ICPC Seizes 12 Properties From Construction Firm

The Independent Corrupt Practices and other related offences Commission, ICPC, has seized 12 landed property belonging to a construction firm and its owner.
The Commission disclosed this in a statement by its Public Relations Officer, Mrs Rasheedat Okoduwa, in Abuja yesterday.

According to the statement, the property, which are located in the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja belonged to Mrs Ochuko Momoh, Director, Blaid Construction Limited.
The commission said Momoh is under the scrutiny of the commission in respect of an ongoing investigation.

The statement listed the property to include two duplexes located at 14A, Lungu Crescent, Wuse 2 and 6 Casamance Street, Wuse Zone 3.
Others are a mansion situated at 16 River Niger Street, Maitama; a bungalow at 35, Abidjan Street, Wuse Zone 3; two uncompleted residential estates, located at Plot 618 Mabushi (B06) and Plot 1468 Katampe District.
It also listed “terrace duplexes on Plots 21, 22, 23 and 26, Olympia Estate, Kaura District; a shopping complex on Plot 27, Waziri Ibrahim Waziri Crescent, Apo District; three vacant pieces of land located at Plot No. 1824, No. 1827 and No. 2017 Katampe District and a block of six apartments on Plot 799, Ebitu Ukiwe Street, Utako.
” The statement said the seizure, which was carried out after an intelligence-led investigation, was based on the opinion of the commission that the property owned by Momoh and her firm “are excessive.”
It added: “This is having regard to their past and present emoluments and all other circumstances.
“To this end, the commission will issue public notices of the seizure and shall cause them to be served on the appropriate land registries, ministries and departments, where these property are situated as required by law.”

Zambia: Govt To Construct Three Mega Projects in Kankoyo

The government of Zambia is set to construct three mega projects in Kankoyo.
The Kankoyo Member of Parliament (MP), Dr Brian Mushimba confirmed the reports and said they held their Constituency Development Fund (CDF)meeting and agreed on three important projects that they plan to execute in the constituency, with the new US $502, 000 allowance of the CDF.

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Dr Brian pointed out that the first project is set to be the construction of a modern mortuary at Luansobe clinic and a mother’s shelter at same location. The second project is set to be completing a rehabilitation of a recreation and skills center at Bufuke in Butondo.

“This will be an upgraded clinic that will serve a large catchment of people in the area who have never had a mortuary. Bodies stay in homes when people die. We can’t continue like this,” said Dr Mushimba.

“This is also something again we campaigned on to try and empower communities, our youths with skills and places to spend time away from beer halls. This will be a nice home away from home to recreate, gain skills and a sanctuary away from beer drinking in butondo,” explained Dr Mushimba.

The third project, according to the MP would be the drilling of boreholes in Kankoyo central. He said the water that they drink in Kankoyo central was industrial water.

“We want to stop the challenge of having someone walk long distances in search of water by digging boreholes where people will access natural clean water for their domestic use. As the council begins their tendering processes, I encourage kankoyo contractors and youths to be ready and fully participate in these works,” he added.

Source: constructionreview

Namibia To Commence Construction of $1bn Smart City

Construction of the US $1bn Tsumeb Smart City in Namibia is set to commence in April. This is according to the mayor of the copper town Mathew Hangula.

According to the Mayor, the billion-dollar mega Smart-City investment, will be a significant investment complementing the mining and agricultural sectors, which are Tsumeb’s economic backbone.

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The Tsumeb Smart City project will include a medical university that will provide an international standard education for approximately 25 000 students, providing them and all the staff with accommodation, complemented with a modern 800-bed hospital.

The Smart-City will also have six hotels, office parks, residential apartments, entertainment and recreational facilities. This will tremendously boost the town’s economy and provide employment to thousands of people from within and outside the town and the Oshikoto Region.

MKP South Africa,a multinational company with a broad business portfolio in construction, banking, tourism and healthcare, will be undertaking the project. Additionally, Hangula said they have attracted another retail investor who is set to construct and open a supermarket, and expected to create more short and long-term jobs for the locals.

“Choppies store will be opening a branch in Tsumeb, and they will start with the construction as soon as we get ministerial approval. Council already approved and passed the resolution,” said Hangula.

Source: constructionreview

Home sales fell in the US in January while supply increased-Report

Existing home sales in the United States fell slightly in January, down 1.2% month on month but it was the third monthly fall in row, the latest index data shows, as only the North East saw sales rise.

Sales are also down by 8.5% year on year and the total for January at 4.94 million were the lowest since November 2015, according to the figures published by the National Association of Realtors (NAR).

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However, Lawrence Yun, NAR chief economist, does not expect the numbers to decline further going forward. ‘Existing home sales in January were weak compared to historical norms; however, they are likely to have reached a cyclical low,’ he said.

‘Moderating home prices combined with gains in household income will boost housing affordability, bringing more buyers to the market in the coming months,’ he added.

The index also shows that the median price for all housing types in January was $247,500, up 2.8% from January 2018 and it was the 83rd straight month of year on year gains, but it was the slowest price growth since February 2012.

‘Lower mortgage rates from December 2018 had little impact on January sales, however, the lower rates will inevitably lead to more home sales,’ Yun pointed out.

Total housing inventory at the end of January increased to 1.59 million, up from 1.53 million existing homes available for sale in December, and represents an increase from 1.52 million a year ago. Unsold inventory is at a 3.9 month supply at the current sales pace, up from 3.7 months in December and from 3.4 months in January 2018.

‘Decelerated sales and the increases in inventory will work in favour of potential homebuyers, putting them in a better negotiating position heading into the spring months,’ said NAR president John Smaby.

A breakdown of the figures shows that sales in the Northeast increased 2.9% to an annual rate of 700,000, some 1.4% below a year ago and the median price in the Northeast was $270,000, which is up 0.4% from January 2018.

In the Midwest sales fell 2.5% month on month to an annual rate of 1.16 million in January, down 7.9% from a year ago. The median price in the Midwest was $189,700, which is up 1.4% from last year.

Existing home sales in the South dropped 1% to an annual rate of 2.08 million in January, down 8.4% year on year and the median price in the South was $214,800, up 2.5% on an annual basis.

In the West sales fell by 2.9% to an annual rate of 1.00 million in January, some 13.8% below a year ago. The median price in the West was $374,600, up 2.9% from January 2018.

Source: propertywire.com

UK: Residential mortgage lending fell in January-Report

Gross mortgage lending across the residential market in the UK fell in January 2019 to £21.6 billion, some 1.5% lower than the same month in the previous year, industry figures show.

The number of mortgages approved by the main High Street banks was 0.3% higher than in January 2018, according to the data published by UK Finance.

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It also shows that remortgage approvals were 3.1% down, a change from several months of strong growth in remortgaging earlier in 2018.

It is suggested by UK Finance that this was due to customers taking advantage of a competitive mortgage market to lock into attractive deals but specialist lenders have various views on what is happening.

However, John Goodall, chief executive officer of Landbay, believes that the dip in lending is unquestionably linked to home owners and landlords putting off the decision to put their property on the market.

‘This wait and see approach, entirely understandable in the current economic climate, is exacerbating the chronic undersupply of available housing. The current stalemate means that it falls to landlords, both private and institutional, to pick up the pieces and provide quality housing for those who would be buyers in more normal economic conditions,’ he said.

Dilpreet Bhagrath, mortgage expert at Trussle, also thinks that there is a wait and see attitude due to Brexit chaos, but she also believes that the ongoing shortage of available homes is limiting options for buyers in some areas.

‘But there are some good deals to be had particularly for first time buyers who are ready to move quickly. Those who do find their dream home might want to consider a fixed-rate mortgage if they want to know exactly how much they’ll be paying each month, avoiding instability and providing extra piece of mind,’ she added.

The figures for January are probably more encouraging than they might have been, according to Richard Pike, sales and marketing director at Phoebus Software. ‘Unfortunately, there is nothing going on in Westminster or in Europe that is helping to alleviate the situation, and neither will it for some time,’ he explained.

‘However, there is a resilience that shows there are still people that want, and need, to buy and nothing in the political arena will change that. The next few months will be telling, we could be looking at an even less rosy picture in a couple of months’ time, or we will see that despite uncertainty people carried on regardless,’ he added.

Source: propertywire.com

N7m property Destroyed By Fire in Lafia

A property estimated at N7 million has been destroyed by fire,along the popular B.A.D road in Lafia, Nasarawa State.

Eyewitnesses disclosed that the fire started at 11.30 a.m from one of the rooms and later spread to the other rooms.

Ms Aisha Ishaq, an eyewitness and member of the affected family, said she raised alarm to attract neighbours when she saw flames coming from one of the rooms.

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According to her, there is no electricity or gas cooker to spark up the fire as electricity connected to the house was earlier disconnected by Abuja Electricity Distribution Company because of her father’s inability to pay the bill.

Another witness simply identified as Ishaq commended the efforts of the community and Fire Service personnel that made a several attempts to put out the inferno, but to no avail.

“Although the community came out with water to put out the fire, their efforts yielded no positive result as the fire has already spread beyond control,” he said.

The owner of the property, Mr Isiaka Baban-Uwa, said he was perplexed, saying that he has lost over N7 million to the inferno.

“In fact, I am confused right now; is hard to believe that all that I labour for years has gone just in a day.

“The property that was destroyed is more than N7 million as am talking to you now. l lost all that I labour for years.

“I have 18 children with three wives here; where will they live now that my house is destroyed by fire,” he said.
Baban-uwa, however, appealed to relevant authorities, especially Nasarawa State Emergency Management Agency and philanthropists to help him.

Mr Dogara Dalhatu, an official of the State Fire Service, confirmed the fire incident, saying the remote and immediate causes of the inferno cannot be immediately established.

Brexit: UK property funds face another shutdown-Fitch

UK property funds could block investors from withdrawing money as Brexit unfolds, in a repeat of events three years ago when the UK voted to leave the European Union, says Fitch Ratings.

Fitch warned of a “growing risk” that investors in open-ended UK property funds will again be prevented from taking their money out as fears rise that a disorderly Brexit will lead to a crash in property values.

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After the Brexit vote in June 2016,several companies suspended trading in their open-ended funds after investors rushed to pull money. Rising redemptions can lead to a liquidity mismatch for funds that are unable to sell properties quickly enough to generate cash to give back to investors.

“Open-ended property funds have an inherent structural weakness in that they provide daily liquidity for investors but are invested in mostly illiquid commercial property,” Fitch said. “This liquidity mismatch exposes them to liquidity pressure if there is a spike in redemptions, potentially leading them to block withdrawals so that they do not become forced sellers of illiquid assets, and to prevent a run on the fund.”

Fitch said cash levels at open-ended funds are now “marginally” better than in 2016. “But we do not think liquidity is strong enough to prevent withdrawal restrictions should investors fear a steep market drop due to Brexit developments in the coming weeks,” its analysts added.

The agency, which does not rate any open-ended funds, pointed to press reports claiming that the Financial Conduct Authority is monitoring funds’ liquidity on a daily basis. “Rapid changes in sentiment, in relation to political declarations for example, could cause spikes in redemption requests beyond available liquidity, irrespective of the fundamentals of the properties held by the funds.”

The UK regulator launched a consultation last October on new rules that would improve how open-ended funds invested in illiquid assets such as property.

Proposed measures included funds having to suspend trading if an independent valuer expresses “material uncertainty” about the valuation of at least 20% of a portfolio. That consultation closed in late January.

Fitch also noted that real estate investment trusts, listed property groups such as British Land and Landsec, have boosted their cash reserves. “Their motive is to position themselves to react quickly to investment opportunities that may arise if asset values drop in the event of Brexit-related investor concerns,” the agency’s analysts wrote.

Source: fnlondon.com

Federal Housing Finance Agency: U.S.Senate Committee Approves Calabria as New Director

The Senate Committee on Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs voted to advance the nomination of Mark Calabria as director of the Federal Housing Finance Agency to a full Senate vote.The vote passed along party lines at 13 to 12.

Back in December, President Donald Trump selected Calabria, who then served as chief economist for Vice President Mike Pence, to be the next director of the FHFA.

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Previously, Calabria served as a senior aide on the Senate Banking Committee where he was one of the lead drafters of the Housing and Economic Recovery Act of 2008, which created the FHFA.

Calabria served as deputy assistant secretary for regulatory affairs at the Department of Housing and Urban Development during former President George W. Bush’s administration. Calabria also held positions at Harvard’s Joint Center for Housing Studies, the National Association of Home Builders and the National Association of Realtors.

And now, the Senate Banking Committee passed the vote to nominate Calabria as the next FHFA director. The vote will move to the full Senate, where it is also expected to pass

“MBA applauds the Senate Banking Committee for approving the nomination of Mark Calabria to be the next Director of the Federal Housing Finance Agency,” said Robert Broeksmit, Mortgage Bankers Association president and CEO. “Dr. Calabria has deep expertise in housing policy, which will serve him well in a role that profoundly impacts the mortgage and real estate markets, should he be confirmed.”

“In particular, we hope to work with him to resolve the future of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, and help to better serve borrowers, protect taxpayers and ensure equal access to stable and liquid secondary mortgage markets for a wide variety of single- and multifamily lenders, regardless of size or business model,” Broeksmit continued. “MBA now calls on the full Senate to swiftly confirm Dr. Calabria as the next head of the FHFA.”

“Dr. Calabria’s decades of experience in housing and finance policy have prepared him to implement the FHFA’s mission,” the National Association of Realtors said in a letter to the committee. “It has also helped him understand the need for enhanced transparency at the FHFA and a methodical approach in the development and enforcement of its policies.”

Source: housingwire.com

Guinea Govt Signs Agreement for Construction of 4000 Homes

The Guinea Ministry of Housing and Urban Development and American Home builders of West Africa(AHWA),have signed a $207 million convention agreement targeting construction of 4000 homes in the Republic of Guinea.

The current production of housing in Guinea is well below the level required to address the needs of the population.  To fill this gap, the Government of Guinea has stated that providing adequate housing to the greatest number of Guineans is one of its top priorities.

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This new convention agreement builds on the success of AHWA’s two existing developments in Gomboyah and Doumbouyah to create a road map for construction of 4,000 homes in Guinea, from social housing to high-end accommodations.

US Ambassador Dennis Hankins, who just departed Guinea, remarked, “AHWA is developing homes for the middle class in Guinea.  I have seen their projects here, which are of high quality. One of the things I love about this project is that the company founders are both former U.S. Peace Corps Volunteers – so they have for many years been ambassadors for Africa in the United States, and they understand how to work in West Africa and bring new investment here.  AHWA has created a valuable way to bring more diaspora investment into West Africa by delivering homes built to international standards. We encourage them and wish them lots of success, as this kind of private venture can create jobs and improve economic development in Guinea and the wider region.”

Jonathan Halloran, AHWA CEO, stated, “We have invested a great deal of time and energy negotiating this agreement.  We have built an investment program that will serve the needs of the Guinea population while also attracting the international and domestic investment commitments required to achieve our mutual goals.

We are excited to launch this next phase of our work in Guinea, and view our success here as a model for what can be achieved across West Africa when governments make a commitment to addressing the housing deficit in partnership with professional real estate developers.”

Source: prnewswire.com

FMBN,Anambra Govt Collaborate on N500m Housing Scheme

AS part of efforts to provide decent and affordable houses for all categories of Nigerians, the Federal Mortgage Bank of Nigeria, FMBN, has concluded plans to collaborate with the Anambra State Housing Corporation for the take off of some of its programmes in the state.
An executive director with the bank, Mr. Melville Ebo, who hinted on the proposed schemes when he led officials of FMBN for an interaction with the managing director of Anambra State Housing Corporation, Mr. Willie Okafor in Awka, said the state was qualified for the schemes because it is up to date with contributions of the National Housing Fund, NHF, for the development of housing schemes.
Essentially, Ebo was in the state to appeal to Anambra State for land for the housing projects expected to take off by the middle of this year after the commissioning of ongoing projects in Enugu and Abia states in the South-East geopolitical zone, as well as in Akwa Ibom and Delta states in the South-South.
Among the housing programmes likely to take off in the state in the near future are the Cooperative Housing Scheme in which 50 houses expected to cost N500 million at N10 million for each unit and the Home Renovation Programme in which loans that would attract six per cent interest, would be given to workers to renovate and upgrade their existing houses.
According to Ebo, there is also another scheme jointly being promoted by the FMBN, the Nigeria Labour Congress, NLC, the Trade Union Congress, TUC, and the Nigeria Employers’ Consultative Association, NECA, which is an umbrella body of employers in the organised private sector in Nigeria.
He recalled that Anambra State Government received a disbursement of N200 million in 2007 for the cooperative housing project, adding, however, that because the project was not implemented as required, the incumbent governor of the state, Chief Willie Obiano, refunded the money, thus qualifying the state to benefit fully from the N500 million project.
Ebo said: “Participation of Anambra State from the NHF is very low and we hope that with Mr. Okafor in the saddle, the state will take its rightful position in the programme because there are a lot of programmes the state can benefit from.
“The housing projects are for every Nigerian and our expectation is that everybody should benefit from it. We expect our projects to be sited in areas that workers can transport themselves easily to work.”
In his response, Okafor assured that the state housing corporation, as the arrowhead for housing development in the state, would collaborate with the FMBN to ensure quick implementation of the various schemes.
He informed Ebo that the state housing corporation was already executing a number of housing projects in the state in line with the state government’s policy of providing adequate houses for its workers in various parts of the state.
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