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Renting is more affordable in 59% of housing markets in the US

Renting a home is more affordable than buying in over half of housing markets in the United States, a new analysis shows, with prices rising faster than rents.

In some 59% of markets it is cheaper to rent, according to the research that looked at the cost of a typical three bedroom property in terms of buying or renting, the report from real estate firm ATTOM data solutions shows.

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Renting is more affordable than buying a home in the nation’s 18 most populated counties and in 37 of 40 counties with a population of a million or more, including Los Angeles, Cook County in Chicago, Harris County in Houston, Maricopa County in Phoenix and San Diego.

Other markets with a population of more than a million where it is more affordable to rent than to buy a home included counties in Miami, New York City, Seattle, Las Vegas, San Jose, San Francisco and Boston.

Among the 40 counties analysed in the report with a population of a million or more, the three where it is more affordable to buy a home than rent were Wayne County in Detroit, Philadelphia County in Pennsylvania and Cuyahoga County in Cleveland.

‘With rental affordability outpacing home affordability in the majority of US housing markets, and home prices rising faster than rental rates, the American dream of owning a home, may be just that, a dream,’ said Jennifer von Pohlmann, director of content at ATTOM Data Solutions.

‘With home price appreciation increasing annually at an average of 6.7% in those counties analysed for this report and rental rates increasing an average of 3.5%, coupled with the fact that home prices are outpacing wages in 80% of the counties, renting a home is clearly becoming the more attractive option in this volatile housing market,’ she pointed out.

The least affordable markets for renting are Santa Cruz in California, Honolulu, Spotsylvania County in Virginia, Maui County in Hawaii , San Benito in California, Monroe County in Florida, Sonoma County and Marin County, both in California, and Kings County in New York.

The most affordable markets for renting are Roane County in Tennessee, Peoria County in Illinois, Mcminn County in Tennessee, Green County in Dayton, Ohio, and Rhea County, also in the Dayton area.

Among counties with a population of a million or more, those most affordable for renting are Allegheny County in Pittsburgh, Cuyahoga County in Cleveland, Saint Louis County in Missouri, Oakland County in Detroit and Wayne County, also in Detroit.

Average fair market rents rose faster than median home prices in 224 of the 755 counties analysed in the report, including Los Angeles, San Diego, Orange County in California, Miami-Dade County, Dallas, and Kings County in Seattle.

Average mortgage rates hold steady as housing outlook improves

Mortgage rates remained flat after dropping for six consecutive weeks as negative economic news was balanced with a more positive outlook on housing, according to Freddie Mac.

30-Year FRM15-Year FRM5/1-Year ARM
Average Rates4.45%3.88%3.87%
Fees & Points0.40.40.3

The federal government shutdown is likely to keep rates moving sideways in the next few weeks, a Zillow economist added.

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“Weaker manufacturing data and a more dovish tone from the Federal Reserve left mortgage rates unchanged relative to last week,” Sam Khater, Freddie Mac’s chief economist, said in a press release. “However, interest rate-sensitive sectors of the economy — such as consumer mortgage demand and homebuilder construction sentiment — are on the mend, which indicates that lower interest rates are beginning to have a positive impact on some segments of the economy.”

The 30-year fixed-rate mortgage averaged 4.45% for the week ending Jan. 17,unchanged from last week. A year ago at this time, the 30-year fixed-rate mortgage averaged 4.04%.

The 15-year fixed-rate mortgage this week averaged 3.88%, down from last week when it averaged 3.89%. A year ago at this time, the 15-year fixed-rate mortgage averaged 3.49%.

Rates hold steady

The five-year Treasury-indexed hybrid adjustable-rate mortgage adjustable-rate mortgage averaged 3.87% with an average 0.3 point, up from last week when it averaged 3.83%. A year ago at this time, the five-year ARM averaged 3.46%.

“Mortgage rates were flat this week, standing pat near their lowest levels since spring 2018 despite signs of market weakness and ongoing uncertainty at home and abroad,” Aaron Terrazas, Zillow’s senior economist, said in a press release. “As the U.S. government shutdown entered its fourth week, markets have had to navigate a period of heightened economic uncertainty without the usual insights that government data typically provide. More than ever, financial markets must decipher private-sector and international data to gauge the temperature of the U.S. economy. Rates slipped earlier this week on disappointing Chinese trade figures as well as a significant decline in factory output in the Eurozone.”

As investors feared a global slowdown, they put money into the U.S. bond market which kept mortgage rates down, Terrazas said. But any outlook going forward is clouded by the federal government shutdown.

“Inflation pressure in the U.S. remains subdued, even with historically low unemployment, which could put expected Federal Reserve rate hikes on ice in 2019. Monetary policymakers have been very clear that they will be closely watching incoming economic data in making interest rate decisions, but with several of these data releases on hold until the federal government reopens, it has become particularly difficult to set expectations. Until the announcement of a government re-opening, higher volatility but a net sideways trend in rates is likely to continue,” he said.

Source: Glenn McCullom

Nigeria needs aggressive infrastructure push to unlock N4.7trn real estate sector

When Ebong Bassey committed N650,000, saved from his meagre income as a civil servant, to buying a plot of land from an estate located along the Lagos-Badagry Expressway in Lagos, he did so in anticipation that the on-going expansion and reconstruction of the expressway would be completed in good time and roads infrastructure problems would have been solved.

Bassey went ahead to start developing the land with the building of a three-bedroom bungalow, keeping pace with the reconstruction of the expressway and hoping to live in his own house soonest. The Lagos State government which was building the expressway, from a snail pace of work, has stopped altogether and the contractor has gone on holiday.

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That is how Bassey’s dream of owning a home has been dashed because the expressway has become a nightmare with an impenetrable gridlock. He is not encouraged to continue his development and he cannot get back his hard-earned money. He is in a real dilemma. And he is not alone in this.

Nigeria has a huge real estate sector whose value is estimated at N4.7 trillion. But the country cannot unlock this value due to infrastructure constraints. The country’s yearly demand for housing is estimated at 1 million units. Only 100,000 are supplied. The rest, which offer huge investment opportunity, cannot be supplied for reasons of infrastructure.

Northcourt Real Estate in its recent report confirms that the absence of infrastructure, which constitutes 15 percent-20 percent of Nigeria’s real estate sector, has contributed to the high cost of development. Ayo Ibaru, the company’s director, real estate advisory, says “bridging this chasm is crucial to unlocking sustainable growth the economy so desperately needs”.
Land and housing and, indeed, other forms of real estate are like chicken and egg. To reduce the cost of development, investors always look for areas where there are infrastructural facilities such as roads, electricity and water. This explains why land prices are generally high in city centres.

In spite of the lull in the market, the Northcourt report reveals that land prices increased in Lagos, with Victoria Island and Ikoyi growing by 11.3 percent and 14 percent year-on-year, respectively, while with the growing population and activities around the Lagos Island area, prices of land in places like Agungi in Lekki grew by 18.9 percent.

On the flipside, Chudi Ubosi, principal partner at Ubosi Eleh + Co, notes that due to absence of infrastructure, land value at the outskirts of the city tends to be static or appreciates slowly, making investment in such areas unattractive with little return on investment.

Poor infrastructure base is also affecting other segments of real estate.

“High land costs, weak infrastructure and the absence of modern facilities continue to hamper the growth of Nigeria’s industrial sector. These justify the current rentals, which range between $3 and $4 per square metre per month with an average yield of 7.5 percent,” Ibaru confirms.

Retail is another segment of real estate whose development is also constrained by infrastructure. Government’s investment in infrastructure is not matching the need which is estimated at $3 trillion.

The 2019 proposed budget has set aside N2.28 trillion for capital expenditure, which is lower than the N2.87 trillion earmarked in the 2018 budget, meaning that the gap will continue to widen.

Nigeria’s consumer class has grown by nearly 140 percent over the last decade. The country has 10 cities among the top 50 urban consumer markets in Africa and 52 million consumers who can afford products within the above average to premium range. Nine million of these consumers are in Lagos.

But the needs of these consumers cannot be met because investors cannot develop outside the city centre due to lack of infrastructure.

“We are constrained by land availability in the big cities, especially in Lagos. Lagos can accommodate 20 malls but the problem is in finding the land. We cannot get the right land size at the right price to build the kind of mall we have in Owerri and even where you find one, the price will be too high,” said Eddie McDonald, COO, Resilient Africa, developers of Owerri Mall.

MKO Balogun, CEO, Global PFI, agrees, adding that besides macro-economic issues, the new investment decisions which favour community neighbourhood malls are based on land in the right place at the right price. This right place, he explained, means where there is infrastructure.

Source: Chuka Uroko

China’s economy is slowing, and it’s taking Hong Kong’s once-booming housing market down with it

One of the world’s most expensive housing markets is facing a major slowdown.

Analysts at HSBC dimmed their outlook for Hong Kong’s real-estate market on Wednesday, according to a research note. Previously forecasting activity would plateau, they now estimate prices will fall from 10% to 15% over the next six months.

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“We expect the first half of 2019 to be a challenging period for the Hong Kong housing market,” the analysts said. “Prices have already corrected 8% from the recent peak in August 2018 due to macro uncertainties and several events occurring in the property market that concerned investors.”

Hong Kong was ranked the most-expensive housing market in the world for eight consecutive years, benefitting from capital controls in mainland China that incentivize real-estate investments closer to home. But activity has slowed sharply in recent months, with property values falling by the most since the global financial crisis in 2008 in November.

With China’s economy expected to continue to lose steam in coming months, the housing market looks poised to fall further. The second-largest economy has seen sharp drops in recent manufacturing and trade activity, and companies across the world have warned that consumer demand there is waning.

“We suspect that China’s economy will continue to weaken this year,” said Oliver Jones, an economist at Capital Economics. “Stimulus efforts are not likely to be enough to spark a revival this time around.”

Also helping to bring prices down from August highs, a vacancy tax aimed at discouraging investors from holding empty Hong Kong homes was introduced last year.

Still, some are confident residential real estate activity will start to recover despite a slowing economy, with HSBC predicting annual price drops to shrink to between 5% and 10% by the end of the year.

Chinese policymakers have vowed to pursue stimulus measures that could help stave off a downturn. Additionally, the Federal Reserve is expected to increase interest rates at a slower pace than previously expected, which would reduce upward pressure on monetary policy and Hong Kong.

Source: Gina Heeb

5 big challenges facing big cities of the future

The UN estimates that 55% of the global population lives in urban areas – a figure that is projected to rise to 68% by 2050. With few exceptions, cities are expected to become bigger and more numerous.

As urbanization speeds up, particularly in Asian and African countries, here are five of the biggest challenges confronting the future of cities:

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1. Environmental threats

Rapid urbanization, which strains basic infrastructure, coupled with more frequent and extreme weather events linked to global climate change is exacerbating the impact of environmental threats. Common environmental threats include flooding, tropical cyclones (to which coastal cities are particularly vulnerable), heat waves and epidemics.

Owing to the physical and population density of cities, such threats often result in both devastating financial loss and deaths. Making cities more resilient against these environmental threats is one of the biggest challenges faced by city authorities and requires urgent attention.

2. Resources

Cities need resources such as water, food and energy to be viable. Urban sprawl reduces available water catchment areas, agricultural lands and increases demand for energy. While better application of technology can boost agricultural productivity and ensure more efficient transmission of electricity, many cities will continue to struggle to provide these resources to an ever-growing urban population.

Beyond these basic requirements, haphazard growth will see the reduction of green spaces within cities, negatively affecting liveability. As fresh water becomes scarce and fertile lands diminish, food prices may escalate, hitting the poorest hardest.

3. Inequality

When it comes to both the provision of basic resources and resilience against environmental threats, the forecast is uneven for different groups of urban inhabitants. As the number of urban super-rich grows, many cities will also see increased numbers of urban poor.

The widening gap between the haves and have-nots will be accentuated in the megacities of the future. Such inequalities, when left unchecked, will destabilize society and upend any benefits of urban development. There is a critical need for policy-makers to ensure that the fruits of progress are shared equitably.

4. Technology

Technology will be increasingly used in the development and running of cities of the future. Smart planning used in Singapore can harness solar energy for use in housing estates and create man-made wetlands for ecological balance. Smart mobility technology can alleviate traffic gridlocks which plague many cities.

The use of environmental technologies which can cool buildings more efficiently or run vehicles that are less polluting will also lead to better future cities. Installing sensors in the homes of ageing seniors living alone can connect them to the community and summon help when they are unwell or hurt.

However, technology can exclude urban inhabitants who cannot afford it or lack the capability required for its adoption. As future cities become more digitized, care must be exercised to prevent the emergence of a new form of social divide rooted in the technological.

5. Governance

Future cities offer immense possibilities to enrich the lives of their inhabitants even as the challenges are stark. To make the best out of inevitable urbanization, good governance is imperative. Cities will increase in size and their populations become more diverse. Governing these cities will, therefore, be progressively complex and require the most dedicated of minds.

Increasingly, cities around the world are learning about the best governance and planning practices from one another, even as they remain accountable to their respective national governments. The broad goals of urban governance should address issues of equity, liveability and sustainability in cities of the future.

Source: Chan Heng Chee

The Most Competitive Housing Markets In The U.S. Going Into 2019

A new study of 1.5 million homebuyers—and their competitive behavior when it comes to buying a house—comes with some slightly surprising results: California is not at the top of the list. Instead it is Denver, Colorado, where you have to flex your home-buying muscle the most, according to data from a study by Lending Tree. They looked at the 1.5 million mortgage requests for purchase loans that came through their system in 2018 and ranked the cities based on three main criteria:

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  • Share of buyers shopping for a mortgage before choosing a house
  • Average down payment percentage
  • Percentage of buyers who have a credit score above 680

Granted, Lending Tree is not a lender, but an online broker that matches applicants with various lending institutions, but 1.5 million people is still a significant enough size to learn some interesting takeaways—such as the other surprising result that average down payment sizes are all less than 20%.

Here is the list of the top ten cities, with the average amount of the downpayment in parentheses.

    1. Denver (16%)
    2. Los Angeles (17%)
    3. Portland, Oregon (15%)
    4. San Francisco (17%)
    5. San Jose, California (19%)
    6. St. Louis (15%)
    7. Las Vegas (14%)
    8. Seattle (19%)
    9. Sacramento, California (15%)
    10. Boston (16%)

Of course California still dominates the list, which isn’t too surprising since four cities in the state are also at the top of the list of how much you need to earn to live in each U.S. city. Yet, it is interesting to see Denver climb to the top ahead of all the tech hubs. The median sales price for Denver ranged from $502,000 to over $540,000 during 2018, according to the Denver Metro Association of Realtors. Las Vegas is also somewhat of a surprise since home prices there have finally crossed back over the $300,000 threshold after plummeting to nearly half that during the housing crash after 2008.

Also, in a sign banks have moved even further away from the traditional 20% model, none of the 50 metro areas on the list had an average downpayment size of 20% (or higher). Only San Francisco and Seattle had down payments as high as 19% and the average for the top ten cities, at 16%, is only two points higher than the average for the remaining 40 metro areas. It is no longer just about how much you bring to the table, but your buying behavior that will get you ahead of other buyers.

The least competitive markets are Pittsburgh at No. 47, Virginia Beach at No. 48 and Birmingham, Alabama at No. 50. They have downpayment sizes of 13% for Pittsburgh and 12% for Virginia Beach and Birmingham.

Source: Amy Dobson

Investment in Asia Pacific Commercial Real Estate to Rise in 2019

Global commercial real estate consultant JLL is reporting this week that Asia Pacific’s overall real estate transaction volumes in 2019 are expected to rise by five per cent, though the pace of growth momentum will slow down.

“A decade into the economic cycle, investors are contending with macro risks and geopolitical uncertainty such as rising interest rates, continued trade tensions between the U.S. and China, as well as strains in the EU caused by Brexit negotiations,” says Mr. Stuart Crow, Head of Capital Markets, JLL Asia Pacific.

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“Against this backdrop, real estate continues to look attractive as a safe haven for investments, with its portfolio diversification benefits and relatively higher returns compared to other asset classes. However, in this late-cycle environment, investors are becoming more selective and disciplined in exiting investments because it’s getting harder to find income-producing alternatives.”

In Asia Pacific, real estate demand will continue to be driven by its strong demographic fundamentals. The region’s urban population is expected to exceed 400 million people by 2027, while the population aged 65 and above will rise by 146 million people within the next 10 years. By 2021, Asia Pacific’s e-commerce market is projected to grow to US$1.6 trillion.

Dr. Megan Walters, Head of Asia Pacific Research of JLL says, “Despite the macro concerns, we believe that this region’s opportunities will mitigate the risks, spurring investors and occupiers to look into sectors that have defensive qualities or those that run on less cyclical demand drivers.”

According to JLL, there are the five key trends that will shape the industry in Asia Pacific in 2019.

Growth in ‘living’ assets

The region’s increasing urban population has seen a growing demand for alternative residential arrangements, including student accommodation, co-living, multi-family, nursing homes and aged care.

For investors, these living sectors offer attractive yields and long-term growth prospects as well as an opportunity for portfolio diversification. “These new sectors are set to outperform traditional residential assets given their efficient use of space, superior building management, and generally higher entry yields,” explains Mr. Crow. “Aged care, for instance, offers returns of 11 to 14 per cent in Tokyo, and 8 to 12 per cent in Singapore.”

Building flexible spaces to attract talent

Businesses are increasingly using shared workspaces as a way to foster innovation among employees and win the war for talent. This renewed focus on building human experiences has led to an uptick in flexible offices – including co-working and serviced offices – across the region.

Dr Walters says, “By 2030, flexible work spaces could comprise 30 per cent of some corporate commercial property portfolios worldwide. This means that market consolidation will become more common – landlords and developers will start to create their own flexible space offerings, form joint ventures with co-working providers, or look at mergers and acquisitions among co-working brands.”

Rise of logistics and data centres

With Asia Pacific leading global e-commerce adoption, there is rising pressure for organizations to establish their data storage infrastructure as well as warehousing facilities for physical retail goods.

Mr. Crow says, “The robust rate of consumption is driving increasing investor interest into data centres and logistics in Asia Pacific. These sectors will continue to expand, with significant capital targeting emerging markets like China, India and Indonesia. Meanwhile, logistics hubs in major cities are growing. As an example, the logistics market in Sydney increased seven-fold between 2015 and 2017.”

Shift towards debt exposure

With banks tightening their lending criteria, this leaves a gap for non-bank and offshore lenders to enter the market, particularly in Australia, India and China, according to Mr. Crow. As a result, there is a spike in investors turning to global offshore lenders who provide flexible forms of either debt or equity on selected projects.

Likewise, institutional investors are also expanding their footprint into real estate debt. Mr. Crow adds, “Debt investment is one way to curb risk in a portfolio and investors are increasingly looking at ways to use debt to shield them from market volatility and falling property incomes.”

Evolution of smart cities

With smart city initiatives pushing ahead in Singapore, Japan, South Korea and Australia, Asia Pacific has seen an increasing need to build better digital infrastructures to maximize efficiency, sustainability and improve the living conditions for inhabitants.

Dr Walters explains: “Proptech – the convergence of real estate and technology – plays a key role in the future development of cities. As smart cities are highly data-driven, smart property development and management enable extensive data collection and analytics – both of which are crucial for cities to create more livable environments for their growing populations.”

Source:  Michael Gerrity

Housing deficit : Expert seeks flexible rent system

A real estate manager, Mr Tunde Balogun, says complexities and absence of a flexible rent payment system makes affordable housing to become an illusion for many low and middle income earners in Nigeria.

Balogun, the Chief Executive Officer, Rentsmallsmall Ltd., Lagos, made this known at a media briefing on Monday in Lagos, saying that the issue had made vacancy rate in the residential and commercial markets to jump up.

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He said that most buildings being touted as affordable were beyond the reach of an average Nigerian based on the present payment structure.

Balogun recalled that the Federal Housing Authority Mortgage Bank had recently disclosed that the Lagos property market was in a crisis.

This, according to the bank, was due to the default rate on rented properties, which had risen to 71 per cent and vacancy rate hits 74 per cent in prime property locations.

Balogun said that to address the property market crisis,  his outfit “offers a flexible rent initiative for low and average income earners to make it possible for them to seamlessly find a new home within their budgets.

“Our model is a departure from the annual or two years rent payments being demanded by landlords, as it allows for monthly, quarterly and biannual rent payment.”

According to him, the platform ensures that property owners get screened and verified tenants, which guarantees that the tenants are eligible enough to pay future rents diligently.

He noted that the rising vacancy and rent default rates were reflection of the economic downturn, impacting on the citizen’s ability to meet their rental obligations.

Balogun said that the initiative would alleviate the concerns of many Nigerians as regards payment of rents and boost the growth of housing industry.

24 people who became highly successful after age 40

For the more neurotic among us, a birthday can be a reminder of how another year has passed and our loftiest aspirations have faded further into the distance.

There are plenty of examples, however, of successful people across many industries who prove that you don’t need to have it all figured out by the time you turn 30.

We’ll take a look at some of them, from renowned fashion designer Vera Wang, who didn’t design her first dress until she was 40, to writer Harry Bernstein, who authored countless rejected books before getting his first hit at age 96.

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Get inspired by those who show it’s never too late.

Stan Lee created his first hit comic, “The Fantastic Four,” just shy of his 39th birthday in 1961. In the next few years, he created the legendary Marvel Universe, whose characters such as Spider-Man and the X-Men became American cultural icons.

Donald Fisher was 40 and had no experience in retail when he and his wife, Doris, opened the first Gap store in San Francisco in 1969. The Gap’s clothes quickly became fashionable, and today the company is one of the world’s largest clothing chains.

Vera Wang was a figure skater and journalist before entering the fashion industry at age 40. Today she’s one of the world’s premier women’s designers.

Gary Heavin was 40 when he opened the first Curves fitness center in 1992, which ended up becoming one of the fastest-growing franchises of the ’90s.

Robin Chase cofounded Zipcar at age 42 in 2000. She left the company in 2011 and continues to build and advise startups, as well as serve as a member of the World Economic Forum.

Samuel L. Jackson has been a Hollywood staple for years now, but he’d had only bit parts before landing an award-winning role at age 43 in Spike Lee’s film “Jungle Fever” in 1991.

Sam Walton had a fairly successful retail-management career in his 20s and 30s, but his path to astronomical success began at age 44, when he founded the first Wal-Mart in Rogers, Arkansas, in 1962.

Henry Ford was 45 when he created the revolutionary Model T car in 1908.

Jack Weil was 45 when he founded what became the most popular cowboy-wear brand, Rockmount Ranch Wear. He remained its CEO until he died at the ripe old age of 107 in 2008.

Rodney Dangerfield is remembered as a legendary comedian, but he didn’t catch a break until he made a hit appearance on “The Ed Sullivan Show” at age 46.

Momofuku Ando cemented his spot in junk-food history when he invented instant ramen at age 48 in 1958.

Charles Darwin spent most of his life as a naturalist who kept to himself, but in 1859 at age 50 his “On the Origin of Species” changed the scientific community forever.

Julia Child worked in advertising and media before writing her first cookbook when she was 50, launching her career as a celebrity chef in 1961.

Jack Cover worked as a scientist for institutions including NASA and IBM before he became a successful entrepreneur at 50 for inventing the Taser stun gun in 1970.

Betty White is one of the most award-winning comedic actresses in history, but she didn’t become an icon until she joined the cast of “The Mary Tyler Moore Show” in 1973 at age 51.

Tim and Nina Zagat were both 51-year-old lawyers when they published their first collection of restaurant reviews under the Zagat name in 1979. It eventually became a mark of culinary authority.

Taikichiro Mori was an academic who became a real-estate investor at age 51 when he founded Mori Building Company. His brilliant investments made him the richest man in the world in 1992, when he had a net worth of $13 billion.

Ray Kroc spent his career as a milkshake-device salesman before buying McDonald’s at age 52 in 1954. He grew it into the world’s biggest fast-food franchise.

Wally Blume had a long career in the dairy business before starting his own ice cream company, Denali Flavors, at age 57 in 1995. The company reported revenue of $80 million in 2009.

Laura Ingalls Wilder spent her later years writing semi-autobiographical stories using her educated daughter, Rose, as an editor. She published the first in the “Little House” books at age 65 in 1932. They soon became children’s literary classics and the basis for the TV show “Little House on the Prairie.”

Harland Sanders, better known as Colonel Sanders, was 62 when he franchised Kentucky Fried Chicken in 1952. He sold the franchise business for $2 million 12 years later.

Source: Richard Feloni

FG launches new international passport

The Federal Government on Tuesday launched a new 60-page Nigeria international passport.

The red diplomatic passport also has ten years life span.

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President Muhammadu Buhari and Vice President Yemi Osinbajo were issued their new 10-year Diplomatic passport by the Nigeria Immigration Service (NIS) as the emergency Federal Executive Council (FEC) was drawing to a close on Tuesday.

The passports were presented to them by the Minister of Interior, Abdulrahman Dambazau and assisted by the Comptroller General of NIS, Mohammed Babandede after their biometrics were captured and processed.

Apart from the ten-year validity, the new passport, according to Babandede, has 25 special features and difference from the existing passports.

He said that it is an enhanced and self-tracking of application and ” weather friendly”.

The new passport l, he said, has polycarbonate technology that eliminates damages.

He also pointed out that it will now save Nigerians in disapora the time needed to frequently visit Nigerian embassies in search of new passports.

The new passport, he said, will work concurrently with the existing passports.

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