“Artisans can now have pride in their skills”– Bldr. Opaluwah

The Vice Chairman, Council of Registered Builders of Nigeria (CORBON), Bldr. Samson Ameh Opaluwah has said that with the collaboration of N-Power, C-STEmp, CORBON and the Federal Government, artisans are now going to enjoy their pride of place in the society with the upcoming Construction Artisans Award.

Bldr Samson Opaluwah made this statement during a chat with HousingNews Correspondent earlier today.

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“from now henceforth skills of artisans will be rewarded and their importance in running the engine of the Nigerian economy will be identified.” He said.

The Construction Artisans Awards which is slated for the first quarter of 2019, he said, is platform aimed at showcasing and rewarding excellence and competence of artisans all across the federation.

“It is not a competition; however we want to see who is competent and who is skilled in a particular area and begin to reward them.” He said.

He added that the Construction Artisans Award was birthed due to the little importance given to technical education, in the area of acquisition of adequate requisite skills of artisans in the construction sector and the need to ginger youths to know that competence has value and acquiring skills is rewarded in the society.

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“No matter how educated, knowledgeable or proficient the engineer, architect, quantity surveyor and builders are, the person who translates the idea into reality is the artisan and if the artisan is not properly trained in his skill it becomes a major challenge because all the intellectual inputs cannot actually benefit the eventual development that is intended.

Bldr. Samson charged all artisans to raise their tools and utilize them maximally as the upcoming Construction Artisans Awards is aimed at showcasing their worth to the society and rewarding them for their enormous efforts in the physical actualization of ideas of professionals in the construction sector.

 

Wilson Ifeoma Nonye – HousingNews, Abuja

POSSIBLE SOLUTIONS TO UTILIZING CAPITAL MARKET DERIVATIVES IN HOUSING DELIVERY OF NIGERIA EMERGING MARKET

 

It is no doubt that capital market and it derivatives in housing delivery is still at its early stage of development in Nigeria and the current situation of the market is not encouraging to make it a favorable finance source for housing development at a scale and affordable rate.

It won’t be farfetched to note that so many challenges are hindering capital market derivatives from been used for housing finance and delivery in Nigeria ranging from policies to others factors and that awareness of the imperativeness and benefits of financing through the capital market is lacking even as this seem to be one of the major way to liberate people from their shackle of financial difficulty for real estate development, a synergetic effort between the market and developers is missing.

Housing supply in response to its demand remains a daunting challenge in Nigeria especially and finance has long been identified as one of the major issue hindering stocks delivery. Effective sources of housing finance are the only way to walk out of the cogwheel of this problem which the capital market seem to be a way out.

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WHAT IS THE WAY OUT?

(i) The capital market option should be considered by developers and investors in the housing market and be adequately explored since this can contribute over fifty percent of the required funds needed for housing delivery in any economy.

(ii) The capital market operators should channel funds into real estate development and investment to aid housing delivery in Nigeria.

(iii) A synergetic effort should be created between the capital market and real estate developers this will enhance effective housing delivery in Nigeria.

(iv) The policies of government on investment of capital market products and the condition required for borrowing should be made flexible and a bit liberal for real estate firms.

(v) An enabling environment also needs to be created for both the operators in the capitals market and the real estate developers to ensure optimum service delivery.

(vi) The real estate developers firms should also see it as a matter of importance to create or form alliance for them to be effective in their operation and to gain more recognition and trust as well as access to the capital market funds instead of the present finance sources.

(vii) An enlightenment programme is also required from the government and the capital market regulators on the available products/derivatives for housing finance in the market.

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CONCLUSION

The housing industry and the capital market should accept the reality that there exists symbiotic relationship between available finance for housing and housing stocks. Events over the years have shown significant positive relationship between capital market derivatives and housing delivery in Nigeria. It has also been a recognized fact that developers of real estate are not adequately exploring the capital market using their derivatives for effective, adequate and affordable housing delivery and it has been perceived that the Nigerian capital market seems to be losing out since the capital that is supposed to be invested in this laudable venture (real estate) is been tied down and used for other ventures that are not as profitable and secure as the housing project.

However, if the above suggestions are been headed to and proper ways of actualization are carefully mapped out, capital market derivatives will be an effective tool in housing delivery of Nigeria’s emerging market

Easy Ways to Spot a Rental Scam

If you have never fallen for a rental scam, then consider yourself lucky because they are still very popular in Nigeria and many unsuspecting people still fall for. As you must have guessed, victims of rental scam suffer financially and psychologically because apart of the clog it throws in a victim’s financial plans, it’s largely humiliating to lose money this way. Sadly, for most victims, this means they have to start planning all over again.

You don’t have to go through the horrid experience of falling for a rental scam before you understand how they work and how to avoid getting scammed when hunting for an apartment/property. Below are some tips from seasoned professionals on ways to spot a scam before it happens.

Apartment/Property Unavailable for Inspection

You should never forget the fact that shady agents and fake real estate practitioners are very intelligent and have successfully scammed several people like you. In other words, they are very convincing when dealing with potential tenants. One of the glaring signs to look out for is that before a rental scam, they make it difficult and literally impossible for you to inspect the property. Of course, they will come up with several excuses but the end goal is the same – They don’t want you to inspect the apartment/property.

The really smart ones will go as far as telling you that they are out of town, which means they are not physically available to arrange an inspection of the property for you. In most cases, he/she (scam agent) will ask you to hold on till he/she gets back. This is just a tactic they use to buy time.

Anyone who keeps you away from an apartment/property you intend to rent has rental scam written all over his/her intention. Don’t fall for this trick regardless of the excuse they come up with.

Urgency of Transaction

Be wary of any situation or scenario where you are put under pressure to make a financial commitment way too early. It is a red flag that gives a rental scam away. Professional agents know that they need to give you time to make a realistic decision on whether you want the property or not. Scam agents; also known as 419 agents in Nigeria are known to stage the rental process in such a way that it puts a lot of urgency on the financial transaction involved.

The biggest hook they throw at unsuspecting victims is that they have received lots of applications and offers from other potential tenants. The goal here is to lure you into making that financial commitment. Once that is done, you are hooked and what follows is merely a familiar plot to serve as the nail the coffin of deception that you have unknowingly walked into. Don’t fall for the line of showing your commitment by paying a deposit.

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Disrupting the Flow of Renting an Apartment

Money should never exchange hands at the beginning of your quest to rent an apartment/property. Instead, this should always happen towards the end.

Under normal circumstances, you should meet the agent, homeowner or verified representative in person. You also need to carry out a thorough inspection of the property before you make payment. Any excuse that places payment above other crucial stages of the property renting process should send your alarm bells off.

No property agent with good intentions asks for payment upfront regardless of how professional they might have come across before pulling that move. Do you know how to find a house to rent in Nigeria? It’s not difficult and you should never be afraid to ask questions.

The Rent is Too Good to be True

If what you are being asked to pay as rent is way cheaper than the value of what you should have been asked to pay, then seek the guidance of a real estate expert to know what the idea rent should be. If the figure still falls below what you should be paying for the apartment, then it is most likely a trap set to lure you in.

For instance, if a typical 2-bedroom apartment in Lekki costs a minimum of N1 million to rent yet an agent tells you he has one for N400,000, you should start asking questions.

Uncompleted Buildings

If you are ever shown an uncompleted building by an agent or developer who gives you reasons why you need to pay quickly to secure the apartment, this is a major red flag. Many unsuspecting individuals have lost their money to this scam and to make matters worse, they never got their money back.

In many cases, scam agents and developers are not afraid of getting arrested especially those who have a strong hold on the corrupt side of the Nigerian police. These agents go as far as allowing you to inspect the property/apartment even while construction is ongoing. The trick here is to show the same apartment to as many as 10 to 40 unsuspecting victims who pay for the same apartment without ever clashing because the rogue agent schedules their inspection for different days.

One way to avoid this is to work with a property lawyer or a real estate expert; whose years of experience can be relied on to avoid falling into such traps.

In March 2018, a Lagos court jailed an estate agent (also a self-proclaimed site engineer), Babatunde Habeeb. He was sentenced to 1,230 years imprisonment for scamming unsuspecting victims of N28 million.

The Application Form

The application form also gives many shady agents and scammers away. A typical application form should be thorough and the homeowner should not put you under any under pressure to complete the form. Remember that this form is the landlord’s way of ascertaining that you are the kind of tenant he/she wants.

Don’t lose sight of the fact that when you are trying to rent an apartment, you are not the only one being careful. The homeowner knows it is important to check you out to affirm that you will not end up a bad tenant.

On the application form, the homeowner tries to establish the kind of person you are, why you are leaving your previous residence as well as whether you will be able to pay your rent subsequently. Therefore, the less concerned the homeowner is about this part of the rental process, the more he/she tilts toward giving himself/herself away as an agent of a rental scam.

If your potential landlord/landlady does not care about your employment history or a reference from your previous landlord, then he/she is probably just in a hurry to swindle you.

Don’t Be Fooled By Photos

No matter how captivating the pictures of an apartment shown to you by a real estate agent is, it cannot replace an actual inspection. There are millions of images online that a scammer can easily download and present to you.

It’s okay to have images shown to you but don’t be naive enough to believe that once these are shown to you, everything checks out as being legitimate. In a situation where these images are emailed to you, you can verify their authenticity by uploading them on Google search to see if they pop up in a totally different listing.

No Written Lease

An agent looking to scam you will either be deliberately clumsy with the written lease or will not make it available to you. When renting an apartment, the only form of agreement you should take seriously is a written one and the reason is simple. A written agreement can always be used as a reference in cases of disagreement and clearly spells out details of what the lease covers.

It is important that the lease identifies who the property owner is. Anyone claiming to represent the interest of the legitimate owner of the home must have a legal document to back this.

In a situation where the property has more than one owner, you should request for a written confirmation from the other party. What this does is to communicate his acknowledgement of the ongoing rental process. Without the other party’s approval, the entire thing might be a sham.

No Meeting With the Owner

No excuse is good enough to justify not being able to have a meeting with the owner of a property before you rent his/her apartment. This meeting legitimises the rental. If you are renting any house, insist on seeing the documents of the ownership.

A popular trick used by con artists is to tell you that the necessary documents will be sent to you. This is one trap you should never fall for because no legitimate homeowner would refuse to show you the documents you have requested to see.

In a situation where the document is eventually shared with you but the name on it does not match the name of the person who claims to be the landlord, this should mark the end of your conversation.

The Subleasing Trap

Subleasing remains one of the riskiest waters to navigate and this is because you put yourself into a situation where you would be paying for an apartment that does not have your name in the original lease agreement that was signed.

Verifying the claim that the lease agreement leaves room for subleasing is another headache entirely. You should be careful not to make any financial commitment to such an arrangement. One safe way to go about this is to get the original tenant to include your name in the original lease agreement that was signed with the landlord.

Please note that if the sublease is forbidden in the lease agreement and you pay for the apartment without knowing this, both you and the original tenant can be ejected by the landlord.

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No Research

In the course of hunting for an apartment, you will be told a lot of things especially if you carry out due diligence and ask a lot of necessary questions. However, regardless of what you are told, it is important that you carve out time to carry out proper research. Google should be your friend at this point. Check the name of the agent as well as the landlord you have been introduced to.

The internet always remembers names and incidents that they have been associated with. For instance, what would you do if you discovered that your supposed landlord was arrested and jailed 10 years ago for collecting rent from 15 different prospective tenants for the same apartment? Would you still go ahead to sign a rental agreement?

Final Thoughts on Rental Scam

Always trust your instinct. If that inner voice or your gut tells you that there is something off about the agent or the property that is being presented to you, you’ll most likely be safer going with that hunch.

Some other things you can look out for that will help you avoid a rental scam include:

  • Don’t be moved by the galaxy of reasons the person might give for not being able to help you view/inspect the property
  • Restrict your search for an apartment/property to trusted real estate websites like Private Property and others that come to you via referrals from your friends and family
  • If the property is excessively cheaper than similar apartments within the same neighbourhood, it’s a good time to ask questions
  • Any real estate agent who is constantly impatient with you should also raise a red flag; especially one who tries to goad you toward making payment
  • No form of money should be paid until you carry out a thorough inspection of the property and you are satisfied with it

Private Property

What Will Lower Housing Prices?

In late 2017, Congress and the President wanted to make the $1.5 trillion plus cuts in corporate and other taxes not look so big. So they raised taxes for some people by drastically limiting the deductions for state and local property and income taxes (SALT), capping the deductability of mortgage interest, and increasing the standard deduction (which makes itemizing less valuable).

Of course, these tax hikes affect people with houses and mortgages, especially those living in states with high real estate and income taxes.  Before this change, they could write off those SALT taxes when they paid federal income tax. The National Association of Realtors (NAR) led the scare, predicting house values would generally fall, and especially in California, New York, Massachusetts, and New Jersey.

But housing prices generally have not fallen.  In the first half of 2018, the Federal Housing Finance Agency’s house price index rose by 3.8 percent.  Even in California, housing demand is strong.  The chief economist for the Relators  said, “We thought there would be some impact…but the market is saying, so far, there is not an impact.”

But don’t tax deductions affect housing values? Generally, economists would not expect the change in the tax deductibility to have a major impact on house prices because several other factors have larger effects on home values than government tax breaks. Of course, those tax breaks can be a factor in buying a home or willingness to bid up the price–they just aren’t the biggest factor.

Let’s look at the big picture. We might want to say good riddance to special deductions for owning a home. Mortgage deductions and other tax subsidies for home ownership may in fact be bad policy.  They tell society that the government wants you to own a single-family house. But home ownership could be bad for you financially and inefficient for the larger economy.  Not only is renting a perfectly decent decision but housing tax breaks may steer too much investment capital into housing debt and away from productive investments and diversified household portfolios.

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Harvard economist Edward Glaeser has argued that tax subsidies and related policies result in “the government…essentially bribing Americans to live in suburban, detached homes.”  And the 2007 financial and economic crash was caused in significant part by too much housing debt, especially for lower and middle income households.  That rise in debt, amplified significantly by risky Wall Street financial manipulation, ended up putting the entire economy at risk.

So why aren’t the loss of the SALT deductions for some taxpayers and the mortgage deduction cap suppressing housing prices?

First, the tax bill also contained a large increase in the standard deduction, which is a significant gain for most households.  Using the standard deduction means less itemizing overall, so the value of the mortgage and tax deductions fell for many taxpayers.  Relatively few taxpayers will be deducting their state and local property taxes so they are untouched–in fact, they are probably a bit better off.  So they may want to buy a house, pushing up demand and keeping prices high.  Only high tax payers in states with both high income and property taxes may feel a pinch from losing the SALT and mortgage deductions.

Second, housing prices are what economists describe as “sticky downwards.”  Homeowners are notoriously prone to overvalue their house and reluctant to lower the asking price until faced with continuing bad news – and, of course, no offers.

Third, buyers, especially higher-income consumers, are wealthier because of the legislation’s other windfall tax breaks, especially lower rates. And they feel wealthier because of the run-up in the stock market.  The psychological effect of both may be bidding up the price of the better houses they want to buy.

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Does this mean we shouldn’t worry about house prices?  No.  Prices could fall as the Federal Reserve continues to raise interest rates, although some fear that could tip the economy into recession which of course would lower house prices.  And there are some signs of weakness in housing markets.  For example, new private housing starts have barely reached the levels of just before the 2007 economic collapse.  There seems to be some slowing of price increases in places where the tax bill has its largest negative impacts. And slow income growth for many American households means that buying a house is moving beyond their reach.  A recent report concluded that in twenty large metropolitan areas, middle-class families are increasingly unable to afford a house.

Like many other aspects of today’s economy, we may see housing prices favoring the rich over the middle class and below. House prices for higher income families may be rising, which might in turn nudge more and more middle-class families with stagnant incomes out of the housing market and also put upward pressure on rents.  If that megatrend continues, it may swamp whatever effects the tax legislation is having and housing prices will fall.

Teresa Ghilarducci

A new U.S. city tops the list as hottest housing market

Las Vegas is the hottest housing market in the country.

The monthly Case-Shiller home price index released on Tuesday showed Las Vegas overtook Seattle to become the hottest housing market in the nation.

Las Vegas had a 13 percent increase in single-family home prices in June compared to last year.

“Population and employment growth often drive homes prices,” David M. Blitzer, managing director and chairman of the Index Committee at S&P Dow Jones Indices, said in a release. “Las Vegas is among the fastest growing U.S. cities based on both employment and population, with its unemployment rate dropping below the national average in the last year.”

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Seattle, which was dethroned, saw a 12.8 percent increase, according to The Seattle Times.

“The Case-Shiller numbers don’t reflect the full scope of the slowdown yet: Partially because it includes a three-month moving average through June (things have cooled even more since then), and also because it reflects the entire metro area,” according to The Seattle Times.

Meanwhile, San Francisco, which landed as the third-highest price gain, saw a 10.7 percent increase, according to King5 News.

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Before the recent turn of events, Seattle topped the country for 21 months straight, which was the second-longest streak in the report’s 31-year history.

Portland, Oregon, topped the list for 23 months in the early ‘90s.

Herb Scribner

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OGUNDELE: Agege boy who became one of Nigeria’s youngest billionaires

 In a society with limited opportunities  especially for  youths, he was terrified by the fear of poverty early in life. In Agege, a Lagos suburb, where he grew up, he converted  his  apprehension to a motivation  which eventually became his saving grace.  Education and creativity were vital  in elevating  Mr. Sijibomi Ogundele to the position of  Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer of a multi-billion naira real estate firm, Sujimoto Construction. The firm built the tallest residential building, Lorenzo, in Lagos. His wealth and fame at a relatively young age, have been adjudged  an inspiration.  Ogundele, who is regarded as one of Nigeria’s youngest billionaires, is rated a brave young entrepreneur  by  Forbes Africa.

In the beginning

While growing up on the streets of Agege, the fear of poverty was my greatest motivation. Out of the 47 houses on our street, only two people owned a power generating set. This taught me a great lesson that for wealth to be generated, my environment and the people I surround myself with, need to change. At the tender age of 9, I started visiting Ikoyi with the mindset  that someday, I would also live there. Today, that dream has become reality. I became a billionaire at a young age because I prepared myself for it. It required hardwork and a strong conviction that I was chosen and ordained by God. This is the basis of  my confidence which motivates  me to  dream bigger than my environment.

Passion for entrepreneurship

I speak English, French, Spanish, Yoruba, and Hausa. It will interest you to know that I have a working knowledge of Japanese and Arabic languages. From childhood, I developed a passion for entrepreneurship. That’s been my only passion to date. I was first introduced to business at a tender age in Africa’s largest market, Oke-Arin. Out of curiosity, I  followed my mother to the market where I learned every aspect of trading. That’s why I’m not surprised  I’m the Managing Director and Chairman of Sujimoto. We usually say  Sujimoto is to architecture what Picasso was to art. We are a dynamic and innovative luxury real estate firm. Our major mission is to revolutionize the luxury real estate sector.

Fear of poverty

The fear of poverty brought me this far in life. As a builder, the foundation for me was very crucial because a man’s foundation gives him a glimpse into his future. Without my childhood experiences, I wouldn’t be where I am today. It didn’t only  make me resilient, it was a strong  pillar. I have zero tolerance for failure and I believe that a man  who lives in an apartment in Ikorodu today, can own a house in Ikoyi tomorrow. Success is all about choices we make and our priorities. I’m  quite  fortunate to have won the ovarian lottery of my mother; a woman who at the age of nine was sent to Cameroon as a sales girl. Today, against all odds, she’s  among the biggest distributors for Nestlé Nigeria Plc. She inspired me to be who and what  I am today. She taught me the importance of having a great vision and working persistently towards making it a reality.

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Foundations of my success

I found wealth by reading books. My first introduction to entrepreneurship was when I read Think and Grow Rich by Napoleon Hill. Ten years in any university could never have given me what I learned in 10 days. This changed my life forever. I understood two things. The first is to look for a product. The second one is to create a competitive advantage. Also, customers should always come first. These principles are the foundations of my success.

My first major break I ventured into the luxury real estate sector at a time when Nigerians were beginning to demand value for their money. My vision was simple: to redefine luxury living by exceeding all expectations. My simple philosophy was to create sugar, after which ants will come. I have been doing real estate since 1998 when I lived in the South of France as a common agent with no license.

Back then, I brokered a lot of deals in project management and financing but my first major break was in 2011 when I bought an apartment in Paris and decided to remodel it. My friends thought I was crazy and ostentatious but after I was done renovating, I sold it in less than two months to a friend from Qatar for double the price. This investment flip in such a short time re-ignited my interest in real estate and changed my career path forever. Before moving back to Nigeria, I visited my aunt who bought a house on Banana Island.

After paying so much for the house, I still had to help her redesign the kitchen, change the doors, tiles and other things. It was very exerting and frustrating considering the fact that one would expect a house of that magnitude and price to have quality accessories and interiors.When I decided to return to Nigeria in 2014, I had the vision to liberate the Nigerian luxury real estate market and bring true value to customers, who were not only tired of architectural mediocrity but also frustrated by value depreciation. I ventured  into the luxury real estate sector at a time when Nigerians were beginning to demand quality and value for their money.

They had been at the mercy of mediocre developers who  refused to raise the bar in terms of quality but demanded ridiculous prices, because they thought the customer didn’t know better.The market was littered with substandard structures, going for exorbitant prices. All I did was to create sugar by offering  world-class service with  superb finishing of international standard at reasonable prices. The game changed and  today, most of the so-called top developers are using Sujimoto as a case study. Many have copied our designs and tried to emulate our marketing strategy.

Potentials and talents

My desire to create a platform that inspires the next generation made us to organise a mentorship platform. It was to inspire young talents and send a message to the nation that our major asset is our human capital. The Sujimoto one-day internship and mentoring programme is a lifetime project  and it’s  objective is  empowering young aspiring entrepreneurs with business skills, advisory, mentorship and financial support. Young Nigerian students between the ages of  12 and  22 were specially selected from different institutions from all over Nigeria to participate. This event is about inspiration.Without the right mentorship, people might miss the road to their destinies.

That’s why we have different people from different industries, who share their stories with young people and encourage them to pursue their dreams. Youths need to know that their location has nothing to do with their destination. The project is for youths for now. Nigeria  has a  tendency  of  discouraging people from achieving their potentials with their talents.  We want our brand to  empower  youths and help them achieve their potentials. A short message can transform a mindset, just the way a piece of advice can change a life.

Accepting failure

Mentoring assures people that there’s someone who cares about them, assures them that they are not alone in dealing with day-to-day challenges and makes them feel  they matter. Ultimately, mentoring connects an individual to personal growth and development, social and economic opportunities. Sadly, one-in-three young people will grow up without this crucial asset.Anyone aspiring to be great should not accept failure. When failure happens, people should rather be strong and learn from it. Nobody succeeds without challenging himself. I want to encourage young people in this country to read books, because a widely read person is an asset any day. Being creative should not be ignored as well as associating with the right people.

Biggest challenge in life

I dreamed of developing what I can call the biggest project in my life; which is the tallest residential building in Sub-Sahara Africa estimated to cost $90 million. I invested all my money, time and passion into it because believed in it. Sadly, our economy crashed and things became rough. Sometimes, life snatches peoples’ dreams away, making everything around them appear impossible. At that point, some people told me that real estate is a difficult sector.

They said it was better I abandoned my passion and do something else. I visited a friend’s water factory in Abeokuta and thought about venturing into the pure-water business. Not satisfied with that, I was at Ijebu Igbo and visited some farms because farming looked promising.

Confused and devastated

A friend, whom I lent about $2 million defaulted.  I contemplated selling all I owned and move to New York City. At that point, I had spoken to a successful Nigerian actor, who relocated to Atlanta because of the recession in the country. He assured me that I could access credit through a flexible banking system. I was confused and devastated, but I kept the words of Napoléon Hills on replay in my head. I remembered that my condition at the time should not determine my destination.

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However, I knew that running away wasn’t the definition of the Motomatics Philosophy I had created. The Sujimoto I know wasn’t a runaway loser, neither is it a brand that lacked focus. I developed courage and refocused my life. I revisited my options and created Guilliano, the son of Lorenzo, the grandson of Cosimo the Medici. I conceptualised, planned and executed the project, even though I didn’t have all the money.  It was the most inspiring, most difficult and most challenging time for me. I am thankful I didn’t give up. I have remained focused in pursuing that dream and making  it come true. In 10 years from now, we want to see beneficiaries of the foundation come back to testify to how the organisation has changed their lives and also contribute to the moral and educational development of others. I want to see the foundation develop into a life-changing institution and a model in the humanitarian circle. Recently, professionals cautioned that the scope of the foundation is too broad. We were advised to focus on education, empowerment and community development.

Life of contentment

We must begin to address  challenges in the education sector in a strategic manner. When an individual is educated, many generations would automatically be liberated through him. That’s because the level of reasoning and the worldview of an educated individual are remarkably different from others. Through lawmaking, we can reform the education system and make it more result-oriented. Through lawmaking, we can bring hope to millions of people through education. The liberation of every society starts with education. To achieve this, we must live a life of contentment. We live flamboyant lifestyles that we do not have the capacity to sustain whereas crucial needs like education suffer. We cannot develop if we continue like that. This is why I invest so much in education.

Every year, I distribute thousands of exercise books to schools. When I was in primary two, I could not afford exercise books. Whenever I remember my experience, I acknowledge the deprivation some pupils go through and how useful I could be to them. That’s why I have been actively involved in the empowerment of  youths and women. To reach a larger percentage of these groups, we need to put in place robust institutional frameworks that are supportive of the society we want to build.

I think the society we want, should be progressive, developmental and wealth-creating. Young men and women die daily of ailments that could be cured by common medical solutions. Children, who are willing to learn do not have the basic facilities required for descent learning. If we cannot begin to think of how to address these challenges, it means we have lost the essence of humanity. We must create an environment that’s conducive for  education and healthy living.

Charles Kumolu

Workers spared housing levy MPs reject Treasury’s proposal

Workers have been spared a pay cut of up to Sh5,000 after MPs shot down a Treasury’s proposal to create a fund to finance a new low-cost housing fund.

The Treasury had set the low-cost housing deduction at 0.5 per cent of the gross pay per month as long as the contribution does not exceed Sh5,000.

Employers were to match the employees’ contribution.

The MPs said the move would cause significant cost burden to companies while hurting workers.

The State Department of Housing announced two months ago that it was finalising regulations to operationalise the housing development fund, whose finer details are yet to be released.

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This was the first time that the Housing ministry was establishing the fund that had been lying dormant under the Housing Act for decades.

Its implementation meant an employee earning Sh100,000 would contribute Sh500 every month to the fund – up to the maximum Sh5,000 for those earning Sh1 million and above.

The creation of the fund was meant to help the government realise the goal of delivering half a million affordable housing units in five years.

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However, the provision faced hostility from unions and employers who consider the tax burden already too heavy on them.

Four pillars

Affordable housing is one of the four pillars of President Uhuru Kenyatta’s agenda for the next four years.

Treasury defended introduction of yet another payroll levy on people in formal employment, who are already burdened by multiple levies, saying that it would help the government realise the goal of affordable housing.

The Finance Bill has also introduced amendments to the Central Bank of Kenya Act to include regulation of mortgage refinance companies.

The move paves the way for the establishment of state-backed Kenya Mortgage Refinancing Company meant to address the demand side of the housing market by offering liquidity to the mortgage industry.

Treasury did not offer details on how the fund will be managed.

Business Daily

Record London Rents Lure Overseas Landlords to Housing Market

The U.K.’s struggle to secure a favorable Brexit deal may be giving Prime Minister Theresa May a headache, but it’s making London’s battered buy-to-let market attractive overseas again.

Foreign-based landlords owned 12 percent of the homes rented out in the capital at the end of the first half, up from 7 percent last year, according to Hamptons International, which measured a subset of the London’s housing market. A falling pound has made it cheaper for overseas investors to buy homes using their local currencies, and many have been lured by a red-hot rental market that’s still at record levels because of tenant demand.

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“I was convinced rents would drop as people fled the U.K. after the Brexit vote — in fact, everyone was expecting Armageddon,” said Agus Marcos Blanco, a 39-year-old pharmacist in Barcelona, who shelved plans to purchase a London property immediately after the June 2016 vote to leave the European Union. Now, with rents having stayed buoyant, he’s looking for a buy-to-let investment in the U.K. capital.

The jump in foreign interest is a boon for London’s real estate market, where property values have cooled in recent months as many domestic buyers are priced out. This, together with a series of tax changes has sent sales down to levels not seen since the financial crisis and threatened a market that’s the preferred way of investing for many Britons.

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The imbalance between supply and demand in London has pushed average rents to 1,615 pounds ($2,100) a month, according to Homelet, the U.K.’s largest tenant referencing company. That’s the highest since it began collating the data in 2011 and 72 percent above the country-wide average of 937 pounds per month.

Juan Guerrero, head of foreign-exchange trading at Banca March SA in Madrid, estimates the pound could bounce back as much as 15 percent against the euro if the U.K. negotiates a successful EU divorce deal. A home worth the London average of 483,000 pounds costs a European buyer 537,500 euros at the current exchange rate, and would be worth around 70,000 euros more after such a rebound.

Yet it’s not an entirely rosy picture for foreign landlords. By some measures, growth in the rental market has cooled. And while the pound has rallied in recent days as the prospect of a no-deal Brexit was seen to have diminished, some forecasts have the U.K. currency sliding toward levels versus the euro last seen in 2009. That would mean rental returns would be worth less when converted back to a landlord’s own currency.

Marcos Blanco, who has bid an undisclosed amount for a two-bedroom apartment in Bow, East London, is undeterred by the prospect of a further drop in sterling. “I think all the negative news has been factored in, and the only way is up,” he said. “Time will tell.”

Sharon R Smyth

 

Commissioning 200 Housing Units for IDPs in North East – Dangote Foundation

 

In another rare gesture from a private sector operator to help government in the rehabilitation of Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) in parts of the insurgency ravaged areas in the North East, the Aliko Dangote Foundation has concluded preparation to commission a multi-billion naira housing estate

The commissioning of the 200 housing units for IDPs in Borno according to the CEO of Aliko Dangote Foundation, Zouera Youssoufou is coming even as the Foundation has also completed the construction of a state-of-the-art hostel in Ahmadu Bello University Zaria.

The 10 block of hostel has the capacity to accommodate 1,440 students conveniently.

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Youssoufou who made the disclosure at an event in Maiduguri, Borno state stated that the housing units is one of the many critical interventions the Foundation had mapped out for execution in the North Eastern part of Nigeria to restore life to the area and help IDPs live a normal life again.

Governor Kashim Shettima of Borno State while reacting to this development said Dangote is the single largest benefactor of the IDPs after the Federal and state governments.

The Governor stated tha Dangote’s contribution does not only stop at feeding and clothing the IDPs which he has been doing over the years, it also stretches to resettling and rehabilitating them, a feat no other private organization has been able to match.

Just recently the Aliko Dangote Foundation flagged off its 2018 Ramadan Food distribution in the state with the distribution of food items worth N150 million to some 200 households from Dalori Community in the state. The items include: Rice, Sugar, Salt, Spaghetti, Semolina, Wheat Meal, Maize and Millet.

On the 10 blocks of hostel constructed for the ABU, the Group Executive Director, Stakeholders Management and Corporate Communication of the Dangote Group, Engr. Ahmed Mansur, said the Alhaji Aliko Dangote, the Chairman of the Foundation was not resting on his oars, as he plans to up his stakes in the act of philanthropy.

Engr. Mansur said no date has yet been fixed for the commissioning of the newly built 10-blocks of hostel and that they have and would
continue to contribute enormously to the educational sector in Nigeria.

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He quoted Dangote as saying that Dangote Group had spent well over N4 billion in building classrooms, scholarship programmes and upgrading infrastructure across various University among others.

“We have just recently commissioned the Dangote Business School in Kano, the only Business School in Nigeria that is well equipped. We will also be commissioning similar projects in University of Ibadan, we have done quite a lot in the education system and we are looking to do more.

“Investing in the young people to us means, we are all working together to build a better Nigeria. In equipping Nigeria youths and prepare them for the 21st century challenges, we established the Dangote Academy in Kogi State, which provide specialized training and management skills for the youths particularly considering the large man power needed in the manufacturing industries,” he said.

He added: “Our ultimate goal is to promote rapid industrialization of Nigeria, using our own local talents.”

National President of the Ahmadu Bello University Alumni Association, Professor Ahmed Tijani Mora who expressed gratitude for the students’ accommodation further described the President of the Dangote Group Aliko Dangote as a ‘dedicated philanthropist.’

He said the intervention by the Foundation was crucial and timely as the University’s infrastructure was already overstretched.

It would be recalled that only recently, the Foundation donated a well-equipped secondary school valued at N120 million in Lagos.

The Foundation donated a World Class Business School worth N1.2bn to the Bayero University Kano, while building another one in the University of Ibadan, which is due for commissioning too.

Funding was also provided for the construction of a 500 capacity student hostel complex of the University of Science and Technology, Wudil in Kano.

The Aliko Dangote Foundation has instituted several scholarship schemes in its business units across Nigeria. Only last week, the Foundation donated 150 fully equipped patrol cars to the Nigeria Police to aid in combating crimes.

Mr. Dangote had said that the motivation behind his public spirit gesture was because he does not only want to be “known as the Africa’s Richest Man, but the biggest African philanthropist. I will continue to use my resources and my voice to help shape a better Nigeria, and Africa as a whole.”

Victor Okeh

Family Homes Fund drives affordable housing with 500,000 Houses

 

Family Homes Funds, the largest affordable housing focused fund in sub-Saharan Africa – a collaborative fund chartered by the Federal Ministry of Finance Inc and the Nigerian Sovereign Investment Authority, has launched a recruitment campaign through international recruitment firm, Price WaterHouse Coopers. Boasting a projected capital base of N1 trillion by 2023, the primary objective of the fund is to facilitate access to affordable housing for millions of Nigerians within the low to medium income bracket.

At the core of this incandescent partnership is the visionary objective to support the delivery of over 500,000 homes, parallely fulfilling an underlying 1.5 million jobs creation target. Hence, the launch of an extensive recruitment campaign designed to secure high cadre human capacity to ensure optimum quality and on-schedule delivery of the affordable housing programme, one of the critical areas of the social intervention programme activated by the Nigerian Government.

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Family Homes Funds has taken proactive steps to meeting its affordable homes target by delivering 400 housing units in Grand Luvu, Nasarawa state at a competitive rate of N3.5million only; a major partnership milestone which satisfies 10% of homes presently under construction across Ogun, Kano, Delta, Nasarawa and Kaduna states. In addition, the fund is in concluding parts of negotiation talks with development partners to kickoff construction of 30,000 homes by November.

The fund envisages human capacity gaps in tandem with construction growth, imperative to fulfilling an earmarked 8000 homes by December 2018. With over 13,000 created jobs through concurrent constructions and an estimated 360,000 more in the coming year, the project has met with success at its infantile stage.

The Grand Luvu project, a supplier of 8000 of these jobs has seen the employment of graduates like Kabiru Usman, a 26 year old who was engaged in training within the construction value chain guaranteeing him sustainable income to support a young family. Unskilled and unemployed youth like Hassan have not been left out, receiving inclusive training and employment in masonry, emerging from chronic socioeconomic dependency on his extended family.

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The Millennium City project in Kaduna directly accounts for the employment of 200 artisans including carpenters, bricklayers, masons, iron benders, electricians etc. Unemployed youth like Abu Imitaz, a graduate of accounting from Kaduna Polytechnic secured a job as site accountant while Yusuf Ishaq an unemployed bricklayer has a stable source of income at the Kaduna construction.

The Family Homes Funds which spent 9 months on the drawing board to enable a solid foundation for success, aspires to create affordable homes for low income earners while ensuring its investments provide opportunities for this demography to consistently earn decent wages. It is poised to achieve these objectives through strategic partnerships with various players in the sector and a crop of reliable Development Finance Institutions.

Koko Ombu, HousingNews, Abuja

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