United Wholesale CEO: Freddie Mac just made mortgage lending a better deal for borrowers

Also, PIWs are now called Appraisal Waivers

Both Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae are leading the charge to improve mortgage lending in the wake of the rising interest rate environment, according to the latest video “3 Points with Mat Ishbia,” the CEO of United Wholesale Mortgage.

Some of the latest updates are big (Freddie Mac) and some are small (Fannie Mae). But both mean more opportunity for mortgage brokers.

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According to Ishbia, Freddie Mac made 3 major changes to its mortgage lending landscape — that is its requirements for loans its willing to bundle into the secondary market. For example, regular student loan payments can now be considered as a credit to the borrower. Plus there are ways to get more cash back for your refinance clients.

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Second, Ishbia discusses briefly the latest updates to Fannie Mae’s Desktop Underwriter and Day One Certainty. Spoiler: the website is more user friendly and PIWs are now called Appraisal Waivers.

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Third, it’s true that mortgage rates are on the rise, and are expected to keep going that way for some time. But don’t despair.

Ishbia asks and answers: “Does that mean there will be no refinance opportunities for you?… no, there’s opportunity out there for you,” he says, citing several instances where the current mortgage environment can be effectively marketed by loan brokers.

Jacob Gaffney

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

Flood dampens property markets in eight states

Property owners trying to sell their properties in flood-hit parts of the country are yielding to pressure to drop prices as demands for homes in some of the affected locations have reduced drastically, The Guardian investigation has revealed.After weeks of flooding in major cities, especially in eight states, some houses have been submerged in water, forcing the occupiers and tenants to vacate the areas.

The flood affected residential /commercial properties and the residents in general. The situation also made investors in the low-income side of the market to shy away from areas classified as major risks zones.

While some tenants left their houses, some property owners have lowered rents to woo new tenants while properties earlier offered for sale have began to appear on the market, with values reduced.

While flood events in low-risk corridors had no impact on property prices and residents, those in high-risk locations like; Victoria Island, Lekki and Ikoyi in Lagos and states like, Kogi, Niger and Anambra, among others, were negatively affected.

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This is evidenced in low property investment as a result weakened investors’ confidence in the affected locations according to operators.

In Niger state for instance about 100-houses were submerged by flood about two weeks ago in Zungeru area with about 7,000 residents displaced as a result of the incident.

The Nigerian Meteorological Agency had earlier in the year urged state governments to take pro-active action against floods disaster but nothing could be done to mitigate the challenge.

The agency predicted floods in; Kogi, Niger, Cross-River, Benue, Anambra, Delta, Anambra, Ogun-Osun, and Yobe states with high risks of river flooding.

It also indicated that Lagos, Bayelsa, Rivers, Delta, Ondo states among others, may likely experience coastal flooding as well as contributes significantly to incidences of collapse buildings.

The Kogi State Chairman of the Nigerian Institution of Estate Surveyors and Valuers (NIESV) Ramatu Omale said the situation has impacted on real estate transaction, especially in locations where the commoners live.

She explained that because of floods, they had to park out of their place of residence to areas, which they didn’t expect.

“This has caused a drop in affected flood location and a rise in rents in new communities where people are moving into because of the pressure on the available properties. People had to move from their original places to new places. Some people were capitalizing on that to increase rents in new location”.

According to her, in locations where a one-bedroom flat used to be N80, 000 before the flood, rents were reduced by 20 per cent.

She said, “Two-bedroom flat that used to be about N240, 000 was reduced to N200, 000 andwhich is about 40per cent decrease.

There was no pressure on the luxury side of the real estate in the state because most of the people that were affected are the low income earning Nigerians and so they don’t have the choice of going to highbrow areas like the Government Reserved Area (GRA)”.

Omale stated that the flood also weakened investors’ confidence in locations such as, Kabawa, Adankolo and Ganaja among others, which were specifically riverine areas of Kogi State.

“Sometimes, investors unknowingly preferred having their properties facing the river side to overview the river especially for hoteliers and some other commercial concerns but when the flood came up, everybody began to have another thought about development along those corridors because they don’t pray for a situation whereby their investment would end up in ruins and wastes.

Those who were developing properties for the low-income earners in the axis had to stop on their decision and relocate their investment to other weather friendly locations”.

She said that there are few areas where the state government has started building embankment and the locations were originally high flood prone locations despite building the embankments, she disclosed that the locations were so flooded this year.

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His Niger State counterpart, Dr. Kemiki Adebowale told The Guardian that this year was the first in about 10years when the state witnessed such high level of floods where people’s houses were destroyed.

He said people that have been displaced are now looking for accommodation elsewhere stressing that this has opened way for housing development in nearby communities.

Adebowale said; “Housing prices in affected communities were going down while in other communities where people are moving into, prices were going up as
vacant accommodations that were not going for rent before is been redeveloped by the owners just to look good for rent.

“In those communities particularly in Zungeru, nobody wants to live there because the entire place has been submerged and the location currently has zero property value as at today”.

According to him, floods event have served, as an indication that would be investors in property market should be careful on the kinds of terrains they build properties.

“Now the eyes of housing investors have been opened to the need to identify flood prone locations when considering investing especially with about 100 houses destroyed by flood in Kogi state.

Investors now delight in Abuja outskirts

 

Buoyed by the high cost of rentals in Abuja, the Federal Capital territory, which has slowed down returns, investors in the real estate sector have shifted their focuses to the outskirts for ease of sales and returns.

The outskirts has thus become a new mecca for developers resulting to new developments in these areas with no fewer than fourteen locations identified as the most fast developing areas.

The areas so identified by players are: Karu, Kuje, Old Nyanya, Kubwa, Gwagwalada, Lugbe, Lokogoma, Kiyami, Kasanna, Wumba, Duboyi, Waru,Apo/Dutse District.

The Guardian investigations revealed that these locations have become a construction hub as property developers, and estate surveyors and valuers are seen at sites constructing mass housing units.

Although, these areas, are noted for huge traffic in the morning period and close of work in the evening, they however have some positives as they boost of cluster of social, educational, commercial and public institutions springing up daily.

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Before now it takes about 15 to 20 minutes drive from these districts to these areas but the shift has resulted to heavy traffic build ups in the morning and evening.

Explaining the shift, Site Supervisor of Abuja Property Development Company (APDC), Suleiman Saidu, the outskirts are particularly attractive to servants cannot afford rental fees in Abuja city, hence their preference to the suburbs.

He explained that a one bedroom apartment rent goes between N300, 000 and N350, 000; N650, 000 to N700, 000 for two bedroom bungalow, while 3 bedroom apartment goes for N800, 000 to N950, 000 per annum.

“So, APDC is constructing 1,000 housing units in Dei-Dei axis, a suburb of the capital city.

Managing Director, Queenville Real Estate Group, Princess Eno Essien affirmed the existence of massive housing estates in Orozo,Jikwuyi,Karishi axis.

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She added that standard properties are being developed in the outskirts of Abuja, and their prices are affordable for low-income earners, adding that workers are making use of it.

According to her, government approved Zero equity contribution for housing loans below N5 million, stressing that as citizens, we are entitled to housing loan to get houses.

An estate surveyor and Valuer, Eric Okafor, argued that public servants who have access to bank mortgage facility have resorted to new districts for the purchase of houses.

He also added that those who ordinarily wouldn’t want to leave the city centre, would be left with no option than to relocate to the new area where cost of living is cheap.

Okafor maintained that houses are really on the increase, and rents are low as well as outright purchase of the properties in suburb adding, prospective buyer have choices to make there.

He argued, some public servants who access to mortgage facility resort to the new areas to build houses, adding, those who wouldn’t want to leave the city centre, now left with no option than to relocate to the new districts.

‘There are no road networks in the districts as per the massive housing estates.

The FCDA can only provide roads leading the entrance of the place, while developers or, allottees have to do the remaining road network in their domain.”

However, a prospective tenant must have to cough out N500,000 for one bedroom; N700,000 for two bedroom M1 million for three bedroom, while 4bedroom duplex goes for N1.5million per annum.

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Ferdinard Enyi is a House Agent, said in Wumba for example, price tag for one bedroom is N450, 000; two bedroom N600, 000; three bedroom N800, 000.

“Similarly, in Kiyami one bedroom goes for N400, 000; two bedroom N550, 000,and three Bedrooms is up to N650,000 per annum.”

However, buying houses in the districts vary in amount depending on the bargaining power of the buyers and property owners. At time, there are cases of ‘special purchase’

In Lokogoma district, for example, one bedroom sells for N8million; two bedroom flat cost N15million; three bedroom is N22million and four bedroom duplex goes for N30 million.

These prices depend on whether one buys from the allocating authority or from the third party.

Cornelius Essen

Using mortgage finance to tackle housing deficit

 

The housing sector is one of the indices for measuring the standard of living of people across societies.

It also plays a more critical role in a country’s welfare than is always recognised, as it directly affects not only the well-being of the citizenry, but also the performance of other sectors of the economy.

Consequently, governments designed mortgage finance to enhance its adequate delivery as housing provision requires huge capital outlay, which is often beyond the capacity of the medium income/low income earners.

Despite its recognized economic and social importance, housing finance often remains underdeveloped.

The low levels of lending reflect the small numbers who can afford mortgages because of the high cost of houses in relation to incomes.

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It also includes the perceptions of risk that are based on, amongst other things, the informal nature of most title deeds and property.

The National Housing Policy of 1991 created a two-tier housing finance structure with Primary Mortgage Banks (PMBs) at the first tier and the Federal Mortgage Bank of Nigeria (FMBN), the supervisor and regulator, at the second tier.

The Mortgage Institutions Act (No. 53 of 1989) prescribed the regulatory/supervisory framework for the establishment and operation of Primary Mortgage Banks (PMBs).

Later, the Banks and other Financial Institutions Act of 1991, “BOFIA”, as amended, transferred the licensing, supervision and regulation of PMBs and FMBN to the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN).

Under the process, the PMBs are to mobilise funds for their lending operations.

Some of such loans (mortgages) can be off-loaded to the Federal Mortgage Bank of Nigeria to sustain continuous liquidity in the National Housing Fund (NHF) Scheme.

This flow has unfortunately been constrained by the provisions of the Land Use Act, which restricts access to legal title to land.

To encourage the penetration of the mortgage finance and homeownership, the National Housing Fund Law (Act No.3 of 1992) was promulgated to create an alternative and continuous flow of funds from which loans could be granted to contributors on affordable repayment terms.

The law stipulates compulsory contributions of two and a half per cent (2.5per cent) of basic salary by employees earning N3, 000.00 or above in the public and private sectors, which attracts attract yearly interest at compound rates, refundable to contributors on attainment of 60 years of age or on retirement from employment after 35 years of service.

The loan attracts a fixed interest rate of not more than six per cent and repayment is for a maximum period of 30 years while maximum amount loanable is N15 million.

In its strategic move designed to make homeownership more accessible and affordable for Nigerian workers, FMBN recently approved the implementation of a Rent-To-Own Housing Scheme, an innovative affordable housing product, which provides an easy and convenient payment plan towards homeownership for Nigerian workers.

The scheme is specifically designed to make it possible for Nigerian workers to move into FMBN homes as tenants, pay for and own the properties through monthly or yearly rent payments spread over periods of up to 30- years.

To further increase affordability, the properties will also attract a single digit interest rate of 9per cent on the price of the property on an annuity basis.

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The product will cover properties with the maximum value of N15million.

The rent-to-own housing product targets Nigerian workers who are contributors to the NHF and will be implemented in phases. About 3,000 houses are planned for the pilot phase.

To deliver on the rent-to-own housing scheme, FMBN will partner with reputable estate developers for the construction of quality, cost-effective housing stock nationwide.

Payments for the houses will be domiciled with the CBN through the Treasury Single Account (TSA).

Properties that are planned for the rent-to-own scheme are existing estates that are funded by FMBN nationwide and non-funded estates.

FMBN Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer, Ahmed Dangiwa stated that the programme is targeted at increasing access to affordable housing by Nigerian workers who fall into the low- medium income brackets.

In addition, he stated that the implementation of the scheme will totally eliminate the burden of equity contributions by workers for housing loans, complement the existing products of the bank by widening the home ownership bracket, increase housing stock, and help the bank to utilize abandoned estates that are to be transferred to the scheme.

To further deepen the housing finance, the private investors are also being enlisted to boost affordable social housing delivery for Nigerians.

Alhaji Aliko Dangote and Alhaji Abdul Samad Isyaku Rabiu, Chairmen & CEOs of Dangote and BUA Groups of Companies respectively plan to partner the FMBN.

While on a joint courtesy call on the bank’s Board of Directors, they entered into partnership agreement and lent their support to the proposed N500billion recapitalization of the bank, stating that it is a much needed development that will help power FMBN’s efforts to more effectively discharge its mandate.

The Chairman, Dangote Group commended FMBN for the renewed aggressive drive to provide affordable housing for Nigerians.

Additionally, he said that his company is ready to collaborate with FMBN towards lowering the housing deficit by increasing the tempo and scale of social housing provision across the country.

His words: “Count me as a friend of FMBN. We are open to collaborating and supporting the good work that your bank is doing towards ensuring the provision of affordable housing to medium and low income earners in Nigeria.”

In the same vein, the Chairman, BUA Group of Companies, Abdul Samad Isyaku Rabiu also said that he is committed to a close partnership with FMBN.

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“I am committed to forging a partnership that will add value to FMBN’s work and look forward to further engagements in this regard,” he said.

In his response, the FMBN Board Chairman, Dr. Adewale Adeeyo on behalf of the board and management thanked and applauded the two distinguished business moguls for their visit and good intentions to partner with FMBN.

He said that FMBN will work closely with them towards the consolidation and implementation of the partnerships.

Another boost to housing development is currently underway through a strategic collaboration between FMBN and leading labour unions, aimed at addressing in a structured and sustainable manner, the housing requirement of their members currently estimated to be about 3,750,000 housing units.

The FMBN in conjunction with the Nigeria Labor Congress (NLC), Trade Union Congress (TUC) and the Nigeria Employers’ Consultative Association (NECA) plans to commence the implementation of a national affordable housing delivery programme for Nigerian workers.

This includes fast-tracking the provision of safe, decent, quality and affordable housing to registered members of NLC, TUC, and NECA that also contribute to NHF, which the FMBN manages.

The pilot phase of the program aims to deliver 2,800 housing units in 14 sites across the country. This includes 200 houses in each of the six zones in addition to Lagos and Abuja.

FMBN Group Head, Corporate Communications, Mrs. Zubaida Umar said the key features of the housing program are the emphasis on affordability and the focus on low and middle-income classes of workers.

Planned house types therefore include fully finished semi-detached bungalows and blocks of 1 bedroom, 2 bedrooms, and 3 bedrooms.

She revealed that the designs of the houses are based on local and international social housing models that have been tested and proven to deliver housing units that are structurally strong, livable and at cost effective rates that fit the income of the targeted beneficiaries.

“To ensure successful execution of the program, the design and implementation plan was based on extensive deliberations and recommendation of housing experts.

They drew from the theoretical and practical experiences of housing stakeholders, varied inputs, and consultations with developers, private sector players, research and analysis of housing projects locally and abroad,” she said.

Chinedum Uwaegbulam

Estate surveyors plan to focus on mass housing delivery

 

Estate surveyors and valuers in the country plan to hold a forum on how the country can reduce its housing deficit through effective mass housing delivery.

The forum, known as the 6th National Housing Summit, and scheduled to hold in Abuja on October 8 and 9, is being organised by the Faculty of Housing, Nigerian Institution of Estate Surveyors and Valuers.

The faculty said it was worried about the lack of political will to solve the problem of housing in the country, hence, the need to take the forum to the seat of power.

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The Planning Committee Chairman, Mr Kehinde Abayomi, said the theme of the summit would be ‘Alternative building techniques for mass housing delivery’ and would focus, among other things, on a new innovation capable of producing up to 1,000 units of quality and affordable houses from foundation to the roof within one month.

Abayomi, who represented the Chairman of the Faculty of Housing, NIESV, Mr Chika Okafor, at a press briefing ahead of the summit, said stakeholders would also be educated on how to finance mass housing delivery.

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He stated, “The main reason for our steady housing problems in Nigeria can be traced to lack of leadership, vision and political will as well as a well-structured institution to drive government policies and programmes.

“We have private real estate developers, who among others, can collaborate with the relevant government agencies to build houses for a target group and such houses being allocated to be acquired based on need, but not sold in the open market based on highest bidders as it is the practice now.”

He stated that the target group for the innovation could be the low and medium income earners who desired accommodation.

The Secretary of the faculty, Mr Tosin Kadiri, said the summit would be specific about affordability and alternative building methods.

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A former Chairman of the faculty, Mr Casmir Anyanwu, said the summit was part of advocacy.

“The faculty is mainly about advocacy, pointing out the direction to go for both the government and the people,” he stated.

Maureen Ihua-Maduenyi

Saudi refinance firm plans Islamic bond issues to fund mortgage drive

 

Government-owned Saudi Real Estate Refinance Co (SRC) plans to begin issuing Islamic bonds in coming months to finance its drive to expand the kingdom’s home mortgage market, its chief executive said on Monday.

Founded in 2017 by the Public Investment Fund (PIF), the country’s top sovereign wealth fund, SRC has so far operated with financing from the PIF and short-term deals with banks.

It will now begin issuing sukuk to raise money, first in Saudi riyals but eventually in foreign currencies to attract international investors, Fabrice Susini said in an interview.

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Initial issues will be private placements but SRC aims to make its first public sukuk issue in late September or early October, probably of at least 300 million to 500 million riyals ($80 million to $133 million), he said.

SRC is part of a government-backed effort to solve one of Saudi Arabia’s biggest social and economic problems, a shortage of affordable housing, by developing the market for home loans, which is small by international standards.

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The company aims eventually to refinance 20 percent of Saudi Arabia’s primary home loans market, which authorities hope to expand to 500 billion riyals by 2020 and 800 billion riyals by 2028 from 290 billion riyals now.

So far, SRC has signed memorandums of understanding to provide banks and home finance companies with slightly less than 6 billion riyals of financing, through portfolio acquisitions and short-term deals.

Susini said increasing the availability of long-term, fixed-rate residential mortgages (LTFRs) would be key to growing the market. This month SRC began offering LTFRs of 15-20 years through banks and other finance firms.

So far, banks have generally offered such mortgages only to employees of major companies and other people with stable cash incomes. Susini said that with SRC’s intervention, LTFRs could ultimately account for half or 60 percent of the mortgage market rather than their current level of a third.

“We want to create a situation in which access to LTFRs is no longer restricted and they are available to the mass of people,” he said.

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Another goal of SRC, which models itself partly on U.S. housing finance firms Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, is to jump-start a securitisation market in Saudi Arabia by packaging home loans into mortgage-backed securities for sale to domestic and international investors.

Susini, previously global head of securitisation at French bank BNP Paribas, said technical and legal preparations and other work on the project could take two or three years.

Andrew Torchia & Andrew Roche

FHA targets low income earners in new N27bn housing scheme

 

The Federal Housing Authority (FHA), Nigeria’s housing development agency, is targeting low income earners in the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) Abuja in its new housing project valued at N27 billion.

On completion, the scheme will deliver 1,650 housing units of different configurations. This means that the staggering housing deficit in the country will be reduced by that number while a corresponding number of low income earning households will be taken off the property market.

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Nigeria has a heavy housing deficit burden which the World Bank in one of its reports estimated at 17 million units, a figure experts say has become not only trite, but also untenable, citing population growth, rising urbanization and increased number of school leavers that have attained home-owning age.

The FHA scheme comprises 550 homes located in Zuba, Kwali and Lugbe axis of the FCT. The buildings range from one-bedroom flats to five bedroom luxury apartments and it is expected that these projects would be delivered soon, though at different times.

“Zuba is almost completed while the one in Kwali is ongoing and Lugbe phase II has just started”, Mohammed Al-Amin, FHA managing director, disclosed, adding that there were also on-going projects in Apo, Guzape area of the FCT for the high-income earners which was 90 per cent completed.

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In its determination to serve every strata of the society, the housing authority is also planning to begin another scheme in Maitama area of Abuja which will consist of villas, duplexes and luxury houses.

Mohammed explained that the housing initiative, which was aimed to make houses affordable to the low-income earners was under the social housing scheme, adding that locating houses far away from the main city does not go well with the government, hence the initiative of building houses in the fringes of the city.

“The demand for the houses is high. None will be above five million and there are one to five bedroom houses. The good thing is, if you are going through the government mortgage system, you don’t have to pay what is called equity. You don’t have to pay 30per cent of the money before a house is given to you,” he assured low income earners who are scared of affordability.

The FHA boss advised buyers not to negotiate with anyone who is not a staff of the FHA. He assured that the digitization initiative engaged by FHA would eliminate double allocations, forgery of documents and ensure quick services.

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“There exist cartels who lie to potential buyers that they have land to give them. We keep telling Nigerians not to negotiate with anyone who is not an FHA staff. Even if the person is from FHA, you should ask him if he is from estate department. Only people in estate department and, to some extent marketing department, are allowed to interact with the public”, he warned.

CHUKA UROKO

FG injects N9bn to boost FHA programmes

 

The Federal Housing Authority (FHA) established in 1973 is charged with the preparation of proposals for national housing programmes as well as execution of such housing programmes. It also develops and manages real estate in all states of the federation.

The President Muhammadu Buhari-led administration had at many fora reiterated its commitment to the provision of affordable houses to Nigerians. Making good its promise, the government recently released N9 billion to the Federal Housing Authority for the construction of houses across the country.

FHA Managing Director Professor Mohammed Al-Amin said with the fund already domiciled in the authority’s account, it will go a long way in accelerating its housing programmes as well as providing infrastructure in its existing estates.

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He said in line with the Federal Government’s directive, FHA has stated building 550 low-cost houses in Zuba, a suburb of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT).

He said the Zuba housing project is the pilot phase, adding that the low-cost houses would be built in all the state capitals across the country, assuring that upon completion, the houses would be specifically allocated to the low income earners.

He said the project began 15 weeks ago and is a mixture of one, two and three-bedroom flats.

He said: “A total of 550 houses are to be produced there. We are going to invest N9 billion in the project. Already, we have this money in our account and we are releasing it according to the dictates of the Public Procurement Act.”

He said the low cost houses would also be built in Kwali and Lugbe in the FCT.

Unlike in the past, the FHA MD said they have appropriately accommodated Nigerians in the informal sector in the housing programmes under the Federal Ministry of Finance, in conjunction with the Office of the Vice President.

Al Amin said of the project: “For low income earners or those in the informal sector, we have what is called the Family Home Fund.

“This fund is being administered by the Office of the Vice President and the Federal Ministry of Finance. In this fund, once you can afford to contribute N30,000 monthly, then you get into the process of owning one of the buildings as far as you meet the stipulated criteria. The Zuba housing scheme is one of such.”

He said the government is bothered about the high rate of rural–urban migration with its attendant social ills, adding that with the number of houses to be built, the menace would be greatly reduced.

The Chairman of the Board of Directors, FHA, Lawal Shuaibu, said the 550 Zuba housing project was a social intervention scheme of the Federal Government, adding that the agency was also involved in the construction of commercial houses for high income earners.

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He said it has also built high-end houses at Apo district of Abuja for high income earners under its commercial housing scheme.

However, residents of Federal Housing estates in locations like Gwarinpa, Lugbe, Kubwa, Kado and Karu in Abuja have been complaining of lack of proper maintenance of infrastructures in the estates.

But Al-Amin said from the funds recently released, money would be set aside to upgrade and rehabilitation of infrastructure like roads, drainages and waste disposal in its various estates.

He said he held a town hall meeting, last week, with residents of Lugbe and that he was overwhelmed with complaints on infrastructure there which made him to invite the Minister of State II, Power, Works and Housing, Suleiman Zarma, to the estate to have a firsthand information of the condition of the estate.

“Over N100 billion is expended by the Federal Government for building new houses from 2015 to date through appropriation to reduce the housing deficit.

“FHA is working in collaboration with the FCDA to ensure that the developments are guided by what the master plan dictates but we are still having challenges of lack of cooperation from some groups of people who think they are above the law,” the FHA board chairman, Lawal Shuaibu, said

The chairman Lugbe Residents Association, Mr Odelana Adesina, said the estate is housing over 70,000 residents but faced the challenges of deplorable roads, lack of pipe-borne water and waste disposal system.

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He said: “There is no government hospital; light is also a problem and the Abuja Electricity Distribution Company is not billing us appropriately.

“We also need more police outposts to help in securing the estate, among others. So, we want government to make its intervention as quickly as possible.”

The minister, in the course of the inspection, however, said the masterplan of the estate is being violated with the manner some people built on the water ways, blocking the drainage system which could lead to erosion.

He noted also that the estate was initially meant for 5,000 residents, but now has a population of over 60,000, overstretching the infrastructure. He also decried frequent violation of planning regulations of the estate by both residents and managers.

“We have our own part to play as residents and as managers of the estate because I have seen frequent abuse of the planning regulations.

“But as planning authority, we know periodically, we are supposed to look into our settlements, not only the ones we built but also the ones that are inherited by people.

“We have to look at them and do a structure plan and upgrade the facilities to be up to the standard of good living for all the citizenry of the country,” Zarma added.

He directed the FHA to ensure regulatory standard for facilities such as markets, hospitals and shopping complexes, among others, assuring that the authority would carry out a survey with a view to ascertaining the best ways to improve the road network as well as provide other services in the area.

The FHA Managing Director, Mohammed Al-Amin, stressed the need for quick intervention in the condition of the housing estate, saying the best way to do that was to bring in members of the Federal Executive Council.

“That is why the minister supervising the housing sector in the Ministry of Power, Works and Housing is here on this tour.

“We want government to know the quantum of the needs that are there, and we are starting with FHA Lugbe, on Airport road as our pilot programme.

“The first avenue is the major road leading into the FHA estate and it is a connection road but in a very deployable state. A lot of vehicles ply the road and it is almost obliterated due to erosion and illegal encroachment among others,” he said. He said that the FHA would be collaborating with the Federal Capital Territory Administration (FCTA) to enforce compliance with the master plan of the estate.

AG Mortgage Bank promotes affordable housing in Enugu

AG Mortgage Bank Plc., a Primary Mortgage Bank in the country, has enabled no fewer than 89 subscribers in Enugu to become home owners under the Federal Mortgage Bank of Nigeria (FMBN) National Housing Fund (NHF) Scheme designed to promote home ownership across the country.

The keys to the houses, according to the Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer , AG Mortgage Bank Plc, Mr.  Ngozi Anyogu, were delivered to the happy home owners recently in Enugu.

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According to the Chief Executive Officer, the houses were developed by the COPEN group, a reputable property development company with projects across the country.

All the houses are within the Jedidiah Gardens Enugu which provides a good ambience for home owners

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AG Mortgage Bank “is an active operator of the NHF Scheme, and has disbursed in excess of N3 billion to over 390 NHF beneficiaries” he said.

Access to mortgage loan under the Federal Mortgage Bank of Nigeria – National Housing Fund Scheme, according to the Chief Executive is open to all Nigerians with verifiable stream of income who are contributors to the NHF scheme.

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Anyogu urged Nigerians in all spheres of endeavour to take advantage of FMBN/NHF scheme and AG Mortgage Bank’s other mortgage products namely: The Tenant – Owner -Mortgage (TOM); a rent to own programme, Leap Into Mortgage (LIMO) product, an incremental mortgage arrangement, that fits home buyers at different income levels.

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