Affa Acho

Kenya: Zero-rate building materials for affordable housing, says Machakos Governor

Machakos Governor Alfred Mutua says,Kenya  will push for zero-rating of construction materials through legislation

He said most Kenyans cannot afford good houses because of high cost of construction and mortgage rates. “Interest rates in banks are killing us. In Australia, banks charge interest rates of 1.82 per cent compared to Kenya’s 14-15 per cent,” Mutua said.

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The governor said the cost of building materials should be lowered for the government to achieve the Big Four agenda of affordable housing.

He said the party will also push for lower mortgage rates to enable more Kenyans to buy homes.

“Development is not about dreaming and talking, it is about constructing what people can see,” the county chief said.

Mutua said the need for houses in Machakos exceeds those available. He was commissioning the Great Wall Gardens 1 and groundbreaking of Great Wall 2 in Athi River, Mavoko subcounty.

Eldemann Properties Ltd MD Zeyun Yang said they have constructed more than 4,000 affordable houses in seven years. They target the middle and low-income earners. “My vision is to see every family afford a decent house,” the private developer said.

He said the Great Wall Gardens phase one in Athi River is the biggest project his company has undertaken.

Yang said Great Wall Gardens 1 has 2,173 units comprising 840 houses of two bedrooms. The rest have three bedrooms each.

He said Great Wall Gardens 2, under construction, has 572 apartments and 22 shops. “Great Wall Gardens 1 has been sold out; we will exhaust selling phase two by December this year,” Yang said.

A three bedroom house sells at Sh3.75 million. The gated community development is on 50 acres.

Yang said the project has employed many youths, especially from Athi River.

Mutua urged more developers to invest in Machakos.

National housing plan

Last November, Urban and Housing Development PS Charles Mwaura said Kenyans will register through an online portal for the government’s Sh1.3 trillion housing programme. He said those who want to own houses will pay monthly contributions to support the ambitious project.

The project targets low and middle-income households and seeks to unlock home ownership for Kenyans with a monthly income of between Sh15,000 and Sh100,000.

Mwaura said 500,000 affordable units will be delivered over four years at a cost of Sh1.3 trillion — an annual construction cost of Sh325 billion. About 10,000 houses will be built monthly starting in Parklands to realise the dream, he said.

The units will range from one bedroom to three bedroom, with varying sizes depending on the location and an individual’s or family’s needs analysis.

A one-bedroom house within 30-square metres will cost Sh1 million, two-bedroom unit at 40 square metres will go for Sh2 million, while a three-bedroom house at 60 square metres will cost Sh3 million.


Businessman Arraigned Over Alleged Damage Of Building Materials

A 54-year-old businessman, Tunde Fisayo, who allegedly broke into a neighbour’s property and destroyed his building materials, was brought before a Yaba Magistrates’ Court in Lagos.

Fisayo, who resides in Lekki area of Lagos, is facing a three-count charge bordering on conspiracy, willful damage and criminal damage to property.

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The Prosecutor, Cyril Ejiofor, told the court that the defendant committed the offences on Dec. 5, at Oye Balogun Street, Freedom way, Lekki phase 1, Lagos.

He said the defendant broke into the property of the Complainant, Mr Clement Ayika, and destroyed 300 bags of cement, a drilling machine, the fence, roofing sheets and the boundary signs. 

He said the defendant claimed to be a landowner (Omonile) in the area and had been requesting for settlement from the complainant.

“My Lord, because the complainant had refused to give Fisayo money, he and his thugs broke the fence of the property to get in and destroyed the building materials,” he said.

The offences contravened Sections 339, 355 and 411 of the Criminal Laws of Lagos State, 2015 (Revised).

The defendant, however, pleaded not guilty to the charge.

The Magistrate, Mrs Oluwatoyin Ojuromi, granted the defendant bail in the sum of N500, 000 with two sureties in like sum.

Ojuromi said the sureties must be gainfully employed and show evidence of two years tax payment to the Lagos State Government.

She adjourned the case until March 11, for trial.

Ghana: Housing Ministry partners Hungarian government to produce building materials

The Ministry of Works and Housing has partnered with the Hungarian government to establish a factory that will produce building materials locally.

The factory will help build 200,00 houses.The Ministry is hopeful that the move will correct the country’s housing deficit.
Available statistics has shown Ghana has since 2010, experienced a housing deficit of 1.7 million units.

Industry players believe the deficit could be more as the country’s population continues to increase.

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In an interview at the sidelines of a commissioning ceremony for rapid housing technology Minister for Works and Housing, Samuel Attah Akyea said the houses when built will be sold at affordable prices to address the country’s housing deficit.

“What this partnership with the Hungarian government means is that for the first time in the country, we will have a technology that will enable use build houses within a short period of time and at an affordable cost”

With the use of the materials to be produced by the factory Solin, it will subsequently be able to build a house in eleven days.

Reacting to this development Mr. Atta Akyea said it will save the country millions of cedis that generates over time when building houses.

“With the building materials that will be produced a house will be able to be built in just eleven days and not the normal long months and years we are used to, so it will cut down on the cost that is incurred when building”.

“The time used in building does not take away from the quality of the houses, I have seen it myself and it is fit for any kind of worker”
On his part Ambassador of Hungary to Ghana, Andras Szabo said that the Hungarian government will do all it can to help Ghana address it housing deficit challenge.

Ghana and Hungary have for many years had good relations and that can only get stronger with this new partnership. For this year my focus is on five key areas which are energy, housing, water, security and IT.
Energy has been completed, water has been completed and now housing is on track”

Cornwall: Affordable housing not affordable

Affordable housing is an umbrella term used by the government to describe lower-rent properties that are available to eligible households unable to afford the full market rate.

This includes traditional social rent housing – which is similar to what most people know of as council housing – and “affordable rent” housing, which was first introduced in 2011/12.

Social rent is based on a formula that combines local wages and local property values, and typically sees rents set at around 50% of private rents in the same area.

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“Affordable rent”, however, is capped at 80% of the full market rate – meaning that in many areas it will still be out of the reach of people on low incomes.

Charities say that affordable housing should only be considered truly affordable if it also factors in how much people in the area are earning.

The first year that “affordable rent” was introduced, it made up just 5% of all new affordable housing in Cornwall.

However, just a year later in 2012/13 new “affordable rent” properties made up nearly half of all affordable housing either built or acquired during the year, and by 2013/14 they had overtaken new social rent homes altogether, accounting for 95% of the total.

The number of social homes being built in our county has plummeted from 423 in 2011/12 to just 74 last year.

Similarly, the national average saw 81% of new affordable housing built or acquired across England in 2017/18 classed as “affordable rent” rather than social rent.

Last year Cornwall Council announced plans to introduce a new ”living rent” scheme which would help those who were unable to afford both affordable rents and private rents but are ineligible for social housing.

The council is looking to link the rent charges for these new homes with local wage levels.

Under the proposals Cornwall Council would set living rent rates at 30% of the weekly income of the lowest 25% of earners.

The average Cornwall Living Rent for a two-bedroom home would be £108 compared to £88 a week for social rent, £120 for affordable rent and £150 for private rent.

When the plans were first discussed last summer, Cornwall councillor Tim Dwelly said the council had chosen to set its own affordable rent rates at the highest level possible. He said there was no requirement for affordable rent to be 80% of the market rate.

Polly Neate, chief executive at homelessness charity Shelter, said: “Affordable housing should only earn its name if the rent reflects what people in the local area are actually paid.

“In many areas, ‘affordable’ rents are simply not affordable. This forces families to choose between the roof over their head, food on the table or a warm bedroom for their children – and those on the lowest incomes often can’t get a foot in the door in the first place.

“With millions of people on waiting lists up and down the country and many others barely making ends meet, it’s clear that families need a truly affordable alternative.

“Now is the time to back our call for 3.1 million more social homes over the next 20 years and give a boost to those families who want to get on in life.”

Average rents for both social and “affordable rent” properties vary, depending on location, whether the property is owned by the local authority or a private registered provider, and whether the housing is general needs or supported housing.

Supported housing is specifically for people who have additional needs, such as elderly people, victims of domestic violence, homeless people, people with mental health needs, ex-servicemen and women, and people with learning disabilities.

Because support and care services are provided in addition to housing management, supported housing usually costs more than general needs social housing.

The most common type of affordable housing found in Cornwall is general needs properties managed by private registered providers, such as housing associations.

These cost £81.10 a week on average for a social rent property, compared to £120 a week for an “affordable rent” property – meaning “affordable rent” in Cornwall is typically 48% higher, or £2,023 more a year. Private renters in Cornwall pay £150 a week, on average.

Kate Henderson, chief executive of the National Housing Federation, said: “In 2010, the government stopped funding social housing altogether, and announced it would only fund homes for ‘affordable rent’ instead.

“This left housing associations in a really difficult position where they had to choose between building homes for ‘affordable rent’ or building nothing.

“In the face of a dire housing shortage, many housing associations chose to build affordable rented homes, but continued to argue that social housing shouldn’t be neglected.

“While affordable rents do work for some people, there are many more who desperately need social housing.

“In 2017, the government announced some new money for social housing for the first time in seven years, but this is nowhere near enough.

“Our research shows that we need to be building 90,000 social homes every year – but last year, only around 6,500 were built.

“The government’s upcoming spending review is a great opportunity to invest in social housing and make sure that everyone has somewhere affordable and stable to live.”


Institute of real estate management opens first African chapter

US-based Institute of Real Estate Management (IREM) officially launched its first African Chapter at the Sandton Convention Centre in Johannesburg on Wednesday, 6 February 2019, increasing its global footprint to 15 international chapters and over 20 0000 individual members.

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As the leading international association of professional property managers, the establishment of a South African IREM chapter is an important step towards professionalising the commercial property management industry in South Africa. IREM is responsible for determining global best practice, promoting superior management and maximising the value of real estate investments through education and certification.

Commercial property management (CPM) remains one of the few professions within the real estate sector that remains unregulated and unstandardised with limited options available for formal certification.

Professor David Root, Head of School at the University of Witwatersrand’s School of Construction Economics and Management in his address, noted the need to improve standards of education in the property management field stating that “property management doesn’t really have the best reputation in the industry” and highlighting the need to “design programmes that are internationally competitive”. The IREM CPM qualification introduces an internationally recognised standard for CPM while enabling increased international mobility for domestically educated commercial property managers as the qualification is globally recognised and accredited.

The launch event was well attended by key representatives from the national department of public works, the private sector, academia and IREM International and was addressed by the IREM International President, Mr Don Wilkerson.


Tech giant reveals plans to invest $13 billion in real estate across U.S.

Google has announced plans  to invest $13 billion in real estate across the U.S. in the coming year to build data centers and offices.

In a blog post  authored by Google CEO Sundar Pichai, the company announced its plans to grow in 2019, which includes expanding into 14 states, bringing its total footprint to 24 states.

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“These new investments will give us the capacity to hire tens of thousands of employees, and enable the creation of more than 10,000 new construction jobs in Nebraska, Nevada, Ohio, Texas, Oklahoma, South Carolina and Virginia,” Pichai wrote.

Pichai added that 2019 will mark the second year that the company has grown more outside the Bay Area than in it.

The tech giant will open new data centers in Nebraska, Ohio, Texas and Nevada, and will expand existing centers in Oklahoma and South Carolina, Pichai said. It will also make significant renewable energy investments as it builds.

Google also plans to double its workforce in Virginia and Georgia, and to build new offices in states that include Washington, California, Massachusetts, Texas and Maryland.

Google has invested more than $9 billion in real estate over the past year, including a $1 billion deal inked in November to expand its Mountainview headquarters and the purchase of a building in New York City’s Chelsea Market for $2.4 billion.

Here is a map provided by Google depicting the locations of its planned investments:


Multifamily mortgage originations jumped 32% in the fourth quarter

Recently, the Mortgage Bankers Association predicted that multifamily lending was on track to set another record in 2018. And now that 2018 is over, we’re starting to get a look at just how good of a year it was for multifamily lending.

And just as expected , it appears that multifamily mortgage lending finished the year off on a strong note.

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A new report from the MBA shows that multifamily mortgage originations jumped 32% in the fourth quarter over the same time period in 2017.

Overall, commercial real estate lending was up in the fourth quarter, climbing 14% over the previous year.

According to the MBA report, the fourth quarter saw a 61% year-over-year increase in the dollar volume of loans for healthcare properties, a 32% increase for multifamily properties, a 28% increase for industrial properties, and 1% increase for retail properties.

On the other hand, originations fell for two segments, hotel property loans (down 4%) and office property loans (down 3%).

When compared to the third quarter of 2018, the fourth quarter’s numbers look even better.

According to the MBA, multifamily originations rose by 30% in the fourth quarter compared to the previous three months. Total commercial real estate originations were up 33% over the third quarter, led by a 155% jump in health care properties.

Originations for hotels rose by 56% when compared to the third quarter, industrial properties increased by 34%, office properties rose 29%, while retail properties increased by 11%.

“2018 ended on a strong note for commercial mortgage borrowing and lending, with fourth quarter originations 14% higher than a year earlier, despite the broader market volatility,” said Jamie Woodwell, MBA’s vice president for Commercial Real Estate Research.

“Investor and lender interest in multifamily and industrial properties continues to drive transaction volumes while questions about retail and office property markets have slowed activity for those property types,” Woodwell continued. “The market as a whole ended the year roughly flat compared to 2017, continuing a plateau we’ve seen in mortgage borrowing and lending since 2015.”

The MBA report also has a first look at the year-end totals for 2018, which show that multifamily lending likely rose 22% last year when compared to 2017.

Total commercial real estate lending was up, but not by nearly as much. According to the MBA report, commercial originations were up 3% in 2018 over 2017.

By property type, originations for multifamily properties increased 22%, originations for industrial properties rose 12%, and originations increased 5% for hotel properties. On the other hand, office property originations fell by 7%, retail properties declined 13%, and healthcare properties decreased by 16%.

The MBA notes that these figures are preliminary and said that final figures will be released in late March.



After years of construction, 14 low-income housing properties in the suburbs of Cook County have been rehabilitated through a $200 million investment from The Housing Authority of Cook County. This is the largest affordable housing rehabilitation effort the Cook County suburbs have seen in decades and a celebration was recently held to announce the project’s completion.

In total, 1225 units of affordable housing located in Harvey, Robbins, Chicago Heights, Park Forest, and several north suburban neighborhoods have been updated and specific upgrades have been made to better accommodate seniors, individuals living with disabilities and families, according to a press release from the Housing Authority of Cook County.

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“When we started this whole mission and effort to invest in our communities, I don’t think any of us knew that seven years later we would have rehabilitated 14 public housing communities and invested over $200 million in these communities,” said Richard Monocchio, executive director of the Housing Authority of Cook County. “It is really a testament to everybody’s

hard work and also to great partnerships. Things like this don’t happen, especially nowadays with resources being so tight, without some great partnerships.”

The mission of the Housing Authority of Cook County is to provide adequate and affordable housing, economic opportunity, and a suitable living environment free from discrimination throughout suburban Cook County, according to its website.

Some of the partners that were involved in the massive renovation effort were the Illinois Housing Development Authority, Bank of America, US Bank, Citibank, BMO Harris Bank, Enterprise Community Partners and the National Equity Fund. By combining public and private partnerships and utilizing the Rental Assistance Demonstration program, the Housing Authority of Cook County was able to access funds that were not previously available to them and use them to complete this massive project, according to a press release from the Housing Authority of Cook County.

“I am pleased to be here to support the Housing Authority of Cook County and the work they do on behalf of all our residents,” said Toni Preckwinkle, Cook County Board president.

“Projects associated with this investment will have meaningful and significant impacts on suburban communities by providing low-income families with affordable housing for decades to come.”

The recent event celebrating the completion of the rehabilitation project was held at Richard Flowers Homes in Robbins where $19.8 million was invested in interior and exterior improvements as well as creating nine handicap accessible units on the ground floor and converting two units into visual/hearing impaired units.

Overall, $74.4 million was invested in renovating affordable housing facilities in Chicago’s South Suburbs. In addition to the Richard Flowers Homes, renovations were done at Juniper Tower in Park Forest, Golden Towers in Chicago Heights, and Turlington West Apartments in Harvey.

“The Housing Authority has reinvented its affordable housing portfolio throughout Cook County and this has led to the preservation of more than 1200 units,” said Preckwinkle.


High-rise buildings in Ghana to attract compulsory insurance cover

The Ghana parliament is set to forward a bill that would require owners of High-rise buildings in the country to pay a compulsory insurance cover in bid to regulate condominiums in the country.

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Justice Yaw Ofori, the Commissioner for the National Insurance Commission confirmed the reports and said the decision is due to increasing number of high rise building in the country which results risk involved with uninsured high rise buildings is that any disaster such as fire affecting one unit of a building affects the whole building as a whole.

The proposed bill will be mandatory for home owners to have in order to protect themselves from negligence from other people living in the apartment. The bill will incorporate additional policies such as insurance for apartments and condominiums in a way that it becomes a law.

“We are reviewing our Act so we are working on the bill right now. We want to forward the bill before the end of the year in order to seek the government’s buy in,” said Mr. Ofori.

Ghana launched its first building Code aimed at regulating activities of the country’s building and construction industry last year. The Ministry of Works and Housing also forwarded a bill to the parliament that seeks to regulate condominium in Ghana and upon passing there will be rules and regulations governing construction of high-rise building.

Mr. Samuel Atta Akyea, the Minister for Works and Housing said that the condominium bill drafted by the Attorney General’s department was in light of the increasing demand for development of high-risk building. He added that implication for shared ownership of common areas, and the maximization of limited space led them to drafting the bill.

FCT REDAN Gets New Chairman

The Chairman Board of Trustees, Real Estate Developers Association of Nigeria (REDAN), Prince Seyi Lufadeyu, has inaugurated a caretaker committee to oversee the affairs of REDAN, FCT Chapter, after the tenure of the EXCO expired.

The Association’s election was initially slated to hold yesterday, but it was later cancelled and an interim management committee was set up to run the affairs of the association.

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Speaking during an interview with Housing News in Abuja, the Chairman, Management Caretaker committee of REDAN, FCT Chapter,and Chairman/CEO,AIBEN Group, Andy Elewere, noted that the mandate of the committee is to ensure that real estate developers are interested in the affairs of (REDAN), as this will enable developers interface with government, and be seen as partners especially in the area of housing development.

He said ‘’We need to change the perception and narrative that we have particularly from the government point of view, government needs to start seeing estate developers as strategic partners, because housing is very key.’’

‘’One of the basic responsibilities of government is providing shelter, and we are one of the tools through which shelter can be provided. So it is key that they see us as strategic partners’’.

‘’Usually the narrative has always been that a Real Estate developer is just a businessman, who is all about maximizing profit, but we are saying they should see beyond that, because the kind of services we provide are essential services’’.

Speaking further, he noted that government need to carry REDAN members along in the formulation of policies especially in the area of housing.

He said ‘’for far too long, we have not been consulted, nobody refer to us, government just see us as an institution that is not necessary to consult when they are making far reaching policies’’.

Other members of the committee are Okoduwa Ehidioya,who was inaugurated as the Secretary, while Bolaji Oluwasegun Victor emerged as the Publicity Secretary.

The caretakers were given the responsibility to manage the affairs of the union until new election is conducted.

Source: Affa Acho

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