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FG to commission Loko-Oweto bridge in May-Director

The 1.8 kilometres Loko-Oweto bridge, constructed at the cost of N51 billion, will be ready in May, according to Mr Dayyabu Mamman, Director of Highways (North-Central Zone), Federal Ministry of Power, Works and Housing.

“Work on the project is 93 per cent completed; the bridge will be ready and handed over to the Federal Government for inauguration in May,” Mamman said o Saturday, when he led a delegation on an inspection of federal roads in the state.

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Mamman said that the bridge, whose construction was awarded to Reynolds Construction Company in 2011, would connect Benue with Nasarawa State.

He said that the construction of the bridge was expected to be completed within 48 months, but was later extended to 84 months.

A correspondent of the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN), who covered the inspection tour, also quoted Mr Celestine Shausu, Federal Controller of Works, Benue State, as saying that the 103 km Otukpo-Apa-Oweto road was ready for  inauguration.

Shausu explained that the road, which is in two phases, was started in 2011 with the Benue Government constructing 50 km from Otukpo to Iga-Opkaya, before the federal government took over its rehabilitation.

He said that the remaining 53 km, which was awarded to CGC Nigeria Limited in 2014 at the cost of N7.9 billion, was completed and awaiting inauguration, and expressed satisfaction with the quality of work done by the contractor.

Speaking to newsmen, the Project Manager of CGC Nigeria Limited, Mr Li Wei, said that the road project was ready for inauguration, adding that all payments had been completed.

Inadequate planning, Nigerian cities major challenges

Although housing has continue to pose severe challenges in many parts of the country, the problems are however more peculiar and severe in Nigerian cities.

With uneven distribution of goods, services and infrastructure, some of the cities have become major hub offering more prospects for citizens who are forced to migrate for greener pastures.

The true scale of the housing challenge can be gleaned from the fact that it is estimated that about 108 million Nigerians are homeless based on an average family of six people per housing unit.

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The figure puts Nigeria high in the global figure of 1.6 billion people that lacked adequate housing according to Habitat’s report in 2015.

This is a consequence of many factors, including rapid urbanization, poverty and currently mainly the terror by the Boko Haram terrorists.

Although specialists have proffered some housing problem solutions in Nigeria, they have little or no impact with housing problems remaining unabated.

Experts said the problem is as a result of urbanization and improper planning by government and professionals in the built environment.

According to them, the situation is becoming more of economic issues as people tend to abandon cheaper and affordable homes in the villages to cities as a result of the golden fleece.

Thus, the cities continue to suffer more than villages in terms of housing shortages.

For instance, Lagos with a population of over 20 million is battling with 3 million housing units in deficit.

The city, according to a recent World Bank report is slowly sliding into a slum.

Bordered by a tributary of the Atlantic Ocean, which makes its location best suited for the importation, the city has assumed the megacity status.

Real estate entrepreneurs have also intensified the business of providing affordable housing for both low, medium as well as large income earners living in the city of Lagos but Lagos still needs 187,500 housing units to overcome housing deficit.

The city has a quality of life of 0.63, which is low compared to commercial centres in Europe like Paris with 0.93 or London with 0.90 according to UN Habitat.

Experts said the housing deficit of 1.7 million in Abuja, may not be remedied unless there is a paradigm shift in the housing policy. The cost of renting a mini flat here may be as high as N750,000 in some areas. A rent for three bedroom flats goes also as high as N 6 million in popular areas.

The chairman of Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) Nigeria, Mr. Gbenga Ismail, said the deficit is becoming pronounced because of lack of opportunities in the villages.

“ For me, I think it is more of economics because people will not want to stay in the villages where houses are available and cheap because of the opportunities, while developers will not want to develop in the areas even with cheap land because no body will want to live there”. He said.

He stressed that the problem could be tackled by providing infrastructure so that people can stay where houses are cheap and go to work without stress.

Also the Chief Executive Officer of Lifepage, an Investment Holding Company , Mr. Oladipupo Clement, called for incentives from government to allow developers tackle the shortage as it is more from the bottom than from the top.

For the chief executive officer of Tobykemsworth Investment limited, Mr. Adekunle Raphael, addressing housing deficit will require innovative thoughts on how to reach the most vulnerable sector of the society, who are in dire need of homes.

Also, the Chief Executive Officer, Global Property & Facilities International Ltd (GPFI), Dr. MKO Balogun called for restructuring of the system to meet the demand of those who really need accommodation.

The Real Estate industry, he said, has continued to slow down largely due to oversupply in commercial and retail sectors, inappropriate supply in the residential sector, hence the restructuring.

Affordable Housing: housing gap reaches $740 billion globally

A global property consultancy firm, Knight Frank, has released its inaugural Urban Futures report, which revealed that the affordable housing gap reached some $740 billion globally in 2018 with Amsterdam, Auckland and Hong Kong amongst the least affordable places to buy a home.

According to the newly published Urban Futures report 2019, the affordable housing gap – as measured by the difference between house prices and income – increases due to limitations on supply, historical restrictions and a growing urban population.

Urbanisation is the key trend leading to stretched affordability. Job prospects and increased wages are the major draw to global cities. The UN estimated that in 2017, over half of the world’s population lived in urban areas, up from 42 per cent 30 years ago. This trend is set to continue with the proportion expected to rise to over two-thirds by 2050.

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Other factors influencing housing affordability around the world include:

ONE: Housing as a commodity: Since the financial crisis, housing has shifted to become a complex investment vehicle attracting huge sums from funds and corporations.
TWO: Politics: The need to create more affordable housing is matched by governments’ desire to raise revenues
THREE: Supply: Land supply issues resulting from regulatory constraints

Knight frank, global head of residential, Andrew Hay said: “This growing pressure on housing affordability is changing the development landscape – influencing the types of product on offer as well as the locations developers are focusing on and even the organisations becoming involved in the development process.”

The Knight Frank report, which measures the difference between house prices and income, also shows that there is a growing global disparity between house prices and income. Across the 32 cities covered, there was an average five-year real house price growth of 24per cent, while average real income grew by only 8per cent over the same period. Los Angeles, San Francisco, Sydney, Toronto and Vancouver are also highly priced.

The most affordable cities are Dubai, Istanbul, Jakarta, Kuala Lumpur, Lisbon, Manila, Rome and Sao Paulo.

Similarly, Some cities bucked the trend; New York saw its income growth exceed real house price growth by 3 per cent. Moscow, Singapore, Mumbai and Paris also saw their average real income over the last five years grow faster than real house prices.

Moscow saw the largest difference where real income growth outpaced real house price growth by 22per cent whereas Amsterdam, Vancouver and Auckland saw real house price growth outstrip real income growth by 59per cent, 46per cent and 32per cent.

The report says that affordability in Jakarta and Kuala Lumpur remains a key issue, despite the cities falling into the ‘most affordable’ group as developers are reducing the size of new residential units to maintain maximum capital value at accessible levels

It explains what factors are influencing affordability and these include land supply, regulation and the political expectation that there is a need for more affordable homes to be built.

It also points out that housing is now seen as a commodity as since the financial crisis, housing has shifted to become a complex investment vehicle attracting huge sums from funds and corporations.

As part of the report, Knight Frank has launched its global affordability monitor, which analyses affordability across 32 cities. It takes into consideration three key measures of house price to income ratio, rent as a proportion of income and real house price growth compared to real income growth.

The research shows that there is growing global disparity between house prices and income. Across the 32 cities covered, over the past five years, average real house price growth outpaced average real income growth by 16per cent.

“The growing pressure on housing affordability is changing the development landscape. It is influencing the types of product on offer, the locations developers are focusing on and even the organisations becoming involved in the development process,” Bailey explained.

Expansion, Rehabilitation Begins On Lagos-Badagry Expressway

The Federal Government has begun rehabilitation, reconstruction and expansion works on the Agbara-Seme Border section of Lagos-Badagry Expressway. The news men who joined the Federal Ministry of Works inspection team, led by its Director Highways, South West, Mr Funsho Adebiyi, observed massive construction works around Agemowo on the highway. Construction plants and materials have also been mobilised to some spots between Agbara and Badagry by CGC Nigeria Ltd, the contractors on the project.

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Adebiyi told newsmen that government was reconstructing, rehabilitating, expanding various sections of the highway, adding that the work was from Agbara to Seme Border. He said the sections between Agbara to Badagry would undergo reconstruction, expansion and rehabilitation while Badagry to Seme border would be rehabilitated. He explained that one additional lane would be constructed on both carriageways between Agbara and Badagry. “The contractor moved to site around November (2018) but because of the high traffic for the Christmas season, he was asked to make emergency repairs to make the road motorable.

“Now he is back on site on full construction works, the survey works, geotechnical investigations have all been completed. So, the actual construction work has now started. “From Agbara to Badagry we are not just rehabilitating, we are doing total reconstruction and expansion. So the number of lanes would be increased from two to three from Agbara to Badagry. “While from Badagry to Seme, because it is of lesser traffic, the lanes will be two all through to Seme but it will go through total rehabilitation,’’ he said.

The director said that some engineers had been stationed permanently on site to ensure quality assurance on the project, adding that compaction of imported materials were also being assessed. He said that the Federal Roads Maintenance Agency (FERMA) was going to work on the section between Okokomaiko to Agbara, adding that procurement processes had already begun towards award of the contract. Mr Li Kungian, the Project Manager, CGC Nigeria Ltd, during the inspection, took the ministry’s delegation to a temporary project yard the firm had acquired pending movement to another yard being processed.

The Federal Controller of Works in Lagos, Mr Adedamola Kuti said “the project was part of a major project from Lagos to Abidjan and that the ministry was doing its best to speed up construction on the Lagos side’’. He said that quality construction materials were being used to ensure durability of the road. “It is going to be on a soil cement, sub base, stone base and then you have your binder course and your wearing course,“ he said. He said that the project, which begun around October, had a completion period of 36 months.

He said because the road linked other African countries, “it makes commerce very easy, trading becomes very easy, those who are coming to Lagos the commercial capital of West Africa find it easy to move in and out’’. “The economic benefit is really very great and then we have a lot of tertiary institutions along the corridor of this project,’’ he said. Alhaji Idowu Bakare, a transporter, told newsmen that the construction would bring relief to road users but appealed to the Federal Government to speed up construction to reduce hardship on the highway. He explained that craters on various sections of the road made motorists spend hours in gridlock, causing both economic losses and stress to road users. Another transporter, Mr Adekunle Kehinde appealed to government to take the repairs beyond the Lagos-Badagry Expressway to other major highways in Lagos to reduce road congestion.  (NAN)

FG promise to tackle 17m housing deficit

The Federal Government is determined to address the 17 million housing deficit in the country, Dr. Wale Adeeyo, the Chairman of the Federal Mortgage Bank of Nigeria (FMBN) has said.

The FMBN boss, who gave this hint during in exclusive interview with our correspondent in Lagos at the weekend, observed that, “The 17 million housing deficit has been there for a while and there is no way we are going to stem it unless we are proactive about construction and housing delivery, especially affordable homes to the average Nigerian.”

Pressed further, he said, the Bank is doing its utmost best to revamp the system in order to achieve the desired objective.

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“Hitherto the Bank ran like a typical civil service with all the bureaucracy but thankfully that culture is being altered and changed with more proficient and new efficient system now. We will be able to achieve that before the end of this year because we are going to change our personnel first.”

On what the Bank is doing in terms of innovation, he said there is indeed a paradigm shift in the way things are being done. “We are already doing it. What I’m talking about is what we are doing right now. We are revamping the system with all kinds of innovation, we are introducing the rent-to-own system to encourage people to come and by far cheaper than they used to. We need money and the government has promised to give us and we are looking forward to it.”

On when the funds might come, he was noncommittal. “I can’t be categorical about the money the federal government wants to give to us. Nobody knows when the government would roll out the funds. As you are aware, we are in a season of election and nothing can happen now until the election is over. But we are indeed optimistic that a lot would change in the nation’s housing ecosystem going forward. We believe the changes being effected in the housing sub-sector would be meaningful and would favour the masses ultimately,” he stressed.

Meanwhile, the Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN, and stakeholders in the housing sector of the economy have agreed to develop mass and affording housing with a view to abridge the 17 million housing deficit confronting the nation.

The stakeholders, who reached the agreement during the recent Mandatory Continuing Professional Development, MCPD, in Abuja, pledged to work together towards ensuring development and growth of housing sector in order to grow the economy and prevent the nation from relapsing into recession.

It may be recalled that the CBN governor Mr Godwin Emefiele, recently warned that the weak economic fundamentals currently being shown by the economy were putting the nation’s exit from recession under fresh threat.

Speaking at the MCPD seminar organized by the Abuja chapter of Nigerian Institution of Estate Surveyors and Valuers, NIESV, with the theme “Post economic recession in Nigeria-harnessing the potentials of real estate sector for a sustainable economic development”, the stakeholders collectively resolved that housing sector has important role to play to strengthen the country’s economy.

Fear of building collapse grips Immigration, Police officers

Officers and men of the Nigeria Immigration Service (NIS), Police Anti-bomb Squad and Nigerian Port Health deployed to the Apapa Port Complex, now work in fear over alleged possible imminent collapse of their offices.

It was revealed that some of the buildings that serve as offices to the government agencies at the Bull Nose section of Apapa Port Complex, have caved in and are begging for structural rehabilitation to avoid looming calamity.

Some Police and Immigration officers spoken to by our correspondent said that they had been using planks to support falling parts of the buildings.
This has created panic among the officers who have we learnt had no choice of where to move to as alternative offices.

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Our correspondent during a recent visit to the port, observed that a section of the ceilings of one of the affected buildings have fallen off, even as officers who spoke on condition of anonymity, said that they have employed the services of carpenters to brace the ceilings from falling down.

Specifically, the ceilings of the Explosive Ordinance Disposal (EOD), and the Commissioner of Port Police Monitoring Unit departments, have already been abandoned by officers over fear for their dear lives.

It was further gathered that personal funds have been learnt by officials of these agencies in fixing some of the failed structures but that was not enough to stem the decay.

 

At the Immigration wooden offices, some sections of the cracked walls show signs of imminent collapse, even as the electricity sockets are exposed without any form of protection.

Our sources disclosed that series of letters had been written to both management of the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) and the Port Authority Police Commissioner in charge of Western Ports, Hadiza Bala Usman and Mohammed Kura respectively, without any response.

The officer described the poor state of their officers as an eyesore, saying it cannot attract complimentary remark from the international community, considering the peculiar duties of the Immigration Service.

Our sources said: “The situation has lingered for a long time and that is why the moral of the officers is indeed very low.“We don’t have anything to say because already letters have been written to the NPA but it appears the Authority does not understand the gravity of what is at stake at the port.”

 

Ganduje pledges to allocate land for construction of Yoruba ‎Community House

Gov. Abdullahi Ganduje of Kano State has pledged to allocate land for the construction of Yoruba Community House in the state.

‎The governor made the promise on Wednesday in Kano during the launch of N500 million Yoruba H‎ouse at Coronation Hall, Government House, Kano.

‎Ganduje told all Yoruba sons and daughters in Kano to feel at home and continue to embark on their legitimate businesses without hindrance.

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He added that Kano accommodates all Nigerians, adding that every Nigerian had something to offer for the overall development of the state.‎

‎The governor acknowledged that the development of the state was facilitated by different nationalities residing in the state.

Earlier, the Ooni of Ife, Oba Adeyeye Ogunwusi, described Gov. Abdullahi Ganduje, as a de-tribalised Nigerian, who believed in peaceful co-existence among all nationalities.

He also directed all Yoruba residents in Kano to always cooperate with the governor for the economic and political growth of the state.

“We also want to appreciate your love and peaceful co-existence with all Yoruba residing in Kano,’’ he added.‎‎

The Emir of Kano, Alhaji Muhammadu Sanusi II, said that the Emirate Council was doing its best to see that all ethnic nationalities were protected in ‎Kano.

He disclosed that the relationship between Kano and Yoruba land dated back 500 years ago.‎

The Emir added that the Emirate Council placed the Yoruba Oba in Kano, Eze Ndi Igbo and other heads of major tribes on the payroll of the Emirate, to enable them to feel at home.

The monarch urged them to live peacefully with one another and contribute their quota for the development of the state.

London is Still Top Global Commercial Real Estate Investment Target, Despite Brexit

London remains by far the biggest global destination for investment in real estate, despite ongoing uncertainty around Brexit, with £16.2bn ($21bn) invested in the UK capital’s commercial offices in 2018. This compares to £14.3bn ($18.5bn) invested in Manhattan, £12.1bn ($15.6bn) in Paris and £8.4bn ($10.8bn) in Hong Kong. While total investment volumes for Central London were down slightly on 2017 (£16.8bn, or $21.7bn) the average deal size rose to an all-time high of £81.5m ($105m) in 2018.

Global Commercial Investment Highlights of 2018 Include:

  • Central London commercial offices attracted £16.2bn ($21bn) of investment in 2018, more than Manhattan, Paris and Hong Kong
  • Greater China remains the largest investor in London real estate
  • £40bn  ($51.8bn) of global capital actively looking to invest

Greater China remains the largest source of investment in Central London real estate, despite new capital restrictions imposed this year, accounting for £3.48bn ($4.5bn) in 2018 and 21% of all investment in Central London offices last year. Although Greater China remains London’s biggest source of capital, the total volume of investment from the region was down 51% on 2017, when Central London saw a record £7.12bn ($9.2bn) invested into commercial offices from Chinese investors.

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2018 saw South Korea significantly increase its investment in Central London, with £2.56bn ($3.3bn) invested in the capital, an eight-fold increase on the £300m ($388m) invested in 2017. Capital from the Far East as a whole accounted for 47% (£7.67bn, $9.9bn) of all investment in Central London offices in 2018.

Nick Braybrook, Head of Central London Capital Markets, Knight Frank reports, “Although 2019 presents ongoing challenges, international investors remain undeterred. Our Global Capital Tracker identifies £40 billion ($51.8bn) still targeting London this year, with some seeing the political turbulence and currency weakness as an opportunity, combined with the strong occupational market fundamentals.

“Whilst demand from Greater China has reduced, they were still very active in 2018.  The reduction is also partly countered by increases in demand from Singapore and Japan, and interestingly the tracker shows an increase in domestic demand this year.  Domestic demand is often the first to react to improvements in occupier market trends.”

William Beardmore-Gray, Head of Central London, Knight Frank also commented, “London is the most attractive city in the world for long-term investment. It has proved its ability to adapt to meet the demands of the modern global economy, and this is evident in London’s office market. Big banks like Deutsche, tech giants like Apple and Facebook and life sciences groups like GSK are the heartbeat of our capital. The growth in co-working space is a positive sign of London’s dynamism and the vitality of the creative economy. London’s resilience and reputation as a safe haven for investment, despite Brexit, is remarkable.

“We see further positive transformation in the pipeline, as London is set to become a centre of scientific R&D and will draw capital from new investors unknown to the market before. London’s potential continues to grow, with new sub-markets emerging in Nine Elms, Stratford and White City.

“Leaving the European Union will be difficult, but as long as London has fantastic infrastructure and places, great institutions and security, excellence in education and an abundance of talent, property occupiers and investors will continue to flock here from across the globe.”

According to Knight Frank’s Global Capital Tracker there is £40 billion ($51.8 bn) of capital looking to invest in commercial real estate, with Greater China the biggest potential investor in London, with £10bn ($12.9bn), or 25% of the total, looking to invest in 2019.

Source: Knight Frank

Affordable Housing: Oxford named as least affordable city to buy a house in the UK

Londonderry and Stirling are the UK’s most affordable cities in terms of house prices with Oxford being the least, according to new research.

Overall, house prices in cities have outpaced earnings growth by 11%, causing home affordability to reach on average, its lowest level since 2007, when the ratio of house prices to earnings stood at 7.5.

The average house price within UK cities has risen from £180,548 in 2013 to its highest ever level of £248,233 in 2018, the research from Lloyds Bank also shows. In comparison, average city annual earnings over the same period have risen by just 11% to £34,366.

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Oxford has an average house price of £460,184, some 12.6 times average annual earnings in the city of £36,430, making it the UK’s least affordable city.

There are seven cities with average house prices above 10 times the average annual earnings. These are Chichester at 11.5, Winchester 11.3, Truro 11.1, and Greater London, Bath and Cambridge, all at 10.3.

However, the London average figure disguises considerable variations across the capital with central boroughs significantly less affordable than the Greater London average.

Stirling in Scotland and Londonderry and Northern Ireland are the most affordable cities, with an average house price to earnings ratio of 4.4. Stirling is in the top spot for the sixth consecutive year.

House price growth has been the highest in Winchester over the past decade, up 93% from £281,224 in 2008 to £541,891 in 2018, compared to the UK cities average of 35%. Chichester is second with a rise of 76% followed by Greater London up 69%, Cambridge up 66%, St Albans up 64% and Oxford up 59%.

Over the past five years, Chichester has recorded the highest house price growth with a rise of 62% from £277,654 in 2013 to £450,023 in 2018. Cambridge has the second highest increase in average house price at 61%, followed by Newcastle upon Tyne up 56%, Ely up 54% and Lichfield up 52%.

‘Buying a home in UK cities remains challenging, as average house prices are outpacing wage growth. However the market has seen the number of first time buyers at a high and home owners are still attracted to cities across the UK, in spite of rising costs,’ said Andrew Mason, mortgage products director at Lloyds Bank.

‘Over the past five years, more than half of northern cities have made the UK top 10 in house price growth, whereas over a longer period, southern cities dominate,’ he added.

 

What to know about investing in Texas real estate

Investing in Texas real estate has pretty much been a no-brainer. Since 2010, the population grew by 3.5 million, a million more than either Florida or California. That translates into one and a half million new homes.

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Almost 2 million of those people came from elsewhere, attracted by jobs and by reasonable home prices. Those attractions are still there – look at the rate of job growth in the three big markets this past year, close to 4%. That’s twice the national average.

And even though home prices rose steadily in recent years, they’re still below $300,000 almost everywhere. Compare that with the average home price in Seattle – over $500,000 – or San Francisco – more than $1 million.

 

It hasn’t been all peaches and cream, though. Shale oil development produced booms and busts in a number of markets. And many remain tied too closely to oil prices – jobs can come and go according to what happens in Saudi Arabia or Russia. And a lot of the new jobs and development have been concentrated in the big markets, a trend we see everywhere in the country.

So, the economic prospects of all Texas markets – and therefore how best to invest in each one – aren’t the same. The way I see it, the 15 markets we show in the table from Local Market Monitor Inc. can be divided into three categories.

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