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7 Key Features that Impact Affordable Housing in Africa

Africa’s housing sector has witnessed remarkable and significant developments over the past few years. Thanks to the multiple reforms brought about by stakeholders of the sector. However, there is still a vast scope of possibilities to bridge the gap between the affordable housing demand and supply through multiple approaches, which when brought together will lead to a future where everyone has a place to call home.

We have encompassed some of the influencing factors that would allow more collaboration and thus pose African affordable housing as a lucrative sector to invest in a meaningful future.

1. Investment & Financing 

The key to a good return is based on a bankable investment structure, optimal project management, and predictable returns. Multiple channels of securing & boosting returns and alternate

financing options help re-instill the investor/financier faith in affordable housing projects.

2. Public-Private Partnerships:
PPP models are now taking the center stage as governments turn to PPPs for long-term commitments; risk-sharing and large scale investments. This model is not only cost-efficient but also time-efficient and objective. Yet, multiple concerns arise with the model with respect to the accountability, control, and rigidity of contracts.

3. Design & Construction efficiency:

A whopping 70% or more of the entire cost is directed towards construction. This is one of the major challenges that affect affordability. Innovative construction methods such as the use of reclaimed material, new planning and cost management systems, design innovations, account for construction efficiency of homes.

4.  Legal & policy framework:

While these exist to protect the interests of the end users, there is no denying that, many a times legal structures & policies could be an impediment for investors to venture into projects as a result of implications which could impact the entire value chain of the sector. The issue is how to address priorities and various conflicts of interests in order to ease financing and supply of affordable houses.

5. Technological advancements:

The rapidly evolving landscape of technology offers numerous ways to not only expedite the initiation and delivery of houses but also streamlines, the whole process, increases transparency and thus reassure that the residential units are fast, affordable and reach the rightful buyer.

6. Infrastructure and community facilities: 

Homes that are well within the proximity of workplaces, educational institutions, and other recreational areas are always a win with the community. This not only attracts more investment but also the buyers, providing them with low-cost homes and facilities that are basic to present-day living.

 

7. Sustainable Homes are the Future

Last but certainly not the least, is the concept of Green Homes, where people and the planet can thrive. Green building practices and sustainable designs contribute to efficient utilization of resources while creating healthier and more productive environments for people and communities.

The Affordable Housing Investment Summit attempts to open avenues to have honest and fruitful dialogues, on the 26th & 27th of June 2019 in Nairobi-Kenya, along the factors above and more, among the key stakeholders including the government representatives, financiers and project developers who delve into the ideas that can convert challenges into opportunities to make affordable homes a reality for all.

Tackling illiquidity burden in mortgage system

A consummate finance expert, Ogundimu is no new comer in NMRC. He has seen and known it all and, therefore, has a couple of things to say about this secondary mortgage institution.
“We have been able to address the liquidity challenge in the mortgage system”, Ogundimu says, despite experts’ strong view that some primary mortgage banks (PMBs) are still struggling over liquidity issues. He insists that “PMBs that are not liquid are those that are not doing well who cannot access our funds”, pointing out that the high interest rate in the mortgage system is a function of the macro-economy which is beyond their control.

This is simply a testimonial that NMRC is achieving part of its statutory mandates. In Nigeria, the inequality created by lack of affordable housing places a moral obligation on all housing stakeholders to use every tool at their disposal to find solutions to the problem of accessing sustainable and affordable housing finance.

Nigeria has heavy housing burden with an unchanging deficit estimated at 17 million units. It also has low home-ownership level put at a little above 10 percent. All these easily find explanation in the country’s mortgage system that has remained a fledgling, liquidity-squeezed and unable to fund even low cost housing.

The coming of the NMRC, A private sector-led company with the public purpose of developing the primary and secondary mortgage markets by raising long‐term funds from the domestic capital market as well as foreign markets for providing accessible and affordable housing in Nigeria, was aimed to address this problem.

Government’s attempts at addressing the country’s housing problem with the establishment of both the Federal Mortgage Bank of Nigeria (FMBN) and National Housing Fund (NHF) to provide low interest rate mortgage for people to build or buy houses, have been anything but successful.

But there have been spirited efforts by the refinance company to not only reposition the country’s mortgage sector, but also to break down barriers to home ownership by providing liquidity, affordability, accessibility and stability to the housing market.

The company has the vision to be the dominant housing partner in Nigeria by providing liquidity and access to affordable housing finance and, in line with that, it has come out with some innovative initiatives aimed to improve mortgage market transactions and also fast-track affordable housing delivery.

When the company was established, part of the mandate given to it was to promote wider spread of home ownership, accessibility and affordability which explains the setting up of what it calls ‘Housing/Mortgage Market Information Portal (MMIP)’ aimed to enable it to gather data for intelligence and profiling of federal, states civil servants and informal sectors (off-takers) for affordable housing.

This is an effective policy and decision making tool on land allocation, infrastructure and concessions. MMIP enables decisions on creating polycentric cities in order to decongest major urban centres.

Another initiative the company has come up with is the NMRC Mortgage Market System (MMS) which is a transformational change that integrates the entire housing market, covering construction finance, primary and secondary mortgage.

The system which is available to all players in the housing industry has the benefit of removing duplications of effort in gathering data and documents; improving the turnaround time, reducing the cycle time of transactions and helping in making homes more affordable.

Described as a world class system that brings all players in the mortgage and housing market into a centralised technology ecosystem, MMS allows a systematic market to operate and concentration of activities to take place.

What the system seeks to achieve, besides bringing credibility and attracting investors to the mortgage market, is also to let players and sundry individuals know what is going on in the market; the system creates a marketplace where there is information flow and people can see what is going on.

The system is a national market that is not only about mortgage but also the entire housing finance and so it allows people to see the pipeline projects and know who is bringing what to the market. It also allows NMRC, as a refinancer, time to determine when to go to the market to raise bonds.

MMS also allows market operators to track all the activities within the construction industry. With it they can see which developer is doing what and in which location. It also allows them to begin to compare prices and know which property is being sold and in which location. This way, the developers will begin to be more competitive in the way they do their thing.

For the mortgage banks, the new system allows them to begin to manage their own systems by themselves using the uniform underwriting standards which NMRC has produced and, with that, they can evaluate their applications based on the underwriting standard.

It is hoped that the use of these systems, especially the MMIP, for federal and state governments mortgage asset registry will reduce cost of homeownership; eliminates breaks in the chain of title; improve hard naira savings on each loan for homeowners and lenders, and reveal identity of servicer and investor available to homeowners via phone or internet.

Chuka Uroko

Cement sector sets for recovery amid fragile growth, weak infrastructure

There are indications that the cement sector of the Nigerian economy is on recovery part despite threats posed by sluggish growth of the macro-economy, steep naira devaluation, militancy in the Niger Delta region and weak infrastructure spending by private and public sectors.

The sector was drastically affected by the underwhelming performance of the economy mainly because the demand for cement tracks the performance of the macro-economy as well as government policies, reforms and spending on infrastructures.

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A report on the Nigerian cement industry titled ‘In Search of Growth Triggers’ by Afrinvest Securities, an independent investment banking firm, shows the sector grew 4.5 percent in 2018 compared to -2.2 percent in 2017 as real GDP rose to 1.9 percent in 2018 from 0.8 percent a year earlier.

The sector which accounted for over 0.8 percent in real GDP in 2018 saw growth moderating to an average of -1.0 percent in the last three years compared with 16.9 percent in the previous decade.

The 2016 recession which saw growth declining to -1.6 percent from 2.8 percent in 2015 thwarted the fortunes of cement business as the sector contracted 5.4 percent in 2016 compared with 22.1 percent in 2015.

Consequently, the country’s consumption per capita dipped 20.5 percent to 97kg in 2017, lower than South Africa (234 kg), Senegal (222kg), India (217kg) Ghana (202 kg) and the sub-Saharan African region (116kg).

In addition, the devaluation of the naira between 2014 and 2017 triggered operating costs of cement companies given their exposure of energy costs ( as gas is priced in dollars and coals are imported) coupled with debt to foreign currency risk, which consequently hiked cement prices.

Lafarge was badly bruised due to its foreign currency loans. Dangote was unaffected owing to its long dollar position on the back of its recorded earnings from revaluation gains.

Also, activities in the real estate and construction sectors that ought to support growth of the sector are uninspiring. Both sectors grew less than 2.5 percent in 2018. Infrastructure spending is still below the recommended $50 trillion or N18 trillion based on Nigerian Integrated Infrastructure Master Plan (NIIMP).

Steps taken to address the issues

The opulence of the cement industry has started to revive. Players have diversified their sources of fuel and have equally embraced local input sourcing. Stability in the foreign exchange market since mid-2017 has, to a great extent, eased pressure on operating costs of cement makers.

With the diversification of input sourcing, cement makers now have the long-term buffers to absorb currency risk, in case it occurs.

Key trends driving the sector

According to the report, new investment opportunities are gaining momentum in the sector amid overcapacity. An estimated 7.1 metric tonnes (MT) was added to the sector’s capacity since 2016 though utilization is less than 50 percent. Additional 12 MT is expected to come on board given Nigeria’s growing population and export opportunities.

The report pointed out that cement makers have started optimizing fuel mix, and this gave them upper hand to benefit from cheap fuels such as coal. Optimizing fuel mix is expected to spike earnings on the back of reduced energy cost.

Given the growing demand for cement, players are now moving to other parts of the country to exploit excess capacity in the exports market. Trucking remains the major means of transportation as infrastructure remains deplorable.

Outlook

The outlook for the sector is positive. The sector expanded 4.5 percent in 2018 as against -2.2 percent in 2017. Energy cost is expected to trend southwards given diversification of input sourcing and mild currency risk. Based on this, volume as well as earnings and profitability are expected to surge.

However, the report noted that growth of the broader economy will underperform the population growth rate close to 3 percent in medium term, thereby affecting demand for cement.

The enforcement of executive order 007, which grants tax credits to companies for funding public infrastructure, is expected to reduce tax expense and boost earnings of cement makers.

Although the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCTA) aims to promote intra-Africa trade by reducing tariff, there are growing concerns on whether this policy would hamper the competitiveness of Nigerian cement. This might be the reason for President Buhari’s reluctance to sign the agreement.

In another side, there is high chance for Nigerian cement producers to benefit from the agreement given their cost competitiveness as a result of excess capacity, tax incentives and abundance of raw materials. The report noted that Dangote Cement is poised to benefit most due to its overcapacity in several regions of Africa.

Given the paucity of raw materials in West African region, cement importation is not a big threat to Nigerian cement makers, coupled with the fact that huge transport costs from other parts of the continent would make imports unattractive.

ISRAEL ODUBOLA

Lagos graduates 350 artisans in Master Craftsman Project

The Lagos State Government on Tuesday graduated 350 artisans in the second batch of its Master Craftsman Project scheme.

The Master Craftsman Project aims to address the skill gap in the housing sector in Lagos State.

Speaking at the event which held in Ikeja, Lagos, Deputy Governor, Dr. Oluranti Adebule, said that the Ambode administration was worried by the skill gap, hence it flagged off the Master Craftsman Project in 2016.

Adebule, represented by the Permanent Secretary in her office, Mrs Yetunde Odejayi, said that the government had a vision of training 4,000 artisans.

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According to her, the Master Craftsman Project was an initiative of the state government to bridge the skill gap, in order to prevent foreigners from taking over jobs of technicians in the built industry.

“Today, I am happy having graduated 170 in 2017, another batch of 350 are graduating today,’’ she said.

Adebule stated that the government was “determined to reverse the trend’’ of influx of foreign artisans, to ensure local artisans take back their pride of place in the built industry.

She said that the Master Craftsman Project was creating jobs and ensuring self-reliance among local artisans, adding that the government had provided required tools for the graduating artisans to promote hard work and integrity.

The Commissioner for Housing, Prince Gbolahan Lawal, said that the scheme was aimed at scaling up professionalism of artisans in the state, to meet up with current global trends.

Lawal said that the platform created an opportunity for artisans and workers in the construction industry to receive certificates after being trained to acquire 21st Century skills.

He said that issues of quackery, quality of service, inappropriate charges, and unethical conduct leading to building collapse were considered and built into the curriculum to produce world class artisans.

Also, Commissioner for Physical Planning and Urban Development, Rotimi Ogunleye, congratulated the grandaunts, whom he noted had become professionals and who should uphold construction ethics to stem incidence of building collapse.

He appealed to the grandaunts to place professionalism high above the selfish ambition of making quick profit, and to uphold efficiency.

“I want you to do your work with full sense of duty,” he said.

Seye Oladejo, the Commissioner of the State Ministry of Special Duties and Intergovernmental Relations, said the scheme “shows Lagos State Government is thinking in the right direction for the future”.

Oladejo said that world over, skills acquisition was the best form of empowerment and job creation strategy for economic development.

He called for support of residents toward sustenance of the good work.

Oladejo said that Lagos was too big to be an experiment and urged residents of Lagos to vote the candidates of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in Saturday’s election.

Mr Ayo Muritala, of the Knewrow Performance Engineering, the firm that trained the artisans, commended the efforts of the state government and other stakeholders in the training.

He said that the firm was creating an app to help residents of Lagos locate professional artisans in their communities.

Muritala said that the firm was also creating a database of all qualified certified artisans and was issuing them customised identity cards to eliminate fraud.

He called on the state government to make it a policy to absorb all the trained artisans into its major projects.

“I hope you will make it a policy that 80 per cent of your artisans would come from Master Craftsman,’’ he said.

A female graduating welder, Folasayo Anjorin, speaking on behalf of the others, thanked the state government for the opportunity given them to better impact of the construction industry.

“On behalf of my colleagues here, I say a very big thank you,” she said.

Certificates were presented to grandaunts and their identity cards unveiled by the Deputy Governor’s representative.

family

Seven ways to get your child a first home

It has never been harder to get a foot on the housing ladder. House prices are now nearly eight times the average wage, and they have been rising faster than most can save.

Almost one in four first-time buyers are now turning to the ‘Bank of Mum and Dad’, figures from insurer Aldermore Bank show.

And 30-year-olds whose parents have no property wealth are 60 percent less likely to be homeowners, according to the Resolution Foundation.

But if you can’t hand over a hefty deposit to your loved ones, you could still lend a hand.

Last week we explained how you can aid them in preparing their finances to get mortgage-fit in two years. Here, we explore other ways to help them get the keys to their first home…

GIVE IT ALL AWAY

Family or friends can give all — or a chunk — of a deposit to the buyer as a simple, tax-free, non-returnable gift.

Simply handing over a deposit is the most common way parents help their children onto the ladder, and this is where the term ‘Bank of Mum and Dad’ originates.

Legal & General figures show the Bank of Mum and Dad gave close to £5.7 billion in 2018.

Alongside savings accounts for first-time buyers such as Help to Buy and Lifetime Isas, a gifted deposit can top up any shortfall.

But this may be an option only for wealthy parents who have money they won’t need in retirement if they intend to give all their loved ones an equal deposit.

Vicky Bradley, a product manager at Skipton Building Society, had saved £9,000 for a deposit when she fell in love with a £125,000 two-bed terraced house in Keighley, West Yorkshire.

Her parents, Bob and Linda Bradley, offered to help cover the 10 percent deposit and fees.

‘They agreed to an informal loan of £3,000, but then told me it was really a gift,’ says Vicky. ‘It was such a lovely surprise and allowed me to arrange a mortgage straight away.’

Gifted money could be subject to inheritance tax. For gifts above your annual allowance of £3,000, you must live longer than seven years from the date you gave the money away to avoid the risk of an inheritance tax liability on your donation.

A gifted deposit can also prompt questions over who gets the money back if a couple of splits and their house is sold.

A solicitor can draw up a legal document such as a Declaration of Trust to note which buyer the gift was given , and the share of the property to which they are entitled.

…OR GET IT BACK

If you cannot afford to give a deposit away, then you can lend it — on your own terms.

A loan lets you keep some control by specifying when you need the cash back. It may be exempt from inheritance tax but the rules are complex, so check with a tax expert first.

A solicitor is needed to draw up the terms and, just like with a mortgage, the parents would register a charge on the property deeds to ensure the loan is paid back.

The charge on the deeds would specify that on the sale of the property, or when it is remortgaged, the money lent is repaid.

A drawback for the parents, however, is that they are also required to stick to the terms and cannot readily access their cash.

Only a handful of lenders accept a parental loan as a deposit, and those that do take monthly repayments into account — which could restrict the amount your child can borrow.

LOAN YOUR NAME 

First-time buyers can now add their parents to the mortgage application while keeping Mum and Dad’s names off the deeds.

A ‘joint borrower, sole proprietor’ deal allows the buyer to apply for a home loan using their parents’ income. Adding family members to the mortgage, but not the property, has grown in popularity.

Lenders prefer this over a traditional guarantor deal, where parents are vetted separately to make sure they can make payments in case the children default on the loan.

After Virgin Money withdrew its guarantor mortgage last year due to a lack of demand, only a handful of lenders, including Hinckley & Rugby, Cambridge and Market Harborough building societies, will still consider this type of deal.

Instead, around 20 lenders offer the new joint borrower arrangement — double that available ten years ago.

High Street banks such as Barclays, Metro, and Clydesdale offer a mortgage on these terms, along with building societies such as Newcastle, Hinckley & Rugby and Buckinghamshire. Interest rates are typically the same as with a regular mortgage.

The cheapest five-year fix available is 2.34 percent with Barclays for borrowers with a 10 percent deposit. On a mortgage of £150,000, the monthly repayments would be £661. Over five years, the total cost of the mortgage, including a £999 fee, would be £40,659.

The length of the mortgage offered will depend on the age of the oldest borrower.

Mark Harris, chief executive of mortgage broker SPF Private Clients, says: ‘This type of deal helps with the affordability of the mortgage but not the deposit.

It also ensures the child qualifies for first-time buyer stamp duty exemptions, while the parents sidestep the additional 3 percent stamp duty surcharge for purchasing a second home.’

And by not owning a share of the first-time buyer’s home, parents can also avoid paying capital gains tax on any increase in the value of the house when it is sold.

But Mr Harris warns: ‘Anyone named on the mortgage is jointly responsible for making payments. It could also damage their credit rating if repayments are not maintained, and affect the parents’ ability to take out further debt in the future.’

 

SAVINGS SWAP

Among specialist offers aimed at families is a 100 percent mortgage tied to a savings account.

This allows first-time buyers to buy a house without a deposit on the condition that a family member deposits money in attached savings account for a fixed period.

The Barclays Family Springboard and Lloyds Lend A Hand mortgages require 10 percent of the value of the house to be locked away in a fixed-interest savings account for three years.

Although your money is tucked away and you cannot access it in an emergency, you will get it back, along with interest, when the term ends.

Lloyds pays 2.5 percent on savings, and Barclays currently pays 2.25 percent — its rate is set 1.5 percent above the Bank of England base rate.

David Hollingworth, of mortgage broker L&C, says: ‘This could help parents or grandparents who are not in a position to give money away, or have a large family and need to share their wealth around.’

But for the first-time buyer, it may mean they have to stay in the property until its value increases enough to give them a substantial deposit in order to take the next step on the housing ladder.

If the house price falls, they could find themselves in negative equity. If mortgage payments are missed, banks may hold on to the money for longer until they are cleared or, depending on the lender, use some of the money to clear any debts.

Former garage owner Carl Bojen, 65, used the Family Springboard mortgage to help his granddaughter Toni Thornton, 28, buy her first home nearby in Grimsby, Lincolnshire, with partner Kane Ramsey and their son Ronny, three.

‘I want to help all my grandchildren buy their own homes, but it would break me to give all six of them a deposit,’ Carl says.

Carl and his wife Linda, 65, put £13,200 of their savings — 10 percent of the £132,000 purchase price — into a Barclays savings account attached to the mortgage. After three years Carl and Linda will get their money back with interest, ready to help their next grandchild.

Without help, Toni, who works in telephone sales, and electrician Kane would have had to save for another three years.

HOME BETTING

Another option for families is, instead of offering cash as a deposit, parents can allow the bank to put a charge — like a mortgage — on their home for the equivalent amount.

The value of that charge could be, for example, 20 to 25 percent of the value of the first-time buyer’s house. It remains on the property for around 10 years.

It can be reviewed before then, and if there is enough equity built up in the home, it can be removed early.

Aldermore Bank and Family Building Society are two lenders that offer these types of mortgages. Family BS requires the first-time buyer to contribute 5 percent of the deposit.

It could suit parents who have lots of property wealth and do not plan to move house.

If parents want to move, particularly in the short term, there must be enough equity in their new home to still provide the same guarantee.

There is also the risk that they could lose their home if their child or grandchild’s house is repossessed and there is not enough money to repay the loan.

SLASH INTEREST

Families can also use a savings account to slash the interest a first-time buyer pays on their mortgage.

A family offset mortgage is similar to the savings and mortgage account option, but instead of getting interested on the money in the account, it is used to reduce the mortgage cost.

When the mortgage lender checks whether the first-time buyer can afford the mortgage, they will base the assessment on the lower monthly payments, after the parents’ savings have been taken into account.

For example, if a mortgage of £150,000 was taken out, and £50,000 savings were deposited in the account, the borrower would only pay interest on £100,000 of the mortgage.

Family Building Society and Yorkshire Building Society are among those which offer the deal.

Parents will get their money back after a fixed period. This is usually ten years, but it can be reviewed earlier — for example, when the borrower’s fixed rate comes to an end.

The drawback is that the money is locked away for a period and will not earn interest for the parents. It could also be eroded by inflation.

If the house is repossessed or sold for less than the loan amount due, savings in the offset account can also be used to foot the shortfall.

But in a low-interest rate environment, savers may prefer to forego earning a small amount of interest in favor of helping their children pay less towards their monthly mortgage payments.

Kim and Alison Wilkinson, both 60, from Surrey, used a Family Building Society offset mortgage to help their daughter Sarah, 26, buy a £260,000 three-bedroom terraced home in Portsmouth, Hampshire.

The couple had built up savings but did not need to use them in the short term. Earning next to no interest in a savings account, they decided to put the money to better use.

Secondary school teacher Sarah’s mortgage with Family BS was fixed for five years at 2.89 percent.

‘Mum and Dad wanted their money to work as hard as possible,’ says Sarah. ‘By putting it in the offset account, it effectively earned 2.89 percent.’

While she could afford the monthly repayments without her parents’ help, she says: ‘This reduced my mortgage payment from around £750 to £550, which gave me the more disposable income to furnish the house and enjoy treats such as holidays, which I may not have been able to do as a first-time buyer.’

CASH IN PROPERTY

Income-poor older homeowners with plenty of property wealth could unlock their home’s equity to help.

Equity release is available to borrowers aged 55 or over. It allows homeowners to gift their property wealth now, instead of waiting until they die and their house is sold.

In the first half of 2018, close to 20 percent of borrowers taking out equity release used the money to help the family, according to Canada Life.4

The only has to be repaid only when the homeowner dies or moves into long-term care. There are also options that allow borrowers to pay the monthly interest if they want to reduce the cost of the overall loan.

This can also reduce your inheritance tax liability, as the value of the equity release loan will be deducted from the overall estate when the inheritance tax bill is calculated.

Rates on equity release mortgages are higher than traditional mortgages. The average interest rate is 5.24 percent, compared to the average two-year fixed rate of 2.49 percent on a traditional mortgage.

Interest is also rolled up and added to the loan monthly, which can double the debt every 14 years.

Parents or grandparents should seek legal advice before entering into a family mortgage arrangement.

Source: DailyMail

Freddie Mac invests $61 million in housing for families displaced by Hurricane Harvey

Freddie Mac, which re-entered the Low-Income Housing Tax Credit market last year for the first time in nearly 10 years, is making another investment in affordable housing.

The government-sponsored enterprise announced Monday that it closed a LIHTC fund with National Equity Fund and made three investments, totaling more than $61 million.

The new fund is Freddie’s fifth LITHC fund since re-entering the market last year.

According to Freddie Mac, the first three investments from this new fund will help provide supportive housing for individuals experiencing homelessness and families displaced by Hurricane Harvey.


Specifically, the investments from the new fund will go towards (details from Freddie Mac):

Aiding those displaced by Hurricane Harvey: A $15 million LIHTC equity investment in Houston’s New Hope Housing’s Dale Carnegie development will provide high-quality housing and supportive services to 170 individuals and families displaced by Hurricane Harvey.

Addressing Homelessness on Skid Row: A $19.6 million LIHTC equity investment in Skid Row Housing Trust’s Flor 401 Lofts development in Los Angeles will serve nearly 100 veterans and special needs individuals experiencing homelessness with both housing and supportive services.

Serving Homeless Veterans in South Los Angeles: A $26.5 million LIHTC equity investment in Hollywood Community Housing’s Florence Mills Apartments will help provide supportive housing in South Los Angeles — an area with a very high homeless rate. Thirteen of the 74 units will be designated for homeless veterans.


According to Freddie Mac, it chose to partner with NEF on the new fund because of the nonprofit’s “deep expertise with the LIHTC program, its commitment to serving communities in need, and its ability to support Freddie Mac’s mission of delivering liquidity and stability to underserved markets.”

David Leopold, vice president of Targeted Affordable Sales & Investments at Freddie Mac, said that NEF has a more than 30-year record of making investments in affordable housing, adding that the GSE is “proud” to aid NEF in its mission.

“We believe that extraordinary things can happen with great partners, and NEF’s partnership with Freddie Mac demonstrates that motto to be true,” said Reena Bramblett, NEF’s senior vice president of equity placement. “Freddie Mac’s investments provide life-changing opportunities for the individuals and families that call these LIHTC properties home.”

Source: Housing Wire

How non-implementation of local building materials’ policy is worsening housing delivery

A major paradigm shift in the use of indigenous building materials for housing design and construction may take long to come, following the inability of the Federal Government and its agencies to implement the new National Housing Policy.

Under the 2017 National Housing Policy, the government was urged to pursue vigorously the adoption of functional design standards that will facilitate cost reduction, affordability, acceptability and sustainability, which will respond to the cultural and regional peculiarities of potential users; expand and improve the manufacturing base for building materials production from all available local materials and evolve a more efficient distribution system.

According to the policy, the development of appropriate capacities to achieve sufficiency in the production of basic building materials and components of acceptable quality from local resources will stimulate effective economic growth and development; and structured manpower development programme for domestic requirement and international engagement.

The document further called on the authorities to encourage the expansion of existing industries producing building materials from local sources such as clay, bricks, concrete products, timber, glass and tiles.

It wants collaboration with other developing countries in the development of technical know-how for building materials manufacture; and encouragement in regional spread of building materials industries to stabilize cost as well as widen distribution.

Notwithstanding the good intentions of the stakeholders to ensure a robust indigenous building materials market, the absence of effective indigenous technology for the production of building materials, new building materials factories due to high cost of finance; inadequate and inefficient Infrastructural facilities (roads and rail transportation, water, sanitation, and power supply have worsened the plights of manufacturers and investors.

Besides, the recommendations of the policy for government to encourage the production and use of locally manufactured building materials by: providing incentives to, and creating the enabling environment for the private sector in order to encourage rapid flow of funds into building materials manufacturing through tax relief, accelerated depreciation and generous capital allowances are not adhered to.

There is also minimal support in providing matching grants for investments into research in the use of local materials for building materials manufacturers; providing loans at reduced rate of interest to manufacturers who will in turn supply self-built housing cooperatives and developers of low-income housing with their products at reasonable prices; attracting foreign participation into the building materials industry; and using local building materials for public projects at all tiers of government.

The Building Materials Producers Association of Nigeria (BUMPAN) formed to promote and encourage the production of building materials has remained in comatose.

The association is supposed to lay a solid foundation for the development of robust, effective and economically viable small and medium scale industries for the production of building materials.

Other strategies that are enshrined in the document such as strengthening the administrative, regulatory and institutional framework to ensure certification, registration and control of professional practices; supporting an integrated action programme for the organization of the informal building materials marketing sector; restructuring and adequately fund the Nigerian Building and Road Research Institute (NBRRI); and encourage establishment of building materials testing laboratories by the private sector have not been supported by the government.

Experts say, the non-adherence to the content of the policy is impacting negatively in the housing delivery, which should reduce the housing gap.

According to them, since the aim of the housing policy is to solve housing problems, there is the necessity to enhance the workability of the policy in order to achieve the goal.

Consequently, they stressed the need for periodic review of the housing policy to make it functional and acceptable.

The immediate past president of Nigeria Institute of Architects, (NIA), Tonye Braide, said the policy is a mere paper work as there are many cheap materials coming from China, which are competing with the local materials.

According to him, government should come out with a better policy as the price of the local materials are still high, which is reducing the local component needed for housing delivery.

He lamented a situation where materials that come from outside the country is cheaper and of higher quality, which will not help in mass construction of housing and ultimately reduce the housing deficit.

He said: “ it is not right that some body will carry materials all the way from China and it will be cheaper than the one manufactured locally.

“Like the project, we are doing in Akwa ibom, there is no local content element in the project.

“In the presentation of proposal, you have to put it that construction will use local content and local labour but in practice that is not the case.

“I feel that there must be a conceited effort than the lip service we are seeing in the implementation of the policy”, he added.

For NIA second Vice President, Enyi Ben-Eboh, there is a noticeable difference to the extent that such materials like cement are locally available. “To a large extent, there are areas in basic housing that foreign components are utilised.

“ One of the few aspects is roofing aluminum sheets where we still depend on foreign materials imported.

He also said the foreign doors from China is becoming common. If you look at the cost in relation to a wooden door, which may not be as durable, people will still prefer Chinese metal doors.

“To that extent, the government may have to look into how some of these materials that are unfavourably competitive with local ones can be either made to pay higher tariff or allow incentives for local manufacturers to be able to compete to achieve mass housing and eventually reduce the housing deficit.

According to him, affordable housing thrives on mass production.

“Whatever is manufactured, if it is done over a large quantity ,the prices come down, so if most of these components are produced locally like cement, it can meet the housing demand in Nigeria.

“We will get to a time when local product outweighs demand, then competition will come and the price will begin to come down.

“Presently, if you assemble available materials for a two bedroom bungalow, the price will still not be affordable to those who wants it.

“You found out that those who can afford a two bedroom bungalow are senior civil servants who do not need that level of housing .

“For the people below level seven and downwards, they cannot afford the local materials based on their salaries”, he added.

Speaking also on the local content consideration of the policy, an official of the Nigerian Building and Road Research Institute (NBRRI), Razaq Babatunde Lawal said the institute has been able to develop building materials like Pozzolana, a cementious material, Mardotile roofing, and other varieties of machines but mass-producing it for the housing industry, has been a big challenge.

“Pozzolana is an ancient materials of construction that is coming back in view of its advantages and need to have an alternative cementitious material apart from over dependence on ordinary Portland cement hundred per cent.

The material like Pozzolana was developed and used in the past but it is now staging a come back become of its affordability and its usefulness as a building material.

Pozzolana materials include volcanic ash, power station fly ash, burnt clays ash from some burnt plant materials; siliceous earths. When mixed with cements, it activates the cementing properties to reduce cost of concretes made from composite materials often referred to as blended cement”.

According to him, the product reduces cost of efficiency of mortar and concretes, improves workability of mortar and concrete, reduces heat of hydration and reduction on effects of alkali aggregate reactivity.

He disclosed that the first pozzolana plant in Nigeria has been commissioned and ready for investors to show interest.

Lawal who works in the Engineering Materials Research Department (EMRD) said “NBRRI has developed interlocking block making machine in which the blocks made don’t necessarily need to use mortal while plastering yet you will have very aesthetic building.

We have developed fiber-reinforced material for roofing of buildings. We have also improved on it by increasing the size with about 5mm in thickness, longer and reduce the laying time. NBRRI has all the professionals in the building environment and has developed various machines for the built sector.

The institute, he said hasn’t been able to mass-produce the materials and equipment because its mandate is solely to carry out research.

He explained that while it carries out research, the institute expects the public, based on exhibitions attended that investors should reach out to it and develop the products to the next level in terms of commercialization and forming partnership through proposals.

He stated that the fund to mass-produce its products might not be available. However, he said with institutional, private and foreign supports, the commercialization of its materials could be possible.

African cities become the new home to over 40,000 people every day, many of whom find themselves without a roof over their heads. With that in mind, IFC has committed to do more to develop the property sector, both to provide new and affordable housing and to encourage an industry that requires significant building materials and has the potential to be a major employer. In May, IFC and Chinese multinational construction and engineering company, CITIC Construction launched a $300 million investment platform, CITICC (Africa) Holding Limited, to develop affordable housing in multiple African countries. The platform will partner with local housing developers and provide long-term capital to develop 30,000 homes over next five years. IFC estimates that each housing unit will create five full-time jobs – resulting in nearly 150,000 new jobs on the continent. Kenya and Nigeria are high on the priority list for the new effort. Kenya’s housing shortage is estimated at 2 million units, while Nigeria is in want of 17 million units. The soaring demand is being met by scant new supply. Africa’s housing market has few local developers with the technical and financial strength to construct large-scale projects. The IFC-CITIC Construction platform will work with local housing companies to develop affordable housing projects across Sub-Saharan Africa, each ranging in size from 2,000 to 8,000 units. CITIC Construction has a proven track record in constructing and delivering large scale housing projects. The platform will start by developing homes in Kenya, Rwanda and Nigeria, expanding to other countries as operations ramp up. “In Angola, through planning, financing, construction and post-construction operation, CITIC Construction has successfully completed the 200,000 units housing program, new city of Kilamba Kiaxi, with relative infrastructure and utilities in four years. CITIC Construction has also founded the CITIC BN Vocational School in Angola which helps youth acquire the skills they need to become professionals”, said Hong Bo, Assistant President of CITIC Group and Chairwoman of CITIC Construction, “CITIC Construction will take advantage of our engineering experience and delivery capability to develop more affordable houses for Africa through the platform with IFC.” “As Sub-Saharan Africa become more urbanized, the private sector can help governments meet the critical need for housing”, said Oumar Seydi, IFC Director for Eastern and Southern Africa. “The platform will help transform Africa’s housing markets by providing high quality, affordable homes, creating jobs, and demonstrating the viability of the sector to local developers. IFC will work with financial institutions to support mortgages and housing finance that will allow people to purchase the units.” The new housing units will be constructed in accordance to IFC’s green building standards, delivering homes that are environmentally friendly and sustainable. The World Bank Group estimates that by 2030, three billion people, or 40 percent of the world’s population will need new housing units. To date, IFC has invested more than $3 billion in housing finance in over 46 countries world-wide. IFC focuses on regions where large portions of the population live in sub-standard housing and have limited access to credit to build, expand, or renovate their homes.

“Government has tried by going into pilots of the inventions but as a research institute over the years, we just write papers and it remains on the shelf if the products of the efforts is not commercialized”. Now we are having pilot plans in some universities. Through research we can avoid emissions by stopping the use of cement and start using alternative material. Cement industry and construction firms can partner with us through programmes on affordable housing and when they are using their cement, they could think of Pozzolana”, he said.

He observed that for the past 11years, interventions from the institute were not been felt, however, the current crops of leadership are desirous to let Nigerians feel its activity through development of exceptional building materials for building construction in the country.

Managing Director of Bolyn construction Nigeria Limited, a brick manufacturing company, Elder Rufus Bamgbola Akinrolabu said government has shown lack of political will to implement housing policies.

He lamented that government’s direct involvement in the housing sector over the years has led to politicisation of policies and programmes including those relating to housing, to the detriment of Nigerians.

He blamed the situation on issue of corruption in system, which has made ‘nothing’ to be implemented in the previous years.

Akinrolabu, who is a manufacturer of low-cost housing equipment based in Lagos, explained that Nigeria’s housing problem could become a thing of the past if only the government and people will look inwards and use the local materials that God has blessed the nation with.

“Many of the policies require money to implement and with the fall in the global price of oil, where is the money? Nigerian government has no business in housing because everything has been politicised. if you politicize everything and you go to the national assembly, ask them to budget funds and the money is appropriated and at the end of the day, the money is shared. How can policies be implemented when the government has no money”, he said.

Source: Chinedum Uwaegbulam

 

Odu’a signs N3.5bn housing deal with UK-based firm

Odu’a Investment Company Limited says it has signed a Memorandum of Understanding with United Kingdom-based Iconic City Limited for the development of a 3.8-hectare land in Alakia, Ibadan, the Oyo State capital, into a residential housing estate.

Odu’a said the agreement was in pursuit of its growth strategy predicated on unlocking value from its huge asset base for sustainable development.

Odu’a Investment Company Limited says it has signed a Memorandum of Understanding with United Kingdom-based Iconic City Limited for the development of a 3.8-hectare land in Alakia, Ibadan, the Oyo State capital, into a residential housing estate.

Odu’a said the agreement was in pursuit of its growth strategy predicated on unlocking value from its huge asset base for sustainable development.

According to the firm, the proposed residential housing estate which has been code-named ‘Westlink Iconic Estate’ is a medium density luxury estate consisting 124 households and will cost about N3.5bn.

“It comprises various housing types to allow for different market segmentation subscribers. 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,” the firm said.

It said 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.

The statement read in part, “The housing deficit in the country is over 22 million if not more, and investment in housing remains a worthwhile and profitable venture, especially when affordability is considered.

“Odu’a Investment Company Limited has identified partnership as a veritable strategy to add tremendous value to her existing property portfolio, earn remarkable return, strengthen her brand image and increase her socio-economic footprint for the benefit of its shareholders and stakeholders. The Estate which is scheduled for completion in 30 months will boast of state-of-the-art features.”

Raji was quoted to have said the N3.5bn joint venture investment with Iconic City was another landmark initiative to unlock value from the property portfolio of the Odu’a Group and bring on board a new dimension in structured and luxurious community living in Ibadan.

“This is in line with the vision of the board and management of the company to live the mandate of our shareholders to be the engine room of the economic development of the West,” he said.

Ogunmuyiwa was also quoted as saying the partnership would give his firm the opportunity to utilise its professional experience from training, working and living in the UK to build a world class mixed luxury residential estate in Ibadan.

“The designs and model types are exquisite and the finishing inviting and affordable,” he added.

Source: punchng

Help-to-buy scheme pushes housebuilder profits to £2.3bn

Britain’s biggest housebuilders paid out £2.3bn in dividends in their most recent financial year, as the help-to-buy subsidy pumped up their profits and house prices.

The nine biggest housebuilders listed on the London Stock Exchange declared the dividend payouts in their last full financial years, according to an analysis by AJ Bell, an investment platform.

Help to buy, introduced in 2013 and recently extended until 2023 for first-time buyers, was one of the flagship policies of the coalition government. Former Conservative chancellor George Osborne hoped to boost home ownership among young people, as house price growth far outpaced wage growth

However, many economists believe the scheme boosted house prices without making a significant impact on the supply of new houses, enabling a profits bonanza for Britain’s biggest house builders and their shareholders.


In 2012, the final full year before the help-to-buy scheme was introduced, the top nine firms – many of which had been battered by the financial crash – paid dividends of only £57.7m, according to AJ Bell. Dividends declared in the companies’ most recent financial year were about 39 times greater.

Since 2013 the nine house builders have paid out nearly £8bn in dividends, while City analysts forecast another £5.2bn in payouts in 2019 and 2020. Furthermore, shareholders have also enjoyed appreciation in housebuilders’ share prices, which have been sustained by the promise of further profits.

Persimmon, half of whose sales were part of help to buy, was responsible for 2018’s largest giveaway. Its shareholders collectively earned £732m in dividends in the year ending in December, after the company earned more than £1bn in profits.

Taylor Wimpey declared dividends of slightly less than £500m during the same period. Barratt Developments declared £435m in the year ending in June 2018. Bellway, Berkeley Group and Bovis all declared dividends of more than £120m in their last full financial year.

The large profits of housebuilders have attracted heavy criticism, amid a continued housing crisis and rising homelessness. Persimmon’s former chief executive, Jeff Fairburn, resigned in November following public fury over his £75m bonus, which had been scaled back from £110m after investor outrage.

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Greg Beales, the director of campaigns at the homelessness charity Shelter, said: “As all the big housebuilders announce soaring profits whilst the housing crisis worsens it couldn’t be clearer our housing market is broken. Whilst the big developers are doing better than ever, regular families are finding it harder and harder to afford somewhere to live.

“Disjointed schemes such as help to buy have only made things worse by inflating house prices and giving big developers a leg-up, while doing almost nothing to for those most in need of a genuinely affordable home.”

Under the help-to-buy equity loan, the government provides a low-interest loan worth up to 20% of the value of the property (or 40% in London) for prospective buyers of new-build homes, up to a maximum price of £600,000. The buyer needs to provide at least a 5% deposit and secure a mortgage for the rest.

A spokesman for the Home Builders Federation, an industry lobby group, said: “Home builders do not receive funding from help to buy but by supporting first-time buyers, the scheme has helped drive an unprecedented 80% increase in housing supply in five years, creating tens of thousands of jobs and boosting the UK economy to the tune of £38bn last year.”

However, the help-to-buy scheme has faced criticism across the political spectrum, from the Adam Smith Institute, a libertarian think tank, to the Labour party – although Labour is committed to keeping the scheme open until 2027 for first-time buyers below a certain income level.

Labour’s shadow housing secretary, John Healey, said: “Conservative ministers have given private housebuilders a free hand to make bumper profits off the back of homebuyers.

“Labour will turn the broken housing market on its head – putting low-cost new homes at the heart of our plan to rebuild Britain.”

The Office for Budget Responsibility, which provides the government’s official forecasts, in October said it expects the government to spend another £20bn on the help-to-buy scheme between the current financial year and 2022-23. The two-year extension of the scheme is expected to cost £7.3bn.

A Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government spokesperson said: “This government is committed to helping more people get on the housing ladder as we power through to delivering 300,000 homes a year by the mid-2020s. Our help to buy equity loan scheme has helped more than 190,000 households buy their home, helping to make the dream of home ownership a reality for a new generation.”

Source: Guardian

Letting adverts that discriminate against tenants on housing benefit could be banned

Ministers in England are set to meet representatives of landlord associations, tenant groups, property websites and mortgage providers in a bid to clamp down on discrimination against people on housing benefit in the private rented sector.

Housing Minister Heather Wheeler said that adverts which specify that a home will not be rented to people on housing benefit could be banned and she called on landlords and letting agents to stop saying No to DSS claimants.

 

She pointed out that out of 4.5 million households living in private rental accommodation, 889,000 receive housing benefit to help pay their rent. Yet the latest figures show around half of landlords said they would not be willing to let to tenants on Housing Benefit.

‘I will be meeting key stakeholders to tackle the practice of No DSS, to underline the need for immediate change,’ Wheeler confirmed.

Justin Tomlinson, Minister for Family Support, Housing and Child Maintenance, said that everyone should have the same opportunity when looking for a home, regardless of whether they are in receipt of benefits.

‘With Universal Credit, payments can be paid directly to the landlord, and we continue to listen to feedback and work with landlords to improve the system.

Landlords can already receive rent from tenants on Housing Benefit and Universal Credit, meaning payments can be paid directly into their accounts,’ he pointed out.

Wheeler also announced that some £19.5 million is to be provided to local authorities in England to provide homes for people at risk of losing their or who are already homeless, it has been announced

Wheeler said that it will help people to get into the rented sector and the funding will go to 54 projects around the country.

Councils will use the funding boost to help vulnerable people secure their own tenancy through support such as, paying deposits or putting down the first months’ rent and Wheeler said that th

African cities become the new home to over 40,000 people every day, many of whom find themselves without a roof over their heads. With that in mind, IFC has committed to do more to develop the property sector, both to provide new and affordable housing and to encourage an industry that requires significant building materials and has the potential to be a major employer. In May, IFC and Chinese multinational construction and engineering company, CITIC Construction launched a $300 million investment platform, CITICC (Africa) Holding Limited, to develop affordable housing in multiple African countries. The platform will partner with local housing developers and provide long-term capital to develop 30,000 homes over next five years. IFC estimates that each housing unit will create five full-time jobs – resulting in nearly 150,000 new jobs on the continent. Kenya and Nigeria are high on the priority list for the new effort. Kenya’s housing shortage is estimated at 2 million units, while Nigeria is in want of 17 million units. The soaring demand is being met by scant new supply. Africa’s housing market has few local developers with the technical and financial strength to construct large-scale projects. The IFC-CITIC Construction platform will work with local housing companies to develop affordable housing projects across Sub-Saharan Africa, each ranging in size from 2,000 to 8,000 units. CITIC Construction has a proven track record in constructing and delivering large scale housing projects. The platform will start by developing homes in Kenya, Rwanda and Nigeria, expanding to other countries as operations ramp up. “In Angola, through planning, financing, construction and post-construction operation, CITIC Construction has successfully completed the 200,000 units housing program, new city of Kilamba Kiaxi, with relative infrastructure and utilities in four years. CITIC Construction has also founded the CITIC BN Vocational School in Angola which helps youth acquire the skills they need to become professionals”, said Hong Bo, Assistant President of CITIC Group and Chairwoman of CITIC Construction, “CITIC Construction will take advantage of our engineering experience and delivery capability to develop more affordable houses for Africa through the platform with IFC.” “As Sub-Saharan Africa become more urbanized, the private sector can help governments meet the critical need for housing”, said Oumar Seydi, IFC Director for Eastern and Southern Africa. “The platform will help transform Africa’s housing markets by providing high quality, affordable homes, creating jobs, and demonstrating the viability of the sector to local developers. IFC will work with financial institutions to support mortgages and housing finance that will allow people to purchase the units.” The new housing units will be constructed in accordance to IFC’s green building standards, delivering homes that are environmentally friendly and sustainable. The World Bank Group estimates that by 2030, three billion people, or 40 percent of the world’s population will need new housing units. To date, IFC has invested more than $3 billion in housing finance in over 46 countries world-wide. IFC focuses on regions where large portions of the population live in sub-standard housing and have limited access to credit to build, expand, or renovate their homes.is should give them an opportunity to make a home in a property they may otherwise not have been able to access.

‘I want everyone to have the security, dignity and opportunities they need to build a better life and at the heart of which is ensuring everyone can find a safe and secure home to call their own,’ said Wheeler.

‘This funding will make a huge difference in opening up the private rented sector to people who need it and give them the chance to rebuild their lives.

This helps strengthen the choices and opportunities available for those on benefits to secure the homes they and their families need,’ she added.

In a third move, local authorities can now also bid for a share of up to £26 million of Rapid Rehousing Pathway funding for 2019 to 2020.

This extra investment can be used to fund innovative local schemes which help those sleeping rough and struggling with mental health problems or substance misuse issues.

The Private Rented Sector Access Fund will also support minimum tenancies or existing tenancies for a period of 12 months.

Source: Propertywire

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