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Kanye West takes on California’s housing crisis, with help from Star Wars

Iconic rapper, entrepreneur and sneaker tycoon Kanye West is trying something different for his latest business venture — he’s taking on the affordable housing crisis.

On a lot in the woods 15 minutes outside of Los Angeles, West reportedly is building prototypes of Star Wars-inspired structures he intends to develop as affordable housing for low-income residents. He’s even met with investors in San Francisco to discuss funding the proposal, Forbes recently reported.

Details on the venture are scant, and there’s no word on where West plans to put these space-aged structures. Attempts to reach West, the husband of reality TV star Kim Kardashian, were unsuccessful. But his plans represent yet another creative attempt to solve California’s housing crisis, and they’re joining a field already crowded with apartments made out of converted shipping containers, co-living spaces styled like grown-up dorms, and bunk beds rented for $1,200 a month. While Bay Area housing activists aren’t rushing to embrace West’s proposal, his very interest in the housing shortage shines a spotlight on the issue that could help pull in resources to build more affordable homes.

“We welcome his interest in finding solutions to housing low-income families and seniors and the homeless,” said Matt Schwartz, president and CEO of the housing nonprofit California Housing Partnership. “But instead of focusing on a new design aesthetic, we would ask him to focus on what’s most needed, which are financing solutions.”

Forbes describes the celebrity’s prototype low-income homes as a trio of structures rising up out of the woods. All three are oblong in shape and dozens of feet tall, resembling “the skeletons of wooden spaceships.” Apparently, they are inspired by the Star Wars planet of Tatooine, where Luke Skywalker lived as a child in an austere, igloo-shaped bungalow. West’s vision, according to the Forbes article published online Tuesday, is to perhaps house the homeless in the structures. He pictures the buildings possibly sunk into the ground, with light coming into the rooms through the ceiling.

But Schwartz says West’s plans may not be the most effective way to address California’s housing shortage, or to house the state’s homeless. Affordable housing experts favor building high-density apartments that are centrally located, providing easy access to public transportation, jobs and services to help residents thrive. Instead, West appears to be proposing low-density units that likely won’t be welcomed into any city center — and as a result threaten to isolate their low-income residents without access to important amenities, Schwartz said.

Instead of designing Star Wars-inspired structures, West would do better to invest resources into the many low-income housing projects already in the pipeline, or to partner with experienced affordable housing organizations, Schwartz said.

West’s plan also calls to mind the cautionary tale of another celebrity turned developer — actor Brad Pitt, who attempted to rebuild the storm-ravaged Lower Ninth Ward of New Orleans following Hurricane Katrina. His foundation, Make It Right, built more than 100 homes, but then faced litigation claiming the homes were defective and falling apart.

Source: The Mercury News

Landlords call for Fast Track Housing Tribunal

Almost four out of 10 landlords want the Government to introduce a fast track housing tribunal if the Section 21 no-fault eviction process is abolished as planned, a new survey has found.

Overall 39 per cent back the introduction of a tribunal while 24 per cent want to see a shorter court process for evictions, according to the latest private rented sector trend report from Paragon.

The Section 21 no-fault eviction process was introduced in the Housing Act 1988 and has been a mainstay of the UK’s private rental sector.

It allows landlords to give tenants two months’ notice of their intention to take possession of a property at any time after the initial fixed term of the tenancy agreement has expired.

The Government announced its intention to abolish Section 21 in April this year. In its place, it proposes that landlords should follow the Section 8 process which requires them to demonstrate that tenants are in breach of their rental agreement when serving notice.

Paragon’s survey comes ahead of a Government consultation this summer, designed to gather views on how best to make the existing Section 8 process work more effectively.

The survey also found that 15 per cent of landlords would like a guaranteed way to cover their costs and 7 per cent argued for the ability to submit evidence online while the majority of landlords, some 84 per cent said they felt the maximum time from serving notice to taking possession should be no longer than eight weeks.

The report points out that according to the Ministry of Housing, Community and Local Government’s recent English Private Landlord Survey, the vast majority of tenancies end at the tenant’s request.

John Heron, director of mortgages at Paragon, said: “Some of the main concerns for landlords around a move to the Section 8 eviction process relate to the efficacy of the existing court process.

“What we see here is widespread support for a fast track housing tribunal that can deliver a fair and timely solution for both landlords and tenants.”

Source: simplelandlordsinsurance

Corporations Seek Support for Mass Rental Housing

Association Of Housing Corporation of Nigeria (AHCN) resolved to sustain its pilot scheme of home ownership off-takers affordability survey database, which commenced first quarter of 2018. The scheme created a verifiable working database of about 1,000 workers per selected state. AHCH partner in the survey is Value Chain Project Consultants.

The corporation bemoaned the nation’s increasing housing shortage and affordability problem, saying that there is lack of corresponding actions to match the demand. AHCN advocated urgent collaboration among stakeholders with realistic strategies that would directly address housing needs of the people.

In a communiqué issued at the end of the meeting, delegates commended the establishment of Family Homes Funds (FHF) by the government and efforts to make affordable housing available to low income earners through mortgage and rent to own scheme. It urged state governments to make lands available to ensure the success of (FHF).

“The meeting recognises the inherent opportunities in business partnerships in developing business synergies and strategic alliances to reduce cost and expand into new markets in housing provision and called for effective partnership models and synergies between Family Homes Funds and the Federal Mortgage Bank of Nigeria, FMBN to enhance development funding and wholesale mortgage lending and origination to reduce housing shortfall in Nigeria.

It commended the recent FMBN review of the off-takers guarantee which makes it acceptable and bankable in favour of housing corporations to enable them access construction loans from commercial banks and calls on all state governments to support their housing corporations to take advantage of these opportunities for mass housing projects”.

The communiqué signed by the president of AHCN Muhammed Adamu and the Secretary General, Mr. Olusola Martins declared that lack of foreclosure laws to safeguard investors as one of the impediments to attraction of housing finance to the sector.

It encouraged governments to speed up the adoption of legal framework for judicial enforcement of mortgages and foreclosure legislations in order to boost investors’ confidence and streamline bureaucracies in the Nigeria’s mortgage market.

AHCN encouraged Nigerians to embrace the use of local building materials as appropriate alternative for addressing availability and affordable housing in Nigeria.

“With the availability of Hydraform and NBRRI technologies, state governments are encouraged to set up pilot scheme of local building materials plants in all the state of the federation to encourage development and acceptance of local building materials in Nigeria. The forum notes and commends the involvement of NBRRI in investigation of building collapse cases in Nigeria and posits that such involvement will promote quality delivery of housing as it will assist to determine the causes of collapse and proffer solutions to generate data bank for building collapses in the country”, it added.

Source: GuardianNg

Edo Government Plans 369-Unit Estate in Ekpoma

Plans to increase the housing stock have received a boost in Edo State as the government moves to develop a 369-unit estate in Ekpoma, Esan West Local Government Area.

The Executive Chairman, Edo Development and Property Agency (EDPA), Isoken Omo, who disclosed this in Benin City, the state capital, said the agency is spearheading the development of the project.

Omo noted that EDPA is pursuing a holistic plan to maximise its land bank across the three senatorial districts to drive affordable housing development for the masses.

“We have concentrated our property development in Benin City, Edo State capital in the past two years, but we want to expand our scope now. We want to expand our projects to other parts of the state where we have land banks, especially in Uromi and Ekpoma,” she said.

She explained that the development of the estate would commence before the end of the year and driven with an affordable payment plan. “We have started finalising the designs. It is going to be an estate for civil servants and low-income earners.

“The prices will be between N3 million to N4 million with four housing types. There will be two and three bedroom types.”

She added that the first phase of the Emotan Gardens Estate being developed in Benin City has been completed, as arrangements have been concluded for owners to move into their properties.

“We completed the first phase of 100 units in the estate and all the housing units have been bought. We have started the second phase and the plan is to deliver the 1,400-units estate within four years.”

Source: GuardianNg

Chinese, Qataris Commit to Building 300,000 Houses

Kenya has secured commitments from foreign investors to build more than 300,000 affordable housing units as part of the government’s Big Four Agenda.

Multinationals in the two countries have pledged to invest in the affordable housing scheme spearheaded President Uhuru Kenyatta.

Transport and Infrastructure Cabinet Secretary James Macharia said two Qatari firms have committed to construct 200,000 houses while a Chinese multinational will build at least 100,000.

The development follows a visit by the minister to the two countries.

“Discussions with the Qatari investors are progressing. This will go a long way towards achieving the Big Four Agenda target of building 500,000 affordable homes across the country,” the minister said.

He held talks with Qatari Prime Minister Abdullah bin Nasser bin Khalifa Al Thani and the country’s Transport and Communications minister Jassim bin Saif Al Sulaiti on issues concerning the strengthening of cooperation between the two countries.

Mr Macharia also attended the coordinators meeting of the Beijing Forum for China-Africa Cooperation (FOCAC) in Beijing.

The discussions mainly focused on industrial promotion, facilitating trade, infrastructure connectivity, training, peace and security.

During the meeting, Mr Macharia urged the Chinese investors to dedicate more resources to manufacturing in Africa.

He also told them to continue helping Africa develop the skills of its people by admitting more students to Chinese universities and offering internship.

In 2018, Kenya’s exports to China were valued at Sh11.1 billion whereas imports from the Asian country totalled Sh370.83 billion.

The minister said Kenya and the rest of Africa are uniquely positioned between the world’s two largest trading blocks — the USA and China.

He added that the Mombasa port, the recently developed roads and the standard gauge railway augment Kenya’s position as the gateway to East Africa and the Great Lakes region.

“Kenya has realised transformative infrastructure projects by working with neighbours to implement seamless transport networks. We plan to continue working with China and other partners on world-class projects,” he said.

The minister added that during the FOCAC summit in Beijing, the two countries agreed to strengthen their partnership through the private sector “with the Chinese government ready to welcome African countries to invest in China”.

“The Chinese are ready to increase technology transfer and training, encourage innovation cooperation, regional value chains development, support Africa cultivate technical, industrial and management professionals and promote people-centred partnerships,” he said.

Mr Macharia added that the first China-Africa Economic and Trade expo from June 27 to 29 in Changsha city attracted more than 50 African countries.

During the expo, China focused on key areas of trade and investment promotion, agriculture, energy, industrial park development, infrastructure, financing cooperation and others, he said.

The expo was themed “Win-Win Cooperation for Closer China-Africa Economic Partnership”.

The summit, the minister said, aimed at expanding, elevating and deepening mutually-beneficial China-Africa economic and trade ties.

Kenya had a pavilion showcasing the Big Four Agenda, investment opportunities, tourism and agriculture.

Activities focused on agro-processing, value addition, horticulture and floriculture exports, coffee, tea, green energy, tourism, culture, mining, infrastructure development and the general economy.

Source: nation

How a housing shortage is threatening Berlin’s urban allotments

Birds tweet and shears snip as one of Berlin’s many urban gardeners tends her city centre allotment, but behind the tranquil scene a battle is raging over the real estate.

“Schrebergärten”, or allotments, offer city dwellers a chance to grow plants and vegetables in small, private gardens and provide a green-leafed retreat from the hustle and bustle of inner-city life.

Berlin has 71,000 allotment plots spread over 890 settlements, often alongside busy railway lines or motorways. They make up three percent of the city’s surface area, according to local government figures.

Three-quarters of them are owned by the city and rented out for a modest fee.

“Two years ago, we celebrated our centenary,” recalls Suzanne Johnson, 60, of the Eschenallee allotments in the Tempelhof district where she has been lovingly cultivating her plot for 10 years.

She picks some radishes, proudly shows off her tomato plants and points to a small pond in the corner, where she marvels that every year dragonflies are born.

However, the atmosphere has become more that of a battleground than urban paradise.

Signs hanging around the allotments declare that plot owners are “Against Demolition!”.

The site – one of 15 in Berlin earmarked for demolition from next year, according to a draft by city planners – will be torn down to make way for a school.

“I think we should be able to find another solution,” says Johnson, referring to patches of wasteland dotted around the city, because allotments are “also a part of Berlin“.

The “Schrebergärten” have been around for 150 years. During the industrial revolution, workers were given a plot to help fight malnutrition.

Later, in wartime, they helped feed the local population and, after 1945 when much of Berlinwas in ruins, the allotment sheds were used for emergency housing, which is banned today.

Then, during the Cold War when West Berlin was an enclave inside the communist East German state, allotments were “extremely coveted”, Johnson said.

“At that time, there was no chance of getting away to the surrounding countryside,” she said.

Under pressure

But the Berlin Wall is long gone now and the allotments’ existence is under attack as the capital city struggles to meet demand for housing.

Some 50,000 people are moving into the city each year, increasing the need for homes and sparking steep rent hikes, to the point that Berlin‘s senate voted this month to freeze rents for the next five years.

Housing experts say the city needs 200,000 new homes by 2030, putting allotments, often rented by the elderly and families, firmly in the sights of real-estate developers.

A year ago 54 percent of Berlin residents indicated they backed the complete or partial destruction of allotments, according to a survey by the Respondi institute.

Among 18 to 29 year-olds, the figure shot up to 71 percent.

Being able to afford housing “is a right”, but gardening is “a privilege”, argues real-estate investor Arne Piepgras, who is pushing city authorities to “put an end to the madness” of allotments.

‘When a garden dies…’

Piepgras describes the rent rise in Berlin as “unbearable”.

If all of Berlin‘s allotments were torn up, he says that 400,000 social housing units with vegetable gardens on the ground floor – as was common in 1920s Berlin – could be built, solving its housing problems.

However, Jürgen Kropp, a professor at the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research, told AFP that razing all allotments would presume they “are worthless” while, with global warming, the opposite was true.

Kropp insists that allotments, thanks to the plants they grow, help control temperatures during heat waves, drain rainwater after storms and are a rich source of the fauna and flora that a healthy urban environment needs.

“Of course we need these oases, especially if we continue to build with concrete,” he argues.

At her allotment, Johnson admits she pays little for her beloved plot, 300 per year after buying the lease for 2,000.

“But we don’t spend our time tanning ourselves on sun loungers — our work benefits everyone,” she says.

School classes regularly visit, and in autumn, bags of free apples are hung at the entrance for passersby to take home.

In her eyes, “gardens are social infrastructure” worthy of preservation and, while a building can be rebuilt, “when a garden dies, it dies for good”.

By Isabelle Le Page

Nairobi House Approvals Slump to 5-Year Low

The demolition of illegally constructed structures and cancellation of irregular title deeds cut back new building approvals in Nairobi County by more than Sh11 billion in the first quarter, pulling the industry down to a five-year low.

Kenya National Bureau of Statistics (KNBS) data shows Sh48.5 billion worth of new residential and commercial real estate projects were approved between January and March this year, a 19.2 percent drop from Sh60.1 billion in the first three months of last year.

The slowdown had a negative impact on construction and building material manufacturers, suppliers, transporters as well as retail hardware shops, which reported lower earnings with fewer jobs for skilled and unskilled artisans.

The drop in new approvals matches numbers last recorded in 2015, when the value of projects approved for development in Nairobi stood at Sh45.3 billion.

The slump came after Governor Mike Sonko’s warning to his officers on the approval of illegal projects in the city.

“Due diligence must be followed to ensure only projects with clean title deeds are allowed,” he said, while warning that officers who flouted regulations would be held personally liable.

State agencies have been approaching applications for approval of new buildings with caution after last year’s demolition campaign where several multi-billion shilling properties standing on road reserves, riparian and forest lands were brought down.

The demolitions raised fears over authenticity of land ownership papers, prompting many investors to withhold planned developments.

The government has promised the creation of a digital land register that will in future be used in confirming state of land ownership before lenders or investors consider funding any project.

The confusion on the authenticity of land documents appears to have disrupted off-plan sales as well as property purchases leading to higher loan defaults by developers in the past year.

The Central Bank of Kenya’s end-year quarterly report revealed that real estate developers were the biggest loan defaulters at Sh44.4 billion, a 15.8 percent rise or Sh6.1 billion more outpacing non-performing loans by manufacturers (11.7 percent) and traders (7.3 percent).

The real estate sector last year received Sh113.7 billion in loans from commercial bank but 2019 appears to be hurting private sector players as sales have dipped forcing some financiers to auction ongoing projects for non-servicing of loans.

Suraya Properties is the latest victim that had to renegotiate a new Sh1.9 billion loan facility with four lenders to facilitate completion of four projects that it blamed on low sales that adversely affected their cashflow thereby hurting their project completion deadlines.

Cement manufacturers also reported a three percent drop in sales in the first quarter, where 1.45 million tonnes were consumed compared to 2018’s first three months when 1.5 million tonnes were supplied to various construction sites.

Drop in cement consumption could also be attributed to the near completion of the Sh150 billion Naivasha-Nairobi Standard Gauge Railway Project that is due for commissioning later this month.

Cement consumption grew by a paltry 1.6 percent last year to 5.95 million tonnes, which saw cement companies reduce production by 2.6 percent to 6.1 million tonnes for the second year in a row.

Source: businessdailyafrica

South Africa, Namibia Templates Indicate Possibility of Bridging Nigeria’s Housing Gap

Nigeria’s population currently put at about N200 million and growing certainly puts more pressure on the available resources‎ to be shared by an ever increasing population.

To worsen the concern, inappropriate policy direction, albeit policy inconsistency, has been the bane of Nigeria’s dwindling fortunes with regard to maximising it’s economic potential as the Africa’s largest economy.

Nigeria has an ever increasing housing deficit of more than 17 million. President Muhammadu Buhari’s first tenure promised to build one million houses per annum to address the huge housing deficit and was even re-emphasised by Boss Mustapha, Secretary to the Government of the Federation just last year.

The ruling party, the All Progressive Congress (APC) said it would review the Land Use Act and provide the infrastructure to realise the plan of addressing Nigeria’s housing deficit.

In 2015, Lai Mohammed, the former Minister of Information and Culture said at an inter-party debate organised by the Centre for Democracy and Development, and Open Society Initiative for West Africa said, “We would use the Land Use Act reform in a manner that will encourage all states to computerised their lands. That is why we said we would create a mortgage market that can build one million houses per annum.”

A lot of these promises down the line have not been fulfilled within the last four years, which compounds Nigeria’s housing problem, amidst concerns of ever increasing population growth rate of almost 3 percent.

Fact check shows that not up to 5000 houses were built by the government at the first tenure of the APC led federal government which has not embarked on the needed reforms which ought to attract private capital into the housing sector.

But how can a government with a paltry budget of about N9 trillion naira, albeit borrowing to fund a greater percentage of its budget, amidst concerns of also a huge chunk of sub-national government’s struggling to pay salaries of workers ‎be able to close the housing deficit gap on its own without the support of private capital?

In turning around the situation, Nigeria has so much to learn from countries like South Africa and Namibia, experts submitted at the BusinessDay real estate summit in Abuja recently.

In South Africa, for instance, the government has introduced a policy of broad-based black economic empowerment, which‎ requires foreign companies to go into partnership with local business, shifting company ownership patterns.

Specifically in 2006, South Africa’s Public Investment Commission (PIC) announced plans to create a continent-wide 25-year equity funds to mobilise local and international investment for infrastructure development in Africa. PIC includes the government’s employees pension fund and has about R600 -billion in assets under management, making this the largest fund management initiative in the country.

In Namibia and Mozambique, private equity funds are moving in there to scale up housing projects, on the back of laid out template to attract such funds into its sector unlike the unattractive land use act which bestows on the governors absolute rights on the land with several impediments in encouraging private equity due to several encumbrances.

Industry watchers suggest that commercial mortgage credit facility interest rate should be less than 10 percent per annum. “There should be sectoral allocation policy by CBN, mandating banks to lend particular percentages of credit facility to certain critical sectors including housing.

“Government should simplify Property Rights and make it accessible and affordable,‎” Chijioke Ekechukwu, a former director general of Abuja Chamber of Commerce and Industry, told BusinessDay.

Proffering solution to myriads of problems confronting Nigeria’s housing sector, experts ‎at the BusinessDay Real Estate event called on the federal and sub-national governments to ensure investor friendly incentives that would attract the private capital into Nigeria’s housing sector.

This development, they said, would make Nigeria more attractive for private capital investors in real estate and housing infrastructure, since most of them are looking towards South Africa, Angola, Namibia, Mozambique, for such investments since there are better investments framework.

BusinessDay Real Estate Roundtable and Exhibition is an annual event and had this year’s theme‎ as, “Scaling Up Responsible Land Governance to Ease Affordable Housing Delivery”.

“With the annual budget of over N8 trillion, and capital of about 25 percent, it is clear that the government cannot fund the development of infrastructure. Unless the environment is ready, you won’t have the private capital,” Ese Stephen Owie, Chief Executive Officer, (Sub-saharan Africa), Numelec SA, Geneva, Switzerland said.

“In United states, for instance, what they have done is to have a number of infrastructure bonds, government’s support, unbiased support to home developers, guarantees given to the private sector, and investors.”

He stated further that the government must ensure an enabling environment to tap into the private capital investments of development finance institutions, commercial banks, investment banks in a bid to address housing deficit concerns.

“We should start revising our housing regulations, access to title, looking at the land use act and its encumbrances to getting title, when we do that the private sector can now move in with their capitals.”

Owie raised further concern that the process of acquiring title to land is such that the Certificate of Occupancy takes a bit of time and no bank wants to wait that. “The point is that unless we review the issues under the Land Use Act we will not make substantial progress in terms of housing finance because at the core of housing finance is the issue of access to land and title to land and that is a major problem.

“I am not sure up to five states in Nigeria have been able to digitize their land bank, and unless you begin to reform that there will be no basis for you to have land transactions and that that is key. So we need the political will to reform the Land Use Act and this must be done to change that narrative,” he said.

He added that there is absolutely no way any government can personally fund housing development, stressing the need for more private sector participation in the sector.

According to him, “The role of government in housing development is to provide the legal and institutional framework for Housing development. If a responsible government wants to go further, that government should set out a regime for state support to those seeking to build their homes. The role of government should not be that of personally awarding contracts like what we are seeing in Nigeria today, which is a misnomer.”

Also speaking during a panel discussion, Babajide Odusolu, Group Chief Executive Officer, Legacy Holdings Limited, said the state governors guide the land jealously because “land is the IGR driver for most states under the Land Use Act”. He however, called on the state governments to incentivize development by putting infrastructure in their areas to attract investments.

Nasiru Suleiman, Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer of Wiser Estates ‎said, “Coming together to partner with the intention of solving land and housing problem is a good you have taken. Everything we are talking move towards affordable housing and how we will reduce house deficit. Affordable house would have been but there is basic problem is poverty. It is either average Nigerian not employed or underemployed and what that means is that, they don’t either have money to buy houses no matter how cheap or are not earning enough to either talk of buying houses.”

Suleiman Arzika, Chief Operating Officer, Suburban Fiber Company at the conference noted that, ‎”The application of technology, we work with real estate developers to provide security through CTV Cameras to avoid land encroachment to make land a more viable asset. Technology such as smart phones can also help in effective land administration.”

For Kehinde Ogundimu, Managing director of Nigeria Mortgage Refinance Company PLC, “the best place to get money from the private sector is the debt capital market which is in trillions. Your pension, my pension and other things. For us to be able to meet the increasing need and the limited resources, we have to resort to debt capital market.”

“As long as inflation rate remains high, interest rate will remain high and that will make mortgages impossible for people to afford and then, construction. You have to address both the demand and supply.

Source: businessdayng


The Fair Housing Act of 1968—legislation designed to prevent discrimination and provide access to housing for all—was enacted over 50 years ago. Yet, buying a home continues to be out of reach for African Americans, according to a new survey.

NeighborWorks America, a nonprofit organization headquartered in Washington, D.C., is on a mission to help more people live in affordable homes by working with affiliate nonprofits to provide housing education. Their recent survey reveals that 70% of U.S. adults say the homebuying process is complicated and out of reach.

“It’s a lot to understand the responsibilities of homeownership,” says Karen Hoskins, acting vice president of National Homeownership Programs and Lending at NeighborWorks America. “For example, what’s the best mortgage product to buy the home that you are interested in? There’s a lot of information.“


But other financial experts believe the difficulty of homeownership is largely exaggerated and creates a barrier to entry for many African Americans. “The how-to steps and myths of how hard homeownership is to obtain have scared many homeowners away,” says Jeff Wilson II, author of The Lies our Parents Were Sold and Told Us and principal at The W2 Group accounting firm.

“The 20% down payment myth lives on and discourages African Americans from following through on the homebuyers’ process,” he says.

The NeighborhoodWorks America national survey gathered responses from 1,000 adults 18 and over. The survey results confirmed the need for more education about the housing process and financial management.

“I believe the addition of community programs that educate possible homeowners about the process is mandatory to provide access for all,” says Wilson. “It’s also important for prospective homeowners to seek the assistance and insights of a financial coach to ensure they have a plan in place to pay for housing expenses beyond the down payment. New homeowners without the proper knowledge or coach may find themselves struggling to stay financially afloat.”

One out of 5 black people said their most important financial goal for 2019 is to pay bills and everyday expenses, according to the survey. The idea of financial planning classes to help improve a person’s financial situation appealed to 46% of survey participants.

Hoskins notes that part of the conversation needs to focus on a person’s ability to purchase a home right now. “You have to look at the individuals’ life circumstances and what their needs are when it relates to housing. Having sufficient savings and funds in reserve is important.”


Unfortunately, debt continues to decrease the savings rate and create barriers for many African Americans who seek to participate in the homeownership process. “Student loan debt and credit card debt are the front-runners that present a challenge for some consumers to be able to qualify for a mortgage,” says Hoskins. “In some cases, the credit card debt is part of the student loan debt because credit cards may have been used to purchase books or other supplies needed for education.”

What’s the solution to overcoming barriers to homeownership? Having access to education and the right information are key. Working with a housing counselor or financial coach can help you navigate one of the biggest financial decisions you will make in your lifetime.

“There is a myth that you need a 20% down payment to purchase a home. There are mortgage programs where the down payment requirements are much less. Consumers may not be aware of this. That’s a benefit of connecting with a housing counselor,” says Hoskins.

Source: blackenterprise

Developer, IOCs Partner on N15bn Workers’ Housing Estates

Real estate development firm, Brains and Hammers Limited, says it is working with the cooperative society  of major International Oil Companies, particularly Shell and ExxonMobil to provide 117 housing units across three hectares of land in Eti Osa Local Government Area of Lagos State.

The property, named CoopEast Resort Estate, is expected to be fully built and ready for occupation in two years, starting with a ground breaking event which took place on Saturday.

The Director of Sales, Brains and Hammers, Mr Omo Osobase, said it would be the first time the company would be working with a cooperative.

He said, “It is one of the plausible ways to solve or reduce the 18 million housing deficit in Nigeria. That is why we have decided to work in tandem with the vision of the cooperative to provide affordable and decent housing for their members.

“It is a win-win for all the parties involved in this transaction – the cooperative, the cooperators and us. We are very open to working with cooperatives and members of the public generally. It is a partnership that is very promising and we want to use this medium to reach other cooperatives. We are very hopeful that this will lead to a new era of advancement in housing infrastructure across Nigeria.”

Osobase explained that the housing estate would be made of four types of accommodation such as three-bedroom ensuite with boys quarters; four-bedroom ensuite with boys quarters and four-bedroom ensuite semi-detached.

“The last category is nicknamed ‘the King’s House’, featuring five bedrooms, a study, penthouse, boys quarters and a guest house,” he said.

The Chairman, Brains and Hammers, Mr Adebola Sheidu, said, the management was happy to have people repose the kind of trust they had in banks in the company.

According to him, the company has a portfolio of over 2,000 completed residential homes across Nigeria and ongoing work in over 3,000 more.

The President, Shell Cooperative, Chief Hyginus Onuegbu, said the project had been oversubscribed and would cost N7.8bn in its phase 1, while phase 2 would bring the total cost of the project to N15bn.

He indicated that it was the first signature project for the cooperative in partnership with ExxonMobil, while the cooperative would be extending its total investment portfolio in real estate in Lagos within the last five years to N50bn.

He said the cooperatives wanted to be part of the Lagos economic growth story.

The President, ExxonMobil Cooperative Multipurpose Society, Mr Olusoga Sofolahan, said there was the need to create value for money to members, hence the investment.

Source: punchng

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