Reporter

Cosgrove: Bridging Gap in Pan-African Housing Deficit

Cosgrove Investment Limited, a real estate development and general construction company, is fast changing the narrative and bridging the gap in the pan-African housing deficit.

The firm is also unlocking value for all for stakeholders. And in the next five years it hopes to be a dominant player in the Nigerian and West African real estate market.

The Head of Sales & Allocations at Cosgrove, Sakana Dikko Philip, said the company is focused on developing opportunities both in Nigeria’s and West Africa’s real estate markets – across construction, management and investing.

“We leverage years of hand on experience to provide: real estate development; infrastructure and general construction; investment, management and advisory services and structural restoration services.

‘’Our core target consists of fist-time home buyers, ROI seeking investors, cooperative societies, government organizations as well as indigenous and multinational corporations seeking tailored housing and investment.

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‘’Cosgrove focuses on creating sustainable family friendly communities with stunning ambience of luxury. These are typically in high demand and have demonstrated high Return on Investment (ROI) for both investors and home.’’

A real estate development and general construction company with the headquarters in the nation’s capital, Abuja that is focusing on offering top quality housing solutions for specific markets in Nigeria and West Africa, its services suggest that the company is delivering on tailored services with a level of ‘’professionalism and reliability’’ equal to the best international developments.

From the mission statement to the core values of the organisation, at the heart of Cosgrove is a bottomless guarantee to delivering on a unbroken and forthright experience for each and every of its customer, believing that this is essential to positioning the Cosgrove brand as a true leader and innovator in its market segment.
‘’The companies that own the future are those that look forward, anticipating market needs, trends and technology; using them to create the best products and services’’, the company stated.

‘’Cosgrove is committed to building homes that are sustainably ready for tomorrow’s technology – from simple automation and energy efficiency, to full on smart home capabilities – yet are also aesthetically pleasing and practical in today’s world.’’

The company added its unique set of ‘’technical and business expertise’’ allows its team to design, develop and deliver homes, offices and entire gated communities that come ready with the infrastructure needed to enable ‘’smart living’’, while individual buyers then have the option of simply connecting or upgrading their pre-wired (smart) homes when they are ready.

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With features like metered gas to every home; integrated high-speed broadband fibber-optic internet connectivity in its built houses, they ensure that residing in a Cosgrove community gives a taste of life as it should be lived.  ‘’At Cosgrove, we believe buildings have the capacity to make a major contribution to a more sustainable future for our planet. This is why in the design, construction and management of our buildings, we strive for maximum economic efficiency’’, the company stated.

‘’Cosgrove seamlessly integrates, manages and implements projects right from creation to completion and at every stage in-between. We are deeply invested in understanding our customers’ goals and in developing the most appropriate and rewarding ways to realize them. Another core offering from Cosgrove is the provision of world-class, high-quality scalable infrastructure for both private and public projects.’’

In addition to its real estate business, Cosgrove also undertakes general construction work; leveraging a strong network of suppliers, vendors and hands on experience in construction in various parts of the country, and providing turnaround services for private firms, institutions and corporate bodies, while also focusing on transforming dormant or non-performing assets into viable sources of revenue; for instance, hotels, let-table spaces or housing solutions.

It boasted that its unique service enables the company’s partners to harness untapped revenue streams and increases its overall Return On Investment (ROI), while carefully analysing the potential of any property – built or otherwise – and armed with insight into emerging trends across Nigeria’s socio-economic landscape, which enables it perform turnaround services that transform ‘’even dogs into cash cow.’’

From its many services, Cosgrove also offers specialised investment vehicles and advisory services to select clients, while the experience and skills of its team give the management access to major deals and opportunities in the real estate sector.

Cosgrove’s Head of Sales and Allocation added, ‘’Our team of experts also offer informed advice to institutions, cooperatives and multinationals seeking viable opportunities and solid Return on Investment.

“At Cosgrove we bring a unique set of skills, along with intimate knowledge of local market conditions to bear on identifying opportunities: minimizing risk and maximizing the upside when it comes to investing in real estate. This is what we offer our partners and clients.’’

The Cosgrove core team consists of highly respected individuals with years of experience and solid reputation built on professionalism, integrity and commitment to delivering value for all stakeholders.

The Cosgrove Founder, Umar Abdullahi, comes with over 15 years varied experience in Real Estate Development, Investment and Financial Services. Also doubled as the CEO of the company, Umar served as the pioneer Managing Director of Brains & Hammers Ltd for eight years.

He is reputed to have directed the foundations for the company’s success, and spearheaded the conceptualisation, development, construction and management of a myriad of housing estates and gated communities. Umar is particularly adept at managing complex projects and diverse teams.

For instance, most recently, under his leadership, the Kano Economic City — a N167 billion joint venture project between Brains & Hammers and the Kano State Government, was said to have been consummated. He also brings extensive experience from his corporate banking background, as well as expertise in negotiations with a commitment to compliance with corporate governance and fiscal discipline.

Described as an “astute leader, whose vision is achieving Cosgrove’s strategic business goals,’’ his multi-coloured international executive leadership training programs, is said to have equipped him for his role in steering Cosgrove to achieve its long-term vision.

A graduate of Bayero University, Kano, and an alumnus of Cranfild University, UK; Umar attends the Harvard Business School Executive Programs.

Another human capital asset of Cosgrove is Elizabeth Taylor, the Chief Operating Officer of the company. An Arch Bishop Tutu Fellow of the African Leadership Institute, she is seen as a business strategist with proven strength tactically executing strategy and delivering on organizational goals.

Said to be believed in the combined of role people driven tactics and systems in delivering excellence to all stakeholders, after a multidisciplinary role spanning nearly 16 years, she is reputed to know what truly drives business process, customer engagement and strategy. From her profile, Taylor strengths include knowledge management, business management, people management, customer relationship management and more.

An accomplished people developer and trainer with a unique method for creating high performing teams, she is an alumnus of the Said Business School Leadership program — with African Leadership Institute and Wharton Business School Real Estate program on Housing Finance & Securitization.

In addition to her extensive multidisciplinary experience, Taylor is also a certified customer service strategist and coach; she is also a published author. She is a Business Administration graduate of University of Abuja, with an MSc in Knowledge Management from the Aberdeen Business School.

Engr. Baba Kalli heads the technical department of Cosgrove as the Chief Technical Officer. A graduate of Civil and Water Resources Engineering from the University of Maiduguri, Kalli brings over 20 years of experience in the Real Estate & Construction Industry – Designing, Constructing and Managing both Public and Private projects across Nigeria.

He has served as Director Technical Operations of BCals Resources Ltd. He led the design and construction of various projects including the Oando Nig. Plc. Maitama; BBC Media Office Abuja; Yakubu Gowon Centre in Kumasi Crescent, National Diary Development Commission Headquarters, Abuja; First Shopping Plaza for Jabire Nig. Ltd., Abuja, among many other highly regarded projects.

Preceding to this he also served as a Principal Engineer and later Consultant to Futune Niger Limited leading the construction of several Turnkey projects including the NIPC building Maitama, Abuja; NSITF office at Wuse 2, Abuja; BUA Estate Asokoro, Abuja; and the British Preparatory School Wuse 2, Abuja.

A registered member of the Council for the Regulation of Engineering in Nigeria (COREN), Kalli is also a seasoned infrastructure and real estate consultant with a vast network of contacts across virtually every aspect of the real estate industry.

With a dedicated Project Management Team, Cosgrove’s delivery starts from identifying suitable high value parcels of land, hands-on environmentally conscious and future-ready design, construction and development; culminating in proactive facility management.

Iyobosa Uwugiaren

Election, Policy Inconsistency May Upset Foreign Investments In Nigeria’s Property

Lagos – Report from analysts have indicated that ahead of the 2019 elections, pre-election uncertainties with its attendant inconsistencies in government policies are threatening foreign investors’ confidence in the real estate sector.

Their observation showed that as predicted and hoped for in the first quarter (Q1) of 2018, the economy regained some lost momentum in the second quarter of 2018, with the purchasing manager’s index (PMI) hitting a new record high in May, as oil prices remained firm in April and May and inflation dropped steadily to its lowest rate since Q1 2016 to 11.23 per cent in June.

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For instance, they disclosed that while there has been a marginal increase in transaction rates in the Lagos office market, many transactions still fail to conclude, primarily due to high initial cost. The increase, according to analysts is as a result of slow increase in the demands for prime office space with a lot of inquiries being received for vacant spaces, thus providing some welcome relief to a sector that has struggled with high vacancy rates and an oversupply of office spaces in the last four years.

There were said to be new entrants into the market with some notable business relocations by some multi-nationals to prime office spaces in Ikoyi and Victoria Island (some top indigenous companies were also said to move to their newly constructed office buildings.

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“These, coupled with notable reduction in energy costs experienced by tenants in the LEED certified Heritage Place and increased interest in co-working space will no doubt be welcome news to a beleaguered sector. Asking rents for annual prime office spaces in Ikoyi and Victoria Island have largely remained stable at $700 and $600 respectively.
“However, as we continue to hear of rental concessions still being given, note various building projects such as Desiderata, Kingsway Towers, Madina, Cornerstone and Grey Stone Towers, nearing completion, and have noted the refurbishment of a couple of Grade B buildings, (the iconic IMB Plaza to name just one), it is expected that the office sector will receive over 50,000m2 of new office space in 2018 alone, further adding downward pressure to asking rental prices in the prime sub-markets of Ikoyi and Victoria Island.”

According to the report, the wider retail industry is rebounding and vacancy rates in many malls improving from lows to 30-60 per cent to 60 to 80 per cent. The asking rentals for the big malls which are still largely US$ denominated, have remained stable through Q2 2018 with many tenants adjusting to the current state of the economy and keeping up better with payments. This, they said, may not be unconnected with rental discounts and concessions granted by landlords such as fixed exchange rates for US$ denominated rents.

For smaller centres, there has been an increase in new entrants in Q2 2018, especially along the Lekki corridor which has helped to boost the retail industry, with a lot of retailers expanding to take up spaces in newly built and well located, smaller neighbourhood retail centres.
“Another (somewhat disturbing), trend we noted is the conversion of residential buildings on major streets to small shopping centres catering largely to small retailers serving to completely change the look and feel of hitherto residential neighbourhood; places like Surulere and Ikeja come to mind.

“In the short to medium term, we expect that the larger malls will continue to strive to differentiate themselves from their smaller neighbours by seeking to create a more memorable shopping and entertainment experience for customers.”

Other observations made by the analysts include stagnation in the industrial real estate sector, as rentals have remained largely stable in this sector; as well as an increased in demands for short-let apartments, in spite of the challenging economic environment.

 

INDEPENDENT

FG builds 26,002 houses with N197bn

The Federal Government has announced that a total of N197bn has been spent on the construction of 26,002 houses across the country adding that part of the funds was also used for the renovation of 13,953 homes nationwide.

Ahmed Dangiwa, the Managing Director, Federal Mortgage Bank of Nigeria, disclosed this at an event in Abuja, stating that the Federal Government was committed to affordable housing for citizens, but noted that funding and access to land title and the cost of infrastructure still remains a major challenge affecting the sector.

Dangiwa said the FMBN had plans to roll out several products that would enhance home affordability, eliminate down payments and other costs associated to mortgage loan arrangements within the third quarter of this year.

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According to him, the bank’s plans were targeted at various housing estates currently being constructed, adding that the projects were expected to inject over 2,000 housing units into the housing stock by 2020.

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He further stated that, “The Rent-to-Own product designed to enhance affordability by eliminating the need for down payments and other costs associated with normal mortgage loan arrangements has also been approved and set to be rolled out within the third quarter of 2018.”

 

Wilson Ifeoma

Lagos Urges Compliance With Physical Planning Laws

The Lagos State Government has called on all property owners and developers to ensure compliance with the physical planning laws in the state.

Citing Land Use Act of 1978 and the physical planning law 2010, Mr. Funmi Osifuye, General Manager, Lagos State Physical Planning Permit Authority (LASPPPA), lamented on the nonchalant attitude of some stakeholders to physical planning and development in the state. He said the state would no longer fold its arms and watch residents and investors hurting the state’s physical development master’s plan.

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According to him, with the provisions in the Land Use Act, the state is empowered to take custody of all landed property and housing developments within its jurisdiction. Osifuye said that every private building (residential or commercial purposes) and the Federal Government acquisitions within the state fall under the purview of the Lagos State Government.

Quoting Osifuye, he said “every developer or property owner in the state must comply with the specifications of the state government’s Ministry of Physical Planning and Urban Development.”
“LASPPPA, in conjunction with the Lagos State Building Control Agency (LASBCA), have statutory right over all Federal Government property acquisitions within the state.

“The issue was taken to court during the administration of the former governor, Babatunde Fashola and Lagos State Government won… In line with the Lagos State Urban and Regional Planning and Development Law 2010, it was then established that every property certification issued by the Federal Government before 2003 remains valid, while subsequent certification, validation and regularization will be done through the state government.”

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“It stands that Lagos State Government has the responsibility to safeguard lives and property in the state, irrespective of private or Federal Government acquisition, and also collects revenues therein,” he said.

Osifuye noted that the Land Use Act of 1978 stated that every land in a state solely belongs to the governor. “For instance, if there is incidence of fire outbreak, natural disaster or building collapse in a Federal Government Estate within a state, will the government at the centre deploy fire officers from the Federal Capital Territory to calm the situation?

“Is it not the state government that will immediately send the responsible authorities to save lives and property and equally restore peace to the estate?” he demanded.

Osifuye urged Lagos residents to contact either the agency’s district office or head office whenever notices for auditing of buildings, contraventions such as illegal conversion or non- compliance with approved permit is served. “This is necessary to avert loss of fund through payments to the wrong person, quacks and impersonators.
“The agency’s monitoring officials in the field are not supposed to collect payments of any kind from the developers or owners of property.Every transaction is done through the banks, in connection with the Head or District offices, where it will be duly receipted”, Osifuye said.

He warned the public to be wary of those claiming to be staff of the state government saying that, the monitoring officials can be redeployed at any time, and anybody can pose as a member of staff of LASBCA or LASPPPA.

Incremental Steps to Cut The Housing Deficit

Housing supply is grossly inadequate in Nigeria, which is evident from the national deficit of 17 million units. Housing finance remains in its infancy: its mortgage/GDP ratio of 0.5% compares with South Africa’s 30%.

Instinctively, and because of the social and developmental role of housing, we look to the government to fill the vacuum. However, as we have noted in our commentary on agriculture and other sectors, the FGN has competing claims for its limited budgetary funds.

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The 2018 budget allocates N32bn and N683bn to the power, public works and housing ministry for recurrent and capital spending respectively. This includes N27bn for the national housing programme, reduced from N35bn in the to-ing and fro-ing with the National Assembly.

The Federal Mortgage Bank of Nigeria (FMBN) is the main public financing institution but has been hamstrung by its modest capital of N5bn, half of which is paid up. The FGN is to increase its capital by N500bn over five years.

Over three years, the FMBN has issued 3,900 mortgages, broadened the national housing fund to non-government employees, and launched rent-to-own and other products. Since its establishment, the bank has provided about N80bn in housing finance and boosted the housing stock by 20,000 units.

In November the Port Harcourt City Development Authority and a private company signed an agreement for the construction of 3,000 homes in the new city near the airport.

We can see from the above that the efforts of the bank (and other institutions) have had a negligible impact on the national housing deficit. Comparisons with a city-state have limited relevance but since the 1950s working Singaporeans and permanent residents have had to pay into a compulsory savings plan for housing, healthcare and retirement.

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The Nigeria Mortgage Refinancing Company has raised N18.5bn from the issue of two bonds, guaranteed by the FGN, maturing in 2030 and 2033. The role of the company, established in 2013, is to provide liquidity to the mortgage market and enhance the maturity structure of the industry’s loans.

Turning to Kenya, we find that the government has KES480bn (US$4.8bn) outstanding in its series of dedicated infrastructure bonds with maturities out to 15 years. A brief look at its fixed-income market also shows two issues of medium-term notes by Shelter Afrique, the pan-African finance institution largely owned by the continent’s governments, and a KES3bn note issued by the HF Group (Housing Finance Company of Kenya

 

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