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The London Plan and Achieving London’s Housing Targets

When it comes to housing the Draft London Plan, published in December 2017, has caused major concern for some of the key stakeholders. This concern was recently brought to the fore by the Home Builders Federation in their publication Greater London Economic Footprint of Homebuilding where they have urged the mayor to change the draft. In particular, they call for more detail on how the GLA will facilitate what they agree are the much-needed homes that will house London’s growing population.

London’s population is due to expand to 10.8 million by 2041 from the current 8.4 million. Therefore, just to meet housing demand an additional 66,000 homes per annum will need to be built, compared with the current level of circa 42,000.

On its own this target is challenging but when other requirements of the London Plan are factored in such as the need for 50% affordable homes it becomes obvious that both central and local government will have to pro-actively intervene in a much bigger way than ever before if this aspiration is to be achieved.

Central and local government will have to pro-actively intervene in a much bigger way than ever before if housing targets are to be achieved

The current level of affordable housing being achieved is 24% on conventional housing supply. This means that the current viability model for affordable housing in London is supported by a combination of public grant and private sector margin cross subsidy from 76% of the housing supply (current average grant levels are £70,000/unit for social rented and £30,000/unit for intermediate). There obviously needs to be a structural change in the way in which viability is to be achieved if the 50% is to be realised. The cross-subsidy element from the private sector units will reduce and will need to be balanced by an increase in public grant plus a downward adjustment on land prices.

Also, there needs to be an understanding of the further challenges that increasing the proportion of affordable housing has on the housebuilder business model. Typically, a housebuilder will look to achieve a 15-25% margin return on their development value. Affordable housing in London generally provides no or negative return for the housebuilder (the open market cross subsidises), therefore the higher the weighting the more difficult it becomes for the housebuilder to achieve its returns, on which its funding is quite often reliant.

In addition, development appraisals have always been assessed on a current day cost, current day value basis. The sensible assumption being that the potential increases in costs over the development period are “hedged” by the potential increases in value. The value of the affordable housing is often set at the outset of a contract and therefore has no opportunity to increase in order to cover any increases in cost. When the affordable housing is down at between 20-35% of the development, housebuilders have been historically willing to take a view on this and rely on the cross-subsidy element to cover any shortfall. As the percentage of affordable increases this becomes a lot more difficult and has led to housebuilders having to change their traditional approach to appraising a development by building an element of cost inflation into the model (which can only be a forecast) or trying to negotiate an increasing time-related value to the affordable. This is being perceived as creating more risk in an appraisal, which affects viability, which in turn effects deliverability.

Assuming that the subsidy element can be made up through a reducing land value is optimistic as this will require more certainty in planning policy and time for the re-adjustment to embed.

The impact of the targets are therefore negative on the traditional housebuilding model and therefore underpins my original point that if the London Plan is to be achieved there needs to be more detail on how the GLA will underpin the structural changes required in the short, medium and long terms.

If the London Plan is to be achieved there needs to be more detail on how the GLA will underpin the structural changes required in the short, medium and long terms

If the total number of homes are to be achieved there needs to be a more forensic analysis of the market conditions, we should be able to determine the total amount of subsidy required to deliver the required amount of affordable homes and then dependent on market conditions be a lot more intelligent in how this subsidy is provided whether via private or public subsidy.

In the longer term there needs to be more certainty around planning policy, it is only with this certainty that the potential longer-term adjustment in land value will be achieved.

The importance of housing to London is much more that just more homes: the HBF estimates that last year housing contributed more than £5bn to the local economy. On a pure pro-rata basis if the numbers were to increase to the 66,000 needed then the contribution increases to £8bn.

The London Plan needs to provide a lot more detail on the “how” than it currently does and in so doing identify where the land will be coming from, how the GLA will ensure the right and appropriate level of subsidy to ensure viability and how it will proactively intervene to ensure achievement.

Source: housingtoday

National Housing Authority, Shelter Afrique Sign MOU for the provision of 1,000 Housing Units for Low Income Earners in Liberia

NAIROBI, Kenya –  On Tuesday, July 16, 2019 the National Housing Authority (NHA) entered into a Memorandum of Understanding with Shelter Afrique for the provision of 1000 housing units for low-income earners.

The signing ceremony was held in Nairobi, Kenya as NHA was represented by Hon. Cecelia Cuffy Brown, Managing Director, while Shelter Afrique was represented by its Chief Executive Officer / Managing Director Hon. Andrew Chimphondah.

Speaking at the signing ceremony, Hon. Cecelia Cuffy Brown, Managing Director of the NHA described the MoU as the formal process of reinforcing existing collaboration between the two organizations since the formation of Shelter Afrique in 1982 and a first step in the right direction of NHA’s strategic partnerships under President’s George M. Weah’s Pro-poor Agenda.

Hon. Cecelia Cuffy Brown pointed that, since the formation of Shelter Afrique in 1982, Liberia has been a potential member of the entity but there has been NO intervention

Madame, Brown indicated that her administration was grateful to God the almighty,   to have such an unique platform  with Shelter Afrique and by the signing of said MoU between the two entities, it sets an historic era at the National Housing Authority – Liberia for the construction of 1000 affordable and affluent communities across country , thus creating job opportunities for many Liberians.

She expressed NHA’s openness to partner with other non-governmental organizations, private sector and communities with shared vision in addressing the housing needs of the vulnerable and low-income Liberians consistent with the Government of Liberia’s Pro-Poor Agenda.

Hon. Cecelia Cuffy Brown termed interventions to be implemented under the partnership as crucial to the sustainable delivery of adequate and affordable housing especially to communities living in slums.

She said, under this MoU, NHA commits to receiving the international partner and provide required support for smooth implementation of its programs as Executives of Shelter Afrique is expected in Liberia for a ground breaking ceremony.

Also speaking on behalf of Shelter Afrique Hon.  Chimphondah, Chief Executive Officer / Managing Director Hon. Andrew Chimphondah said, his organization is driven by the vision that everyone needs a decent place to live.

Hon. Chimphondah further emphasizes that both Shelter Afrique and NHA share the vision of providing greater access to adequate, affordable and affluent communities for low income and vulnerable communities and plan to achieve this through working with public, private and community sector partners.

Finally, he assured Hon. Cecelia Cuffy Brown, Managing Director at the NHA on his entity commitment to the process and vow to ensure that the project will be implemented to the fullest. He also confirmed the visit to Liberia for the ground breaking ceremony schedule at a late date to be announce

In conclusion, the release highlighted that Shelter Afrique was established in 1982 by African governments, the African Development Banks (AfDB), African Reinsurance Corporation (Africa – Re) and CDC and (UK’s Development Finance Institution) with the mandate of mobilizing resources for housing development in Africa.

Shelter Afrique began operations in 1985 and since then have developed a robust portfolio of projects and activities, acquired substantial operational experience and established Shelter Afrique as a credible housing finance institution.

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Source: frontpageafricaonline

Irish Banks Pay Out Close to $770 Million in Mortgage Scandal

Irish banks paid out more than three quarters of a billion dollars to customers who were overcharged on their mortgages, a scandal that has tarnished the industry for a decade since the financial crisis.

Lenders handed 683 million euros ($768 million) to customers by the end of May, the nation’s central bank said Tuesday in its final report on the so-called tracker scandal — an increase of 36 million euros since February. Banks identified about 40,100 affected accounts, with 98% of those having received redress and compensation.

“The scale of lenders’ tracker mortgage failings was industry-wide, causing immense distress and damage to affected customers and their families,” said the central bank’s director general for financial conduct, Derville Rowland. “We continue to pursue lenders through our enforcement investigations.”

Tracker mortgage loans were closely tied to the European Central Bank’s key interest rate, and came into vogue before the crash that devastated the Irish economy from 2008. Bank funding costs surged as the financial system teetered on the edge of collapse, meaning such loans became money-losers for banks as the ECB slashed interest rates. Many customers were subsequently placed on an incorrect rate.

The central bank ordered banks that offered tracker mortgages to review their loan books in 2015. That review revealed a pattern of overcharging. The regulator handed Permanent TSB Group Holdings Plc a record fine for its role in the scandal in May, and has said it’s investigating the nation’s other main lenders.

Source: Bloomberg

Tanzania: Nas and Kilolo District Council Sign Housing Agreement

Dar es Salaam — The National Aviation Services (Nas) Dar Airco over the weekend signed a Sh50 million grant agreement with Kilolo District Council to support community welfare initiatives.

Under the pact, the company will contribute to the construction of staff housing for the Sh4.7 billion Kilolo District hospital, according to the company’s general manager Miguel Serra.

“This building complex will accommodate doctors, nurses and other general staff at the hospital,” said Mr Serra.

The signing of the agreement was between Mr Serra and Kilolo District Council’s executive director Aloyce Kwezi.

Mr Serra said the fast growing aviation service sector is also committed to supporting education and tourism promotion for the interests of local population.

Nas manages over 40 airport lounges and offers an expanded portfolio of aviation services that include cargo management, technology solutions and training.

“By partnering with the Kilolo District Council we hope to do our part in supporting the government’s efforts in providing quality healthcare to the local population,” he said.

The company has a strong presence in Tanzania, with ground handling and cargo operations at three major airports of Dar es Salaam, Kilimanjaro and Dodoma.

Present in over 40 airports across the Middle East, Asia and Africa, Nas provides ground handling services to seven of the world’s top 10 airlines.

The International Air Transport Association (IATA) Safety Audit for Ground Operations (ISAGO) certified company has an average on-time performance of 98 per cent across its operations, according to Mr Serra.

“As our business grows, so does our social responsibility to the communities we live and work in,”

Mr Kwezi for his part, commended the Nas Dar Airco’s, saying the move would improve health services in the district, which had never had a sustainable district hospital since Tanzania got independence.

“We appreciate your support,” he noted, revealing thatthe construction of Kilolo District hospitalwas currently at the final stages of completion.

He said, the hospital, whose construction kicked off in 2016, is set to be opened by President John Magufuli in September.

Source: allafrica

Historic Manse Hotel to be Transformed into Affordable Senior Housing

A piece of Cincinnati history is being transformed from a hotel to affordable senior housing.

The Manse Hotel at 1004 Chapel Street in Walnut Hills will soon be the Manse Apartments.

“Thurgood Marshall, Frank Robinson stayed here when we would play against the Reds,” Bobby Maly with The Model Group said.

The Manse Hotel was home to African-Americans who visited Cincinnati during the Segregation Era.

The property has been vacant for a year.

A groundbreaking ceremony was held Monday for the redevelopment of the property.

“We get to preserve the Manse Hotel which is a really important part of Cincinnati’s history, but we get to do it in a way, I think, that honors the past,” Maly said.

The Model Group owns the property.

The developer has plans to restore the former historic hotel and the Manse Annex at 926 Chapel Street.

Maly said there are plans to construct a new 18-unit building behind the hotel at 926 Lincoln Avenue.

“We get to bring 60 brand new, top quality housing units for Walnut Hills seniors, so people can stay in their homes and in their community of Walnut Hills,” Maly said.

The project costs $13 million.

Maly said it was made possible by a tax abatement and a $1 million loan from the City of Cincinnati, along with a historic tax credit.

The new affordable housing will offer a fitness room and indoor and outdoor community space.

Episcopal Retirement Services will serve as the property manager.

“We’ll be the ones that coordinate the services provided to the elders. We’re partners of the Model Group, who is our developer, and we’re just so excited,” Episcopal Retirement Services CEO Laura Lamb said.

Construction is expected to wrap up by the spring of 2020, with apartments ready for residents by the fall.

Seniors interested in living there can learn more about the application process by calling Episcopal Retirement Services at 513-271-9610.

Source: wlwt

IFC Promises Support in the Cameroonian Real Estate Sector

(Business in Cameroon) – During a meeting with local press in the framework of his official visit, Sergio Pimenta, IFC’s Vice President for the Middle East and Africa, indicated his institution’s interest in the Cameroonian real estate sector.

As far as the housing deficit is concerned, the IFC will bring in companies, which will build more houses, and financial institutions that will elaborate mortgage plans to help residents acquire the said houses,” the vice-president said.

The initiative comes at point in the country where access to decent housing is increasingly complex for residents. About ten years ago, the government launched the construction of social housing but the various actions still have a really low impact.

The only thing to know now is which segment the IFC will support. From land acquisition to development, there is a surcharge and lack of a permanent urban development strategy. The government did set guarantee and subsidy mechanisms for mortgage loans but the country’s model seems a bit outdated. In addition, the collaborative initiatives launched by Ecobank and Afriland along with various institutions have not yet provided efficient solutions.

Land access is also a real challenge. The procedures are time-consuming and laborious according to indicators published by the Doing Business 2019. Such a situation can delay projects and overcharges.

 Idriss Linge

Akinwumi Adesina to Launch Foundation Against Hunger, Poverty

Dr Akinwumi Adesina, President, African Development Bank (AfDB), is to launch World Hunger Fighter’s Prize and Fellowship foundation with a view to ending global hunger.

A statement issued by the bank on Sunday in Abuja, said that the foundation would also work toward lifting millions of people in Africa out of poverty.

According to the statement, the World Hunger Fighter’s Prize Foundation in partnership with the World Food Prize Foundation, USA, is establishing the Borlaug-Adesina Fellowship.

It said that the fellowship programme would present opportunity to outstanding African youths between the ages of 21 and 30 years.

“The Borlaug-Adesina fellows will be selected and announced at the annual World Food Prize Dialogues in Iowa, USA.

“The fellows will be provided with opportunities to gain exposure and experience at International Agricultural Research centres in the world or at a select number of global food and agribusiness companies,” it stated.

The statement said that Adesina devoted his World Food Prize and SunHak Peace Prize monetary awards to endow and establish the World Hunger Fighters Foundation.

“Just like his mentor, Dr Norman Borlaug, Adesina has committed his life to ending global hunger and lifting millions of people out of poverty,” it said.

Adesina is the 2017 recipient of the World Food Prize; the 2019 SunHuk Peace Prize winner; and a 2007 YARA Prize Laureate.

Source: pmnewsnigeria

100-Year-Old Building Collapses, 2 Dead, 40 Trapped

Two people were killed and over 40 people were feared trapped after a 100-year-old four-storey building collapsed in south Mumbai’s crowded Dongri neighbourhood around 11:40 am today.

Five have been rescued, according to NDTV.

Three large teams of the National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) are at the site, looking for survivors. The area, full of dilapidated buildings on narrow lanes, was also flooded in heavy rain in the past weeks.

Ten ambulances and fire trucks have arrived and are parked some distance away from the building as the lanes are too narrow for them to enter.

“We heard a loud noise. Everybody shouted, ‘building is falling, building is falling’. I ran. It felt like a big earthquake,” a teenager who saw the building fell told NDTV.

“I saw bodies… There were some seven-eight families in the building,” another eyewitness said.

In visuals of the rescue operation, NDRF personnel in their bright orange safety gear are seen trying to remove concrete blocks as they probe the openings amid the debris for signs of life.

The authorities said this was a “level 2” incident – while level 1 is the most serious under the system that measures the severity of a building collapse.

Crowds thronged about the narrow lanes – where it would be extremely difficult for heavy machines to reach – and formed a human chain to pass down with their bare hands small debris like wooden blocks and bricks towards the outer area of the neighbourhood.

“The building was 100 years old. We have given permission to redevelop that area… We will know after investigation if the redevelopment initiative was delayed. Right now we are focusing on rescuing trapped people,” Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis told reporters.

A man who used to live at Dongri alleged the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation is slow on allowing people to repair their old homes in the area.

“I applied for permission several times, but the BMC delayed it. All of this (building collapse) wouldn’t have happened if they had allowed us to repair our own building. We don’t want to wait for them. We will use our own funds,” said the man, looking at the rubble that was once a building he recognised well.

Building safety is a major issue in Mumbai, one of the world’s most crowded cities next to Dhaka in Bangladesh, according to the World Economic Forum.

Source: pmnewsnigeria

Deserted Factories for Low-Cost Housing Project

The City of Johannesburg (COJ) says it has identified abandoned factories in the city that it plans to expropriate in order to allow the private sector to turn them into low-cost affordable housing.

The 37 abandoned factories that have been identified are located in areas such as Kew, Devland, Rabie Ridge, Doornfontein, Booysens and Nancefield, with a particular interest in 16 factories identified near the township of Alexandra, which has been facing housing shortages for years.

“The City will now begin a process of preparing a proposal to Council in August 2019, which will allow the City to begin the legal proceedings of expropriating these properties as abandoned buildings. These factories will be expropriated within the existing legal framework of the Constitution.

“For this we will utilise the fact that they are abandoned, owners are untraceable and monies owing on these properties exceed their value,” Johannesburg Mayor Herman Mashaba said in a statement on Sunday.

The City will be able to put these properties out to the private sector once Council gives its support on it proposal.

The properties will then be awarded on the criteria that achieves the largest number of residential units, the lowest rentals, the highest job creation and investment, the City added.

“The City of Johannesburg, previously, has sought to tackle the housing backlog with a reliance upon RDP housing each year which could never begin to reduce the challenge. This is why the multi-party government has adopted an approach which is producing sizeable results in site and service projects, informal settlement upgrades, social housing and partnering with the private sector.

“In the environment in which government alone cannot address the staggering housing backlogs, it is imperative that we create the environment for the private sector to unleash the potential of their balance sheets, expertise and efficiency to the benefit of the poorest residents in our City,” Mashaba further explained.

The City plans to roll out over 2 000 RDP houses, 4 000 serviced stands and 10 informal settlement upgrades in the 2019/20 financial year with the hope that it will turnaround the housing backlogs in the city.

“Our residents cannot wait for dreams of new cities to materialise in the distant future, if at all. Our multi-party government will focus on fixing our existing City, turning derelict and decaying areas into high rise buildings that modernise our City, achieve investment, create jobs and provide accommodation to those who need it most,” Mashaba said.

Source: sacommercialpropnews

Construction of US $286m Ongos Housing Project in Namibia to Begin

Namibia is set to commence construction works on Ongos housing project valued at US $286m. Ongos Valley Development director Americo de Almeida announced the reports and said that a ground-breaking ceremony is expected to take place end of this month.

Last year Ongos Valley Development launched a housing project with a promise to construct 30 000 housing units over 15 to 20 years as of this year. The aim of the project is to alleviate the critical housing shortage in Windhoek for the low- to middle-income households by undertaking a large-scale, cost-effective development, driven by private initiative and supported by government.The project will be  a green village self-contained area with schools, hospitals, police stations and a cemetery, among other services.

It will supply more than 25 000 housing units for the low- and middle-income classes, four business centres including 106 business plots, 48 institutional plots, and over 20% of the development dedicated to public and conservation open areas. Development Bank of Namibia, Absa, Nedbank, Standard Bank and Development Corporation of Botswana will finance the development.

Phase one of the project will involve construction of 4 500 houses over a period of five years. The prize of the houses will range from US $21000 to US $57000. Corporate Investment Banking and Treasury Karl-Stefan Altmann said that about 4 000 direct and 9 000 indirect jobs would be created.

In terms of regulatory requirements, de Almeida confirmed everything has been addressed and they  have already signed a development agreement that allows them to start physical construction. He added that the contractor Octagon Construction is set to take possession of the site to start site establishment.

Source: constructionreviewonline

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