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FMBN, NHIS, PenCom AND PENSIONERS

The Federal Mortgage Bank of Nigeria (FMBN), the National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS) and the National Pension Commission (PenCom) are three major institutions that have profound influence in the way the welfare of Nigerian workers, retirees and pensioners is shaped.

The three institutions share certain features in common: one of the features is that Federal Government employees are automatically enrolled as contributors to the pool of money meant to make it easier for them to meet their need for housing and basic health care while still in service, and periodic pension payments on retirement, respectively.

The amount of money deducted from the salary of each worker as contribution to each of the trio is decided without any consultation with the worker. This feature, which negates the principle of participation, is also common to the three organisations.

The decision on how and when any worker can benefit from his own money deducted and lodged with them ostensibly to further the welfare of the worker is left to the three powerful institutions to choose. This is another shared feature.

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To illustrate, the Federal Mortgage Bank of Nigeria may only advance loans to a worker to build or renovate or purchase a house when its management deems fit to do so, not necessarily based on the urgency of the need of the worker to have accommodation. Likewise, the NHIS, in addition to severely limiting the type of health care accessible by workers, it totally denies retired contributors access to its services regardless of the extent of their need for such services.

They are denied, even at the point of death. On its part, the National Pension Commission is supposedly constrained by the Act establishing it to pay Federal retirees a single kobo out of their Retirement Savings Accounts, even in the face of starvation, except after the Benefit Redemption Fund is activated in favour of the retirees. Some people perceive this arrangement as absurd.

The way and manner the three institutions operate need to be tampered with a human face; with empathy and in the context of the spirit of the humane intention that justified the establishment of each of the three institutions.

While the PenCom was busy earlier this week talking to Directors of Pension Operations, frustrated retirees under the Contributory Pension Scheme, which the Commission oversees, were crying out loudly for attention and payments of their pensions in several states of the country. So unsettling.

In the case of the Federal Mortgage Bank of Nigeria, its Managing Director told State House Correspondents after his meeting with the Vice President of Nigeria that a fresh approach toward facilitating house ownership has taken off, thus raising hope on future housing projects for thousands of beneficiaries with zero equity subscription. This is a good initiative, but the reported case of 2017 and 2018 retirees who are still patiently waiting for the refund of their contributions to the National Housing Fund (NHF) by the FMBN should be treated with the urgency it deserves. September is especially significant as school children resume, and the refunded money can be handy for many in paying school fees.

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The sum total of this article is that the Acts establishing the three institutions, which came into being to preserve and advance the welfare of their contributors, should be usefully flexible: in the case of the FMBN the zero equity approach is good, the rent-to-own concept is wonderful with lower interest charges; the NHIS establishment Act deserves amendment to extend access to basic health care to pensioners who were contributors. The PRA 2014 should be revisited to make it possible for retirees to access part of their savings while remittance to their RSAs from the Benefit Redemption Fund is processed.

The three institutions should be the drivers of the process of making their operations flexible in the interest of their clients.

Salisu Na’inna Dambatta

 

EFCC hands over seized houses to VON, PTAD, others

As part of efforts to curb government’s recurrent expenditure, especially rent, the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission says houses recovered from alleged looters have been handed over to government agencies for use.

The Chairman of the EFCC, Mr Ibrahim Magu, disclosed this during a meeting with journalists in Abuja on Wednesday.

Some of the agencies which received the properties included: Voice of Nigeria, Pension Transitional Arrangement Directorate, Presidential Initiative on the North-East and Voluntary Asset and Income Declaration Scheme.

It was learnt that one of the properties, a mansion located at 6, Ogun River Crescent, Maitama, had allegedly belonged to a former Chief of Defence Staff, Air Chief Marshal Alex Badeh (retd.), who is standing trial for alleged N3bn fraud.

Another seized property, Briffina Hotel, Garki Area 1, was once owned by Dr Sani Teidi, a former director of Pension Accounts, Office of the Head of Civil Service of the Federation, who is standing trial before Justice Gabriel Kolawole of the Federal High Court, Abuja, for alleged N18.3bn fraud.

Magu said, “In an effort to maximise and utilise some of the forfeited properties recovered by the commission, numerous government agencies have been allocated properties to be used as offices.

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“These magnificent properties are currently housing institutions such as VAIDS office under the Ministry of Finance, a unit from the defence headquarters, Voice of Nigeria, PINE and also PTAD. This, in the long run, will drastically reduce the cost of rent by institutions.”

Magu added that the commission had recovered N35bn and N4bn for the Federal Inland Revenue Service and the Asset Management Company of Nigeria, respectively.

“Tax liabilities of other institutions running into billions of naira have also been identified and the companies have agreed to pay,” the EFCC boss added.

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He stated that between January and August this year, the EFCC had secured156 convictions while over N108bn had been recovered within the same period.

Magu added, “Between January and August 2018, the commission has secured 158 convictions and still counting while within the same period, we have recovered N106,516,222; $1,635,925; £629,193 and €25, 575.”

Eniola Akinkuotu, Abuja

ELECTION SEASON: Time to demand Political Aspirants plans on actualizing Affordable Housing for its electorate

 

 2019 election is barely a few months away and political aspirants have started strategizing how either to be elected or re-elected to serve. Political campaign posters are now beautifully decorating the walkways and streets with beautifully crafted promises that we have only being seeing in writing and far from actualization.

Elected office holders at the federal and state levels eyeing political posts in the forthcoming elections will soon parading press releases of their public services to the electorate; some of which we have already started seeing.

Keen observers will notice that politicians have started collaborating and cooperating with their godfathers, forming alliances, making deals, moving camp from one party to the other, fashioning new political parties and courting political rivals. Not forgetting to mention last minute political aspiration declarations notwithstanding the mind blowing price of political nomination fees. Less I forget, it was said that even state governments who have not been able to pay the salaries of civil servants in their states are single handedly buying presidential nomination forms for others.

Contrary to expectations that a democratically elected government will engender development, this cannot be said to be so for many Nigerians. Unfortunately, events have proved that democracy does not bring about socio-economic development by default. Socio-economic development would only play an important role in sustaining democracy.

Over the years, lawmakers and those in authority have recoiled from talking about one major increasing difficulty Nigerians have been dabbling with; the saddening issue of not being able to afford a decent roof over their head which they can proudly call theirs.

Affordable Housing is essentially necessary to the extent that, in some countries it is equated with human right. This is because habitable housing discourage anti-social behavior, promotes healthy living, efficiency, and general well-being of the populace. Housing does not only serve as an asset to the individual and Nation, it also provides man with cover and security. Therefore, the provision of affordable housing at a large scale remains a challenge to most countries particularly those in developing country like Nigeria. It has become increasingly glaring that most urban population live in dehumanizing housing environment, while those that have access to average housing do so at abnormal cost.

Sad to say majority of Nigerian Civil Servants after toiling and putting in their vibrant years in service cannot boast of a home to call theirs when it’s time for them to retire. Parents battling with school fees, ensuring adequate feeding and clothing of their immediate families and in some cases meeting the needs of extended families; despite all these, they still have to think and strategize on ways to pay for house rents. Even youths who are usually the centre of manipulations during this election period cannot even boast of future strategic plans to own a home of their own no matter how small.

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Notwithstanding, worthy to note are the recent initiatives of the Federal Mortgage Bank of Nigeria (FMBN) on the Rent to Own Scheme and the uprising of affordable housing and mortgage policy formulation being put in place by joint efforts of private investors in the built environment and the Federal Government. Even the “Not Too Young to own a Home” initiative which is a homeownership initiative for youths amongst many other initiatives are still struggling to come alive.

Just as stated earlier, it is pertinent to note that it is only a democracy flavored with good governance that will accelerate economic development.

It is on this premise that certain extra effort be made and we ensure its not business as usual for these aspirants, there is need to stir up agitations on why housing issues and housing policy are not on Nigeria’s political radar screen, and what we can do to put them there.

Majority of these politicians seeking the votes of electorate have mansions to their names and cozy beds to lie on while the electorates whose votes are to bring them to power are struggling with house rents, high cost of lands and properties. Recently a FCT Housing Committee has been set up to investigate the issue of illegal land allocations in the FCT. Is it only in the FCT that such investigations be made? Aren’t there similar cases of such across the federation?

It is high time the electorate take their stands and demand from these aspirants what they intend to do to ensure that affordable housing is achieved in Nigeria. Enough of “I will”, Enough of intelligent guesses, detailed mapped out strategies that shows a promising future for affordable housing in Nigeria with the relevant platforms already in place should be shown to the electorate not the usual promises of “Poverty will be eradicated when voted into power” and that “there would be a full stop to corruption.”

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The nation is in an election season, and glittering generalizations should not be allowed without demanding for specifics. As politicians make flowery promises, the electorate must as a matter of utmost necessity demand for specifics from politicians to enable them determine those who have ideas about the roles they intend to play in government in 2019.

The citizens must be courageous to ask questions from any political aspirant as to how he or she intends to solve the problems bedeviling the nation in all sectors of the economy especially on affordable housing. Nigerians are fed up with any politician who says “I’ll achieve restructuring of Nigeria in 6 months, if elected President”. Such a politician should be challenged by the electorate to say in concrete terms what he or she means by restructuring, why it is necessary and how he or she intends to go about actualizing such a campaign promise.

The media and civil societies have a duty to set agenda for public debate and create issues bordering on national development in this election season. Any politician that makes a promise must be courageous to let the electorate subject his campaign promises to thorough debate before elections to avoid blaming his or her predecessors when elected.

Wilson Ifeoma Nonye – HousingNews, Abuja

Buyer apathy threatens Abuja new estates

…developers see positive prospects, say prices to rise soon

Many new private estates in Abuja face poor patronage due to perceived high cost, a Daily Trust survey in the sector has shown.

The findings showed that the rate of sales of estate flats that has remained low despite flexible payment plans and juicy discount rates to attract potential buyers.

As such, some of the completed estates spread across the city have remained unoccupied with many more still under construction.

Low and middle income earners in the capital city for whom these new estate homes are supposedly targeted, lack the financial capacity to pay for the houses. A lot of them prefer, instead, to acquire land in the outskirts of the city, which they consider cheaper.

But a cross section of marketers, promoters and estate developers interviewed said they are not disturbed by the current rate of  low sales.

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The  survey carried out within the central part of the FCT metropolis, Lugbe, Apo, Kubwa and Karmo, showed that over 20 new estates have either been completed or are at various stages of completion in the last three years.

Urban Shelter Limited, a key player in Abuja’s real estate market, made up about 30 percent of the new residential developments in the FCT surveyed for this report.

One of the estates, Bellevue Residences, located in Life Camp, according to the company, is an “opportunity to respond to the socio-economic needs of the people by creating a privileged, safe and accessible residential development.” The price for a five bedroom villa at the residence goes for N150 million while a four bedroom town-home costs N70.5 million.

The price range for a home at its 30 apartment’s Lugbe estate begins from N9.5m. A two bedroom semi detached terrace apartment at its Sarauniya Estate Lugbe, which are at the building stage, cost N17.5m under a two-year payment plan.

A marketer of the estate said a subscriber who is unable to meet up with the two-year plan can opt for five-year plan but at a total cost of N22.75m.

Prices for a home  begin from N12m at The Brick City View, another member of the Brick City family in Kubwa.

The cost of an apartment at The Brick City Spring, an affordable luxury homes, situated in Jabi District begins from N9.5m, same as Brick City Valley estate along Kubwa-Zuba express way.

Prices start from N4m at its Kyami Estate, close to the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport.

Dantata Town, is another fast rising  estate developers in the FCT promoted  by Dantata Town Developers Limited, a real estate/construction firm. At the moment, it is marketing its newly developed Dantata Housing Estate Kubwa phase 1, 2 and 3 as well as the Dantata Mabushi Terrace Housing Estate in Mabushi Abuja in addition to those in Gwarimpa.

A two bedroom semi detached uncompleted apartment goes for N13.5m while the completed counterpart is N19.5m and an interested buyer is expected to make initial deposit of 30 per cent of the total cost, to spread the balance in instalmental payment.

Other ongoing estate developments surveyed included Brains and Hammers estates Apo 4-5 and Games Village, Flourish Estate Lugbe, Didi Estate Karmo, Park View Estate opposite Games Village, Kukwuaba where a  well finished, fully detached 5 bedroom luxury duplex goes for around N150m.

Some estates marketers, who spoke on the rate of subscription, however, said demand for estates is high because of the corresponding high demand for housing in Abuja due to the influx of people into the city.

“Many people have subscribed or have started buying,” said a representative of Urban Shelter Limited who markets Sarauniya Estate, Lugbe.

“In four months’ time the prices will even go higher because demand is high,” he said.

A marketer for Dantata Town Estate in Kubwa said there are now about 800 residents within all the phases in the estate.

However, some federal civil servants interviewed said the price of an average  estate home for workers on levels 8 to 10 was beyond their reach, and above the Federal Mortgage Bank Housing loan. But the developers blamed the high prices on cost of imported building materials as well as local ones.

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“The cost of land, building materials and logistics is actually why the cost is high,” said a developer who doesn’t want to be named.

Some developers said they are upbeat that the market will pick up particularly as the 2019 general elections draw near.

“After the 2019 general elections, the expectations are that new members of the National Assembly would buy personal houses in Abuja and likewise their aides.

“There might be new set of ministers, MDs and DGs who may be living outside Abuja before their appointment and by their appointments may need new homes. If the purchase of new homes does not rise by then definitely rent will increase,” he said.

By Daniel Adugbo & Malikatu Umar Shuaibu

 

South Africa: Affordable Housing – City of Cape Town and Developers At Crossroads

Politicians, civil servants and people in Cape Town’s property industry are at a crossroads. The next few months will tell who is committed to building an inclusive and spatially just city.

A black majority live on the densely populated urban periphery, in townships, as backyarders or in informal settlements, while the wealthy continue to live in low density mostly white suburbs in well-located areas.

Over the last year, Ndifuna Ukwazi has been objecting to exclusive and unaffordable private developments across the City of Cape Town. Our concern, shared by many, is that this pattern of spatial planning has negative long-term fiscal, social, environmental and political costs and is ultimately detrimental to the sustainability of the Western Cape economy. In effect, this pattern replicates the apartheid city.

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For example, to buy an average one-bedroom apartment selling for R1,250,000, a household would have to pay at least R12,270 per month in bond repayments. To pay this a household would need to earn a minimum monthly income of at least R36,800, assuming that the bond repayment is no more than one third of income on a bond.

Most poor and working class families are between three and five people in the household, so even if the family can afford to buy a one-bedroom property they may not be able to fit. So to measure access we need to be able to determine how many household can both afford and fit. Our estimate is that a maximum of four people could fit into a one-bedroom home comfortably.

Based on 2011 Census data, only 118,133 of all households living in the city, or 11% could both afford and fit into a one-bedroom property. If we break the number of households down by race, the results are staggering: Black African households who can both afford and fit represent only 1% of all households in the city; likewise Coloured households represent 2.2%; Indian households represent 0.3%; and White households represent 7.3%. It demonstrates the extraordinary exclusion of the majority of residents from the housing market, which is most acutely felt by black (Black Arican, Coloured and Indian) households.

The basis for Ndifuna Ukwazi’s objections is the Spatial Planning Land Use Management Act of 2013 (SPLUMA), which establishes a set of compulsory principles applicable in every land use decision. These principles are spatial justice, spatial sustainability, and spatial efficiency.

The principle of spatial justice, in particular, is consistent with the Constitution’s transformative aspirations. It aims to address spatial imbalances by improving access to land. Land use decisions must address the colonial and apartheid era dispossession and exclusion of black people, and provide new opportunities today.

To date, the City of Cape Town has not implemented their statutory obligations. This means a core legislative principle that should be at the heart of all planning approvals has not been realised practically in land use management on individual applications.

Both the City and the Municipal Planning Tribunal (MPT) are mandated to redress spatial imbalances and empowered to impose conditions that mitigate against exclusionary developments. One way to do this would be for the City to ask for a fair and proportional contribution from developers towards affordable housing. To date, both city planners and the MPT have refused to do this, arguing mainly that there is a lack of policy guidelines.

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Internationally, cities have passed inclusionary housing policies to secure a fair and proportionate contribution towards affordable housing on-site (in the development), off-site (on well-located state owned land), or as a fee in lieu in exchange for the value unlocked through the granting of land use rights.

To address this, Mayoral Committee Member for Transport and Urban Development (TDA), Brett Herron, has committed to bringing a policy to Council as a matter of urgency. Last week, the City’s Mayoral Committee approved a concept document on inclusionary housing, which now opens the way for engagement.

While the TDA is in the process of drafting policy, it is not certain. Some politicians and officials seem adamant to shut down the inclusive agenda that the TDA has embarked on in the belief that a policy would be damaging to the property and development industry. This would be a mistake.

A good inclusionary housing policy would, in fact, stimulate density and new development in well-located areas and along transport corridors. This could be done by creating a density overlay zone in the current by-law, which would grant additional rights as an incentive in exchange for affordable housing. Developers would be able to build higher and denser as long as this is more inclusive.

This would only work if the inclusionary housing policy was responsive to the ebbs and flows of the property market and across different areas. A blanket percentage would not work. So, for example, in areas where the value of land is high and the market is hot, the contribution would be higher. In areas which are well-located but have less hot markets, the City could increase the incentive but reduce the contribution.

An inclusionary housing policy should not be punitive, and the contribution could be paid for through any additional profits, efficiencies in the planning application system, and the ability to negotiate down land costs.

An effective inclusionary housing policy would dovetail with and help to unlock the City’s significant stock of smaller parcels of land for social housing that it is unable to develop itself due to the small economies of scale. Inclusionary housing, could be the very mechanism that is needed to advance inclusive transport orientated development.

It is clear that a change in the by-law and a policy is needed urgently to create certainty and manage the significant risks that must be navigated in the current economic environment. Further delays from the Mayoral Committee and within Council present the greatest risk to the industry.

Policy would be preferable but it is not required for the City and MPT to impose conditions to secure affordable housing.

It is up to developers to justify how their development complies with principles of spatial justice, and why a condition for affordable housing should not be imposed.

In a ruling on an appeal to the development application for Zero2One skyscraper, Mayor Patricia De Lille, after seeking the opinion of senior counsel, confirmed that the City and the MPT can impose conditions for the contribution of affordable housing in private developments without having a City policy in place.

According to the mayor’s ruling, a condition for a fair and proportionate contribution towards affordable housing in a private development can be imposed if three requirements from section 100 of the City of Cape Town’s current Municipal Planning By-Law are met, namely, the condition must be: 1) objective; 2) reasonable; and 3) “arise from the proposed use of the land”.

If it is undisputed that a development is spatially unjust, and the City and MPT has the power to fix the problem, neither the developer nor the City or MPT can ignore the problem. Approving a spatially unjust application with no reasonable justification or attempts to fix the problem is unlawful. This opens up the decision to be reviewed in the courts.

Depending on how you view the situation, this poses a choice for developers: Wait for policy to be passed, which will provide more clarity for what is expected from developers; or preempt policy and possible delays by submitting applications which include a fair and proportionate contribution of affordable housing now.

There are four good criteria to think about when considering whether a housing project in the private sector advances spatial justice. It must promote equal opportunity to black households, be truly affordable based on income, be well-located and use the right mechanism to ensure it is retained in perpetuity (which means it stays affordable in the long term).

There is now an opportunity for developers to make sure that an inclusionary housing policy works for them not against them, to explore ways to build affordable housing feasibly, and to contribute towards an inclusive, efficient and sustainable property developments that bring both economic and social returns for the industry and our city for generations to come.

By Jonty Clogger and Jared Rossouw

Barclays and UK government plan £1bn housing fund

Bank chairman John McFarlane says fund will address ‘vital need’ for new homes

Barclays and the UK government have revealed plans for a £1bn fund to help property developers meet what the bank’s chairman calls a “vital need” for new homes, including social housing and retirement homes.

The UK bank will commit £875m to a new Housing Delivery Fund, alongside £125m from Homes England, the government’s national housing agency. Small and medium-sized house builders and developers will be able to take loans of between £5m and £100m to fund their projects, with a loan-to-value ratio of up to 70%.

The goal is to diversify the housing market, Barclays said in its statement on the fund, adding that almost two-thirds of homes are currently built by just 10 companies. The fund will be open to existing Barclays clients as well as new customers and will prioritise builders of social housing, retirement homes and homes for private rental.

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The interest rate of the loans was not disclosed, but Barclays said they would be “competitively priced”.

Barclays chairman John McFarlane said: “There is a vital need to build more good quality homes across the country. This £1bn fund is about helping to do exactly that by showing firms in the business of house building that the right finance is available for projects that help meet this urgent need.”

James Brokenshire, the housing secretary, said: “This is a fantastic opportunity to not only get more homes built but also promote new and innovative approaches to construction and design that exist across the housing market.”

Then-housing secretary Sajid Javid launched Homes England in January as the successor to the Homes and Communities Agency.

The government has set a target of delivering an average of 300,000 a year by the mid-2020s. Its housing white paper, published in February 2017, described the UK’s housing market as “broken”.

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In her foreword to that paper, Prime Minister Theresa May wrote that the government’s goal is to “fix this broken market so that housing is more affordable and people have the security they need to plan for the future”.

May went on: “The starting point is to build more homes. This will slow the rise in housing costs so that more ordinary working families can afford to buy a home and it will also bring the cost of renting down.”

She added that diversifying the housebuilding market would involve “opening it up to smaller builders and those who embrace innovative and efficient methods”.

Tim Burke 

BCPG tasks artisans on safety in construction sites

To curb death of building artisans on construction site, the Building Collapse Prevention Guild (BCPG) Lagos State Chapter in collaboration with Lagos State Safety Commission has trained over 400 artisans in the built sector on the imperatives of adopting standard safety measures/insurance.
The one-day workshop titled, “Measures and application on building construction site” held at Alausa, Lagos, brought together, Carpenters, concrete caster association, bricklayers, welder association, block makers, among others.
Speaking at the workshop, the chairman of Lagos chapter of BCPG, Solomon Ogunseye stated that going by the reality of vulnerability of the building artisans during construction process, there was the need to enlighten them on basic safety precautions that would preserve their health and well being.
According to him, from available statistics, it has been established that artisans who are Carpenters die more than any other personnel during construction work because their jobs take them much higher to the roof of a building project.
He said there was the need to educate on observing safety regulations like wearing the helmets to prevent head injury during construction, not working barefooted on site to prevent nail and tetanus attacks and the need to be educated on insurance which would take care of any accident that leads to serious injury or death.
Ogunseye said, “Some artisans still use the bamboo scaffolding which has been outlawed by government. This people don’t care because they are hungry. Even if the bamboo has been there for three months, they will still climb and the thing would collapse on them and so we need sensitise the artisans. Carpenters rank among highest casualty figure during construction. You can’t see an architect die on the site nor engineers. The Carpenters and some other artisans are the most vulnerable. We have invited insurance experts to talk to them that we want to enforce in conjunction with Lagos State government that there must be a certificate of safety on construction site”.
In his presentation on, “ Imperative of material testing in building construction”, the Acting General manager of Lagos State Materials Testing, Ajani Olalekan said gone are the days whereby the society attributes building collapses to witches and wizards as the causes of such incidents in modern time failure to carry soil investigation before construction on site, poor quality of concrete/ right mix, the quality of sand and gravel use in building, the quality of water and steel samples standards.
According to him, the essence of soil investigation is to provide sufficient information for design for the most safest and practical design of foundation, which must be to BS 5930:1999 specifications.
He said, “It’s important to get the right mix for your concrete to enable you check the strength, workability, density and other properties of concrete, you should test the pre-cast beam, water must be potable and steel sample must be tested according to specified standard before use.
Olalekan told participants to be wary of the influx of sub-standard iron rods that has found their way into the market particularly in Ikorodu axis of Lagos stressing there are plans to mobilise and ensure that producers of such materials are brought book.
He disclosed that through Non-Destructive Testing (NDT), the agency is to carry out some investigations on the structural integrity of Lagos State buildings in Alausa without destructing them with the use of specialized equipment in order to advice government on what to do.
Speaking on Design and Construction Practice for Building Collapse Prevention and Safety, the Secretary of the Nigerian Institute of Architects (NIA), Lagos state branch, Mr. Samson Akinyosoye, explained that three things stages contribute to building collapses from the architectural perspective. These he said include, the design, construction, and post construction stages. According to him, any failure to put in place right mechanisms to reinforce the structural balance and integrity of the building could make the structure to collapse.
He noted that quality of building materials and workmanship should be given adequate attention to avert collapse stressing that if a component of a building is not functioning, such a structure is bound to deteriorate and collapse.
Victor Gbonegun

48-hour ‘bamboo bungalow’ plan launched to tackle housing shortage in Nigeria

The Nigerian state of Lagos has announced a plan to address its shortfall of 2 million homes by building “48-hour bungalows” out of bamboo, a versatile and abundant resource in Nigeria.

Promoting the idea, the state’s commissioner for housing, Gbolahan Lawal, said the technology has already been trialled in the western coastal town of Badagry and would soon be extended to the north-eastern settlement of Imota.

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“We want to see how to go into the manufacturing of homes. We want to make it seamless and produce about 100 units in a month,” he is quoted as saying by local media.

He said his commission had already hired three companies for the initiative, one of which was already on site, and that a training programme had begun to ensure there were enough workers to carry it out.

Lagos State needs another 2 million homes to adequately house its population (Abd Ahmeed/Creative Commons)

The commission hopes to set up manufacturing businesses to feed into the scheme, providing tiles, electronics and meters for water and electricity.

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In terms of the main building materials, Mr Lawal said that experiments with clay and wood had ended and that the preferred material in future would be bamboo owing to its low price and relative abundance.

Alongside the technological development, the government has spent the past 14 months drafting a housing policy to regulate the state housing ministry.

Lagos’ housing difficulty form a small part of Nigeria’s overall problem. Reliable figures are hard to come by, but a survey in 2012 estimated that the country lacked 17 million homes, and a report at the end of August suggested that could since have risen to 25 million units, indicating that a large proportion of Nigeria’s 186 million people are affected.

GCR

3 reasons to worry about the housing market

Home prices in the United States have never been higher. In January, housing values eclipsed their 2006 pre-crisis peak and since then have only pushed higher, according to the Case-Shiller home price index.

The culprits are a crazy tight job market, rising wages and the fact that the homeownership rate is rising again after bottoming in 2016.

But storm clouds are gathering as the Federal Reserve pushes interest rates higher, part of its ongoing fight to keep a lid on inflation. Higher rates weigh on home affordability — and thus depress demand. Here are three growing headwinds the housing market faces:

Affordability
Thanks to the resolve of Federal Reserve chairman Jerome Powell, who is resisting President Trump’s calls for a slowdown of the rate hike pace, monetary policy continues to tighten. That’s pushing up long-term interest rates, with the 30-year Treasury yield pushing back over the 3 percent threshold recently, up from less than 2.7 percent in December and a low of 2.1 percent in the summer of 2016.

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Looking at the 30-year fixed mortgage rate, rates are at 4.5 percent right now, up from 3.8 percent last September and lows around 3.3 percent in 2012 and 2013.

As a result of rising mortgage rates and higher home prices, Gluskin Sheff economists estimate that housing affordability has crashed to lows not seen since 2008, well off the highs seen in 2011 and 2012 when a combination of lower prices and lower rates helped put an end to the housing collapse.
Sales activity

A slowdown in new home construction during the housing crisis resulted in a backlog of demand for brand-new homes. Builders have responded to consumer appetite for newly constructed homes, which has helped pushed up the average price of a new home from a low of $250,000 in late 2011 to a high of $402,900 in December, before cooling slightly.

But now sales activity is rolling over, threatening to break the recent trend of rising activity. Sales of existing homes has flatlined over the past year.

 

Demographics

Millennial homeownership rates are still poor, mired as they are with student loan debt and tepid wages.

According to the Urban Institute, the homeownership rate of millennials between the ages of 25 and 34 is about 8 percent below Gen X and baby boomers at the same age. If millennial homeownership matched previous generations, there would be 3.4 million more homeowners today, they estimate.

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The risk is that the longer this generation delays homeownership, the more baby boomers looking to downsize will be pressured into lowering their home prices when they enter retirement.

Indeed, a study by Fannie Mae’s Economic and Strategic Research group warns of a “mass exodus” on the horizon as the “homeownership demand from younger generations is insufficient to fill the void left by multitudes of departing older owners.”

Anthony Mirhaydari

Nigeria not yet mature for Rent-to-Own home model – Previs

The Nigerian real estate market is not yet mature and ready for the burgeoning rent-to-own homeownership model, Previs Development, a special purpose vehicle in the James Cubitt Group, has said.

The company, whose vision is to make property ownership possible, enjoyable and meaningful for everyone, notes that despite the seeming simplicity of this model, careful study of the offers in the market now shows that the absence of mortgage financing has significantly limited the number of homes that can be delivered using that model.

As a homeownership model, rent-to-own, also called rental-purchase, is a type of legally documented transaction under which tangible property, such as land or a house is leased in exchange for a monthly, quarterly or annual payment, with the option to purchase at some point during the agreement.

The model is gaining popularity among developers and is being championed by the Lagos State government as a viable option for providing ‘cheap’ housing accommodation for its civil servants.

But Previs says that with some of its building developments sold out using the rent-to-own scheme, it has observed that the Nigerian real estate market is not yet ready for a rent-to-own model for houses.

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“We want to cater to Nigeria’s underserved middle market. This is why we have created a product called Rent-to-Own-Land (RTOL). The logic is simple: without access to bulk funds, aspiring property owners must approach their home ownership in milestones – land first. Getting land is where the journey starts for most homeowners,” explained Peter Coker, Previs’ managing director, in a statement.

“Our planned estates are strategically located. Subscribers under our RTOL scheme enjoy up to 200 percent capital appreciation because the estates are in developing areas which are receiving focused attention from the government, ” Posi Lawore, the Project Lead for Previs, disclosed.

“These estates are properly planned. Subscribers know that their neighbour will not turn their residences to office spaces years down the line,” Lawore assured.

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The number of residential accommodation being transformed to offices spaces continues to increase daily. This invariably changes the dynamics to the living conditions and may affect property usage and pricing.

Tolulope Olorundero, Marketing and Communications Lead, disclosed that the Phase 1 of their property in Lekki Scheme 2 was sold out, while Phase 2 was also fast selling out because their subscribers enjoyed monthly or annual payment plans of up to 5 years.

“The estate is designed to deliver social amenities such as schools, recreation spots, and communal spaces,” she said

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