Kenya Homes Tax Drops 21pc on Low Property Sales

Tax paid on home and land transfer, stamp duty, will drop 21.5 per cent in the year end June, reflecting the drop in property sales on reduced supply of loans and cash flow hitches.

Fresh statistics show the Treasury expects revenue from stamp duty to dip to Sh9.51 billion from Sh12.13 billion recorded in the previous year ended June 2018.

The fall in revenue from stamp duty is a pointer to reduced deals in land and houses, reflecting the recent slump in activities in real estate sector.

The tax is charged on the market value of the property at the rate of four per cent in towns and two per cent in rural areas and must be paid to the taxman within 30 days of contract execution.

Housing has been one of Kenya’s fastest growing sectors in the last decade, with returns from real estate outpacing equities and government securities.

The property market is gripped with reduced sales in bearish conditions captured in recent surveys on the sector by realtor Knight Frank, consultancy HassConsult and the Kenya Bankers Association (KBA) show.

This has been linked to reduced access to credit by prospective homebuyers, leaving developers stuck with houses, especially those in the upmarket areas.

A number of property developers face property auctions as players in auxiliary sectors like cement, paint makers and steel manufacturers like East Africa Portland Cements Company reporting lower sales and profits.

The KBA latest survey suggested house prices dropped 2.78 percent during the first quarter of 2019, the first decline since the last quarter of 2014.

Knight Frank Prime Global Cities Index, which focuses on high-end property, indicated house prices softened by half a percentage point in the period.

Source: businessdailyafrica

City of Cape Town Approves Building Plans Worth R20bn in 11 months

The City of Cape Town said on Monday that it has approved building plans to the value of R20.4 billion over a 11-month period, ending 31 May 2019.

The city said a further 8,760 land use applications have been finalized during this time as more people are relocating to Cape Town in search of opportunities and a better life.

The city said it must find a balance between urbanising Cape Town and meeting the demand for well-located housing, while at the same time protecting the unique qualities and natural environment that make the city a sought after destination.

The city assesses all development applications and building plans in terms of the Municipal Planning By-law (MPBL); the city’s Development Management Scheme (DMS) or zoning scheme which determines the land use for every site and land parcel that falls within the city of Cape Town’s municipal boundaries; and the National Building Regulations and Building Standards Act.

The city said its Development Management Department has received 21,943 building plan applications from 1 July 2018 to 31 May 2019, and approved 19,585 applications over the same time period

The approval of development applications usually takes longer when a submission is objected to, or opposed, as the city is compelled by law to notify interested and affected parties of applications that may have an impact on adjacent property owners and residents.

Often the final decision is taken up for review in the high court. These processes take time as the decisions often have a wide impact.

African News Agency (ANA)

Rising House Prices Trigger Drop in Young Homeowners

Prospect of young Nigerians owning houses is waning speedily following the harsh economic conditions, which have affected many businesses.
Consequently, many can barely pay salaries, while salary increments are becoming a lot more difficult.

Not even the new minimum wage regime had made much difference as the purchasing power of young people has remained low because of the high inflation rate put at 11.37 per cent as at April 2019 by National Bureau of Statistics (NBS).

The fall is largest among those aged 20 to 34 leading to a drop from the proportion of homeownership from 51 per cent in 1991 to only 24 per cent in 2016.

For instance, in 1999, it was learnt that the average annual salary was equivalent to 23 per cent of the average house price, it however, dropped to only 11 per cent in 2012 to 2017, meaning houses are much more expensive proportionally than they were 15 years ago.

With dysfunctional mortgage system and salaries increase rate getting much slower, buying a property has become harder for many young homeowners.

The Guardian investigation showed that a self contained apartment costs between N10 million and N20 million in the Lagos Island, while the same goes for N8 million – N10 million in the Mainland.

Similarly, a two-bed room apartment sells for between N15 million to N35 million depending on the locations and the quality of furnishing.

A newly married man, Babajide Odeyemi, who was lucky to work in a blue chip firm, said he was able to get a property at Lekki because his firm had a cooperative where he could borrow money.

He stressed that majority of young people could not afford homes because of high cost of houses except for few fraudsters.

Another young worker, Michael Onyeka said, renting is a more preferable option given the cash and carry model of property market in Nigeria.

According to him, the high cost of houses had led to significant increase in renters with about 30 per cent increase in renters in the same age group from 56 per cent to 73 per cent because fewer people are able to pay for homes on their own at all.

A Lagos based realtor, who pleaded anonymity, said many prospective home owners are also turning towards relying on a relationship to access the property market in order to combat the rising cost, which had lowered possibilities of home ownership.

“While between 1994 and 2006 individual home ownership made up 31 per cent of the market, by 2016 it dropped to 20 per cent with the difference being made up in couples, which went from 64 per cent of the market to 77 per cent in the same time.

“Those buying in other arrangements also dropped from five per cent to three per cent”, he noted.

The Guardian learnt that the change comes as a result of the dropping values of salaries.

Also, lack of appropriate mortgage system and the harsh business environment that made many investors to shun the real estate sector have compounded the system.

Managing Director of Property Gate, Mr. Adetokunbo Ajayi, attributed the scenario to low salaries, high cost of houses because of high cost of building materials and land as well as lack of effective mortgage system .

He stressed that although, it is more profitable for young people to buy property through mortgage because they have age on their sides. “The terms of mortgage system in the country is a disincentive because they are too difficult to pay,” he said.

According to him, it is a systematic problem. “Today, only a few bank will be willing to give mortgage to people, hence reducing significantly the number of those willing to take up houses.

“What some the developers are doing to stay a-float is to allow some kinds of installment payment but they cannot do much because of their capital. Until we’re able to solve the problem in the financial system by creating affordable mortgage that is when you will begin to see improvement in that area.

Ajayi also stressed that there is a misconception that solving a housing problem means bringing the cost of housing down so that someone can put hand in a pocket and buy houses.

Source: GuardianNg

Canada Housing Market Begins to Shake Off Slump

Data for May indicates pickup in real-estate sales after slowdown fueled by policies to curb borrowing

Canada’s real-estate market appears to be turning the corner after a yearlong-plus slump, fueled by government efforts to tamp down runaway housing prices and slow the pace of consumer borrowing.

The latest data from the Canadian Real Estate Association indicates sales rose 1.9% in May from the previous month, to reach the highest level since January of last year. Actual sales, or not seasonally adjusted, climbed 6.7% from May a year ago, the largest 12-month advance since the summer of 2016.

In a separate release, the association, which represents real-estate agents across Canada, updated its forecast for this year and next, and now expects a recovery in home sales to gain momentum in the second half of 2019. It now projects national home sales to rise 1.2% in 2019, versus its previous call for a 1.6% decline. The forecast attributes the change to government measures aimed at helping younger people buy houses, and indications that Bank of Canada won’t raise interest rates again this year.

Nonetheless, CREA said in its revised outlook, it expects the overall level of sales to remain well below activity from recent years, due to successive policy changes that continue to limit mortgage financing and damp housing-market sentiment.

Bank of Canada governor Stephen Poloz said last month he expected Canadian housing to return to growth in the latter half of 2019. He said tougher mortgage rules introduced by Canadian authorities at the start of 2018 have had their desired effect, in slowing down both runaway prices in markets such as Toronto and Vancouver, and the pace of borrowing. Canadian households are among the most highly indebted in the developed world.

Mr. Poloz added that Canadians are adapting to the new rules, which require all prospective home buyers to prove they can handle higher interest rates, by either delaying purchases or opting to buy cheaper residences.

Friday’s real-estate data indicated a gauge measuring benchmark house prices in Canada fell slightly in May from a year ago, down 0.6%. On a three- and five-year basis, Canadian benchmark house prices increased by a healthy 17.7% and 38.7% pace, respectively.

Vancouver, which was the epicenter of housing-market frothiness prior to 2018, recorded a 7.8% year-over-year drop in house prices in May, the real-estate association said. Toronto, meanwhile, recorded a house-price increase of 3.1% in May, helping offset the sluggishness in Vancouver. Other notable markets posting strong house-price gains include Montreal, up 6.3%, and Ottawa, Canada’s capital, up 8%.

Source: wsj

Bankers Seek N2tn Pension Fund to Finance Homes for Contributors

The Bankers’ Committee Thursday canvassed for the release of N2 trillion out of the N9 trillion pension fund assets, for pension contributors to own houses.

The Managing Director of FSDH Merchant Bank, Hamda Ambah, told reporters Thursday that the decision was one of those taken at the committee’s meeting in Abuja.

According to her, the contributors of the fund will use the 25 per cent, amounting to N2 trillion as equity injection, to own houses.

She said: “Twenty-five per cent of N9 trillion is worth over N2 trillion and this fund can be used to stimulate demand for mortgage loans in our economy.

“It was agreed that the central bank would talk to fellow regulators and also work with government of various states to make the whole process of land transfer and titling a lot easier so that many more people across the nation can access mortgage financing thereby stimulate demand in our economy.”

The committee also commended the decision of President Muhammadu Buhari to retain the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) Governor, Mr. Godwin Emefiele, saying it is good for financial stability and economic growth.

Besides, Emefiele’s retention will also ensure the continuity of export stimulation programme of the apex bank.
CBN Director, Banking Supervision Department, Mr. Ahmed Abdullahi, also said the committee had resolved to commence disbursement of funds under the creative industry financing initiative.

Abdullahi said the committee believed the sector remained critical to job creation, poverty reduction and inclusive growth.

Giving more details on the plan to fund the creative industry, the Managing Director, FBN Quest Merchant Bank, Mr. Kayode Akinkugbe, encouraged interested applicants to submit applications to their banks for approval and disbursement.
He also urged them to prepare the business plan or statement on how much they required for their businesses.

On real estate financing, he said the committee would unlock the huge liquidity that various people have in the sector, adding that this would enable the banks to boost their contributions to the real estate sector towards adding value to the consumers.

“We have had good dialogue in the past and there is recognition in the Bankers’ Committee that it is time to execute a lot of the initiative that has been considered by the various sub-committees and acted on immediately.

“Another initiative discussed is in the real sector, we want to release the trapped liquidity that various investments that people have in the real estate in land or in property. Recognising that there are some obstacles but ultimately we must find a way to navigate through,” he added.

Source: thisdaylive

Foreign Money Still Driving B.C. Housing Market Despite Ownership Data: Expert

Most homeowners in British Columbia’s hot housing market live in the province, but one expert says that doesn’t mean foreign money isn’t to blame for high prices and speculation.

Of the 2,156,920 residential properties in B.C, 5.5 per cent were owned by foreign individuals or foreign non-individuals such as non-individual a corporation, trust or state-owned entity, according to the Canadian Housing Statistics Program from Statistics Canada.

Josh Gordon with the Simon Fraser University School of Public Policy says the study only looks at someone’s residency, not where they got the money to buy the property.

“The CHSP data looks at the stock of housing, not necessarily the flow of housing market participation,” Gordon said. “There’s been a misuse of the word domestic (speculation) because the data is about residency. If a resident is using foreign money, then that can’t be chalked up to domestic factors.”

He said even those B.C. residents who are speculating on housing may be relying on foreign participation in the market.

“Are they speculating on the arrival of substantial amounts of foreign money and ownership? If that’s the case, then just because there are a lot of domestic speculations does not change the fact that the overall market is being driven by the impact of outside money.

Gordon says if that’s the case, then foreign money could still be driving the market even though only five per cent of homes are officially owned by foreigners.

“If that’s the case, then just because there are a lot of domestic speculators, does not change the fact that the overall market is being driven by the impact of outside money.”

He points to the slow down in the housing market, particularly in the Vancouver-area as the province introduces policies to curtail the flow of foreign money and as capital controls are controlling the money arriving from China.

“Policy has been on the right track on the provincial level,” he said. “The market has slowed down and prices are starting to fall as we would expect if we thought the major issue was foreign ownership.

Source: citynews1130

Kenya, Spain Mull Partnership on Social Housing

Kenya and Spain on Tuesday agreed to explore a partnership on social housing for the low income earners especially in urban areas.

Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta and Joseph Borrell Fontelles, visiting Spain’s minister for foreign affairs, European Union and cooperation, also agreed to pursue partnerships in the areas of renewable energy, particularly in solar and wind energy.

A statement issued from Kenyatta’s office said Spain is ready to engage and participate towards the achievement of the affordable housing pillar of the Big 4 Agenda.

“We have many firms that can be good partners in affordable housing,” Fontelles said, noting that his country has a unique social housing model where construction, renovation and buying of houses are subsidized by the state through reduced interest loans to providers.

Houses developed under this scheme, dubbed publicly protected housing, are provided to the public almost entirely on owner-occupation terms, rather than for rent, he said.

Under the affordable housing pillar of the Big 4 agenda, Kenya plans to put up at least 500,000 affordable houses by 2022.

The minister also welcomed Kenya’s continued efforts to improve operations at the Port of Mombasa saying his country welcomes the reforms the country has taken to enhance efficiency at the facility.

During the meeting, Kenyatta assured Spain that Kenya is doing everything possible to streamline operations at Kenya’s Mombasa gateway.

“The port was a big loophole for us. We are working on it and soon all the systems will be streamlined. In about a month, we will be able to see great changes at the port. We are trying to ensure the importation of goods is streamlined,” Kenyatta added.

He also welcomed Spain’s proposal for a partnership to develop Kenya’s tourist sites and enhance tourist experiences especially in scuba diving, a hobby that’s becoming a major tourist attraction in the country.

The two countries further agreed to develop partnerships in sports especially in football and athletics. Spain is famed for its highly developed football while Kenya is an African powerhouse in athletics.

“We are keen on developing football academies across the country where we can start training our youth on the sport from early ages,” said Kenyatta.

“Our objective is to tap and develop the football talents of young people and transform this potential into rewarding engagements,” he added.

Spain and Kenya also signed three protocols on political relations, foreign service training and on the protection of investments.

Source: xinhuanet

UK: Younger people more likely to see property as a source of retirement income

Younger people in the UK are three times more likely than the older generation to use their property wealth to fund retirement, it is claimed.

Some 9% of 16 to 54 year olds expect the wealth stored in their homes to be their main source of income in retirement, triple the 3% of those aged 55 and over, according to figures from Canada Life Home Finance.

It suggests that the younger generation recognise the role that property wealth will play in financially supporting their later lives and they are generally more comfortable viewing their wealth holistically.

‘It is good that the younger generation recognises that they can unlock wealth from their property in retirement. This openness is likely driven by the reality that many under 50s will receive less generous pensions under the defined contribution scheme, compared to the majority of the older generation on the defined benefit plan,’ said Alice Watson, head of marketing and communications at Canada Life Home Finance.

She pointed out that the research also illustrates the evolving profile of retirement income, and lends further weight to the argument that equity release is moving into mainstream financial planning.

The research found that half of under 55s expect that either their state or workplace pension will provide them with sufficient money in retirement while 21% believe that their savings will cover their income needs.

But other data suggests that these sources of income may not materialise as expected. In April, HMRC revealed record tax receipts that indicate many people are accessing their pensions in earnest following the pension freedoms reform in 2015.

And the firms says that the 21% who think they will have enough savings may be more in hope than expectation, with research finding that a significant number of people underestimate their life expectancy. Consequently, some people may not have sufficient funds for their retirement.

‘Following the pension freedoms, there is a growing fear that people’s retirement income might not be able to provide them with the sort of lifestyle they’re hoping for. However, there is a range of equity release products that can help customers enjoy their later life, from helping clear existing debts to funding lifestyle enhancements,’ said Watson.

Source: Propertywire

Deflation Hits Upmarket Cape Town House Prices

Deflation in house prices in the Mother City – previously only really seen along the Atlantic Seaboard – has spilled over to other regions near Table Mountain. The latest Cape Town Sub-Regional House Price data from FNB shows that price growth turned negative in the City Bowl, Southern Suburbs and Eastern Suburbs (such as Salt River and Woodstock), along with the Atlantic Seaboard, in the first quarter of 2019.

The latter – which stretches from Green Point through Sea Point, Clifton and Camps Bay to Hout Bay – led the price declines in the metro, first slipping into contraction (-0.08% year on year) in the third quarter of 2018.

On average, prices in the area declined by 5.1% year on year in the first quarter, the worst performance to date. The plunge from the multi-year high growth rate of 25.5% in the first quarter of 2016 has been rapid. Factor in inflation (>4%) and the real decline in these suburbs is approaching double figures.

South Africa’s biggest property portal, Property24, shows that the number of properties on the market (as listed on the site) in Camps Bay, for example, spiked to 477 in April, from levels of just over 400 earlier this year. The picture in Sea Point is similar, with a jump from 698 listings in January to 838 in April.

FNB economist Siphamandla Mkhwanazi says prices are “softening … across virtually all sub-regions, with the upmarket sub-regions in and around the Cape Peninsula being the hardest hit”. On average, house prices contracted by 4.2% in the Eastern Suburbs, 2.4% in the Southern Suburbs, and 2% in the City Bowl. The drop in the Eastern Suburbs is especially pronounced. Only the Atlantic Seaboard and City Bowl were previously in decline.

Deflation underway in upmarket regions

One region to watch carefully is that of Somerset West, Strand and Gordon’s Bay, where year-on-year price growth has declined sharply – from 5.3% in the last quarter of 2018 to just 1.7% in Q1, 2019. House prices had been growing at around 10% in this region in 2017 and early 2018.

Overall, house price growth across the city “softened further to 1.2% year on year, from 3.2% in [the fourth quarter of 2018],” says Mkhwanazi, who notes that this is the slowest growth rate since the end of 2009, and the second consecutive quarter of a real house price decline (below inflation growth).

Further evidence of this slowdown can be seen in Lightstone Property’s residential property indices, whose regional data trails FNB’s, which shows price growth in Cape Town of 4.8% in January, from 8.5% in Q1 last year.

Slowest price growth for Cape Town property since 2009

Areas in the Northern Suburbs are holding up “relatively better” but showing a sharp deceleration in house price growth, says Mkhwanazi.

“For some time, these regions were perceived as offering more affordable housing opportunities, as affordability deteriorated rapidly nearer the mountain. Ultimately, prices overshot and completely counteracted their initial attractiveness. Unsurprisingly, as demand slowed, price growth slowed.”

Year-on-year price growth in the Western Seaboard (Blouberg, Milnerton and Melksbosstand) dropped from 3.8% in Q4 to 1.8% in Q1; Belville, Parow and surrounds from 6.1% to 4%; and Durbanville and Brackenfell from 4.2% to 2.9%.

City of Cape Town house pricesQ4 2018Q1 2019
Atlantic Seaboard-2.5%-5.1%
Eastern Suburbs0.3%-4.2%
City Bowl-0.2%-2%
Southern Suburbs0.5%-2.4%
Southern Peninsula (Fish Hoek, Noordhoek and so on)1.1%1%
Somerset West/Strand/Gordon’s Bay5.3%1.7%
Blouberg/Milnerton/Melkbosstrand3.8%1.8%
Durbanville/Kraaifontein/Brackenfell4.2%2.9%
Belville/Parow and surrounds6.1%4%
Elsies River/Blue Downs/Macassar10.1%10.5%
Cape Flats12.1%11.3%
   
City of Cape Town Metro3.2%1.2%

What happens next?

FNB’s Mkhwanazi says looking at affordability in the city’s housing market over time is one way of figuring out whether prices will see further “downward adjustment”.

The bank uses the ratio of the average property purchase price in the city to the average household income in the province as a proxy – and says the ratio has been “rising since 2012 and reached 6.6 by 2018, the highest it has ever been in the period for which we have data [since 2000]”.

“This means the average priced house in Cape Town was roughly 6.6 times the average household income in the province,” says the bank. “Furthermore, the fact that the trend is upwards means affordability had not really improved by the end of 2018, despite slowing growth in prices since Q2 2016.”

It says based on past experience in the previous housing market cycle, “there is reason to believe that this ratio will soon normalise”.

But, says Mkhwanazi, “given the subdued economic environment, the only logical way that could happen is if Cape Town house prices adjust further down.

“Thus, it is conceivable that the house price deflation we are seeing in some upmarket regions could reverberate throughout the city, resulting in meaningful improvement in affordability. If this happens, any meaningful recovery in national prices would be undermined, which could ultimately prolong the period of subdued house price growth in South Africa.

“A nominal decline in prices is conceivable at this point,” he adds.

Source: moneyweb

Fiji Government Plans to Build a Fully Serviced Housing Sub-division

The Fiji government has allocated two million dollars for construction of a highly engineered and fully serviced sub-division.

This is to provide for more than 100 new cyclone proof housing for the disabled and low income families.

Economy Minister Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum says this follows the successful establishment of the Koroipita model town.

In the budget announcement last week, Sayed-Khaiyum says they’re also working on building climate resilient housing for low and middle income families.

“We’ve also partnered with the IFC to develop six sites with green and climate resilient housing for low and middle income families with a private public partnership agreement.

Their grievance was signed this March, will begin with a competitive tender for private sector partner to design, build and finance and maintain this housing projects.”

Khaiyum says work on the project is expected to be completed in the next two years.

Source: fbcnews

 

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