarter of the year 2018. We monitored the most searched types of property by Nigerians along with the price range that fell with the interest of online real estate end users”, said Ayeni, the Chief Technical Officer, PropertPro.ng

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As noted by the Chief Operating Officer and co-founder, Oladapo Eludire: “Real estate investment always require lots of funding and when dealing in such high-risk investment, gut-feeling isn’t enough in making the best decisions. Such decision needs to be backed up by data. PropertyPro.ng being the most used online real estate platform with the largest listing database across the country, has given us insight into the Nigerian real estate market on a micro and macro level.”

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

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This report by PropertyPro.ng has detailed study of the real estate economy in the economic overview column while the property trend explains the current trend of the Nigerian real estate market in terms of residential and commercial property, and the current trend in the prices of property for sale and for rent in various locations across the country. Contained in this report is the Land Use act thoroughly explained. This real estate report by PropertyPro.ng also featured studies of emerging real estate market in Nigeria as a whole, highlighting activity and performance.

Kingsley Adegboye

Jimmy Carter says the Trump administration is ignoring the affordable-housing shortage crisis 

 

  • Former President Jimmy Carter told CNBC that the Trump administration is ignoring a national housing crisis, and he urged voters to support candidates who promote affordable housing.
  • Carter also called for broad reform of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. He said this fall’s elections offer voters a chance to support an issue that has been widely overlooked by candidates in this year’s midterm election cycle.
  • “Low-income housing needs to be raised much higher as a priority for our country,” Carter said in a phone interview. “That’s the first step toward making people who are now dependent on government assistance, on welfare rolls, to get a good job and have a chance to raise their families and put their kids through school.”

Former US president Jimmy Carter helps build a house as he visits the construction site of houses being built by Carter’s Habitat for Humanity foundation for victims of the earthquake in Leogane, Haiti in 2012.

Former President Jimmy Carter told CNBC this week that the Trump administration is ignoring a national housing crisis, and he urged voters to support candidates who promote affordable housing.

“Low-income housing needs to be raised much higher as a priority for our country,” Carter said in a phone interview. “That’s the first step toward making people who are now dependent on government assistance, on welfare rolls, to get a good job and have a chance to raise their families and put their kids through school.”

Carter, a Nobel Peace Prize winner who turns 94 in October, also called for broad reform for the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. He said this fall’s elections offer voters a chance to support an issue that has been widely overlooked by candidates in this year’s midterm election cycle.

In response to a request for comment, a HUD spokesman referred CNBC to the department’s website but did not answer specific questions.

Since the 2008 financial crisis, the housing market has broadly recovered overall. But many Americans have been left behind. Millions of low-income Americans are paying 70 percent or more of their incomes on housing and face a shortage of available affordable rental apartments.

Carter said the gap between rich and poor has reached unprecedented levels as land becomes scarce and the cost of homebuilding rises.

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Meanwhile, HUD Secretary Ben Carson has proposed tripling the minimum rent paid by the poorest public-housing tenants and rolling back rent restrictions on 4.5 million households that participate in public housing programs, according to HUD data.

The White House’s fiscal year 2019 budget proposal also slashes funding for HUD by $8.8 billion and calls for work requirements for those who receive public housing subsidies. The administration has also proposed raising the minimum rent for the poorest families to about $150 a month — three times the current minimum.

Carson has said the goal is to reduce assistance to the poor to combat what he sees as a cycle of dependency. Proponents of this approach argue that while safety-net programs are important, low-income renters and homeowners who rely on too much federal assistance will become stuck in dependent situations.

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But Carter, who has helped renovate 4,300 homes in 14 countries for Habitat for Humanity, said the policy is misguided. Rather than becoming more dependent on government, he said, the people who move into Habitat homes and receive public assistance are “hardworking” and become productive citizens and taxpayers.

“I don’t think that making people self-sufficient who are already in desperate need and who have never had a decent place to live is a good approach to low-income housing,” he said. “You can make people suffer longer by depriving them of adequate help.”

Facing increased demand and rising land prices, Habitat housing has become more expensive. The cost of building a home 35 years ago was roughly $20,000 to $25,000 and has since more than quadrupled, Carter said.

“The main thing that we have failed to do is to let people in general join in with Habitat and emphasize the need for low-income housing,” he said.

Emma Newburger

Challenges of Nigeria’s real estate, by experts

Real estate is supposed to be one of the fastest growing sectors in the Nigerian economy, but practitioners said absence of regulation and finance have remained a clog in the wheel of the sector’s growth. 

Nigeria possesses all the key factors for real estate investment and growth; a burgeoning middle-class population, growth in consumption, rapid urbanisation and a young demographic.

But despite all these, the sector has not been able to contribute positively to the nation’s Gross Domestic Products (GDP) in the last two years due to economic impasse.

The industry has since been experiencing a major slump, leading to a huge number of vacant and abandoned properties/projects and defaults in rental values owing to low-purchasing power of people.

Although the nation is technically out of recession, raising hope for a rebound real estate sector, but the built environment experts are expressing concerns over lack of regulation in the industry, saying this has made it an all-comer’s affairs.

Besides, they identified absence of cheap funds as another major obstacle.

New Telegraph’s investigation shows that there is no agreement among stakeholders on the nation’s housing deficit figures.

While some subscribed to the United Nations (UN)’s 17 million housing deficit, others queried how the figure was arrived at.

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These shortcomings, among others, housing stakeholders said, have limited development of the sector and its potential to contribute maximally to the growth of Nigeria’s GDP.

Experts’ perspectives

According to the first Vice President, Nigerian Institute of Town Planners (NITP), Mr. Olutoyin Ayinde, and Managing Director, Mixta Nigeria, Mr. Kola Ashiru-Balogun, except the sector is properly regulated and its activities coordinated, practitioners might end up in confusion.

They bemoaned the infiltration of the sector by land speculators and the manner the industry is filled with all kinds of fliers about proposed housing developments, which never saw the light of the day.

They are worried about the huge number of unsuspecting members of the public being duped in the process.

They also condemned low quality of housing development, and absence of mass and affordable housing provision in the sector.

Ayinde, a former Commissioner for Physical Planning and Urban Development in Lagos State, stated that one of the problems of real estate sector in the country was absence of regulation, pointing out that people without requisite training had taken over the industry.

He noted a lot of misconception about the sector as people did not know what real estate is all about.

He therefore called on the government and stakeholders to streamline the industry’s activities and identify roles of each operator in the sector.

Ayinde explained that there had not been enough collaboration among relevant professions in the sector, stating that failure to bring these professions to play their roles as required by quality professional service delivery had been part of the reasons most estates are not functional.

He said: “It is important to note also that there are other professions, not classified as being in the construction sector, but are ancillary and vital to the viability of housing delivery.

“These include the legal profession and the professions in the financial sector-banking, accounting, insurance and taxation.

“Successful projects always have the inputs of these professionals, and these professionals necessarily depend on a virile manufacturing sector for quality construction materials.

“There is nobody harmonising this. Government has to do this. We have an industry with no vision, we don’t know the number of housing deficit. Our population is increasing every year and housing deficit is still 17million every year.”

Ashiru-Balogun, a real estate developer, corroborated Ayinde, saying it was only in Nigeria that anybody wakes up to become a real estate developer.

“There should be regulations. There is need to identify estate developers just as it is being done in other climes such as United Arab Emirates, America and United Kingdom. There is need to identify who a real estate developer is,” he said.

The Mixta boss wants the government to identify credible key stakeholders, especially the private sector participants and commit them to housing provision to reduce deficit in the country.

Most of the top billionaires in Nigeria are real estate investors. Real estate business is a money spinner of the highest level and it is presently booming in Nigeria with people making millions in it.

Other views

A former President of the Nigerian Institute of Building (NIOB), Mr. Chucks Omeife, said that absence of robust funding was a major problem in the sector, urging the government to set up special funding mechanism for the industry to propel its growth.

He said: “We don’t need much regulation but funding. There are professional bodies in the sector and each has its own regulations. What the sector needs apart from funding is implementation and enforcement of the regulations.

“Developers are there for business concerns, but government needs to ensure enforcement of regulations on how they can build houses to meet Nigeria’s standards.”

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Omeife called for the establishment of virile mortgage sector in the country, adding that home seekers should be able to access housing without having to pay through their nose.

“Government should give people a leeway to buy houses. Cash and carry syndrome in the sector must be stopped. People should be able to buy houses and pay over a period of time, say 2c years,” he said.

Omeife also canvassed the setting up of a construction board for the management of quality assurance and skills acquisition in the industry.

Managing Director, HOB Estates Limited, Chief Olusegun Bamgbade, said there was enough regulation in the sector, pointing out that most of the professionals operating within the sector belonged to one association or the other.

“Maybe some people are afraid of competition; anything that is viable will attract competition. People will always come to real estate. There is need to encourage them to come in,” he said.

He pointed out that real estate activities were into different categories, adding that while some were real estate speculators, others were developers.

He said: “Speculators will buy land and be expecting that the land will appreciate, but developers will build houses for people to buy. So people will always buy what they prefer.”

Other challenges

Managing Director/CEO Afriland Properties, Mrs. Uzo Oshogwe, mentioned Land Use Act, poor policy, dearth of infrastructure, lack of access to government’s subsidised housing development, poor financial support as major challenges to affordable housing.

She tasked the government on reformation of land registry to ease bottlenecks associated with land registration and titling.

Ayinde pointed out that ineffective housing finance was a major challenge in the housing sector

According to him, it would be impossible to segregate finance from housing, adding that N6 million price tag for housing is not affordable for a lot of Nigerians.

He said: “We must address the fundamentals of poor economy; we need to sort out the issue of housing finance.”

Ayinde called on the Federal Government to embark on research and development (R&D), and come up with a sound policy on housing.

He also urged the government to create an enabling environment for the private sector to drive the sector and also allow the local governments to complement housing.

“Until real estate sector becomes an industry, we will not solve housing problems,” the former commissioner said.

Last line

Apart from regulation, there is also the need for establishment of data bank on real estate sector to position it for both local and foreign investments.

Dayo Ayeyemi

OGUNDELE: Agege boy who became one of Nigeria’s youngest billionaires

 In a society with limited opportunities  especially for  youths, he was terrified by the fear of poverty early in life. In Agege, a Lagos suburb, where he grew up, he converted  his  apprehension to a motivation  which eventually became his saving grace.  Education and creativity were vital  in elevating  Mr. Sijibomi Ogundele to the position of  Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer of a multi-billion naira real estate firm, Sujimoto Construction. The firm built the tallest residential building, Lorenzo, in Lagos. His wealth and fame at a relatively young age, have been adjudged  an inspiration.  Ogundele, who is regarded as one of Nigeria’s youngest billionaires, is rated a brave young entrepreneur  by  Forbes Africa.

In the beginning

While growing up on the streets of Agege, the fear of poverty was my greatest motivation. Out of the 47 houses on our street, only two people owned a power generating set. This taught me a great lesson that for wealth to be generated, my environment and the people I surround myself with, need to change. At the tender age of 9, I started visiting Ikoyi with the mindset  that someday, I would also live there. Today, that dream has become reality. I became a billionaire at a young age because I prepared myself for it. It required hardwork and a strong conviction that I was chosen and ordained by God. This is the basis of  my confidence which motivates  me to  dream bigger than my environment.

Passion for entrepreneurship

I speak English, French, Spanish, Yoruba, and Hausa. It will interest you to know that I have a working knowledge of Japanese and Arabic languages. From childhood, I developed a passion for entrepreneurship. That’s been my only passion to date. I was first introduced to business at a tender age in Africa’s largest market, Oke-Arin. Out of curiosity, I  followed my mother to the market where I learned every aspect of trading. That’s why I’m not surprised  I’m the Managing Director and Chairman of Sujimoto. We usually say  Sujimoto is to architecture what Picasso was to art. We are a dynamic and innovative luxury real estate firm. Our major mission is to revolutionize the luxury real estate sector.

Fear of poverty

The fear of poverty brought me this far in life. As a builder, the foundation for me was very crucial because a man’s foundation gives him a glimpse into his future. Without my childhood experiences, I wouldn’t be where I am today. It didn’t only  make me resilient, it was a strong  pillar. I have zero tolerance for failure and I believe that a man  who lives in an apartment in Ikorodu today, can own a house in Ikoyi tomorrow. Success is all about choices we make and our priorities. I’m  quite  fortunate to have won the ovarian lottery of my mother; a woman who at the age of nine was sent to Cameroon as a sales girl. Today, against all odds, she’s  among the biggest distributors for Nestlé Nigeria Plc. She inspired me to be who and what  I am today. She taught me the importance of having a great vision and working persistently towards making it a reality.

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Foundations of my success

I found wealth by reading books. My first introduction to entrepreneurship was when I read Think and Grow Rich by Napoleon Hill. Ten years in any university could never have given me what I learned in 10 days. This changed my life forever. I understood two things. The first is to look for a product. The second one is to create a competitive advantage. Also, customers should always come first. These principles are the foundations of my success.

My first major break I ventured into the luxury real estate sector at a time when Nigerians were beginning to demand value for their money. My vision was simple: to redefine luxury living by exceeding all expectations. My simple philosophy was to create sugar, after which ants will come. I have been doing real estate since 1998 when I lived in the South of France as a common agent with no license.

Back then, I brokered a lot of deals in project management and financing but my first major break was in 2011 when I bought an apartment in Paris and decided to remodel it. My friends thought I was crazy and ostentatious but after I was done renovating, I sold it in less than two months to a friend from Qatar for double the price. This investment flip in such a short time re-ignited my interest in real estate and changed my career path forever. Before moving back to Nigeria, I visited my aunt who bought a house on Banana Island.

After paying so much for the house, I still had to help her redesign the kitchen, change the doors, tiles and other things. It was very exerting and frustrating considering the fact that one would expect a house of that magnitude and price to have quality accessories and interiors.When I decided to return to Nigeria in 2014, I had the vision to liberate the Nigerian luxury real estate market and bring true value to customers, who were not only tired of architectural mediocrity but also frustrated by value depreciation. I ventured  into the luxury real estate sector at a time when Nigerians were beginning to demand quality and value for their money.

They had been at the mercy of mediocre developers who  refused to raise the bar in terms of quality but demanded ridiculous prices, because they thought the customer didn’t know better.The market was littered with substandard structures, going for exorbitant prices. All I did was to create sugar by offering  world-class service with  superb finishing of international standard at reasonable prices. The game changed and  today, most of the so-called top developers are using Sujimoto as a case study. Many have copied our designs and tried to emulate our marketing strategy.

Potentials and talents

My desire to create a platform that inspires the next generation made us to organise a mentorship platform. It was to inspire young talents and send a message to the nation that our major asset is our human capital. The Sujimoto one-day internship and mentoring programme is a lifetime project  and it’s  objective is  empowering young aspiring entrepreneurs with business skills, advisory, mentorship and financial support. Young Nigerian students between the ages of  12 and  22 were specially selected from different institutions from all over Nigeria to participate. This event is about inspiration.Without the right mentorship, people might miss the road to their destinies.

That’s why we have different people from different industries, who share their stories with young people and encourage them to pursue their dreams. Youths need to know that their location has nothing to do with their destination. The project is for youths for now. Nigeria  has a  tendency  of  discouraging people from achieving their potentials with their talents.  We want our brand to  empower  youths and help them achieve their potentials. A short message can transform a mindset, just the way a piece of advice can change a life.

Accepting failure

Mentoring assures people that there’s someone who cares about them, assures them that they are not alone in dealing with day-to-day challenges and makes them feel  they matter. Ultimately, mentoring connects an individual to personal growth and development, social and economic opportunities. Sadly, one-in-three young people will grow up without this crucial asset.Anyone aspiring to be great should not accept failure. When failure happens, people should rather be strong and learn from it. Nobody succeeds without challenging himself. I want to encourage young people in this country to read books, because a widely read person is an asset any day. Being creative should not be ignored as well as associating with the right people.

Biggest challenge in life

I dreamed of developing what I can call the biggest project in my life; which is the tallest residential building in Sub-Sahara Africa estimated to cost $90 million. I invested all my money, time and passion into it because believed in it. Sadly, our economy crashed and things became rough. Sometimes, life snatches peoples’ dreams away, making everything around them appear impossible. At that point, some people told me that real estate is a difficult sector.

They said it was better I abandoned my passion and do something else. I visited a friend’s water factory in Abeokuta and thought about venturing into the pure-water business. Not satisfied with that, I was at Ijebu Igbo and visited some farms because farming looked promising.

Confused and devastated

A friend, whom I lent about $2 million defaulted.  I contemplated selling all I owned and move to New York City. At that point, I had spoken to a successful Nigerian actor, who relocated to Atlanta because of the recession in the country. He assured me that I could access credit through a flexible banking system. I was confused and devastated, but I kept the words of Napoléon Hills on replay in my head. I remembered that my condition at the time should not determine my destination.

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However, I knew that running away wasn’t the definition of the Motomatics Philosophy I had created. The Sujimoto I know wasn’t a runaway loser, neither is it a brand that lacked focus. I developed courage and refocused my life. I revisited my options and created Guilliano, the son of Lorenzo, the grandson of Cosimo the Medici. I conceptualised, planned and executed the project, even though I didn’t have all the money.  It was the most inspiring, most difficult and most challenging time for me. I am thankful I didn’t give up. I have remained focused in pursuing that dream and making  it come true. In 10 years from now, we want to see beneficiaries of the foundation come back to testify to how the organisation has changed their lives and also contribute to the moral and educational development of others. I want to see the foundation develop into a life-changing institution and a model in the humanitarian circle. Recently, professionals cautioned that the scope of the foundation is too broad. We were advised to focus on education, empowerment and community development.

Life of contentment

We must begin to address  challenges in the education sector in a strategic manner. When an individual is educated, many generations would automatically be liberated through him. That’s because the level of reasoning and the worldview of an educated individual are remarkably different from others. Through lawmaking, we can reform the education system and make it more result-oriented. Through lawmaking, we can bring hope to millions of people through education. The liberation of every society starts with education. To achieve this, we must live a life of contentment. We live flamboyant lifestyles that we do not have the capacity to sustain whereas crucial needs like education suffer. We cannot develop if we continue like that. This is why I invest so much in education.

Every year, I distribute thousands of exercise books to schools. When I was in primary two, I could not afford exercise books. Whenever I remember my experience, I acknowledge the deprivation some pupils go through and how useful I could be to them. That’s why I have been actively involved in the empowerment of  youths and women. To reach a larger percentage of these groups, we need to put in place robust institutional frameworks that are supportive of the society we want to build.

I think the society we want, should be progressive, developmental and wealth-creating. Young men and women die daily of ailments that could be cured by common medical solutions. Children, who are willing to learn do not have the basic facilities required for descent learning. If we cannot begin to think of how to address these challenges, it means we have lost the essence of humanity. We must create an environment that’s conducive for  education and healthy living.

Charles Kumolu

Workers spared housing levy MPs reject Treasury’s proposal

Workers have been spared a pay cut of up to Sh5,000 after MPs shot down a Treasury’s proposal to create a fund to finance a new low-cost housing fund.

The Treasury had set the low-cost housing deduction at 0.5 per cent of the gross pay per month as long as the contribution does not exceed Sh5,000.

Employers were to match the employees’ contribution.

The MPs said the move would cause significant cost burden to companies while hurting workers.

The State Department of Housing announced two months ago that it was finalising regulations to operationalise the housing development fund, whose finer details are yet to be released.

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This was the first time that the Housing ministry was establishing the fund that had been lying dormant under the Housing Act for decades.

Its implementation meant an employee earning Sh100,000 would contribute Sh500 every month to the fund – up to the maximum Sh5,000 for those earning Sh1 million and above.

The creation of the fund was meant to help the government realise the goal of delivering half a million affordable housing units in five years.

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However, the provision faced hostility from unions and employers who consider the tax burden already too heavy on them.

Four pillars

Affordable housing is one of the four pillars of President Uhuru Kenyatta’s agenda for the next four years.

Treasury defended introduction of yet another payroll levy on people in formal employment, who are already burdened by multiple levies, saying that it would help the government realise the goal of affordable housing.

The Finance Bill has also introduced amendments to the Central Bank of Kenya Act to include regulation of mortgage refinance companies.

The move paves the way for the establishment of state-backed Kenya Mortgage Refinancing Company meant to address the demand side of the housing market by offering liquidity to the mortgage industry.

Treasury did not offer details on how the fund will be managed.

Business Daily

Record London Rents Lure Overseas Landlords to Housing Market

The U.K.’s struggle to secure a favorable Brexit deal may be giving Prime Minister Theresa May a headache, but it’s making London’s battered buy-to-let market attractive overseas again.

Foreign-based landlords owned 12 percent of the homes rented out in the capital at the end of the first half, up from 7 percent last year, according to Hamptons International, which measured a subset of the London’s housing market. A falling pound has made it cheaper for overseas investors to buy homes using their local currencies, and many have been lured by a red-hot rental market that’s still at record levels because of tenant demand.

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“I was convinced rents would drop as people fled the U.K. after the Brexit vote — in fact, everyone was expecting Armageddon,” said Agus Marcos Blanco, a 39-year-old pharmacist in Barcelona, who shelved plans to purchase a London property immediately after the June 2016 vote to leave the European Union. Now, with rents having stayed buoyant, he’s looking for a buy-to-let investment in the U.K. capital.

The jump in foreign interest is a boon for London’s real estate market, where property values have cooled in recent months as many domestic buyers are priced out. This, together with a series of tax changes has sent sales down to levels not seen since the financial crisis and threatened a market that’s the preferred way of investing for many Britons.

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The imbalance between supply and demand in London has pushed average rents to 1,615 pounds ($2,100) a month, according to Homelet, the U.K.’s largest tenant referencing company. That’s the highest since it began collating the data in 2011 and 72 percent above the country-wide average of 937 pounds per month.

Juan Guerrero, head of foreign-exchange trading at Banca March SA in Madrid, estimates the pound could bounce back as much as 15 percent against the euro if the U.K. negotiates a successful EU divorce deal. A home worth the London average of 483,000 pounds costs a European buyer 537,500 euros at the current exchange rate, and would be worth around 70,000 euros more after such a rebound.

Yet it’s not an entirely rosy picture for foreign landlords. By some measures, growth in the rental market has cooled. And while the pound has rallied in recent days as the prospect of a no-deal Brexit was seen to have diminished, some forecasts have the U.K. currency sliding toward levels versus the euro last seen in 2009. That would mean rental returns would be worth less when converted back to a landlord’s own currency.

Marcos Blanco, who has bid an undisclosed amount for a two-bedroom apartment in Bow, East London, is undeterred by the prospect of a further drop in sterling. “I think all the negative news has been factored in, and the only way is up,” he said. “Time will tell.”

Sharon R Smyth

 

Housing Market

The U.S. housing market is a major indicator of the strength of the economy. When the economy is strong and people are confident about the future, they are more inclined to buy houses, upgrade their current homes or buy larger houses.

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When they are more concerned about the economy, new home construction, remodeling, median prices and housing sales are all depressed. For years, real estate was considered a reliable way to increase personal wealth because the cost of property and housing consistently increased over time.

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However, the housing bubble of 2006 that led to a steep decline in housing prices was the primary cause of the Great Recession in the U.S., destroying the credit of millions of people who were suddenly underwater in their mortgages and impacting the housing market for the greater part of a decade.

Government regulations have since tightened mortgage requirements for many buyers, and they have greatly impacted the subprime mortgage industry that collapsed during the Great Recession.

U.S News

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