South Africa: Radical New Housing Deal Proposed to Break Apartheid Barriers

City of Cape Town could use its golf courses and bowling greens for low cost housing, says report

While over half a million Capetonians live in informal settlements, the Rondebosch Golf Club pays the City of Cape Town only R1,000 a month for the use of 450,000 square metres of well-situated land.

With a full membership costing R15,750 a year, and fees of about R150 to play a round in off-peak times, the golf course is inaccessible to the vast majority of residents, including those who live around it.

The golf club’s lease with the City is contained in a new report on City-owned land by civil society organisation Ndifuna Ukwazi, which also states that some of the best land in the city “is being used as a dog play park” for the @frits Pet Hotel and Daycare Centre, described as the largest of its kind in the world.

The report, City Leases: Cape Town’s Failure to Redistribute Land, proposes a “radical new deal” for housing on 24 areas of City-owned land, including golf courses, bowling greens, country clubs, and parking lots. These range across the breadth of the City, from Camps Bay to Strand to Fish Hoek. Detailed proposals are provided for five of them:

Rondebosch Golf Club

Buitengracht corridor

Harrington Square

Green Point Bowling Green

Fish Hoek Bowling Green.

The Rondebosch golf course is the largest area. Two-thirds of the golf course is above the 100-year floodline, and Ndifuna Ukwazi calculates the land could offer 183,360 square metres of built space for a mainly residential development that includes communal space, offices, shops, schools, and social amenities.

Depending on the mix of social and market related housing, about 2,500 residential units could be built there, says the report. These would include single stands and mid-to-high-density apartment blocks as a mixture of market-related, social and GAP homes, set in green space along the Black River. (GAP housing is subsidised by the state for people earning R3,500 to R15,000 per month.)

The authors — Nick Budlender, Julian Sendin, and Jared Rossouw — calculated scenarios for Rondebosch golf course in which residential units are built according to a 40% market-related and 60% social housing split (including 20% for GAP housing); a 50-50 split between market and social housing; and a 60-40 split.

The square meterage of individual units in the calculations ranges from 50m² for a market bachelor flat and 30m² bachelor for social housing, while a two-bedroom flat built for the market would be 70m² and one built for social housing would be 45m², which is the average size of an RDP house.

There could also be 116 free-standing homes on 400m² each, and 454 two-bedroom GAP houses of 55m², all set within public and semi-private green space with a promenade along the Black River providing direct pedestrian access to Mowbray.

The 30 separate blocks could each be owned through sectional title schemes and ideally, would each contain a mix of social and market housing rather than economic differences being divided into separate blocks.

Similar modelling is done for the Harrington Square parking lot, the seven parcels of land which are mostly used as parking lots on lower Buitengracht Street, and for the Green Point Bowling Green, which the report states deputy mayor Ian Neilson has publicly committed for social housing.

For Fish Hoek, which has a density of 884 people per km² while nearby Masiphumelele bursts with a density of more than 40,000 people per km² (2011 data), the proposal is for 171 units built as three-storey walk-ups all dedicated to social housing.

The 2011 census found that about 16,000 people live in Masiphumelele’s 0.39km2. This gives it a population density of more than 40,000 per km2. Neighbouring Fish Hoek’s 2011 population was under 12,000 in 13.45 km², giving it a population density of 884 per km². Photo: Steve Kretzmann

These five portions of land could yield 6,473 housing units when calculated on the conservative model in which 60% of the units are built for sale on the market.

Over 500,000 of Cape Town’s four million residents are living in informal settlements, according to a recent report by the African Centre for Cities on lessons learnt from the drought. This figure does not take backyard dwellers into account.

The development of just these five out of a possible 24 pieces of city-owned land would also bring an extra R35m a year to the City in rates paid by those in the market units. Residents in the R3,500 to R18,000 per month pay bracket who qualify for social or GAP housing are exempted from rates, but would contribute payments for services.

At present these leases bring in only thousands of rands per year. This is “an injustice to the majority of residents of this city who are without access to land or decent housing”, state the report’s authors. “If we are to disrupt the replication of spatial apartheid and build a spatially just, inclusive and environmentally sustainable city then we need a radical new deal for the use of public land.”

The report states that communities are not able to compel the City to review its land use decisions and public participation on leases and disposals is ignored. It calls for new legislation “which obliges government to review and rationalise its underused public land for redistribution” and says “the onus should be on the City of Cape Town to defend why the status quo should continue and land should not be redistributed”.

If the Cape Town municipality makes poor choices about land use, say Budlender, Sendin, and Rossouw, other spheres of government should expropriate the land.

Produced for GroundUp by West Cape News

Source: Allafrica

Corporations and Government Agencies Plan Pilot Housing Schemes in 8 States

A triparite agreement has been reached between the housing corporations, apex mortgage bank and affordable homes focused fund to boost stocks for the low- income earners in the country.

The deal between Association of Housing Corporations of Nigeria (AHCN), Federal Housing Authority (FHA), the Federal Mortgage Bank of Nigeria (FMBN) and Family Homes Fund (FHF), will see the jump-starting of the housing scheme in eight states.

The defunct three regional housing corporations and the Lagos Executive Development Board (LEDB), now Lagos State Development and Property Corporation (LSDPC) established the Association of Housing Corporations of Nigeria (AHCN) in 1964.

The objective of the founders of the association was to solve the then growing housing problems especially in the urban centres by advising governments of the federation on their housing policies, projects and programmes.

AHCN claims that its activities over the decades gave birth to the Federal Housing Authority (FHA), FMBN, the Nigerian Building and Road Research Institute (NBRRI), the 1990 National Housing Policy (NHP) and the National Housing Fund (NHF). These efforts were aimed at making decent accommodation accessible to Nigerians at affordable costs.

Currently, AHCN members have been facing problems ranging from lack of holistic approach to housing matter, lack of finance, high cost of building materials, high infrastructural development cost, appropriate implementation of policy direction and affordability challenge among others.

Recently, the association alleged usurpation of their statutory responsibilities in housing construction and development for the state by the states’ housing ministries, which have caused duplication of duty, distraction, needless rivalry, unfair competition and sheer wastages and repetition of efforts and resources.

Specifically, the pilot scheme will start in eight states, namely Lagos, Enugu, Akwa Ibom, Niger, Kaduna, Imo and Yobe. The target buyers are mainly NHF subscribers as each of the housing units is expected to be between N5million and N10 million.

Under agreement, FHF is providing construction fund, FMBN will support subscribers, especially civil servants with NHF loan while association members will handle the development of the houses. The first phase will consist of 500 units.

Among the first set of developers are Niger State Housing Corporation, Ondo State Development and Property Corporation and Imo State Housing Corporation and Lagos State’s housing arm, LSDPC.

Sources disclosed that the pilot states have already made land available for the development. Locations for the project are mostly major cities, where there is acute housing shortage.

AHCN Executive Secretary, Mr. Toye Eniola confirmed the development to us, He disclosed that a committee has been set-up to ensure that allocations are for NHF contributors and low-income earners.

On the misuse of funds, he said, “there are some guiding rules that have been put in place by FHF to prevent diversion of funds or sabotage of the scheme.”

Source: Chinedum Uwaegbulam

Nigeria signs US $10m housing construction deal

Nigeria has signed a US $10m deal with United Kingdom-based Iconic City Limited for the  development of a 3.8ha land in Alakia, Ibadan, the Oyo State capital, into a residential housing estate.Group Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer, of Odu’a Investment Company Limited, Mr. Adewale Raji who signed the deal with the UK firm said the agreement aims at curbing housing deficit in the country.

“The housing deficit in the country is over 22 million. Investment in housing remains an important and profitable venture, especially when affordability is considered,”said Mr. Adewale Raji.

“The initiative was hinged on the Federal Government’s Economic Recovery and Growth Plan which had human capital development as one of its cardinal objectives with housing provision as key factor in achieving that goal,” he added.

Westlink Iconic Estate

The proposed residential housing estate dubbed “Westlink Iconic Estate” will be a medium density luxury estate consisting 124 households. The housing products are 60 units of three-bedroom apartments, 42 units of four-bedroom terrace houses, 14 units of five-bedroom semi-detached duplexes, eight units of six-bedroom fully detached duplexes and 36 commercial and business units.

Mr Adewale Raji affirmed that housing types will vary to allow for different market segmentation subscribers. Construction of the project is scheduled for completion in 2years.

Mr Adewale Raji also quoted that the partnership was going to give his firm the opportunity to utilize its professional experience ranging from training, working to build a world class mixed luxury residential estate in Ibadan.

Source: Constructionreviewonline

Ghana sets aside US $51m for abandoned housing projects

The government of Ghana together with local banks have set aside US $51m to finance abandoned housing projects in the country.

During the state of the nation address, President Nana Akufo-Addo addressed the concerns on the abandoned projects stating that his administration will complete the WA, Tamale and Koforidua housing projects, started by the Kufuor administration in 2006.

The president also added that the US $180m Saglemi Housing Project, started under the National Democratic Congress (NDC) government is high on their priority list in 2019. The 5000 housing units was expected to cater for the low and middle-income earners in the country.

Freda Prempah, the Deputy Minister of Works and Housing on the other hand said that the government is establishing the value for money on the project and reconciling the number of houses built with the schedule of payments made, and accelerate delivery.

Bridging housing deficit

Ghana faces housing deficit in excess of 1.7 million housing units and completion of abandoned housing projects helps bridging the gap. The government of Ghana plans to bridge the housing deficit by delivering a minimum of 85,000 housing units annually for the next 20 years.

The former Deputy Minister for Works and Housing, Eugene Boakye Antwi  voted to set aside US $184m has been to establish a mortgage and housing finance and will be seeded with at least US $18m every fiscal year over the next 5 years. He further added that real estate developers are willing to pre-finance the buildings as long as the government offers a guarantee.

Source: Constructionreviewonline

Namibia to construct 1590 Housing units at Swakopmund

The government of Namibia has availed land that will pave way for start of construction of 1590 social and debt-financed houses at the coastal town, to ease the housing shortage at the town.

According to Marketing and Communication Officer of the Swakopmund Municipality, Aili Gebhardt, the Municipality has issued the the serviced land to 39 small contractors and issued out tender for the supply of building materials. Each contractor will build  40 houses, 16 being credit link houses and 24 social houses.

60% of the houses will be under the Build Together programme while the remaining 40% will be debt-financed. The cost of the credit-financed houses will range between US $13,000 and US $35,000.

“We have signed contracts with the recipients and instead of getting a loan, they will get the keys of complete houses which they in turn will be responsible to pay off. Applicants will have to obtain financing from any financial institutions.,” said  Aili Gebhardt.

The contractors contracted to build the houses are, Magnetize Investments, Bay Engineering and Construction, Alfresco Developers,

Matutura Investment, Hadago Investments, Guther’s Maintenance, Namibia Property Group, Haler Investments, Kashona Properties, PD Bricks

& Property, Ongoshi Trading Investment, Selkan Enterprise, Trencon Pty Ltd, Versatile Trading, Oiputa Investment, Yoshi Trading Pewa

Business Solutions, JDVK Trading Enterprises, Delta Group Holdings, NCO Investments Number Eight, Ehangano Building Construction, Life

House One Investment, Dalt Investment, Kenneth Investment, Embamba Investments and Dappa Estates.

Source: Constructionreviewonline

 

Egypt to construct over 40,000 housing units at New Administrative Capital

The government of Egypt is set to construct over 40,000 housing units in the new administrative capital by the end of June 2020.

Minister of Housing, Utilities and Urban Communities, Essam al-Gazzar said that the project is being implement by the Ministry of Housing and is divided into eight neighborhoods, including villas, and mixed housing in the third district, Capital Residence.

Housing project

The project include construction of 23,412 housing units, 952 villas and 2,050 mixed housing units in the third district, Capital Residence while the fifth district, the New Garden City with an area of ​​about 1,000 acres will have 23,000 housing units consisting of residential apartments and villas, in addition to an area of ​​residential towers with mixed use in the lower floors with about 2,000 housing units and two hotels.

Moreover, the Ministry of housing plans to complete the first phase of a water treatment plant, five international schools, a restaurant complex and a mosque, as well as the government district and the investment zone for the New Administrative Capital.

Largest park in the world

Essam al-Gazzar also added that the  Ministry has scheduled to complete the implementation of the central gardens project at the “Capital Park” which is more than than 10 kilometers long and has an area of more than 1,000 acres, making it one of the largest parks around the world.

“The central park of the New Administrative Capital will provide greater opportunity for community interaction between the capital’s residents and other residents in its wider scope, and is park is expected to host more than two million visitors annually,” said Gazzar.

The park will also serve as a catalyst for encouraging a healthy life, in accordance with global rates including environmental value, green spaces, and areas for physical activities and recreation.

Source: Constructionreviewonline

Kenya Launches U.S. $70 Million Homes for Low Income Earners

The Nairobi County government has launched a Sh7 billion public residential apartments project in Ngara Estate.

The project, River Bank Apartments, will see 3,000 units comprising eight blocks with 34 storeys each put up for low and middle income earners in line with the government’s commitment to provide affordable shelter for Kenyans.

The venture, undertaken by Erdemann Property Limited, is set to be completed in less than one and half years.

Nairobi Governor Mike Sonko said his government had approved construction of more than 200,000 houses for middle and low income earners and this was just the beginning.

“To ensure that we are going to speedily achieve this, we have waived building approval fees and also want to engage contractors who will use local building materials and employ youth,” Mr Sonko said during the ground-breaking ceremony on Wednesday.

GATED COMMUNITY

“We are going to construct a multi-billion-shilling gated community [and] an ultra-modern residential estate with a perimeter wall and street lighting.

“It will be easily accessible by both the public and private transport as the roads will be cabro-paved,” Mr Yang said.

The other features include fire assembly points, spacious car parking, lounges and open kitchen designs, inbuilt wardrobes, commercial units, sufficient water supply with underground reservoirs, back-up electric generators and internet fibre connection.

“These are going to be the first of the government’s pledged affordable houses for Kenyans. Nairobi is the first country to break the ground to start construction,” he said.

Mr Yang said that compensation of traders, who were occupying the more than 10 acres of land next to Nairobi River acquired for the houses, has been completed.

Actis, Shapoorji Pallonji Launch US$120m Real Estate Joint Venture In Africa

Actis, a leading growth markets investor and Shapoorji Pallonji Real Estate (SPRE), the real estate arm of one of India’s largest conglomerates, are set to launch a new real estate joint-venture platform to meet the demand for affordable and middle-income housing in the sub-Saharan African region, starting with Kenya.

The residential development platform has been established to capitalize on the demand for quality homes at affordable and competitive price points.

Actis manages the largest real estate private equity fund focused on sub-Saharan Africa.

David Morley, Global Head of Real Estate at Actis stated: “This joint venture builds on an ongoing and highly successful partnership between Actis and Shapoorji Pallonji in India where we have delivered thousands of high quality, aspirational homes at affordable prices.

We are confident that Actis’ investment experience in Africa coupled with Shapoorji Pallonji’s 153 years of experience in construction and real estate development will unlock the significant opportunity.”

Commenting on the launch of the new platform, Venkatesh Gopalkrishnan, CEO, Shapoorji Pallonji Real Estate, said: “We are delighted to partner with Actis in the African residential market.

This venture marks the continuation of a journey for Shapoorji Pallonji Real Estate in the sub-Saharan African Region. There is a huge demand for affordable and middle-income homes and the goal of the joint-venture platform will be to bridge the gap in this market and to exceed customers’ expectations.”

Koome Gikunda, Director at Actis said: “Residential remains the largest real estate asset class globally. In a number of African markets, however, delivery is highly fragmented.

There is a notable lack of institutional quality home builders with the expertise, capital and consumer trust to truly address the opportunity at scale. Actis’ joint venture with Shapoorji Pallonji seeks to remedy this in partnership with our local stakeholders.”

Source: Ghananewhomes

New housing bill threatens Nigeria’s financial sector, economy

Ten percent of the profit before tax of Nigerian banks, insurance companies and pension fund administrators could go into a National Housing Fund promoted by lawmakers, according to an exclusive document seen by BusinessDay.

The so-called National Housing Fund (Establishment) Act, 2018 was secretly passed by the Senate on November 6, 2018, following its passage by the House of Representatives on July 17, 2018.

An approval by the presidency is all that stands in the way of the secret Act, which managed to elude private sector lobby groups, from becoming law, after it quietly made it through the National Assembly in 2018.

“When you put such a financial strain on private companies, they are forced to cut costs by sacking staff and freezing new investments,” a senior business person who did not want to be named said.

“This regulation will be poorly timed as it is happening when other countries are lowering corporate tax rates to incentivise investments,” the person said.

The levy will probably see some of the companies pass on the cost to consumers, thereby triggering a surge in inflation.

A race to cut spiralling operation costs created by the new levy could also force companies to lay off staff while barricading new investments in the economy.

That would be a tough blow to take on an economy still recovering from a contraction in 2016.

“Buhari has a chance to be the hero here if he refuses to assent to the Bill, but given his welfarist ideology, that may not happen,” a company CEO said on condition of anonymity.

The Act repeals the National Housing Fund Act Cap. N45, Laws of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 2004 to provide for additional sources of funding for effective financing of housing development in Nigeria and was sponsored by Ahmad Kaita (APC, Katsina North).

The Act provides among others for every commercial or merchant bank, insurance company, and Pension Fund Administrator (PFA) to invest 10 percent of its profit before tax (PBT) into the Fund at an interest rate of 1 percent above the interest rate payable on current accounts of banks.

The Fund will also forcibly collect contributions from Nigerians, both in the public and private sectors, manufacturers and importers.

The Federal Government is to contribute to the Fund at its discretion.

Employees and self-employed Nigerians, who earn above the minimum wage, must contribute 2.5 percent of their monthly salaries to the Fund. Manufacturers and importers are also to contribute 2.5 percent to the Fund.

There’s also a levy on locally-produced and imported cement, which will be 2.5 percent ex-factory price before transportation cost for each bag of 50 kilogramme or its equivalent in bulk.

In the end, this levy may not be restricted to cement alone, as the Act provides that the President, by an executive order, could add, delete, amend or substitute consumer goods, services or products and approve rates for the levy as and when he thinks fit in the circumstance.

The Federal Mortgage Bank will manage the pooled funds, Section 15 (1) of the Act provides.
“The proceeds from the fund will be used to finance the housing sector of the economy through wholesale mortgage lending to primary mortgage banks,” section 15 (2) of the Act reads.

The failings of the former National Housing Fund and the track record of similar funds managed by government cast a cloud over how efficiently the new Fund will be managed and the chances that it achieves the primary objective for which it was created.

Industry players, who are worried that the provisions of the Bill overrule carefully-crafted regulatory guidelines that guarantee the safety of depositors’ funds sitting in the banks and pension funds, were critical of the Act and warned it would have dire consequences on the economy and investor confidence.

Boniface Okezie, national coordinator, Progressive Shareholders Association of Nigeria (PSAN), calls the Act a “fraud”.

“How can we be talking about extorting companies to fund something without seeking their consent,” Okezie said.

“This is unacceptable. Companies should not comply; rather they should rely on the provision of the Companies and Allied Matters Act (CAMA),” Okezie added. There are severe punishments for defaulters.

In the event that a company fails to pay the levy 60 days after it was due, it warrants a demand notice to be accompanied by a penalty of an additional 2 percent levy on the 10 percent that should have been paid.

If payment drags for another 60 days after the demand notice, the company pays a flat rate of N100 million and the CEO of the company risks spending three years in jail in addition to a personal fine, separate from the company fine, of N10 million.

In the case of importers, a two-month delay is all that is required before the importer is slammed with a N100 million fine, which the Bill says is the minimum.

A fine of N10 million could be slapped on individuals who fail to make their contributions as and when due.

The banks are expected to pay the levy to the Central Bank while the insurance companies and pension funds will pay to the National Insurance Commission and National Pension Commission, respectively.

For manufacturers and importers, the levy will be collected by the tax authority, the Federal Inland Revenue Service.

Sources say some private sector interest groups are planning to engage the Presidency with a view to stopping the implementation of the Bill which, they say, is inimical to the private sector and the economy at large.

The equities market would be directly affected if this Bill becomes law as investors worried about the impact the levy could have on company profitability may dump stocks at a frantic pace.

The document obtained by BusinessDay was signed February 19 by Mohammed Ataba Sani-Omolori, a clerk at the National Assembly.
Shareholders of companies, particularly the banks, insurance companies and PFAs, have kicked back.

Issues ranging from accountability to accessibility were raised and they advised their companies’ Boards of Directors not to approve any form of contribution into the Fund.

“The Act does not make sense because the contributors won’t have control over the Fund. Why do we scare investors? I don’t think it is good idea as it will scare away investors, so it must be jettisoned,” Sunny Nwosu, national coordinator emeritus, Independent Shareholders Association of Nigeria (ISAN), told BusinessDay on phone.

Moses Igbrude, publicity secretary, ISAN, said, “You can’t make companies to contribute to the NHF without letting them have access to it. President Buhari should not sign it.

The shareholders own the companies and we need to ask the companies whether they were represented at the public hearing on the Bill before its passage at the National Assembly.

If they were represented, they will need to explain to shareholders the benefits and who manages the funds.”

Attempts to reach the chairman, Senate Committee on Housing and Urban Development, Barnabas Gemade (APC, Benue), proved abortive as he did not pick his calls.

However, a member of the committee, Matthew Uroghide (PDP, Edo), told BusinessDay on Tuesday that he would check on the Bill before commenting on it.

“When I am in the office, I will go through the Bill before commenting on it. I will be in the office by next week,” he said in a telephone interview.

Source: BusinessDayNg

This Is How China Was Able to Build the World’s First Subterranean Hotel

The quarry was one of a handful in the Songjiang suburb of Shanghai that operated through the 1950s but has been abandoned ever since.

“The site was really a scar on the surface of the earth,” said Martin Jochman of JADE+QA architects at a press conference.

“We showed how to take a difficult and unusual site that nobody knew what to do with and make it useful again, revitalizing it with a new life.” Jochman and his firm designed the $300 million project, which is InterContinental Hotels Group’s 200th property globally.

“Originally we were given absolutely no limitations on how to approach the design. The brief was really about producing a resort which used the quarry as best as it could,” said Jochman. “

The inspiration for all this was the natural environment itself. It was the quarry, the cliffs, the green hills around it, the lake—despite it being an industrial site surrounded by industrial buildings, it was very pretty.”

He decided to distill these natural elements into the basis of his design: The cliff became the body of the hotel, where the guest rooms are located, the water became the faux waterfall down the center of the building that houses the elevators, and the hills are represented by the green roof of the structure, which was designed not only to blend into the landscape but also to provide energy-efficient temperature regulation.

“Sustainability was an important part of the whole design process—using passive sustainability that was built into the building by design,” noted Jochman, who worked within the microclimate of the quarry to maximize efficiency.

The location of the hotel within the site, for instance, was chosen to provide the most sunlight, not only for guest rooms but also for the hotel’s solar panels.

The hotel also uses the natural air shaft between its structure and the cliff wall for insulation in the winter and cooling in the summer.

While the architect was given no design restrictions from hotel owner Shimao Group, Mother Nature had other plans in mind.

The engineering team had to face a number of challenges presented with a subterranean project: When concrete was sent down into the quarry via standard construction chutes, for instance, the materials separated and were unusable.

The team ended up patenting more 41 different engineering methods over the course of the build. As a result, it took more than 12 years for the hotel to be constructed, with its doors officially opening in November 2018.

While the hotel is now open to guests, new features, like a rock-climbing wall on the face of the quarry and a zip line over the lake, will be added in the months to come.

There’s a nightly light and water show projected onto the fountains in the lake that rivals anything you would see in Las Vegas.

“This building has become a landmark,” said Jochman. “Yet the landmark here is not something that sticks out, but something that fits in.”

Source: architectural digest

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