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China’s Diverging Housing Market— Massive Price Gap Between Cities Up To A Thousand Times

For average working professionals in Beijing, Shanghai, or Hong Kong, buying a place for themselves would be a mission impossible. With skyrocketing housing price and relatively low incomes, it is destined that most working professionals will not have a chance to afford a place in the cities that they work hard in.


Yet in the other parts of the country, housing markets seem to be on the total opposite: With low demand and shrinking population, these houses are now on the list for 50% off discount, and some of them even start to worth less than $3,000 for a whole department.

Hegang, a city located in the Northeastern Heilongjiang province of the country, became one of the most prominent examples of the declining housing markets in China’s less developed regions. A 46 square meter apartment is only listed at 16,000 RMB, a value that is less than $3,000. Imagine that you can buy an apartment in urban areas with merely one-month salary, here you have it, in China’s shrinking smaller cities.

The devastating housing market in Hegang reminds people of the past disastrous history in Erdos, where real estate businesses’ over-expansions led the city into a ‘ghost-town’. With supplies overweigh the limited demands of houses in the city, Erdos’ housing market failed completely as a result of poor management and overestimation of the city’s consumption capacity.

The housing market in Hegang showed complete different pictures from those in Beijing, Shanghai, and Hong Kong. It leaves people confused and baffled. The inequality and the differences in prices are too large to explain, and a 50 square-meter apartment in Beijing is simply just too different from that 50 square-meter apartment in smaller cities.

Several factors and reasons could potentially explain the declining housing prices in Hegang. The outflow of capitals and population are the main factors that drove down the housing prices. With fewer demands and fewer job opportunities, urban residents are leaving the town for better jobs with better pays.

Families that are moving away would not only be out of the buyers’ market, but will also be actively engaged in selling their old houses to cash out from a city that they would not go back to. With more and more people flooding into larger cities such as Beijing, Shanghai, or locally speaking, Harbin, houses in the county-size town are certainly becoming increasingly less attractive.

Yet different from the case of Erdos, in which the real estate businesses are becoming the essential party to blame, situations in Hegang is simply an ongoing trend that is gradually taking place in China. County-size cities are dying as larger cities are easing up its household registration requirements. With better infrastructure, education, and job opportunities in larger cities, smaller ones are losing out in this competition and are on their paths to diminish and eventually, fade out.

It is also a different process than urbanization, where excessive labour forces are mobilized to leave the rural areas for jobs in the city. The ongoing migration trend that is happening in China are between-cities: From smaller cities to larger ones, and from regional centers to the national centers. It is a form of chain migration, where everyone wants to make a step up to go to a city that is better than the one their past generations resided in.

This is becoming a trend of centralization, where young talents are moving towards economic centers and regional centers for better opportunities and potentially an opportunity to stay. The process of centralization provides two different scenarios in the housing markets on the two diverging ends: In smaller cities, where people emigrate out of, housing markets are starting to shrink and eventually vanish.

On the other end of the market, houses in metropolitan areas such as Beijing and Shanghai are never short of buyers. Even with strict purchasing restrictive policies and tough requirements to obtain a local household registration status, housing prices in cities such as Beijing and Shanghai will not likely to decline in the short run.

These cities, with limited areas and land, will eventually turn into a Hong Kong style housing market: A family of four may be forced to settle in a very small apartment, and the land size per capita will be decreasing drastically.

The increasing inequalities is leaving people’s life in very uncomfortable positions. While all good opportunities are in the economic centers, staying in the city and buying a place of their own is becoming a mission impossible, let alone the stringent requirements to become an actual Beijinger, a person with valid Beijing area household registration status. Yet on the other hand, it does not take long for people to realize that moving to a smaller city will significantly decrease one’s standard of living in a rapid pace.

In order to have an organic and sustainable economy, China needs to do a better job in balancing the developments in different regions. While the country is successful in building up world-class cities such as Beijing and Shanghai, the local and central government now needs to invest to ensure that other regional centers are with the same capacity to become future potential economic hubs that can generate well-paid jobs and attractive opportunities

Source: pandaily

N-Power Stipends Hit N279 billion

The Federal Government on Friday disclosed N279 billion has been spent on Nigerian youths under the N-Power programme since December 2016.

The N-Power programme is one of the National Social Investment Programmes (NSIP) introduced by the President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration towards creating jobs and ameliorating poverty in the land.

Briefing journalists in Abuja, the Senior Special Assistant (SSA) to the President on Job Creation and Youth Employment, Office of the Vice President, Afolabi Imoukhuede, said the money was spent on the N30,000 monthly stipend paid to the 500,000 youths engaged under the N-Power programme.

He said that the youths were not owed a kobo under the N-Power programme.

According to him, the first batch of 200,000 youths have earned a total of N180 billion for 30 months from December 2016 to June 2019 with a monthly bill of N6 billion.

He further disclosed addition N9 billion monthly bill was paid from August 2018 to June 2019 totalling N99 billion for the second batch of 300,000 youths engaged under the N-Power programme.

Asked how much has been spent since the inception of the programme, he said “It is every simple in talking about amount that has been invested. I am saying that in Batch 1, they started earning from December 2016, so roughly we invest N72 billion annually just for Batch 1 alone. That is aside from the gadgets that they get and aside from from all the sponsored trainings that they get.

“For instance, all the training on agric for N-Agro, training for health for those who are in health, we sponsor all of that through the federal agencies, ministry of agriculture and ministry of health.

“So direct in our people is N30,000 x 200,000 = N6 billion every month for the first batch which started in 2016. So they have been there for over two years, that is N72 billion multiply by two years or thereabout.

“But since August last year, the wage bill moved from N6 billion to N15 billion because it’s now 500,000 of them that earn N30,000 monthly.

“We have been on N15 billion for almost one year because by end of July it will be one year that we have been making that investment every month.

“So if you put it together that just tells you how much investment we have made and like I have said, we don’t owe anyone because the money is paid directly to them not through a proxy.” he stated

He explained the scheme was designed to solve the employability problems being faced by Nigerians youths after graduation.

According to him, plans are currently ongoing to recruit many of its trainees into the police force in collaboration with state governors to actualize the community policing agenda.

Source: thenationonlineng

Massive Affordable Housing Underway, OGSG Assures Civil Servants, Residents

Civil servants in Ogun State have been assured of affordable housing that would not affect their take home by the present administration under the leadership of Governor Dapo Abiodun.

This assertion was made by the Special Adviser to the Governor on Housing, Mr. Jagunmolu Akande Omoniyi while speaking with the media officer of the Ministry of Housing, Adeola Adebajo shortly after his familiarisation visit to the Ministry.

Mr. Omoniyi stated that governor Abiodun had identified housing as an essential element in human’s need, noting that the administration is proposing to lay a massive ground breaking ceremony that would cut across the three senatorial districts during the marking of first 100days in office.

“His Excellency Prince (Dr.) Dapo Abiodun has plans for massive housing projects for the benefit of citizens, and we are planning to develop the housing projects within the three senatorial districts of the State,” the Special Adviser assured.

Mr. Omoniyi disclosed that government would partner with Private Developers to invest in housing sector, revealing that the present administration intends to collaborate with stakeholders such as Federal Mortgage Bank and National Housing Fund to deliver affordable housing to the citizenry

Earlier in his address, the Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Housing, Engr. Olayiwola Abiodun lauded the Governor for putting a round peg in a round hole with the appointment of Mr. Omoniyi as the Special Adviser on housing.

The Permanent Secretary who assured that the ministry would not relent in its efforts at supporting the set goals of the present administration charged the management staff to brace up and discharge their duties accordingly.

The Case For Green Affordable Housing

However, the environmental impact of fulfilling the promise of safe, adequate, affordable housing for all could be even more disastrous than doing nothing.

New units will consume an immense amount of resources like land, cement and steel, and guzzle water and burn energy. Furthermore, as standards of living improve around the world, more homes will be furnished with toilets, microwaves, refrigerators, heating/cooling systems, and the electrical needs of a digital future.

Yet, we don’t have a choice. Access to adequate housing is a human right, which must be respected if we wish to meet our commitments to our common global goals.

So how can we meet our aspirations to house our growing population without destroying the environment?

Green housing is still perceived as a luxury, yet most of the houses that will be built, will be in emerging markets for households who cannot afford to invest in high-tech housing. In fact, a lot of resources are being spent trying to reduce construction costs to a bare minimum in order to make housing more affordable.

Fortunately, building a green home goes beyond simply adding solar panels on a rooftop and does not necessarily require high-tech innovations in order to be green. Instead, we must take into account the entire value chain of building a home with many green features, which in fact, can help reduce costs today and in the long-term.

Here are three simple principles that should be adopted worldwide to both help reduce costs and our ecological footprint.

We must take into account the entire value chain of building a home with many green features, which in fact, can help reduce costs today and in the long-term.

First, we should minimise our land use and seek to maximise density without destroying our cities’ social fabric. With the majority of the world’s population living in urban areas, the practicality of owning a single-family home has become increasingly unlikely.

To avoid urban sprawl and conserve natural resources, we must go upwards. In doing so, we will reduce one of the greatest costs of urban homes, maximise energy efficiencies, and increase greenspaces that might otherwise have fallen prey to unwise development.

Secondly, our homes should be built with their life-cycle costs in mind. Energy and water usages should be taken into account when choosing designs and fixtures. Fortunately, implementing frameworks such as the EDGE tool, a low-cost alternative to LEED Certified building, can achieve this while being mindful of preserving affordability.

Finally, because we need to build with the future in mind, ensuring that homes are still desirable decades down the road is fundamental. Maintenance costs are too often an afterthought in many housing programs, but crucial to sustainable development. By planning ahead, we will waste fewer resources in the long term for minimal upfront costs today.

Though it may be difficult to enforce these measures, at the very least, we should demand that all government subsidised housing programs should follow these simple rules in order to avoid wasting our planet’s precious resources.

We simply cannot afford to squander economic and environmental resources on houses that will not survive the tests of time.

Source: eco-business

Co-what?: Alternative Housing Models

You may have heard the term ‘co-housing’ bandied about lately, along with ‘co-living’ and ‘cooperative housing’. Abigail Hurst examines these hot words that need to be taken seriously so that, together, the industry can tackle issues like New Zealand’s housing crisis.

No longer just left standing on the edge of the field but rising stars – or threats to the way in which we understand property ownership – are the various emerging forms of co-housing. Co-housing presents solutions that reach across boundary lines and build physical spaces, fostering meaningful relationships.

Co-housing says New Zealand does not need more drawings for individual futures but weavers to create proposals for more interdependence. So, why have we not picked up our knitting needles already?

One of the first co-housing developments was built in 1972 outside Copenhagen, Denmark. Twenty-seven families, frustrated by the available housing options, united to create their own neighbourhood, living in separate houses but owning the land collectively.1 This community is still thriving, with extensive shared facilities – a common house with a large kitchen and dining area, gardens and play areas – continuing to create interactions that knit the community together.

Originally named ‘bofællesskab’, meaning ‘living community’, the idea was coined ‘co-housing’ when it was introduced to the United States.2 Co-housing developments have been built throughout North America and Europe, as well as in Australasia. Earthsong, our first completed, purpose-built, co-housing development, was founded by a group of motivated individuals in 1995.3

Communal living is nothing new; it is part of our human history. Before individual land ownership, our civilisations lived together in arrangements not unlike co-housing. Māori commonly lived in whānau-based kāinga: extended families living together with a variety of shared building types. Other intentional communities, such as housing cooperatives in the United Kingdom by the Rochdale Pioneers in 1861, or kibbutzim in Israel in the early 1900s, exist and their outcomes may look similar.

Cooperative housing, linked to these movements, has been built in New Zealand since the 1970s. In the early 1980s, recommendations were made to our government to support these endeavours4 but resulted in little action – the ventures largely failed, though remnants still stand today in various parts of the country.5 The co-housing movement, however, is identified as separate from this and is, primarily, a conscious reaction to 20th-century living.6

Similar challenges face us today, with changing demographics, the disproportionate cost of property relative to income, a need to care for the environment and a desire for actual community (not just the online variety). Co-housing could shift us back to the roots of our social structures, where the larger family lived communally and generations looked after one another on a more involved basis.

Co-housing is a flexible concept that wrestles with any definition. Examples can be found in urban city centres as well as in rural areas. It is not strictly residential either and, sometimes, includes commercial enterprises. However, it can generally be recognised by a participatory design process, extensive common facilities, separate income sources and a non-hierarchical resident management structure.7

Traditionally facilitating regular shared meals and rostered property-maintenance duties, co-housing affronts living the way we know it. These activities foster relationships and are what help the communities to function. Engaging with people is required on a more involved, frequent level than is the case in our typical suburban set-up.

These characteristics seem inclusive and fair; still, there is something that makes us feel uncomfortable. There is the ring of an ideology that sounds too utopian and concerns about personality conflicts and issues of privacy lurk. Co-housing dwellers acknowledge that “conflict is integral to living in the community”8 but, to them, it is worth it.

It is the opportunity to live more closely with others: to listen and learn. It offers a new way of housing out of a desire for a more practical, economical and social living environment, without isolation from its context. This is not about people seeking to live separately from the rest of society but about a group of people cooperating with one another to live better within their neighbourhood.

The Peterborough Housing Co-operative (the Co-op), located on Peterborough Street in central Christchurch, is doing just that. It began in 1980 when a large inner-city property, consisting of six individual houses, became available. Families rented the houses on trust-owned land, forming a community until the destruction caused by the Canterbury earthquakes.

A core group of people has remained and worked together since to rebuild the community. Allfrey + South Architects was engaged by the Co-op in 2016 for the design of a neighbourhood. The new development, now under construction, will be bigger, with 14 units, a shared laundry, a common house, grounds and a photovoltaic power network subsidising the collective power bill.

The original six houses (now demolished) were at times ill-fit, especially in winter when each one was too small for gathering inside together. The new houses will face each other as two rows with shared ground between. Strategic placement of the common house (including generous kitchen and dining spaces) at one end of the site and a shared laundry room at the other will create further opportunities for social interaction.

Increasing these opportunities for human connection is what co-housing seeks to do. However, having the right amount of private space is just as critical, in order to create balance. For this reason, Allfrey + South Architects designed each housing unit to have private outside space.

Within, the kitchen faces the porch and acts as mediator between the more public realm and the private living room. This arrangement encourages socialising but does not make it mandatory. Another key move made by the Co-op is to push the car parks to the site’s edge. This makes for safer spaces between the buildings and for more land to be available for other uses and, again, increases the chances of meeting others in everyday life.

Collett’s Corner, located on a prominent corner site in Christchurch’s Lyttelton, is a development also putting human connection first. The proposal did not begin with “let’s do co-housing”; it started with “what are the needs of Lyttelton?”

A two-year consultation process has led to a four-storeyed (plus roof terrace) proposal that includes both residential and commercial spaces – a restaurant, retail, a wellness centre, a gym and an open courtyard on the lower two levels, and residential on the upper storeys. Led by Ohu (Office for Holistic Urbanism), an entity that describes itself as a property development group “putting people and communities at the heart of development”, the project has now completed a crowd-funding round and is beginning its developed design phase. The intention is that it will be built by 2021.

Although the residential component of Collett’s Corner could be called ‘co-housing’, it is probably more apt to call it ‘co-living’. With so many models of collaborative living emerging, we need to be more precise with our language and invent and agree on new terms as an industry.

Camia Young, former American architect and founder of the Christchurch-based company Ohu, says it is useful to think about a spectrum between suburbia (non-shared) and co-housing (shared). Young describes co-living as a gentle middle-ground in-between. While there are more opportunities for meeting people, there is no requirement to be living in community. A co-living arrangement typically does not propose dinner rosters but takes the form of apartment-style living with shared amenities.

This is what another Christchurch project, the Madras Square neighbourhood by the Ōtautahi Urban Guild (a joint venture being led by Ohu), hopes to deliver. A key driver for the Guild is to provide affordable housing within the city, aiming to offer homes at 10–20 per cent below market rates. Guild spokesperson James Stewart says this can be achieved through the sharing of consultant costs, no added profit margins and options for shared facilities.

Other amenities are presented but not obligatory and can be included in the price (or not), enabling people to prioritise their space and money. Co-working spaces, shared car and bike schemes, and sustainable power generation are also possibilities that could allow people better access to living more sustainably.

When more people choose to buy into these, co-owned spaces make up a larger footprint of the development, also increasing the economic viability. This model relies on detailed and direct discussions with interested people at the feasibility stage. The Guild is currently engaging with a community of prospective buyers and design workshops will soon take place.

Madras Square, proposed on a site of 8,000m2 on the corner of Madras and Gloucester Streets, has the potential not only to deliver affordable housing but also to regenerate inner-city Christchurch. The proposal to introduce about 150 housing units (developed around groups of 40 people to fit within the optimum scale of community) would give a lively, round-the-clock dynamic to a city that has largely failed at more than a 9–5 city culture.

This is the site of the failed Breathe Urban Village project where, after a competition in 2013, no project went ahead because none was financially viabile. It is hoped that this non-traditional strategy will have a competitive edge to excite people about living in community, in the city. If it succeeds, it will not only be a win for the site and for Christchurch but, also, for the country.

Who, you may ask, is buying into these collaborative housing models? Primarily, says Young, people who are suffering from the housing crisis. Secondly, there is a generation that is growing older and does not want to live in retirement villages on the city fringes. These people want to continue to live in their own investments, with additional shared facilities for which they don’t have to be solely responsible. There is also a third group signing up because they are genuinely interested in understanding what it means to live intimately as a society: to create sustainable behaviours where there is mutual support. Collaborative living could be an answer to the world’s imbalance of wealth, collectively generating social and financial returns to bring equality.

This may sound like an economic, social experiment bound for either greatness or disaster, if one too many stitches are dropped. However, just across the ditch are examples of similar developments that are working. Nightingale Housing has created a replicable model for housing provision in Australia, with a completed project located in Brunswick, Melbourne, and more are under way.

One of these is Nightingale Village, also located in Brunswick: a precinct that will bring seven communities, seven apartment blocks and seven different architects within one master plan, realising co-housing at a village-sized scale. Its impact will pivot the Australian property market, albeit slowly.

Nightingale has no real estate agents but its residential properties are being bought so quickly there is a waiting list. Furthermore, Nightingale does not pay GST because there is no technical ‘sale’ of the properties, only a managed process of the not-for-profit developer collaborating with people needing houses. No sales revenue so no GST – a cost saving reflected in the below-market sales prices. Paying attention yet?

Not only does our vocabulary for these strategies of housing need to play catch-up but our country’s financial, legal and regulatory models do as well. There are ways to create co-housing (and co-living) developments but it is a tricky and costly navigation. At the small-scale end of co-housing, friend groups are finding the way forward can be met with lengthy and expensive consultant meetings, resulting in compromised designs shoehorned to fit existing rules.

The good news is that developers like Ohu have pooled resources to break ground that should eventually lead to more transparent, smooth processes, with any luck changing stiff legal and value definitions in their wake. Terms of sale, restrictive covenants and body corporates are mechanisms that need to be altered carefully to work for, not against, co-housing.

Co-housing will not be for everyone but it is worth questioning whether our existing arrangements of ownership and living are the best. Are we just living and designing what we already know because it is easier? Are we going to engage with this collaborative housing concept with a steely exterior or with open arms? If architecture is not just a question of shelter but one of human endeavour, our architectural profession must participate in co-housing and learn what solutions it can provide in our context.

Solutions for the housing crisis are mostly at a stalemate, with not even KiwiBuild meeting its targets, and co-housing could be a game-changer. If the government is too slow to listen, Nightingale and Ohu are showing that it’s possible to take over the role of  developer and work nimbly within the current constraints.

Collaborative housing has enough merit to deserve architect-led developments. It needs architectural input to help solve its many complex social, legal, financial and design challenges. If society is our tapestry and the built environment its framework, perhaps co-housing is a new stitch that architects can use to knit our rich diversity together.

Source: architecturenow

Kaduna Government to Collaborate with FMB on Housing

Kaduna State Government says it will collaborate with the Federal Mortgage Bank in providing affordable housing to resident of the State.

The Deputy Governor of the State Dr. Hadiza Balarabe stated this while receiving officials of Federal Mortgage Bank lead by the Managing Director, Ahmed Dangiwa who paid a courtesy visit to the State Government House.

She commended the bank for it reforms, which will ease the hardship faced by low income individuals in accessing affordable housing.

Hadiza further assured the delegation of government’s seks izle
support needed in actualizing the bank’s mandate.

She said as part of government reforms, the State Ministry of Housing and Infrastructure embarked on urban renewal project for the provision of standard and affordable housing to the people of the State.

“We will have new layout and with the partnership we will put up, standard affordable houses would be provided for our people,” she stressed.

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Speaking shortly after the meeting, the Managing Director, Federal Mortgage Bank of Nigeria, Ahmed Dangiwa, said the aim of the visit was to seek for collaboration with the State government in contributing to National Housing Fund.

Dangiwa disclosed that, they were collaborating with the State government as one of its major stakeholders major contributors to National housing funds adding that, State and LGAs are all contributors to NHF .

He explained further that, FMB has built about 1,128 house in Kaduna for the benefit of the people .

“We have built houses variously across the State costing about over N5.6bn.
And we have come forward to seek for more land to build more houses in Kaduna State.”

According to him, they want more civil servants, public, private and informal officers to key into the National Housing Fund.

“When you start contribution, even if you are not a civil servant this is the only way in which you can benefit from the product of Federal mortgage of Nigeria. You need to go to our office and pay türk sikiş
monthly contribution of 2.4 per cent of the amount which is 1/ 40 of your earnings in a month and that qualifies you after six month of contribution to benefit up to 15m mortgage loans and other product.”

He therefore called on the people of the State to key into the National Housing Found to be part of the beneficiaries.

When Is the Best Time to Get a Mortgage?

THERE IS NO SINGLE TIME that is best when it comes to buying a home. Rather, your individual circumstances help determine when the time is right. Most crucially, having your credit in order is the best way to get a great home loan that will make a home purchase affordable.

The vast majority of homebuyers require a mortgage. A 2018 report from the National Association of Realtors found that 88% of recent homebuyers financed their purchase. Here’s what you should do to make yourself a more attractive borrower:

  • Work on your credit score.
  • Maintain consistent income.
  • Build your down payment and savings.
  • Manage overall debt.
  • Consider taxes.
  • Consider whether homeownership is right for you.[

Is Your Credit Score Ready?

To qualify for a great home loan at the lowest mortgage rates, you need a solid credit score. Most lenders use your FICO score when determining how risky it is to lend to you.

FICO scores range from 300 to 850, and higher scores can help you get the best mortgage rate offers.

Joanne Gaskin, vice president of scores and analytics at FICO, says knowing your FICO score should be the first step in shopping for the right home loan. While you can pay to access your credit score, many banks, credit card issuers and other institutions now offer free access to your score as a perk.

“Be empowered and understand what your score is before you go in and start the application process,” she says. “Because that way, you’ll have a better sense of what you’ll qualify for.”

For example, if you learn your score is low, you might want to “take some time to work on your score before you start applying” for mortgages, Gaskin says.

Greg Plechner, a Paramus, New Jersey-based partner and senior financial advisor at Greenspring Advisors, recommends prospective homebuyers have a credit score of at least 620.

With this score, you can likely qualify for a conventional home loan. Note a 620 FICO credit score falls within the fair range. You don’t necessarily need to have good or excellent credit to qualify for a mortgage, though it does help in obtaining the best terms.

Can You Demonstrate Stable Income?

The typical home loan is 15 or 30 years, so your long-term income potential matters. Lenders are likely to consider your current income and look for indications that it will continue.

“Is your income predictable and growing?” Plechner asks. “Do you have at least two years of employment with the same company?”

Having consistent employment at jobs that issued W-2 tax forms could help pave the way for approval, but it isn’t a requirement. Self-employed borrowers are typically held to the same standards as employees and should expect lenders to require at least two years of stable income.

Have You Saved Enough?

Having enough savings is also crucial to successfully buying and maintaining a home.

Plechner recommends prospective homebuyers have enough savings to make a 20% down payment. With a 20% down payment, you can avoid private mortgage insurance and may qualify for better rates than a similar borrower with a lower down payment.

But be careful not to wipe out your savings for a down payment. You could lose your job or go through another life-altering experience that makes it difficult to keep up with mortgage payments. A savings buffer can help you maintain your loan until you get back on your feet.

Plechner recommends having cash reserves of at least 1% to 3% of a home’s value. “Another approach is six to nine months of living expenses in cash,” he says.

Also consider savings to manage ongoing costs. Clarissa Hobson, certified financial planner and director of financial planning at Carnick & Kubik Personal Wealth Advisors in Denver, says homeowners should prepare to spend about 1% of their home’s value per year on routine home maintenance projects.

How Is Your Overall Debt?

Lenders will consider any other debt obligations you have when approving your home loan. This factor is known as your debt-to-income ratio, and it measures the total of all your monthly debt payments divided by your gross monthly income.

Lenders may be less willing to give you a conventional mortgage if your debt-to-income ratio exceeds 43%. In that case, it might make sense to delay a home purchase for a little while as you work on paying off debt and lowering the ratio.

“It is helpful to pay off other debts – particularly high-interest debt such as credit cards – prior to obtaining a mortgage,” Hobson says.

Paying off other debts, such as auto loan and student loan obligations, before you pursue a mortgage is also smart, Hobson says. “Go after the highest-interest-rate debt first, and then pursue the others,” she says.

Plechner says if you are having trouble paying down debts, you may need to find – or create – other sources of cash so you can whittle down your debt before you consider buying a home.

“Increase your income,” he says. “Ask for a raise at work. Take on a part-time job, or freelance.”

Factor in Taxes

Recent changes to tax laws mean that for some people, the cost of financing a home might be higher than it would have been in the past.

For example, the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017 roughly doubled the standard deduction that taxpayers can take on their tax returns. As a result, fewer homeowners now have the financial incentive to itemize their deductions on their tax return. And if you do not itemize, you cannot deduct mortgage interest or property tax payments.

In addition, you can only deduct new interest on up to the first $750,000 of your mortgage debt.

Plechner says these changes will “undoubtedly increase the after-tax cost of homeownership” in states with high property and income taxes. He adds that taxpayers with large mortgages and high property taxes likely will realize a lower return on their home investment going forward.

Is Homeownership Right for You?

A mortgage is a major commitment and shouldn’t be entered into lightly. Ask a few additional questions before deciding whether it’s a good time to buy.

Hobson says homeowners should start by considering how long they plan to stay in the new home. “If it’s less than five years, they may want to consider renting instead,” she says.

Closing costs can easily add several thousand dollars to your home buying costs. If you’re not planning to live in the home very long, you might not recoup those costs.

You also might need to pour money into making fixes – both minor and major – after you purchase the home. And there is no guarantee that home values will not decline at some point, as they have in the past.

Taken together, these factors are important to consider as you make your decision.

Source: loans.usnews

Poor Nigerians Rose from 86 to 98 Million in 10 Years –UNDP

The 2019 Global Multidimensional Poverty Index has indicated that “multi dimensionally poor”  Nigerians increased from 86 million to 98 million between 2007 and 2017.

The report released in New York on Thursday by the United Nations Development Programme and the Oxford Poverty and Human Development Initiative, noted that the proportion of people who “are multi-dimensionally poor” had remained constant at just over 50 per cent over the past decade up to 2017.

It explained that the global MPI highlighted inequalities at the global, regional, national, sub-national and even household level.

This year’s MPI results showed that more than two-thirds of the multi-dimensionally poor – 886 million people – live in middle-income countries, while a further 440 million live in low-income countries.

In both groups, data show simple national averages can hide enormous inequality in patterns of poverty within countries.

For instance, in Nigeria, the report said even though the national average showed that around 50 per cent of Nigerians were multi-dimensionally poor, state and local government levels would reveal a completely different scenario.


It stated, “In Nigeria, even though the proportion of people who are multi-dimensionally poor has remained constant at just over 50 per cent over the past decade (up to 2017), the actual number of people who are multi-dimensionally poor increased from 86 million  to 98 million over the same period.

“Also, important to note is that when compared to the national poverty line which measures income/consumption, a larger proportion of Nigerians (51 per cent) are multi-dimensionally poor than those that are income poor (46 per cent).”

The MPI, according to the UNDP, is the product of the incidence and the intensity of multidimensional poverty, and both are important aspects, noting that any reduction in intensity reduces MPI even if incidence remains unchanged and reflects progress towards moving people out of poverty.

The study further said the poorest countries exhibited not just higher incidence of multidimensional poverty, but also higher intensity, with each poor person deprived in more indicators.

Kenya Secures Commitment to Construct 300,000 Affordable Housing Units

The government of Kenya has secured a commitment from China and Qatar to construct over 300,000 affordable housing units in Kenya as part of the government’s Big Four Agenda spearheaded by President Uhuru Kenyatta.

James Macharia, Transport, and Infrastructure Cabinet Secretary confirmed the reports and said that the Chinese multinational will construct 100,000 units while two Qatari firms will construct 200,000 units.

“The government is in talks with the investors and the investment will go a long way towards achieving the Big Four Agenda on housing which aims to construct 500,000 affordable houses across the country by 2022,” said Mr. Macharia.

Big four Agenda

According to the Big four agenda plan, the housing units will be divided into a social housing costing a maximum of US $6,000, a bedsitter housing plan costing a maximum of US $8000, a 2-bedroomed for US $10,000 and a 3-bedroomed for US $20,000.

Currently, due to financing regulatory hurdles, 50,000 units out of the 250,000 demanded housing units are being developed annually. The project according to Macharia will dependent heavily on domestic resources mobilization.

Additionally the Cabinet Secretary held talks with with Qatari Prime Minister Abdullah bin Nasser bin Khalifa Al Thani and the country’s Transport and Communications minister Jassim bin Saif Al Sulaiti on ways to improve cooperation between the two countries.

Cs Macharia also urged Chinese investors to dedicate more resources to Africa when he attended the Beijing Forum for China-Africa Cooperation (FOCAC) in Beijing. “We will continue working with China together with our neighbors to implement seamless infrastructure projects that will improve the lives of our people,” added the Minister.

Source: constructionreviewonline

Nigeria to Construct US $10.6m Tower in Lagos

Nigeria is set to construct a mixed-use 14-floor tower in Lagos at an investment cost of US $10m. Managing Director of Cavalli Business and Investment Group, GPP’s parent company, Mr. Emmanuel Odemayowa spoke during the foundation laying ceremony and said that the project has renewed confidence in the nation’s real estate market.

Pacific Lagos

Dubbed the ‘Pacific Lagos’ the development will be located on the strategic Ozumba Mbadiwe Street in Victoria Island. The new high-rise project was in line with the Cavalli Group’s vision of helping to reduce Nigeria’s severe housing deficit through the development of real estate modeled on international standards.

According to Mr. Odemayowa, the tower was modeled on mixed used property developments in some of the world’s leading economies and was designed to provide Nigerians with a “Work, Live and Play” environment “comparable with the best internationally.”

“The Pacific Lagos was the product of many years of research, brainstorming and planning toward building a vertical mixed high-rise structure that would meet the diverse lifestyle needs of its residents in terms of convenience, access to the commercial nerve centres of Lagos and premium facilities.” said Mr. Emmanuel Odemayowa.

The project comprises commercial and residential one and two bedroom apartments as well as penthouse suites and recreational spaces on the 14 floors. The tower has been designed to offer breathtaking views of the Lagos Lagoon and the Atlantic Ocean from its upper floors. It will also be equipped with a suspended mosaic-tiled swimming pool, round-the-clock security and facility management, as well as a recreational floor with gym, spa/massage facilities, game room, shopping mart as well as restaurant and bar.

The projected completion period for the Pacific Lagos is 36 months (2022) and a Director of the Cavalli Group, Mr. Tunde Adaramaja, assured investors that the GPP had financial arrangements to ensure it would meet this target date. The latest data from Nigeria’s National Bureau of Statistics showed that the real estate service sector swung back to positive growth and expected to perform better this year.

Source:  constructionreviewonline

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