Housing sentiment falls to lowest in a year, as more say now is not a good time to buy: Fannie Mae

  • Consumer attitudes toward both buying and selling homes dropped, with the former falling the most of all the six survey components, a sizable 5 percentage points. It tied its second lowest reading in the survey’s history.
  • Fewer consumers now expect home prices to rise, echoing other surveys that have shown a drop in the number of people who think owning a home is currently a good investment.
  • Fewer consumers believe mortgage rates will fall back to recent lows.

What a difference a few seasons make.

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Housing sentiment fell to its lowest level in a year in October, according to a monthly survey by Fannie Mae. Consumer attitudes toward both buying and selling homes dropped, with the former falling the most of all the six survey components — a sizable 5 percentage points. That tied the survey’s second lowest reading in its history.

The data are a sharp turnaround from last spring, when confidence in the U.S. housing market was soaring, mortgage rates were relatively low and the economy was flying high.

Fewer consumers now expect home prices to rise, echoing other surveys that have shown a drop in the number of people who think owning a home is currently a good investment. Home prices are still gaining, but those increases have been shrinking each month: They’ve fallen below 6 percent annually for the first time in a year, according to the much-watched S&P CoreLogic Case-Shiller home price index.

Housing sentiment has been falling for the past several months, despite the fact that more consumers think the economy is on the right track. That component of the survey reached a new high.

“The contrast between the survey’s findings of weak homebuying sentiment and overall economic optimism mirrors what we’re seeing in the broader economy,” said Doug Duncan, senior vice president and chief economist at Fannie Mae. “While economic growth posted the fastest back-to-back pace in four years in the third quarter, residential investment declined for the third consecutive quarter, a first for the current expansion.”

Fewer people now believe mortgage rates will fall back to recent lows. In fact, rates have continued to rise over the last week, putting pressure on mortgage application volume.

Last week it fell to the lowest level in four years, as rates hit an eight-year high. Not only are potential buyers faced with weakening affordability, but there are still very few entry-level homes for sale. While supplies are finally rising for the first time in more than a year, they are coming off near-record lows, so there is still not a lot to choose from.

Adding insult to the supply injury, as mortgage rates rise, fewer homeowners may want to list their properties for sale.

“Who wants to give up a mortgage with a 3 handle on it?,” said Peter Boockvar, chief investment officer at Bleakley Advisory Group, as he referenced interest rates at or near 3 percent.

Source: Diana Olick

 

Know your rights as a Tenant

Tenant rights are more important than you probably realize and the first step towards protecting your rights as a tenant is to know what those rights are. Without knowing these rights, you put yourself at the mercy of landlords and caretakers in Nigeria

Before we delve into your rights as a tenant, let us start by establishing who a tenant is within the ambit of the law as well as the real estate space.

Who is a Tenant?

A tenant is a person who occupies land or property rented from a landlord and is subject to the payment of rent. With this established, let us proceed to examine tenant rights and what they mean to you as a tenant in Nigeria.

  1. Right to Issuance of Receipt of Payment

As a tenant, it is important that you pay your rent but it is not considered proof of the existence of tenancy until payment is made. One of the reasons why it is an essential part of a tenancy is because it does the following:

  • It is first and foremost, a proof of payment
  • Helps the court calculate the precise time frame for a valid quit notice especially in a situation where there is no agreement
  • Needed to counter and clear allegations of your refusal or inability to adhere to timely payment of rent
  • The receipt of payment is an acknowledgement from your landlord that he/she received payment from you

The period of time that the rent paid is expected to cover. For instance, was the rent paid to cover a year, 2 years or 6 months?

  • The signature of the person receiving the payment must also be on the receipt.

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  1. Right to Written Agreement

Agreements can either be oral or written but experts advised that you should opt for a written agreement. A written agreement removes all elements of doubt and ambiguity around the intention of all parties involved (you and the landlord). This is backed by tenant rights.

According to the law, tenancy agreements above 3 years are mandated to be written while those lesser than 3 years can either be oral or written. Experts have however advised that even if your tenancy is for 2 weeks, you should opt for a written agreement. Details that should be included in a written agreement include:

  • Your name as well as the name of the landlord
  • Details of the type of property that is being rented out
  • The location of the property you are renting as well as the features that come with it
  • The period of time for which the rent will cover
  • The amount of money that is being paid as rent
  • The date payment was made
  • The modalities for an upward review of the rent
  • The duration of ‘quit notice’ to be served by the landlord
  • The person responsible for repair works within and around the property
  • The person who bears the responsibility for expenses like water, electricity and sanitation bills
  • A post office stamp should be affixed to make it acceptable in court as an evidence

Before a written agreement can be considered valid, both parties (you and the landlord) are to execute the agreement by signing and dating it with at least one witness each

You need to be careful with your written agreement because landlords are known to duplicate a single agreement and use this for all their tenancy agreements. The downside of this is that such an agreement leaves certain intentions unexpressed.

Stay on the lookout for agreements that are drafted by the landlord’s lawyer and handed over to you. Such agreements have a reputation of being confusing and unfavourable to you in the long run. What you want to do here is to have a property lawyer to help you look into such agreements to spot anything that has been planted there to work against you one way or the other. Your lawyer then advises you on what to add and what you need to pull out.

Never jump into an agreement orally or without a property lawyer to guide you. Don’t let your current relationship with your landlord becloud your judgement. Relationships can go sour, which can leave you in a difficult situation in the absence of an agreement that is legally binding on you and the landlord.

  1. Right to Occupy Rented Property in Peace

The moment you pay your rent and append your signature on a written agreement, you earn the right to occupy the rented property in peace. When you become a tenant, you have legal and equitable right over the rented space. Your tenant rights make you entitled to this.

This right is absolute and you can sue trespassers; your landlord or caretaker are not exempted from this. The landlord still owns the property and is free to maintain the property but this has to be done with your knowledge

Upon renting the property out to you, the landlord temporarily relinquishes his control of the property over to you up until the expiration of your tenancy. A landlord can only trample on your rights as a tenant when you are ignorant of such rights.

In a case where your landlord abuses this right, don’t hesitate to inform your property lawyer or the closest police station.

 

  1. Right to Valid Quit Notice before Eviction

As a tenant, your landlord is not legally empowered to throw you or your valuables out of his/her property without a valid notice to quit the property.

Before your landlord can get you to quit his/her property, there must be strict compliance with the Recovery of Premises Law and it has to be relevant. Your tenant rights makes you entitled to this.

According to the Recovery of Premises Law, a valid Quit Notice (Notice to Quit) must be written and served on you before your landlord can terminate your tenancy. The law is very clear on this.

The duration of the Quit Notice varies according to the conditions of your tenancy as seen below:

  • A one-year (or above) tenancy will require at least a notice of 6 months
  • A one-month tenancy will require a minimum notice of one month
  • A one-week tenancy will require a minimum notice of one week

  1. Right to a Compulsory 7 Days’ Notice to Recover Premises

Under the Nigerian law, you are entitled to a compulsory ‘7 Days’ Notice to Recover Premises.’ This notice comes from your landlord’s lawyer to notify you that the lawyer will proceed to court after 7 days of serving you this notice, recover the over- held premises on behalf of the landlord.

This 7-day notice comes after the expiration of the initial notice to you to quit the property. The additional 7 days’ notice serves to legally protect you from being forcefully ejected or humiliated. It also gives you sufficient time to quit the property.

Final Thoughts on Tenant Rights

Regardless of the neighborhood where the property you are renting is situated, the law is clear on what a landlord can and cannot do. Tenant rights are clear. To avoid being manipulated into appending your signature to dubious tenancy agreements that can come back to haunt you, consider hiring a real estate lawyer to protect your interest.

SOURCE: Privateproperty.com

 

Mortgage Rates in U.S. Decline in Early November

Most recent Primary Mortgage Market Survey for November 2018, U.S. mortgage rates dropped slightly after last week’s increases.

Sam Khater, an economist, says, “While higher mortgage rates have led to a decline in home sales this year, the weakness has been concentrated in expensive segments versus entry-level and first-time buyer which remains firm throughout most of the rest of the country. Despite higher mortgage rates, the monthly mortgage payment remains affordable. For many buyers the chronic lack of entry-level supply is a larger hurdle than higher mortgage rates because choices are limited and the inventory shortage has caused home prices to rise well above fundamentals.”

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News Fact

  • 30-year fixed-rate mortgage (FRM) averaged 4.83 percent with an average 0.5 point for the week ending November 1, 2018, down from last week when it averaged 4.86 percent. A year ago at this time, the 30-year FRM averaged 3.94 percent.
  • 15-year FRM this week averaged 4.23 percent with an average 0.5 point, down from last week when it averaged 4.29 percent. A year ago at this time, the 15-year FRM averaged 3.27 percent.
  • 5-year Treasury-indexed hybrid adjustable-rate mortgage (ARM) averaged 4.04 percent with an average 0.3 point, down from last week when it averaged 4.14 percent. A year ago at this time, the 5-year ARM averaged 3.23 percent.

Source: WPJ Staff

Five Things You Need To Know About Online Real Estate Marketing

For seasoned real estate professionals, online presence is essential to your success or failure when it comes to generating new leads and clients for your business.

Here are some strategies that professionals can use for online marketing in the real estate business.

  1. Use Responsive Web Design

Due to the continued rise of website visitors using mobile devices, the need for a mobile-friendly site becomes more important. This is why responsive web design is a must for a real estate business.

A responsive web design is simply a design that is fluid—as a visitor’s browser size changes, so does the design. This usually means that a site with the basic main column and sidebar design on a desktop will be displayed with the sidebar below the main column of content on a mobile device.

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Why responsive design? Studies and statistics show that sites with a responsive web design have higher conversion rates and increased sales.

And, of course, your potential clients will love the fact that they can visit your website from anywhere with any device.

 2. Create Local Content

Creating content that is helpful for home buyers and sellers is a must. Both buyers and sellers tend to spend a lot of time researching the buying and selling process, especially if it’s their first time.

It is also important to create content for the locations you cover. People moving to a new area will be interested in fun facts, statistics, schools, neighbourhoods, events, and so forth.

If your website offers them content on these topics, they will ultimately be introduced to your services.

 

  1. Ask for reviews

Ask for reviews, especially ones that could be extremely valuable for your business. Anytime you receive an email or phone call where a client expresses praise for your service, use the opportunity to ask them for a review. As an added bonus, you can copy and paste your best reviews on your website.  

4. Use beautiful cover photos

Cover photos on social networks can provide for a great marketing opportunity. A cover photo can be used to highlight a property for sale, or an upcoming conference/seminar

No matter what type of real estate business you are in, you can take advantage of cover photos. Be sure to also include a link for people to click on in the photo’s description so that people who click on the photo can get to the highlighted subject on your website.

The links should take people to the mobile app, the property, or the conference pages.

5. Answer questions

There are dozens of great places online where you can connect with potential clients by simply answering their questions. There are question and answer networks like Quora that allow people to ask questions about all topics, including home buying, selling, and relocating.

There are so many other online strategies, but with these five basic strategies, you can use them to maximum effect and generate more exposure for your real estate business.

SOURCE: Affa Dickson Acho with Agency Reports.

KFW Development Bank Invests Thirty One Million Euros in InfraCredit

In order to enable Infrastructure Credit Guarantee Company Limited (InfraCredit), achieve its targeted capitalisation and bolster its balance sheet, International finance power house, KFW Development Bank has invested thirty one million Euros in the company.

InfraCredit is a specialised infrastructure credit enhancement facility established by the Nigeria Sovereign Investment Authority (“NSIA”) in collaboration with GuarantCo (a member of the Private Infrastructure Development Group (“PIDG”), to provide guarantees that enhance the credit quality of local currency debt instruments issued to finance eligible infrastructure projects in Nigeria.

Speaking on the development, the Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer of InfraCredit, Chinua Azubike, said “We are pleased to receive KfW, a highly reputable international development finance institution, as one of InfraCredit’s investors. KfW is a unique DFI with the appropriate motivation and risk appetite to support innovative financial institutions like InfraCredit that foster market development and leverage additional capital from private institutional investors.”

The investment will promote an innovative catalytic second loss paid-in capital incorporated into InfraCredit’s capital structure, and its repayment will be subordinated to the payment of all senior indebtedness including beneficiaries of its credit guarantees in the event of any bankruptcy, liquidation or other similar events. The subordinated unsecured long term capital will rank as qualifying capital for financial leverage purposes.

Also speaking on the landmark investment, the Chairman, InfraCredit and MD&CEO, NSIA, Uche Orji said, “I am extremely pleased that a respected, long-term oriented investor like KfW shares our view about the vast opportunity ahead for InfraCredit. We therefore view KfW’s investment as a vote of confidence in InfraCredit and its sponsors. More importantly, we consider the investment a signal of the KfW’s commitment to the long-term strategic growth of InfraCredit as well as the development of long term local currency infrastructure finance in Nigeria.”

On his part, the First Vice President, West Africa & Madagascar of KfW said “InfraCredit’s mission of mobilising private capital from local sources for private sector investments in local infrastructure is of importance to KfW. We believe that the management team with the support of the board have the experience, the right attitude and a very strong commitment to make InfraCredit become an important player in the Nigerian capital market and an important accelerator for private investments. I am proud that from today KfW on behalf of the Government of Germany is able to support InfraCredit, not only by enlarging InfraCredit’s capital base with the subordinated capital but also with substantial technical assistance funding to support a sustainable growth of InfraCredit.”

KfW, is the largest development bank in Europe and a public law institution existing under the laws of the Federal Republic of Germany with its headquarters in Frankfurt.

Source: Affa Dickson Acho

There’s no Hong Kong housing market ‘bubble’, insists CK’s Victor Li

Victor Li Tzar-kuoi, the elder son of Hong Kong’s richest man Li Ka-shing, says Hong Kong’s housing market is not in a bubble waiting to burst despite continued skyrocketing prices, and dismisses suggestions he is about to change the development path of the group his iconic father founded.

His comments contrast with a UBS report released in September which suggested the market remained the world’s most overvalued for homes, and was seriously at risk of overheating.

“Do not say it is a bubble. It is not that serious,” the new chairman of CK Asset Holdings said after the firm’ held an extraordinary general meeting (EGM) on Tuesday.

“Hong Kong’s homes are expensive but it [the market] has been costly for so many years.”

The Swiss bank’s report warned that “investors should remain selective within housing markets in bubble risk territories such as Hong Kong”, which has “an elevated risk of a large price correction” after home prices have continued to increase by an annual rate of almost 10 per cent since 2012.

Li reiterated he had not changed the direction of the group after working in the business for more than 30 years.

“My father and I are long-term working partners. There will be no change,” said Li. “Most of my work has been similar to the past.”

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This came after Husky Energy, a Canadian energy unit controlled by CK Hutchison, proposed a hostile takeover of Canadian oil sands company Meg Energy for US$6.4 billion early this month, about seven months after Victor succeeded his father as chairman of CK Hutchison.

In March Li Ka-shing told Chinese media Caixin he would “try to avoid hostile takeovers” because “competition should not be vicious”.

Victor noted volatility in the market brings a lot of opportunities and that CK’s infrastructure business, which “is not much affected by short-term market volatility”, can deliver sustained returns.

Despite the opportunities, Li also remained optimistic on Hong Kong’s housing market, dismissing any suggestion that its most-recent acquisition of Australian natural gas infrastructure company APA Group for about HK$72.2 billion (US$9.2 billion) – passed with over 99 per cent support from shareholders of CK Asset, CK Infrastructure and Power Asset Holdings on Tuesday – illustrated it was turning bearish on its domestic residential property market.

“We like both businesses. Property is what we have been doing. We must continue with that. If we find good land, we will definitely continue to buy,” Li said. “But it is good to allocate some profit to [businesses] with constant returns to increase stability of the group.”

CK Asset won the third phase tender of a development at MTR’s Wong Chuk Hang station in August, buying it at a premium of about HK$13 billion.

Source: Lam Ka-sing

Singapore the world’s hottest luxury property market, while Vancouver ranks worst, says Knight Frank global index

Singapore’s luxury home prices have surged to become the world’s fastest appreciating market globally, overtaking Hong Kong where price growth has cooled such that it no longer ranks in the top dozen cities by price momentum, according to Knight Frank LLP.

Hong Kong’s luxury home prices rose 5.5 per cent in the September-ended quarter on year, to rank 14th among 43 cities tracked by the Knight Frank’s quarterly Prime Global Cities Index.

Singapore’s luxury market ranked No 1 after prices rose 13.1 per cent for the quarter on year, outpacing Edinburgh and Madrid where prices rose 10.6 per cent and 10.1 per cent respectively.

Vancouver’s luxury segment ranked last among the 43 cities tracked, with quarterly price depreciation of 11.2 per cent on year, trailing Istanbul where quarterly prices were down 6.2 per cent from 12 months earlier.

“Although deep-pocketed investors may have not have suffered that much from declines on the stock market related to uncertainties of US-China trade war, sentiment has turned sour more or less,” David Ji, head of research and consultancy for Greater China at Knight Frank, said.

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Underscoring the shifting confidence in the Hong Kong market, some luxury flats owners have started to slash prices to unload their properties.

Owners of a 2,828 square foot flat at Garden Terrace on The Peak, the city’s most prestigious residential area, lowered the asking price by HK$25 million (US$3.19 million), or 20 per cent, eventually selling the home for HK$100 million in October.

Meanwhile, a unit at Repulse Bay Garden, in an upscale neighbourhood on the south side of Hong Kong Island, sold for HK$57 million this week, or HK$3 million below the asking price.

The softening market reflects a major shift from last November, when a 4,242 sq ft home at Mount Nicholson at The Peak sold for HK$560 million, or HK$132,000 per sq ft, to become the most expensive residence in Asia.

 

A government land auction for a prized site on The Peak last week failed to make the reserve price, showing the U-turn in sentiment among property developers.

The site, on Mansfield Road, was withdrawn from sale on October 16, becoming the first site to fail at auction since 2016.

Hong Kong’s property market has been hampered by the US-China trade war, the global stock market slump, and growing gloom on the economic outlook.

A price index that tracks lived-in homes in Hong Kong fell 1.44 per cent in September on month, the second straight monthly decline, according to data released by the government’s Rating and Valuation Department on Wednesday.

The drop was significantly larger than the 0.08 per cent decline in August on month.

Source: Pearl Liu

AUHF to Set the Stage for Affordable Housing in Africa

 

The opportunity for African countries in supporting the growth and development of their affordable housing industries is immense and transformative

The 34th African Union for Housing Finance (AUHF) conference (www.AUHFConcerence.com) and Annual General Meeting will take place for the first time in Abidjan, Cote D’Ivoire between 23 & 25 October 2018.

This year’s theme: Building Africa’s Housing Financing Chain will be unpacked by the leading figures from Africa in one of the primary economies of the continent’s fastest growing economic regions – the West Africa Monetary Union (UEMOA).

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While the conference will provide stakeholders with an opportunity to examine the unique regional context, the three-day conference and AGM is pan-African in focus with more than 61-member institutions and several key partners from across the continent coming together to address the challenges and opportunities in Africa’s housing finance chain.

 

Key Partners

This year’s partners include: The Centre for Affordable Housing Finance in Africa (CAHF), the African Development Bank (AfDB), and Caisse Regional de Refinacement Hypethecaire (CRRH).

Providing affordable housing opportunities to Africa’s rapidly urbanising population is a major policy driver for African governments and an opportunity for both local and international investors and developers. Recent estimates by the World Bank suggest that more than 1 billion people will live in African cities by 2040, more than double the current urban population on the continent. The capacity of Africa’s cities to respond to this challenge, and to turn the demand for affordable housing into an opportunity for stimulating local economic growth and development, is critically dependent on an efficient flow of finance.

African Growth

It’s against this rapidly urbanising landscape that this year’s AUHF conference will explore the key links in the housing financing chain: the finance instruments that support each link in the housing delivery chain, and the funding instruments that make these possible.

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Mortgage Lending

As the conference takes place in a leading regional economy, Cote D’Ivoire, and hub for the West Africa Monetary Union (UEMOA), one of the three-day conference’s focal points is Building UEMOA’s housing finance sector. Mortgage lending is a key issue, and Director General of the UEMOA mortgage refinance institution, the Caisse Regionale de Refinnacement Hypothécaire de l’UEMOA Christian Agossa will deliver a keynote address on this key focus area.

According to Mr. Agossa, mortgage lending products need to be well-targeted to the demand side; however, adjustments to product design, including mechanisms to underwrite informal incomes, savings-linked and micro-mortgage products, and pension-backed lending will expand the potential market for mortgage lending dramatically in affordable housing.

The affordable housing challenge promise to be a significant driver of economic activity, says one of the key stakeholders of this year’s summit, the executive director for the Centre for Affordable Housing Finance’s (CAHF) Kecia Rust.

The Economic Opportunity

On an annual basis, CAHF analyses the most affordable homes which are being built on the continent. In Nigeria, Millard Fuller has developed a starter house for a total cost of $7,500. If this were available for purchase with a mortgage across the continent, the potential effective demand would translate to about 52 million houses. A simple “back of the envelope” calculation suggests that this could generate $400 Billion in economic activity just with the construction of the housing units and related infrastructure and provide more than 1.3 million jobs in the construction sector alone. The opportunity for African countries in supporting the growth and development of their affordable housing industries is immense and transformative.

Investors are clearly interested. Although still relatively small in relation to the potential opportunity, investment in residential real estate and in affordable housing in particular, is growing. Reports of targeted, local investments are increasingly finding their way into the local media, and many of these stories will be shared at the conference. Development Finance Institutions, as well as international and local investors all working towards maximising the impact investment potential that the numbers suggest. The 34th Annual AUHF conference will give them a platform for the growing number of affordable housing stakeholders to accelerate their conversation.

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Policy Drivers

This interest is encouraging to policy makers, and many are responding with supportive rhetoric and explicit programmes. President Kenyatta’s commitment to see the construction of half a million affordable homes in Kenya is one example; governments in Nigeria, Uganda, Côte d’Ivoire, Rwanda, South Africa, and others have all expressed a commitment to affordable housing in the past year. Rust makes the point “Governments have a critical role to play in land assembly and the awarding of development rights that support affordability; infrastructure investment must accommodate the expected densities and should ultimately be funded over a longer time frame than the housing itself. The capacity of developers to deliver truly affordable housing at scale is another issue that will require policy support and private sector construction financing. And then there is the question of end user financing, the cost of capital, and the trust lenders have in the underlying security. These are all policy and regulatory issues on which the government will need to focus – beyond simply visioning a magic number.”

Top Thought Leaders

With more than 200 delegates and stakeholders travelling to the summit in October, some of the confirmed regional speakers include Mr Christian Agossa, Directeur Général at Caisse Régionale de Refinancement Hypothécaire de l’UEMOA, Mr. Stefan Nallemtaby, Director Financial Sector Development Department African Development Bank, the Chief Executive of the Federal Bank of Nigeria Arc. Ahmed Musa Dangiwa, Kehinde Ogundimu, acting chief executive officer of the Nigerian Mortgage Refinancing Company – the summit is a strategic platform for the continent’s affordable housing financing thought leaders to build a more robust housing finance value chain.

As Mr. Nalletamby of the African Development bank stated, “We will have a robust discussion on the affordable housing value chain and Abidjan, as one of Africa’s high growth economies is the perfect host city for this conference and AGM”.

Proshare

Fannie Mae adds former BBVA Compass chairman and CEO to its board of directors

 

Manuel “Manolo” Sanchez Rodrigues joins GSE’s board

Fannie Mae is adding the former chairman and CEO of BBVA Compass, Manuel “Manolo” Sánchez Rodríguez, to its board of directors, the government-sponsored enterprise announced Monday.

Sánchez served as president and CEO of BBVA Compass, a U.S. subsidiary of Banco Bilbao Vizcaya Argentaria, from December 2008 to January 2017.

Additionally, Sánchez served as a member of Banco Bilbao Vizcaya Argentaria’s worldwide executive committee and was BBVA’s country manager for U.S. operations from September 2010 to January 2017.

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In September 2010, Sánchez also became chairman of the board of directors of BBVA Compass and its holding company, BBVA Compass Bancshares, serving in these roles until November 2017.

Sánchez joined BBVA in 1990 and served in a number of other roles with the international company before leading the company’s U.S. operations. Earlier in his BBVA career, Sánchez was senior executive vice president of community banking, president and chief executive officer of Laredo National Bank, and chief risk officer for BBVA Bancomer in Mexico City.

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“Manolo is another strong addition to our exceptional Board of Directors,” said Fannie Mae CEO Tim Mayopoulos.

“His extensive banking experience, financial services and technology expertise, and strong leadership qualities are a great complement to those of his peers on the board,” Mayopoulos added. “He will help guide us as we continue to deliver against our strategy, improve as a company, and look for ways to provide our customers the innovative tools and solutions they need to address the needs of both today’s and tomorrow’s homebuyers and renters.”

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Sánchez, who currently serves as a trustee or member of the board of directors of a number of civic, cultural and educational institutions, has been appointed to Fannie Mae’s Strategic Initiatives & Technology Committee and Nominating & Corporate Governance Committee.

“We are extremely pleased to welcome Manolo to the Fannie Mae Board of Directors,” Egbert L.J. Perry, Fannie Mae’s chairman of the board, said. “We will benefit greatly from his vast banking and financial services experience, technology innovation track record, and deep business strategy expertise.”

 

Ben Lane

London’s affordable homes in expensive locations, a lesson for Nigeria

The London borough of Kensington and Chelsea, like the Banana Island in Lagos and Maitama District in Abuja, Nigeria, has some of the most expensive properties in the UK, but a new development of affordable homes has been approved for that location.

In the Nigerian highbrow locations, especially Banana Island, property values are such that the houses built on that island are targeted at a particular class of people. Any other person is a total stranger who is expected to leave immediately after his visit because he does not belong here.

But the story is different elsewhere. The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, has taken over the Notting Hill Gate scheme and doubled the amount of affordable housing being built to 35 percent, up from 17 percent. Under the new plans, about two thirds of new affordable homes will be available at social rent levels, others capped below the London Living Rent level.

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The application to redevelop Newcombe House in Kensington and Chelsea was turned down by the local council in March, before the Mayor took over the application later that month. The borough has consistently failed to meet targets for new and affordable homes.

Khan pointed out that last year no affordable homes were given planning permission by the council. But through his takeover, the Mayor has secured amendments to the plans that increase the level of affordable housing from 17 to 35 percent.

This is a big lesson for government’s at all levels in Nigeria. The mayor in London who is influencing the redevelopment of affordable homes in expensive areas is an equivalent of a local government chairman in Nigeria.

This underscores the importance the government attaches to housing the citizens but in Africa’s largest economy, housing is a luxury. The expensive locations in the country are exclusive for only the rich and high net-worth individuals who have chosen to live in such locations for a number of reasons including affordability, class, taste, and above all exclusivity of that location where only men of means are found which widens the inequality gap in society.

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For the London borough of Kensington and Chelsea to have chosen to develop more affordable homes in the expensive locations means there is a deliberate attempt to close the inequality gap in the society.

The development will include a medical centre, step-free access to the nearby Notting Hill Gate, underground station and a new public square with permanent pedestrian and cycle access.
“Since taking office, I’ve been clear I will use all the levers at my disposal to increase the supply of council, social rented, and other genuinely affordable homes that Londoners need across the capital,” said Khan.

Continuing, he explained, “having considered all the evidence available to me, and following hardwork by my planning team to increase the level of affordable housing, I have decided to grant permission for this development”.

This is a huge lesson for Nigeria where affordable homes for low income earners is not part of the concerns of government. Majority of private sector operators don’t factor affordable housing into their calculations and those who do usually go to the hinterland to develop. Demand here is not strong because many people would rather rent at the city centre than own a home in the ‘bush’.

The proposed development in London will also include important new step-free access to Notting Hill Gate station, a major improvement benefitting local residents and visitors coming to enjoy this vibrant and exciting part of the capital. This is unimaginable in a location like Banana Island where such a development will not be permitted because it will impact negatively on the exclusivity of the location.

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London has housing crisis like Nigeria, but unlike Nigeria, the government at various levels are addressing the crisis. Nigeria has a deficit estimated at 17 million units that requires an annual housing delivery of about 700,000.

But, Chudi Ubosi, an estate surveyor and valuer, says aggregate output at the moment is not up to 100,000 units.

Khan believes that ‘London’s housing crisis won’t be solved overnight, but hopes “this will send a clear message that I expect developments to include more genuinely affordable housing and other benefits for local people,’ he added.

CHUKA UROKO

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