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Housing Market Check-In: 6 Expert Predictions For The Second Half Of 2019

The year has so far been a promising one for would-be home buyers. The seemingly unending rise in home prices started to slow and mortgage rates dipped to unexpected lows. Both were good news for Millennials who—despite the never-settle-down stereotype—are yearning to become homeowners.

Still, despite suggestions that a buyer’s market might be on the horizon, that dream has yet to be realized. “First-time buyers can expect less competition than last year, but it’s still very much a seller’s market in most places,” says Ralph McLaughlin, deputy chief economist for property data firm CoreLogic.

Will that seller’s market continue? Probably. But it’s not all bad news for those looking to jump on the home buying bandwagon. As McLaughin points out, the year “seems to be shaping up as a good time for potential first-time buyers to enter the market, with no current signs of imbalance that would either force them to hurry or cause them to pull back.” In other words, it’s a good time to go about that home search in a thoughtful and deliberate manner.

Here’s what McLaughlin and other industry experts predict for the second half of 2019 and beyond:

Millennials will drive the market.

Consider it the year of the first-time home buyer. More than half of all mortgages originated by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac went to first-time buyers last year, and with Millennials hitting their prime home buying years, those numbers are only going to grow.

Data from the National Association of Realtors (NAR) shows that Millennials made up 37% of all home buyers last year and 20% of all sellers, and since 2017, they’ve accounted for the largest share of mortgage originations in the country. Last year, they took on 45% of all new mortgages, and in November, even outpaced Generation X on total loan volume by dollars originated. Gen Xers had long held that crown, accounting for more than half of all loan originations by dollar volume in 2013. The older cohort’s mortgage activity has been steadily declining ever since.

“This trend shows no signs of reversing in 2019,” observes Odeta Kushi, deputy chief economist for title insurance and settlement company First American. In short? Millennials will continue to rule the market.

Inventory will improve—but not by much.

Recent data from Trulia shows that inventory is rising for starter homes and trade-up properties—but likely not enough to satisfy demand. According to the real estate marketplace’s recent analysis, starter home inventory was up 3.5% last quarter, while trade-up options rose 4.8%. The catch? The upticks also came with 12.4% and 8.3% hikes in price, respectively.

As LendingTree’s chief economist Tendayi Kapfidze explains, “There has been an increase in supply compared to last year, but levels are still quite low. Supply is particularly lacking at lower price points.”

According to Kushi, total housing stock is well below the nation’s pre-recession average, and though an upward trend in starter home inventory may help, its mostly higher-priced markets that will benefit—particularly those along the West Coast, like San Jose, Los Angeles and Seattle.

Home prices are headed up.

Prices have been on the rise since 2012, outstripping their pre-recession peaks early last year. While the trend hasn’t yet reversed, it did lose steam in recent months. Last March, for example, prices jumped 7% over 2017. This year, they were up just 3.7% annually. The slowdown in price appreciation is helping improve affordability for many would-be buyers, especially as wage growth finally accelerates.

Still, experts warn that house prices aren’t done rising yet. “Across the nation, home buyers are benefitting from lower-than-anticipated mortgage rates, rising wages and a relative slowdown in house price appreciation,” Kushi said. “Despite the affordability boost, rising demand against limited inventory of homes for sale means acceleration in house price appreciation may be on the horizon.”

The most recent Home Price Index Forecast from CoreLogic supports this theory, predicting a 5.6% uptick in home prices by May 2020.

Mortgage rates will stay low.

Mortgage rates hit their lowest point since late 2016 last month, averaging 3.80%, according to Freddie Mac. The decline caused a surge of refinancing in late June, when refis accounted for more than half of all mortgage activity in a single week.

Experts expect this trend to stick around. In fact, rates could go even lower.

As Doug Duncan, chief economist at Fannie Mae explains, “The Fed has moved to a bias toward easing, as global economic activity has slowed. Interest rates have fallen as a result and could move lower if the Fed acts to lower rates as insurance for economic growth.”

Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac and the Mortgage Bankers Association all predict the 30-year, fixed-rate mortgage rate will finish out the year between 3.9% and 4.1%—lower than 2018’s full-year average of 4.54%.

Buyers can take their time.

Despite an influx of younger buyers, competition isn’t going to be as stiff as in years past. Data from real estate brokerage Redfin shows that just 15% of offers in April sparked a bidding war—down dramatically from 60% at the same point last year. Even hot markets like San Francisco have seen big declines, with bidding wars dropping from 75% of offers to just 22% in May.

According to Duncan, buyers simply aren’t in a rush—and they don’t need to be. “We expect the overall inventory of available homes to remain stable this year, but buyers shouldn’t feel as though they need to get a deal done quickly to avoid missing out on an opportunity.”

Fannie Mae’s recent Home Purchase Sentiment Index proves as much, the number of consumers who think now is good time to buy a home is up 13 points over last month. As Duncan explains, “Potential buyers are in no hurry, because house price appreciation has moderated and the Fed is giving them no reason to think that mortgage rates should be expected to increase significantly.”

Some places will be better bets than others.

Overall, the signs aren’t overwhelmingly pro-buyer or pro-seller. Industry experts don’t foresee an extreme dip or a major spike in prices or rates. And at the end of the day, housing conditions vary by market. While the conditions might look good nationally, some areas offer more opportunities than others—especially for first-time buyers.

“As the surge of Millennial demand begins to hit shore in 2019,” Kushi says, “Millennial first-time home buyers may want to consider cities that offer a greater supply of affordable homes.”

According to the recent First-time Home Buyer Outlook Report from First American, these spots include places like Memphis or Oklahoma, where the average first-time buyer can afford 71% of homes for sale, or Pittsburgh, where 69% of homes are within reach.

Source: forbes

Reasons Why CBN Directed DMBs to Loan out their Deposits Revealed

For any country to survive, it economy must boom, and for this to happen, there must be a transformation made possible by the creation of conducive and enabling environment for businesses to thrive, as well as formulating goal-oriented policy initiatives to make the country an economic hub.

This was what the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) had in mind when it directed all Deposit Money Banks (DMBs) to lend out a minimum of 60% of their deposits. This move, according to the apex bank, is also to improve lending to the real sector of the country’s economy.

In a letter to all banks titled, “Regulatory measures to improve lending to economy”, signed by Ahmad Abdullahi, CBN’s Director, Banking Supervision, the apex bank made known that its new directive would take effect from September 2019.

Consequently, DMBs are required to maintain a minimum loan to Deposit Ratio (LDR) of 60% by September 30, 2019. This ratio, the Central Bank said shall be subject to quarterly review.

CBN, however, warned that failure of any DMB to meet the minimum LDR by the specified date shall result in a levy of additional Cash Reserve Requirement equal to 50% of the lending shortfall of the target LDR.

The letter read, “In order to ramp up growth in the Nigerian economy through investment in the real sector, CBN has approved the following measures: All DMBs are hereby required to maintain a minimum Loan to Deposit Ratio (LDR) of 60% by September 30, 2019. This ratio shall be subject to quarterly review.

To encourage SMEs, Retail, Mortgage and Consumer lending, these sectors shall be assigned a weight of 150% in computing the LDR for this purpose. The CBN shall provide a framework for classification of enterprises/businesses that fall under these categories.

Failure to meet the above minimum LDR by the specified date shall result in a levy of additional Cash Reserve Requirement equal to 50% of the lending shortfall of the target LDR.”

Why this matter: With an average LDR around 40%, it would not be erroneous to assert that Nigerian banks are some of the most reluctant lenders in major emerging markets. According to a data compiled by Bloomberg, the average ratio across Africa is 78%. South Africa tops the chart with 90% while Kenya Kenya is at 76%.

A look into what the LDR entails: LDR is an instrument deployed to assess a bank’s liquidity by comparing its total loans to its total deposits for the same period. In this process, if the ration appears too high, it means that the bank may not have enough liquidity to cover any unforeseen fund requirements, especially if the loan repayments fall short of schedule. Conversely, if the ratio is too low, the bank may not be earning as much as it could from the deposits it had taken at a cost.

Source: nairametrics

debt

12 states reel under N2.1tr debt burden

Twelve states where there was a change of government recently are reeling under heavy debt burden amounting to over N2tr, Daily Trust investigations have shown. Analysis of official data from Debt Management Office (DMO), National Bureau of Statistics (NBS), and various reports of transitional committees revealed that the debt increased under the immediate past governments in the states.

Findings by this newspaper revealed that some of the debts were not captured in the DMO and NBS official data, suggesting the figure may be more. For instance, the DMO data did not include debts incurred using local contractors, suppliers, and consultants. DMO data only covered debts incurred by states through official borrowings such as multilateral and bilateral foreign and local financial  institutions, investment securities like bonds and treasury bills.

These debts rose despite a series of billions channeled to the states by the federal government as federal allocations (FAAC), bailouts, Paris fund refunds, among others. Former Governors Akinwunmi Ambode (Lagos), Kashim Shettima (Borno), Rochas Okorocha (Imo), and nine others increased their states’ domestic debt stock by over 200 percent from N412.98bn as at when they assumed office to N1.37tr as at when they left the office. During the same period, the 12 governors combined increased their states’ external debt stock by 81 percent from $1.75bn as at the inception of their tenures to $2.16bn as at when they vacated their offices. The 12 states combined also recorded total Internally Generated revenues (IGRs) of N1.14tr during the period.

The other ex-governors included Abdulaziz Yari (Zamfara), Ibrahim Gaidam (Yobe), Mohammed Abubakar (Bauchi), and Ibrahim Dankwambo (Gombe), Muhammadu Bindow (Adamawa), Umaru Al-Makura (Nasarawa), Ibikunle Amosun (Ogun), Abiola Ajimobi (Oyo), and Abdulfatah Ahmed (Kwara). The governors borrowing increased their states’ domestic debt stock by over 200 percent and their foreign debt stock by over 81 percent. While Ambode, Abubakar, and Bindow spent four years in office each, the rest spent eight years, except Gaidam, who spent 10 years.

N612bn debt left by Yari, Dankwambo, Ajimobi, Bindow  For instance, four former governors Yari, Dakwambo, Bindow, Abubakar, and Ajimobi have left behind over N612bn debts, according to reports of transition committees. The Zamfara State transition committee said Yari has left behind a debt of N251bn – an amount he denied without giving the actual figures he left. Dankwabo left behind debts of N110bn, while Bindow and Abubakar left N115bn and N136bn respectively. Oyo State Governor Seyi Makinde announced last week that his predecessor, Ajimobi had left behind over N150bn debt. These debts profile released by the transition committees is far above what Daily Trust obtained from the official websites of DMO and NBS.

Data from DMO revealed that Zamfara’s domestic debt stock grew to N59.90bn as at December 31, 2018, from the N12.97bn recorded as at December 31, 2011, when Yari took over. The external debt stock also rose to $33.52m from $26.31m during the same period. Zamfara recorded a total IGR of N32.23bn from 2011 to 2018, shortly before the Yari vacated office. The state also got N188.5bn as federal allocations, between 2013 and 2017. The domestic debt stock of Bauchi State grew to N92.37bn as at December 31, 2018, from the N57.62bn recorded as at December 31, 2015, after Abubakar assumed office as governor. Bauchi’s external debt stock also rose to $133.93m to $85.34m during the same period.

Data from NBS showed that Bauchi State’s IGR from 2015 to 2018 stood at N28.13bn, rising from N5.39bn in 2015 to N8.68bn in 2016 and down to N4.37bn in 2017 and up to N9.69bn in 2018. Bauchi also received N234.9bn as federal allocations between 2013 and 2017. Gombe State also witnessed a rise in domestic debt to N63.34bn as at December 31, 2018, to N7.17bn as at December 31, 2011, while its external debt stock rose to $37.41m from the $28.37m recorded during the same period. Gombe’s IGR from 2011 to 2018 stood at N36.27bn, about double the size of the states’ domestic stock when the governor vacated office. From 2013 to 2017, the state got N172.1bn as FAAC.

Adamawa State State’s domestic debt stock rose to N89.66bn as at December 31, 2018, from N47.20bn as at December 31, 2015, after the governor assumed office. The external debt stock also rose from $97.79m as of December 31, 2018, from $49.06m recorded as of December 31, 2015. The state also recorded a total IGR of N22.64bn from 2015 to the end of 2018, being the last four years under review. Between 2013 and 2017, N213.7bn accrued to Adamawa as federal allocation. The reports of transition committees were mostly made public in states where different parties took over from the outgoing governors. Yari, Dankwambo, Abubakar, and Bindow handed over to governors from the opposition parties.

Rising debt burden  Data sourced from DMO show that Lagos States’ domestic debt stock rose to N530.24bn as at December 31, 2018, shortly before Ambode left office from N218bn the 218.54bn recorded as at December 31, 2015, shortly after he assumed office. Lagos State’s foreign debt stock also rose to $1.43bn from $1.21bn during the same period under Ambode. Within the same period, data from the NBS said Lagos State generated N1.29tr as IGR. In 2015, the state generated N268.2bn, N302.4bn in 2016, N333.9bn in 2017 and N382.18bn in 2018.

Lagos got N479.1bn as federal allocations between 2013 and 2017. Yobe State’s domestic debt stock increased to N27.77bn as at December 31, 2018, from the N2.09bn recorded as at December 31, 2011, while the state’s externals debt stock reduced to $27.49m from N$31.18m within the same period. Yobe State recorded a total IGR of N23.94bn from 2011 to the end of 2018, shortly before the governor vacated the office.

The state received a total of N216.7bn as federal allocations from 2013 to 2017. While Borno State recorded a total IGR of N27.32bn in the last eight years, the state’s domestic debt stock rose to N68.38bn from the N1.68bn recorded as at December 31, 2011, while its external debt also to $21.62m from $12.96m in the same period. Borno got N263.2bn FAAC allocations from 2103 to 2017.

In Imo State, domestic debt rose to N98.78bn at December 31, 2018, from N25.42bn recorded as at December 31, 2011, while external debt rose to $59.52m from $50.28m during the same period. Imo State’s IGR from 2011 to 2018 stood at N61.32bn, being N37.46bn short of the total domestic stock the governor bequeathed to the state after he vacated office. Imo’s FAAC allocation between 2013 and 2017 is N226.4bn.

Nasarawa State saw a rise in domestic debt stock to N85.36bn as at December 31, 2018, from the N5.34bn recorded as at December 31, 2011, while the state’s external debt stock also rose to $59.18m from $37.06m during the same period. Nasarawa State earned a total of N96.05bn as IGRs from 2011 to 2018, slightly higher than the state’s total debt stock as at the end of 2018. It also received N186.2bn as FAAC between 2013 and 2017. The domestic debt stock of Ogun, Oyo and Kwara States rose to N98.72bn, N91.52bn and N59.14bn respectively as at December 31, 2018, from N30.14bn, N4.81bn and N25.25bn respectively.

During the same period, the external debts of Ogun, Oyo and Kwara States also rose to $103.26m, $104.99m and $48m respectively from $94.58m, $78.09m and $43.99m respectively. The total IGRs of Ogun, Oyo and Kwara States stood at N562.86bn, N136.75bn and N113.55bn from 2011 to 2018. ‘Debts are lifetime burden for states’         Most of these debts were incurred to fund salaries and overheads and therefore, become lifetime burden on the states, Dr Aminu Usman, of the Department of Economics at the Kaduna State University, said.

“When you borrow to finance fiscal operations of the government, then it becomes a lifetime burden on the state. That is exactly what we do,” he said. Dr Usman said another major problem of the debt is that the lenders do not tie the funds to specific projects and even when tied to projects, the lenders do not monitor to ensure that the funds are used specifically to the projects.

He added that external debts are bad for states due to exchange rates instability and states not earning enough foreign currencies. Auwal Musa Rafsanjani, executive director of the Civil Society Legislative Advocacy Centre (CISLAC), a governance tracking organisation, blamed the “state governors’ frivolous and irresponsible borrowing” on “poor legislative oversight of state assemblies.”

He said most of the debts accumulated by states over the years have been siphoned in the guise of project implementation, jumbo allowances for ex-public office holders and corruption in general. What the debt can finance If the N2tr debt profile is to be used for the rail project, the money will be enough to build four standard gauge rail lines across the country, the equivalent of the 386km Lagos -Ibadan modern rail project, which is being built at the cost of N568bn ($1.58bn.)

The debt is also enough to construct another standard rail gauge six-times that of 186-kilometer Abuja -Kaduna, constructed at N314.6bn ($874m). The total debt stock can also fund the 3,050MW Mambilla hydropower project, which includes the construction of four dams and 700 kilometres of transmission lines, awarded by the federal government at the cost of $5.792bn (N2.085tr) to a Chinese consortium.

What states can do over debts – Experts  On the way out of the debt debacle, Dr Usman said “I think any serious governor should not have a retinue of too many aides. Even if it makes political sense, it does not make financial sense because the cost will be overbearing,” he said. He said states need to harness their potentials in IGRs by overcoming the usual political considerations on policies bordering on increasing IGRs. “States need to actually put emphasis on internally generated revenues vigorous. They need to cut a lot of wastes in the way of project implementation, especially the cost of contracts,” he said. On his part, the CISLAC chief said there is a need for laws to restrict borrowings that are unjustifiable, not tied to capital projects and have no direct impact on human development.

Source: Daily Trust

CBN 5-Year Policy: Experts List Implications for Financial Market

Experts at the FSDH research have noted that with the implementation of Central Bank of Nigeria’s 5year agenda, more funds will be available to finance non-oil export-led sectors which will  create new businesses, reduce import dependency and grow foreign exchange earnings.

It will also ensure stable exchange rate and possibly cause the value of the currency to remain stable to appreciate, they added. The head of research, Ayodele Akinwunmi, disclosed this at the monthly Economic and Financial Market Report with journalist at the weekend.

The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) had released its policy thrust for the next five years with four key macroeconomic economic targets for 2019-2024: double-digit growth rate in the Gross Domestic Product (GDP), single-digit inflation rate,  foreign-exchange rate stability and accelerating employment rate.

In order to achieve the key targets, the CBN has the following five key priorities:  preserve domestic macroeconomic and financial stability,  create robust payment system infrastructure, work with the Deposit Money Banks to improve access to credit for smallholder farmers, Micro, Small & Medium Enterprises, (MSMEs) consumer credit and mortgage facilities for bank customers, grow external reserves and support efforts at diversifying the economy through intervention programmes in the agricultural and manufacturing sectors Akinwumi said: “We expect growth in non-oil exports from Nigeria and reduction in the cost of exporting goods from Nigeria, therefore making exportation more profitable than before.”

He also said there may be a reduction in the country’s import bill, a reduction in the cost of inputs for manufacturing companies and the development of agro-allied industries. He added that the CBN may propose moral suasion programmes and specific industry/product limit arrangements to channel bank loans towards agricultural and manufacturing sectors.

FSDH Research also expects an increase in the capital base of banks in Nigeria, which would enable the banking system support larger and better viable projects. However, other complementary fiscal measures must be implemented to ensure the success of this initiative.

“There may be mergers and acquisitions in the Nigerian financial industry. Some foreign players may come into the system. In the first few years of implementation, the Return on Equity (ROE) of banks may drop’’, he added. FSDH Research also expects the development of mortgage-backed securities in the market.

This will expand investment securities and trading opportunities in the financial market. More loans may also be channelled to the real estate sector of the economy, creating jobs and shared prosperity in that sector. Akinwumi said the monetary policy stance of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) favours a low interest rate regime in the short-term to the limit that the inflation rate and external reserves can accommodate, except there is any domestic or external shock.

He also disclosed that there may not be any major exchange rate depreciation or devaluation as long as the external reserves remains strong. “The external reserves will remain strong provided Nigeria is able to attract more foreign exchange earnings through Foreign Direct Investments (FDIs), sales of oil and non-oil products. The trigger for a possible depreciation or devaluation in the currency will be when the stock of external reserves is no longer enough to cover more than 6 months of imports.”

Source: dailytrust

FG may repeal Land Use Act for Ruga, SMBLF alleges

The Southern and Middle Belt Leaders Forum has said there is a surreptitious plan by the Federal Government to repeal the Land Use Act and take over the control of lands in the country from state governors.

This, it said, was to enable the government to subsequently implement the suspended Ruga project.

The forum said it gathered that the FG suspended the Ruga Settlement Programme due to the Act which restricted its access to land, adding that the government may move to repeal the law in order to facilitate the implementation of the Ruga grazing scheme.

SMBLF cautioned Southern lawmakers in the National Assembly to be vigilant and to guard against the introduction of any bill intended to repeal or amend the Land Use Act.

The forum said this in a statement in Abuja on Sunday by its co-spokespersons: Yinka Odumakin (South West), Prof. Chigozie Ogbu (South East), Senator Bassey Henshaw (South South), Dr. Isuwa Dogo (Middle Belt).

The group stated that it was not impressed by the suspension of the Ruga Settlement Project, which it declared as “an expansionist agenda on behalf of the Fulani nomads.”

The statement reads, “It is being alleged that there will be moves to repeal the Land Use Act in the (Ruga) suspension period so the Federal Government can have authority over land which is currently under the states.

“We therefore call on all our members in the National Assembly to be vigilant about any surreptitious bill that may be introduced to tamper with control of land and thwart such without any waste of time.

“The 2014 National Conference debated this issue at length and resolved to retain the Land Use Act in the Constitution.”

The forum further warned the lawmakers against passing the ‘Bill to establish a Regulatory Framework for the Water Resources Sector in Nigeria,’ sponsored by the executive, noting that it was meant to give the FG sole authority and control over the nation’s rivers and underground water.

The group added, “When this obnoxious Water Bill is taken alongside the Ruga programme and the speculated assault on Land Use Act, the internal colonialism agenda is complete and we would have no one but ourselves to blame if we don’t effect our no-pasaran (They shall not pass — a slogan used to express determination to defend a position against an enemy).

“It is pertinent to ask why the FG is not going ahead with Ruga in some northern states that have accepted the policy if the whole idea was not about land-grabbing in the South and Middle Belt states,” it said.

The political pressure group stated that the FG’s support for local government autonomy was hinged on the Ruga scheme to allow “aliens” to take over allotted land under the programme.

It vowed not to relax its opposition to the project, stressing that only outright cancellation of the initiative was acceptable to the forum.

“The whole policy has opened our eyes to the reason why the President has been harping on local government autonomy now and then,” the group stressed.

Source: Punch Ng

CBN Rolls Out Guidelines to Boost Bank Lending to Real Sector

…Banks to maintain minimum loan to deposit ratio of 60% …Defaulting banks’ CRR to rise by 50% of shortfall

The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) on Wednesday rolled out new guidelines to deposit money banks (DMBs) aimed at boosting bank lending to the real sector.

In a circular to all banks with reference number BSD/DIR/GEN/MDD/01/045, dated July 3, 2019 and signed by Ahmad Abdullahi, director, banking operations of the CBN, the apex bank required all DMBs to maintain a minimum Loan to Deposit Ratio (LDR) of 60 percent.

Loan to deposit ratio (LDR) is a ratio between a bank’s total loans and its total deposits. The ratio is generally expressed in percentage terms. If the ratio is lower than one, the bank relied on its own deposits to make loans to its customers without any outside borrowing.

The circular titled ‘Regulatory Measures to Improve Lending to the Real Sector of the Nigerian Economy’, as seen by BusinessDay, said “all DMBs are hereby required to maintain a minimum Loan to Deposit Ratio (LDR) of 60 percent by September 30, 2019”. It said the ratio “shall be subject to quarterly review”.

The CBN said these measures were intended “to ramp up growth of the Nigerian economy through investment in the real sector”.

“To encourage SMEs, retail, mortgage and consumer lending, these sectors shall be assigned a weight of 150 percent in computing the LDR for this purpose. The CBN shall provide a framework for classification of enterprises/businesses that fall under these categories,” it said.

The apex bank warned that failure to meet the stipulated minimum LDR by the specified date “shall result in a levy of additional Cash Reserve Requirement equal to 50 percent of the lending shortfall of the target LDR”.

Cash Reserve Ratio (CRR) is a specified minimum fraction of the total deposits of customers, which commercial banks have to hold as reserves either in cash or as deposits with the central bank. CRR is set according to the guidelines of the central bank of a country.

It added that the CBN would continue to review developments in the market with a view to facilitating greater investment in the real sector of the Nigerian economy.

It said the letter was “with immediate effect”.

The CBN has in recent times been somewhat desperate to increase lending to critical sectors of the Nigerian economy but analysts say an economy fraught with risks has tamed lending appetite.

Source: businessdayng

Private renters living in hazardous homes thanks to ‘weak regulations’, says Citizens Advice

Hundreds of thousands of tenants in England are living in hazardous homes with problems such mould or faulty fire alarms due to “weak and confusing” regulation, according to Citizens Advice.

The charity found that almost one in three tenants surveyed said their house did not have a carbon monoxide alarm despite requiring one. That equates to 900,000 homes across the UK.

Three-fifths of tenants identified disrepair in their home during the last two years that was not caused by them and that their landlord was responsible for fixing. One in six of those said the disrepair was a major threat to their health and safety.

Citizens Advice also polled landlords, finding widespread gaps in knowledge of their legal responsibilities to tenants.

A quarter of landlords failed to ensure that there was a smoke alarm on each floor of all of their properties.

Almost half (49 per cent) did not know they face a penalty of up to £5,000 for not checking smoke and carbon monoxide alarms are in working order on the first day of the tenancy. The same proportion didn’t know the penalty for not carrying out a gas safety check.

“Too many private renters live in hazardous homes – often with potentially fatal flaws,” said Gillian Guy, chief executive of Citizens Advice.

“Weak and confusing regulation means landlords can struggle to understand their legal obligations, while tenants find it hard to get problems in their homes resolved.

It suggests creating a home “MOT”, setting a “fit-and-proper-person” test for landlords and standardising rental contracts.

The government has made reforms in the private rented sector in recent years, such as laws to ensure all rented homes are fit to be lived in, banning most tenant fees, and proposed the abolition of “no-fault” section 21 evictions.

But Citizens Advice claims that renters still lack the power they need to ensure standards are consistent, and landlords and tenants lack the knowledge they need for standards to be upheld.

Polly Neate, chief executive of Shelter, said: “It is truly alarming that so many private renters are living in homes which aren’t up to scratch and compromise their safety. A safe home is a basic standard that every renter has the right to expect.

“It’s critical that every landlord is aware of their responsibilities and stays in step with the new Fitness for Human Habitation Act, which sets out standards to keep renters safe.

“But if landlords don’t follow these rules, renters should be armed with the power to challenge their poor behaviour.

“That’s why the government’s planned ban on no-fault evictions must become law as quickly as possible, so that private renters can speak up about safety concerns without living in fear of a revenge eviction.”

Buhari Signs FCT’s N243bn Budget

President Muhammadu Buhari has signed the N243.37 billion Federal Capital Territory Appropriation Bill 2019, into law.

The President’s Senior Special Assistant on National Assembly Matters (Senate), Sen. Ita Enang, disclosed this on Friday in Abuja.

Enang told State House correspondents that N130.7 billion of the amount is for capital expenditure while the remaining balance is for recurrent expenditure.

He said, “This amount is from the Statutory Revenue Allocation due to the Federal Capital Territory.

 

“This is in addition to the budgetary provision of N23,023,593,146 for capital expenditure made in the 2019 Budget earlier assented to by Mr President on May 27, 2019.’’

The presidential aide also disclosed that the president assented to bills for the establishment of two federal polytechnics in Nigeria.

He said the bills were signed “as part of his (President Buhari’s) desire to improve and expand admission opportunities for children in tertiary institutions in the country”.

He named the two polytechnics as the Federal Polytechnic, Kaltungo, Gombe State; and the Federal Polytechnic, Daura, Katsina State.

Enang added that “The law establishing the named polytechnics is standard with laws establishing other federal polytechnics in Nigeria’’.

(NAN)

Budget 2019: Sitharaman’s Sops to Push Affordable Housing, Housing Sales

The Finance Minister’s budget proposals, such as a model tenancy code, making government land available for affordable housing, interest exemption on affordable housing could give a big push to affordable housing and help developers who are hit by credit crunch.

“Lack of land availability and rental housing policy have been big bottlenecks for affordable housing.Both (freeing up land and establishing model tenancy code) will help push affordable housing,” said Ramesh Nair, chief executive at JLL, a property consultant.

Nair said that government could come out with tax incentives for developers doing rental housing.

“The new model tenancy, which is likely to be re-introduced, is expected to balance the rights and responsibilities of landlords and tenants and will make the rental market more efficient and streamlined across the country,” said Megha Maan, senior associate director, research at Colliers International India.

Experts added that the interest exemption upto Rs 3.5 lakh for affordable housing would help boost residential sales.

“Interest deduction up to Rs 3.5 lakh for affordable housing, as against Rs 2 lakh earlier, is available till March 31, 2020. This is expected to drive the much-needed urgency in sales and bring the fence-sitters back into the market within this financial year,” said Aashish Agarwal, senior director, valuation & advisory at Colliers International India.

Source: Business-standard

Budget 2019: Modi 2.0 Continues Push on Affordable Housing

Modi Government 2.0 has continued its push for affordable housing by increasing annual tax exemption on interest paid for self-occupied property from Rs 2 lakh to Rs 3.5 lakh besides making available land from public sector enterprises for construction of affordable homes.

The government will also bring in a model tenancy law to push utilisation of vacant houses in a country where real estate sales are moving at a sluggish pace due to high prices.

Pankaj Kapoor, MD and founder of real estate consultancy Liases Foras, said the increase in tax exemption for houses under the Rs 45 lakh bracket will push sales in the category which has 6.87 lakh unsold units over 50 cities and contributes 53 per cent of the total unsold inventory. “This measure will help in clearing up inventory and make houses affordable to customers,” Kapoor said.

“This is expected to drive the much-needed urgency in sales and bring the fence-sitters back into the market within this financial year,” Aashish Agarwal, Senior Director, Valuation and Advisory at Colliers International India.

Cumulatively, this will result in annual savings of nearly Rs 7 lakh for first time homebuyers. It will include Rs 3.5 lakh on interest, Rs 1.5 lakh tax exemption on principal and subsidy under the Prime Minister Awas Yojna (PMAY) where households with an annual income of up to Rs 18 lakh can avail Rs 2.3 lakh upfront subsidy.

“Already, the GST on affordable homes is only one per cent. The measure will collectively be a big driver for real estate,” Kapoor added.

Allowing the use of PSE (public sector enterprise) land for housing will also help bring down housing prices. “In the last 14 years, land prices have increased ten times. This has increased the cost for builders and pushed up sales price, making houses unaffordable,” Kapoor pointed out.

“The use of government’s land parcels for public infrastructure and affordable housing shall narrow the demand-supply gap,” Megha Maan, Senior Associate Director, Research at Colliers International India, said.

“Providing land from PSEs for affordable housing will help solve land acquisition problems and make prices more rational,” she added.

On rental housing too, the government continued the push created by the previous government, which had put forth a draft urban rental housing policy in October 2015. It was aimed at promoting public-private partnerships to accelerate rental housing and address shortage in urban areas.

As per the Census 2011, there are 11 million vacant houses in urban India. “A new tenancy law will bring this supply out in the market and put pressure on the already low rentals. There will be far reaching implications on over-priced housing inventory,” Kapoor said.

“The rental yield will go down further and put pressure on prices of builder inventory. Any model act will safeguard the interest of tenants and owners,” he added.

Maan said the new model tenancy law will balance the rights and responsibilities of both landlords and tenants. “It will make the rental market more efficient and streamlined across the country,” she added.

The government also said it will purchase pooled assets of financially sound NBFCs, amounting to Rs one lakh crore during the current financial year. The government will also provide one-time six months partial credit guarantee to public sector banks for first loss of up to 10 percent.

However, the measure is only applicable to financially strong NBFCs, making it difficult for those which are struggling to benefit from the proposal.

Sitharaman also said nearly 1.95 crore houses are proposed to be provided to eligible beneficiaries under the Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana (Grameen) in rural areas.  The completion of houses that required 314 days in 2015-16, has now come down to 114 days since 2017.

Since the PMAY (Urban) was launched in June 2015, construction has been started for 46 lakh houses out of which 26 lakh have been completed.

Source: Business-standard

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