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How to Stop Building Collapse- Stakeholders

Worried by the number of dilapidated structures in Nigerian cities, professionals are mulling early integration of maintenance culture in homes to prevent building collapse. Dayo Ayeyemi reports.
It is no longer news that the Lagos State Government has detected over 150 distressed buildings in the metropolis while a few of the structures have either collapsed naturally with casualties or pulled down byteam of taskforce from the authority.
What is news is that more buildings are deteriorating due to neglect of maintenance by owners to the extent that their walls are developing cracks, while the roofs are leaking.
To some buildings, they are overwhelmed by leaking plumbing pipes, damping foundation, leaking sewage pipes, leaking toilets, and corrosion of doors hinges, among others.
Worried by this development, experts in the built environment have also attributed lack of maintenance culture to building collapse incidents .
Some of the major causes of building collapse include faulty foundation , non engagement of professionals, shoddy jobs, use of sub-standard materials,corruption, building against approved plans and poor workmanship among others.
According to Chairman of the Nigerian Institution of Mechanical Engineers (NIME), Lagos Chapter, Mr. Segun Fadeyi, absence of maintenance on any building could result in its decay and degradation.
He noted that most building collapse cases in Nigeria are man-made, pointing out that poor maintenance culture was a major factor that could lead to building collapse.
The truth is that even the best constructed buildings need constant attention and if this is delayed, it could turn to disaster.
Fadeyi urged building owners to adopt the ‘ predict and prevent approach’ rather than ‘ fail and fix’ approach.
He emphasised that lack of maintenance could reduced performance and affect health of building, while threatening the safety of users, occupants and others in the vicinity.
Speaking on “Builing maintenance: A Proactive Model Approach to Preventing Building Collapse; Fadeyi defined building maintenance as a process of ensuring that buildings and other assets retain a good appearance and operate at optimum efficiency.
No matter how attractive and competitive a building is, the chairman pointed out that as its facilities aged, the systems would deteriorate and affect it’s structural integrity.
The chairman of NIME stated that building maintenance was aimed at preventing the process of decay and degradation; maintain structural stability and safety; prevent unnecessary damage from weather,; optimise performance; help inform plans for renovation, retrofitting; and determine causes of defects in the building to prevent re-occurrence.
He said it was to ensure continued compliance with statutory requirements, prevent building collapse and its resultant effects.

Other views
Coordinator of Ikotun/Igando cell of BCPG, Mrs Oluranti Okusaga, called on government to be responsible and act in order to curtail menace of building collapse, noting that many people have developed the habit of engaging quacks during construction.

“Before you build, consult professionals. Your safety is important and not cost, “she said, adding that more building are still going to collapse in the metropolis.

Another professional, Olaniyan olajide, from Badagry cell, said that buildings would not collapse on paper, noting that influx of urban slums has contributed to the menace.

He urged government, professionals and people in the private sector to join hands in the crusade against structural failures.

He also made case for law that would compel adoption of building manual as part of document required for facilities management of structures.

Chairman, Building Collapse Prevention Guild (BCPG), Lagos State chapter, Mr. Solomon Ogunseye, decried the spate of building collapse in Nigerian cities, especially Lagos, calling on government to ensure that professionals are involved inbuilding project.

According to him, time has come to allow professionals to monitor building construction sites to ensure that contractors adhere to building drawings/designs as approved.

This, he said would help to reduce collapse of buildings drastically.

On building manual, he noted that most of the government’s projects have the document that specified how to repair or replace any facility in the building in case it broke down or malfunctioned.

If all homeowners could adopt the document,Ogunseye said it would give room for proper maintenance of buildings and prevent collapse.


His Vice, Colonel Jide Olayinka, stated that lack of implementation of policies by government was a major factor responsible for building collapse.

He noted that professional bodies were handicapped without government’s backing.

According to him, reports of recommendation abound on how to eradicate building collapse, but government has refused to act.

On building manual, Olayinka said that all professionals should come together to share experience on the document and look for a way to adopt this as part of requirements for building.

He wants government to enforce law promulgated to control building collapse.

Source: newtelegraphng

Why Kenya Housing Levy should be Abolished

The newly introduced housing levy is a classic example of hypothecated tax. What this means is that the tax is earmarked to achieve a specific purpose by the government and is not expected to be channelled to any other use other than the intended use.

Hypothecation of tax is not a new thing in Kenya. Over time, levies have been introduced to raise funds for various key priority areas. Some of the levies include; Sugar Development Levy (SDL), Railway Development Levy (RDL), Road Maintenance Levy Fund , the National Hospital Insurance Fund (NHIF), the National Social Security Fund (NSSF), Hotel and Catering Levy, Fuel Levy, Standards Levy, and Export Levy.

Housing in Kenya, especially the urban areas, has been one of the challenges that successive governments have failed to address. According to Habitat for Humanity, the housing deficit in Kenya stood at two million in 2012 and it continues to increase at a rate of 200,000 units every year. It is clearly evident that this issue needs to be addressed with utmost urgency. However, is it the government’s responsibility to provide housing for its citizens?

The role of government, in our understanding, is to build roads, provide utilities like sewer, water and electricity services, build hospitals and schools and build any other necessary infrastructure which cannot be efficiently provided and managed by the private sector.

The government also has the responsibility to address issues that make housing affordable, including controlling the prices of houses. This happens when the government breaks up cartels that make housing, and real estate in general, expensive. Further, the government should encourage innovation in the real estate sector. Such innovation would mean building homes using cheaper technology and in this way, prices of homes would reduce significantly.

The cost of land is one of the greatest hindrances to affordable housing and the government should have a radical policy approach towards managing this. For many first-time home buyers, taking a mortgage is not an option as it is too expensive. So the only viable option would be a short-term loan, which may not really suffice. It should be the government’s work to ensure that mortgages are affordable and that there is more access to affordable long-term credit.

Rather than having a housing tax, the government should focus on how to increase people’s incomes without the cost of life necessarily going up. This can ensure that individuals have more disposable income and that housing is affordable.

Proponents of hypothecation argue that it is easy to justify to the public the core reason of collecting a particular revenue. It also enhances accountability and transparency as it is easy to follow the money which has been collected. This facilitates trust in government, especially if revenue collected can be accounted for.

Hypothecation, however, does have its fair share of challenges that make it an unattractive method of raising funds from the public. First, it is difficult to remove the tax when the task it was intended for has been achieved. The government will always find other places to divert the money collected. Further, when such monies are collected they attract ‘tenderprenuers’, increasing cases of graft. A case in point is how some private hospitals have colluded with corrupt NHIF officials to make fictitious claims and in some instances overprice the medical services received by the members.

Hypothecation should not be encouraged since it removes free will and choice from the people who pay taxes. Individuals should have a say on whether or not they want to be part of the housing scheme and if they want to pay the housing levy.

Taxpayers should have a choice on whether to purchase their houses through bank mortgages or savings and credit cooperative societies (saccos), which are very popular in Kenya. This policy also reduces the amount of disposable income. This means that more households will be constrained on their savings and spending will be reduced greatly, which has a subsequent effect on the economy at large.

Hypothecation is a bad tax and economic policy as it reduces policy competition during allocation of funds. Taxation should be driven by need and as such various policies have to compete to get a certain share of the taxpayers’ money. Imagine a case where for every new government policy a new tax is introduced.

The ideal should be that various needs are identified and then prioritised to help determine the revenue share that each gets. This ensures that the proportion of revenue allocated is based on the priority.

The success of any government is based on having reliable structures with an element of flexibility at the same time. Hypothecation, however, removes that flexibility from Parliament or the Cabinet Secretary for Treasury to reallocate funding to priority sectors. Hypothecation essentially ties the hands of government as spending of hypothecated funds is constrained. Governments should be in a position to spend especially during difficult economic cycles without seeming like they are breaking the law.

William Wordsworth is quoted as having said “Life is divided into three terms — that which was, which is, and which will be. Let us learn from the past to profit by the present, and from the present, to live better in the future”.

In Kenya we have had the NSSF and the NHIF which in all fairness have largely been mismanaged, and riddled with graft. Hypothecation in each case has not been successful yet the revenues are still collected. The housing levy should be abolished to avoid going the same path.

Source: businessdailyafrica

7 Things I Wish I Knew Before Selling my House

Selling a home is a stressful, emotional experience.

And the more you love the home you’re leaving, the more difficult the process can be.

In the spring of 2016, my wife and I sold our lovely 1928 ranch house, which was tucked into a quiet neighborhood of Glendale, California, and as luck would have it, that was a very good time to be selling a house in that area.

We held exactly one open house which lasted about three hours, and by the end of it we had more than half a dozen offers. Finding a buyer was the only easy part of the process, though I know how fortunate we were in that regard.

All the paperwork, the planning, the packing, and the roller coaster of feelings that came with the process were hardly made easier by the fact that the place sold quickly. In fact, the sudden finality of leaving made it almost impossible for me to appreciate the ease of the sale.

After the sale was completed, there was much more to do before we actually moved out. And there were many things I wish I’d known about the whole process before we even started it.

Here are the things I wish I had known before selling my house.

You’re not done spending money on the home until you walk away for the last time

Even after we had a signed contract with the buyers of our home, there were still many expenses we incurred beyond the basics like the electric and water bill.

We paid for a heavy cleaning after most of our packing was done, we had a pipe secured in the attic to meet local codes, and we made some repairs to flooring as well.

Frankly, I probably could have skipped these repairs and passed the buck on to the new owners, but it didn’t seem right to leave issues I, as the past owner and resident, knew were there awaiting attention. (Also, the thing in the attic was a contingency in the sale.)

If you have major repairs needed, factor that into your sale price, or at least be aware of the cash you’ll be spending on a home you will soon leave behind.

You can’t take it with you. None of it, unless you are very specific.

 

Before our real estate explained things to me, I assumed we could take curtains, a favorite chandelier, and other furnishings and fixtures with us to our new home. But in fact, anything affixed to the walls, floors, or ceilings is considered a part of the home and is therefore a part of the sale unless explicitly identified in writing.

At first, I was upset by this revelation and wanted to specify a few furnishings that we’d keep. Ultimately, I realized that the fixtures in question either belonged in the home that chandelier was original to the 1920s; it’s only right that it stayed or probably wouldn’t work in our new home, anyway.

You will start to see the flaws in your home like never before

Every home has a hundred little issues the residents know about but don’t much mind.

There’s the chipped paint under the hand towel hook in the first-floor bathroom, the baseboard separating from the wall in the den, the high-hat out in the bedroom, and so on. We plan to get to these little projects at some point, and don’t really see them as flaws, just as facets of the home.

Then, when it comes time to sell, every little crack in the wall, dent in the floor, or chip on the counter becomes a massive eyesore you can hardly believe you tolerated for so long and that embarrasses you to no end to have others see. OK, maybe that’s a bit hyperbolic, but you get the point.

Realtors are capable of making huge mistakes in listing prices

Our real estate agent had worked with home buyers and sellers in our region of Los Angeles County for decades, and I trusted her implicitly when it came to every aspect of the selling process.

She made things as easy as possible with bank, city, and county paperwork, planning the open house, recommending moving companies, and so on. But when it came to the price at which she advised we list, I just felt she was off.

Without going into specifics, I asked that we list for 13% higher than she recommended, which was substantial increase. We ended up selling for 22% more than her original number. If we had gone with her price, we would have been out the price of several fine automobiles.

I’ve gone to plenty of open houses, but only when my wife and I were actually looking to buy.

What we found is that many of our neighbors who had no intention of moving a few houses down the street came right on in as soon as our realtor opened the doors during our one open house. We weren’t home at the time, but several neighbors later told us how much they loved the interior, how they liked our furniture or art, and had various questions about the home they would never have previously asked.

It felt like an invasion of privacy and nothing but nosiness there was no reason for these non-buyers to be in the place. I’m not sure we would have staged the home differently or asked our realtor to try to regulate who came in and out, but it never occurred to me that people would essentially snoop around our house for fun, and I would at least liked to have known that ahead of time.

You will feel like a stranger in your own home after the sale is finalized

I loved my house in Glendale, California. It was the first property my wife and I owned, it’s the home to which we brought our firstborn child, it was filled with memories of friends and family, holidays and parties, first steps, first words, and so much more. I could walk through the rooms with my eyes closed, never bumping a wall or piece of furniture.

But after the house sold, for the 60 days we had left to live there, I felt uncomfortable in the place, this beloved home the was no longer truly ours. For us, the long post-sale period made sense, what with packing for a cross-country move and so many loose ends of life to tie up.

But if it makes sense logistically, I’d recommend you vacate much more quickly after the sale. Lingering in a home you’re leaving is a bittersweet experience at best.

 

The money goes fast

After the sale of our home, our bank account was briefly huge. We had paid off a good deal of the mortgage, and our home had appreciated fantastically in the half decade we lived there, so a massive sum was suddenly at our disposal. Except that we needed just about all of it to finish the construction of our new home on the other side of the country.

Having all that money in the bank made it hard to keep things in perspective as we finished the new home. “Sure, we were going to go with red oak for the floors, but maybe walnut would be better? Hey, it’s only $15 more per square foot .”

Fortunately, my wife is incredibly responsible with money, so the sale of the old home and the buying and building of the new property were almost a wash. But that false sense of being flush with cash might have led to foolish spending without her countenance.

Source: pulse

How Housing Density can Help Keep Cities Cooler

We all know Mid-Atlantic summers can be oppressively hot and humid. To me, sultry days in Richmond feel like I’m walking around inside someone else’s mouth! The bad news (for me and anyone else who experiences heat as a sweaty human) is that the number of days per year with a heat index—or a “feels-like” temperature—above 95°F is expected to at least double by mid century. Let’s talk about how land use factors into this equation.

As you probably know, extremely hot days can feel very different depending on where you are within a city. Sitting on a bench along a shady stretch of a densely-canopied park might feel reasonably comfortable compared to walking through a vast reach of hard and dark surfaces like a shadeless asphalt parking lot surrounded by brick walls.

Much like when you wear a dark shirt in direct sun, these low-albedo, impervious surfaces absorb and hold more of the sun’s energy during the day and then re-emit it back into the air during the afternoon and night as heat. These human-made structures physically amplify and extend heat waves more than natural landscapes.

This phenomenon is known as the “urban heat island effect.” It’s been studied extensively over the last several decades, and has its roots in weather observations from the early 1800s. But recent research I helped conduct revealed that some neighborhoods with tall buildings are actually relatively cool.

A 16 degree difference between different parts of the city

Just how much hotter these landscapes get and what particular aspects of underlying land uses lead to the most extreme temperatures (either hot or cool) has been for the most part an open question until recently. Being able to combine direct observations of urban air temperatures during heat events and land use/land cover in a machine learning algorithm has enabled us to learn more.

In summer 2017, the Science Museum of Virginia (where I work) and the Portland State University SUPR Lab teamed up with a network of local collaborators, volunteers, and newscasters to measure Richmond’s heat island effect. We observed a 16°F difference between the warmest and coolest spots in our city at the same time on the same day!

Last summer, with help from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Climate Program Office and the Office of Education, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, the Anacostia Watershed Society, and the DC Department of Energy and Environment, and other organizations, we mapped and modeled the District’s heat islands during that late summer heat event you may remember on August 28, 2018.

To do this, volunteers used precise electronic temperature sensors hanging out of our cars’ passenger windows paired with GPS units running at the same time to keep track of where we were and how hot it was every single second. We collected data for one-hour time intervals at 6 am, 3 pm, and 7 pm to give us an approximation of the coolest, hottest, and early evening temperatures.

We threw out data collected when we were stopped, moving too slowly, or moving too fast so we could be confident in the data’s quality. In total, we collected over 74,000 temperature readings across the District. Here too, our results showed a ~16°F difference between the warmest and coolest spots in the city during the hottest time of the day (3-4 pm).

As you might guess, the coolest places had lots of dense shade canopy and vegetation (Rock Creek Park) while the hottest places were low-slung, high-density areas with very little tree cover and wide, multi-lane streets (Columbia Heights). Most of the hottest places also remained at these elevated temperatures well into the evening. Take a look at the heat DC map we produced with a neat-o slider feature here.

Image by NOAA.

Building size matters for shade too

Looking closely, you might notice that places with relatively narrower streets and taller buildings, or at least with more variation in building heights, seem to have more temperature variation than others like Shaw and Convention Center. This might seem surprising, given the press about air temperature and tree canopy that we’ve heard a lot about recently.

Turns out this is consistent with a study published in 2016 for a heatwave observed in Portland, Oregon. It showed afternoon temperatures were most strongly affected by nearby building heights and their local variation (closely trailed by tree canopy). This also held true for temperatures into the evening (7 pm).

While we didn’t explicitly model building height variation’s affects in our studies of DC, Richmond, and Baltimore, similarities pop out in that the dense, building height-varying urban cores have relatively lower air temperatures than the sprawling, wide-streeted but single-height residential areas that lack extensive tree canopy. Turns out this isn’t a new discovery, but it is one that we could use to advance density as a physical microclimate control.

In 2012, a University of Maryland/NASA scientist modeled the temperature impact of lowering building heights in areas of DC and Baltimore, concluding that this would actually raise the hottest daytime temperatures by almost 3°F, while adding tree canopy lowers these extremes by over 7°F.

Computer modeling studies that simulate increasing building heights in Adelaide, Australia show that once building heights surpass the width of the street, this creates urban canyons that shade the street surfaces and cool the air.

Observational and modeling studies of other cities in different parts of the world suggest this to be true as well. While we can’t completely offset the urban heat island effect with increasing urban canyons, adding in green infrastructure can further offset heat amplification (though this clearly depends on the land use/land cover too).

During San Francisco’s recent extreme heat wave, Kevin Burke, writing for the Bay City Beacon, outlines the housing policy that has historically limited the availability of shadows. He believes an aversion to housing density is inadvertently exposing people to warmer temperatures.

Is housing density—specifically designed to be taller than the width of the adjoining streets in order to increase shade—an underappreciated way to mitigate the impacts of climate change? These results are promising! If you’re interested in learning more, you can read the full report featuring Richmond’s urban heat island results, along with data collected in Baltimore, MD, and Washington, DC.

Source: ggwash

The fastest Way to find Buyers for your Property in Nigeria

Finding buyers for a property in Nigeria is by no means an easy task. It is a daring and a herculean job.  In fact, the less experienced you are in the real estate market, the harder and longer it takes to sell. According Daily Mail Report, selling property is probably more stressful than bankruptcy, divorce or the death of a loved one. I know you are saying, “could they be serious?”. I am thinking that too. Personally, I would say that nothing could be as stressful as those three situations.

Now, you may be wondering why it could be so hard to sell. Let me tell you some of the reasons:

  • A lot of similar properties are in the market already
  • Economic situation affects sale of real estate
  • Current general interest rate and mortgage rates
  • Buying properties is a huge investment
  • Security and so on

Goran Forss, Broker at Allison James Estates & Homes in Temecula, CA, says “To sell a home quickly, it needs to show well, be marketed well, and priced correctly,”

Property

Nobody lists a property for the fun of doing that. No, everyone wants to make a sale, and the faster the sale the better. Sometimes, we need a property to sell as fast as possible; maybe due to a family need, relocation, new job, new business, financial distress and more.

I will like you to know that properties can really sell as quickly as possible, if you can be diligent to implement the strategies, I will show you in this post. To really find buyers as quickly as possible, you need to do the following:

List your properties with Well Known Estate Agent

Why do you need an agent? The services of an experienced real estate agent is very key to finding buyers in Nigeria. Some of the essential role of an estate agent is to guide the property owner through necessary preparations and repairs, determining pricing, home staging, preparing sales ads to promote the listing, negotiating with the buyers, and seeing the deal through to the closing paperwork.

Such professional, targeted and intentional efforts always bring ready-to-buy customers to the table as quickly as possible. Using the services of an agent means you have someone who knows and understand the real estate markets. Some experienced agents have lists and contacts of home buyers and investors whom they can mail and text, specifically inviting them to buy your property.

If your overriding objective is to find a cash buyer as soon as possible, make sure a friendly, diligent and experienced realtors is helping you out. You need to confirm through available testimonials that the estate agent has a track record of selling really fast. You should know that that rookie agent, even though their fees may be cool, they may not be able to give you the fast closing which you want.

Fix a price lower than the market rate

When buyers are faced with multiple choices, one of the things that speeds up decision making is price. Like I stated earlier, your house is always competing with myriads of other listed properties at a given period.

Th fastest way to find buyers for your property in Nigeria is to price your property a little lower than the prevailing market price. Find out the market rate, and fix your own price a bit lower than the current market price. There is no hard and fast rule to it. Assuming it is a bare land, and the prevailing market price is 1 Million Naira per plot, you should fix your own price for 0.995 Million Naira or there about. This automatically makes the deal super attractive for buyers.

If you can afford to price your property just below market comparables in your neighborhood, you may be able to generate a bidding war that could drive up your final closing price well above listing.

A popular real estate agent, Bill Gassett  says that in real estate, “time is your enemy.” The ideal time line for selling your listed property is usually within the first couple of months the property got listed. When a listing is not competitively priced from the onset, this could result in over-stretched listing period– which connotes loss, in time and money.

List with a popular property listing site

It is no longer secret that the first-place home buyers will go looking for properties is on the internet. With handy smart devices everywhere, buyers and investors can roam the entire city viewing every available property. Beyond placing a for sale sign on your property, you need to make sure that the global community is seeing it. The chances that the person who would wants to buy your property lives in your street is quite slim, so don’t hesitate to tell the world about your property.

There two most essential features of good listing

  1. High quality pictures and videos
  2. Excellent descriptions

High quality pictures and videos

Photography is a critical part of real estate marketing. Good and strong images play a huge role in selling real estate today. our Increased exposure to multimedia and limitless graphics from television, magazines, and especially the internet has raised people’s visual expectations and shortened attention span.

In our time, nearly all potential property buyers start their search online. Research shows that an average home hunter spends 26 minutes on Realtor.com, and 75% of that time is spent viewing through listing photos.

Buyers look through dozens of listing photos on several listing websites before ever deciding to see further details about the property. It should come as no surprise that homes with strong, eye-catchy images attract more online viewership which readily translates into more showings than listings with poor photography.

By all means, make sure that your listing has irresistible, tasteful and eye-catching image. That is the first and most important step in selling your properties.

The pictures should capture and accentuate the best and most outstanding features of the property. Don’t just try to describe the best part of the house, make sure that potential buyers are seeing it. It said that a picture speaks louder than a thousand words.

Property

From experience, I can tell you that most ready to buy customers usually call same day they browsed your listing to make further inquiry.

 

Excellent descriptions

The second most important feature of a property listing is an excellent description. I always say, “the picture attracts the home buyer and the description sells the house.”  Your description of the property shouldn’t just be a casual straight-line description, it is more of a sales pitch. Your goal is to communicate the best features of the properties as vividly as possible. This is your chance to impress an irresistible image in the mind of the prospects.

Your real estate listing description is your chance to get creative and paint a charming picture of the property. Use adjectives that completely and correctly describe the real estate.

Source: ugetproperties

Ben Carson is Repeating Mistakes on Housing

Local zoning laws prohibiting communities from building apartments exacerbate the housing crisis and maintain segregated communities. An effort by Housing and Urban Development Secretary Ben Carson to address restrictive zoning would be welcomed if it weren’t belied by his other actions to gut affordable and fair housing [“The right prescription for affordable housing,” Friday Opinion, June 28].

Mr. Carson once decried efforts to “fundamentally change the nature of some communities from primarily single-family to largely apartment-based areas,” a classic NIMBY sentiment. As HUD secretary, he dismantled the Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing rule that gave communities incentives to reduce restrictive zoning.

He would exacerbate the housing crisis with his proposals to slash HUD’s budget, eliminate housing production and preservation programs, increase rents for some of the lowest-income people and evict 55,000 American children from subsidized housing.

Mr. Carson’s “prescription” for affordable housing is familiar. HUD secretaries under Presidents Ronald Reagan, George H.W. Bush and George W. Bush also studied regulatory reform and cut funding for programs that affordably housed extremely low-income people.

Action to eliminate restrictive local zoning must be coupled with solutions to house the lowest-income people through strong resident protections and investments in the Housing Trust Fund and rental assistance. Anything less continues on our current path to increased homelessness and housing poverty.

Source: washingtonpost

Urban Degeneration: How Erosion, Flood threaten Lives, Property in Lagos Island, NGO Raises Alarm

Attention of the Lagos State Governor, Babajide Sanwo-Olu, has been drawn to the imminent flood and erosion that threaten lives and property of residents in Lagos Island, particularly, Adeniji-Adele Estate and environs, following the persistent rainfall in Lagos.

Concerned by this trend, a Non-Governmental Organization, “Rethinking Cities” which aim is to address the challenges of urbanisation in Nigeria and Africa, has stressed the need for the state government to act fast to save imminent, daunting threats by ensuring prompt intervention in order to prevent natural disasters in the state.

Speaking, during a tour and on the spot inspection of some of the endangered communities in Lagos, which included, Anthony Village, Maryland, Ojota and Adeniji-Adele, Deji Akinpelu, co-founder of the NGO, said, “The ideas are based on the findings of our research, Urban Planning Processes in Lagos”, many of which could be implemented within a short time requiring low funding but transparent and efficient cooperation among different stakeholders, but with the required political will.

The organization which is also interested in finding solution to problem of encroachment of land in Lagos, For instance, land such as wet land and land for recreation, noted that the state being an informal city and its future development being driven by the informal sector, especially considering the expected population growth in the next decade believed that the vision, design and planning of the future city has to be done with a priority of addressing the needs, wishes and capabilities of the informal sector.

According to Akinpelu, flood resilience and inclusiveness have to be the main drivers for a sustainable development of the city. The implementing agencies, Lagos State Gardens and Park Agency, LASPARK and LASURA, have to play a more prominent role in achieving developmental goals in future.

“They need strong political backing and upgrade, and financial and human resource investments. “Similarly, new infrastructure and new investments will remain white elephants if local governments are not given back their capabilities to execute their constitutional duties in urban development.

This has to be done in a gradual process through pilot cases with clear benchmark schemes”, Akinpelu said.

Flooding and Housing: Adeniji-Adele Estate

Speaking on the flood and environmental hazard at Adeniji-Adele, Ayotunde Akomolafe, the Project  Officer, Arctic Infrastructure, alerted that some estates are disaster in waiting if nothing was done as soon as possible.

According to the project officer, Adeniji-Adele Estate, which is one of the worst-hit communities, is a low-income housing development which comprises 120 residential blocks of two bedroom and three-bedroom apartments in four ‘Phases’. “The strategic location of the Estate between Ikoyi, Victoria Island and Lagos Mainland provides direct physical access to up-scale social and economic infrastructure within the heartland of the city.

Furthermore, the proximity of the estate to Oyebanji Transport Hub and the Third Mainland Bridge allows for direct road access to different parts of the city, both on the Island and the Mainland, and horizontal access through to the heart of the South-West region of Nigeria.

“As at the time the estate was established in 1983, it was considered an attractive residential community and access was competitive. However, factors such as the proximity of the site to Lagos Lagoon, low-lying terrain and external physical development infractions have seen the Estate decimated by floods over the years.

 

“The Lagos State Government, particularly, during the tenure of Governor Babatunde Fashola, has developed a number of drainage and flood control-related plans. However, the 2015 Lagos Drainage Master Plan is the first to address the Adeniji-Adele area with any level of detail.

“The Lagos Drainage Master Plan 2015 adequately took cognizance of necessary factors such as area topography, tidal variations and climate change, among other variables, to ensure that the city of Lagos – including Lagos Island and Adeniji-Adele – is flood-resilient. However, despite the existence of the plan, the flooding challenge faced by the neighbourhood is so persistent that large parts of the Estate remain perpetually submerged.

Source: vanguardngr

Will White House Advisory Council Act To End America’s Affordable Housing Crisis?

(Trice Edney Wire) – Nearly 90 years ago, Kelly Miller (1863-1939), a Black sociologist and mathematician, said, “The Negro is up against the white man’s standard, without the white man’s opportunity.” As the first Black man to enroll as a graduate student at Johns Hopkins University in 1908, Miller also authored a book entitled Race Adjustment, published in 1908.

Ironically, despite the passage of time, Miller’s words express the same sentiment held today by many Black Americans. As a people and across succeeding generations, we have held fast to our hopes for a better life. Yet it is painfully true that many opportunities enjoyed by other Americans have been elusive for people of color.

Noted author and journalist Ta-Nehisi Coates expressed a similar view during his June 19 Capitol Hill testimony on reparations.

“Enslavement reigned for 250 years on these shores,” noted Coates. “When it ended, this country could have extended its hallowed principles—life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness—to all, regardless of color. But America had other principles in mind. And so for a century after the Civil War, black people were subjected to a relentless campaign of terror, a campaign that extended well into the lifetime of Majority Leader McConnell.”

While economists, public policy think tanks and other entities may sing a chorus of how well the American economy is performing and expanding, people of color – especially Blacks and Browns – have yet to see or feel economic vibrancy in our own lives – particularly when it comes to housing and homeownership.

On June 25, Harvard University’s Joint Center for Housing Studies (JCHS) released its annual report, The State of the Nation’s Housing. One of the housing industry’s most broadly anticipated and cited reports, it once again chronicles recent trends and issues.

“The limited supply of smaller, more affordable homes in the face of rising demand suggests that the rising land costs and the difficult development environment make it unprofitable to build for the middle market,” said Chris Herbert, JCHS’s managing director.

Among this year’s key findings:

Since 2018, the monthly housing payment on a median-priced home has been $1,775;

In 2019, the cost of a median-priced home rose by 4% to $261,600 when a comparable home in 2011 was priced far lower at $177,400.

This rise in home prices is also the seventh straight year that median household incomes have failed to keep pace in 85 of the nation’s largest 100 markets.

Nearly $52,000 would be required to make a 20% down payment on a median priced home. Even if buyers opted for an FHA 3.5 percent down payment mortgage, more than $9,000 would be needed to pay it, closing costs, and related fees;

In rental housing, four million units of housing priced at $800 or less were lost between 2011 and 2019. Also, since 2010, renters now include consumers earning $75,000 or more.

Families who already own their own homes, these findings signal that their investments are appreciating, growing in equity and wealth.

But for those trying to make that important transition from renting to owning, it’s a very different outlook. As rental prices continue to soar and moderately priced apartments disappear from the marketplace, both prospective homeowners and current renters face a shrinking supply of affordable housing.

When homeownership is possible, housing costs can be better contained with fixed-interest rate mortgages, tax credits, and eventual equity. Even so, the Harvard report finds that only 36 percent of all consumers could afford to buy their own home in 2018. With higher priced homes in 2019, the affordability challenge worsens.

“It is equally noteworthy that once again this key report shares how consumers of color continue to face challenges in becoming homeowners, noted Nikitra Bailey, an EVP with the Center for Responsible Lending. “According to the report, only 43 percent of Blacks and 47% of Latinx own their own home, while white homeownership remains at 73 percent.

“This 30% disparity deserves further examination and proportional remedies,” continued Bailey. “Greater access to safe and affordable credit, better fair housing enforcement, preservation of anti-discrimination laws – including disparate impact – can play a role in eliminating homeownership gaps. Further, as the future of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac are publicly debated, a renewed commitment to serve all creditworthy borrowers must be embraced.”

Calvin Schermerhorn, a professor of history in Arizona State University’s School of Historical, Philosophical and Religious Studies and author of The Business of Slavery and the Rise of American Capitalism, 1815-1860, holds similar views to those expressed by Bailey. In a recent Washington Post op ed column, Schermerhorn addressed the historic disparities that Black America continues to suffer.

“One-fifth of African American families have a net worth of $0 or below; 75 percent have less than $10,000 for retirement,” wrote Schermerhorn. “The enduring barriers to black economic equality are structural rather than individual…. “Escalators into the middle class have slowed and stalled, and the rung of the economic ladder one starts on is most likely where one will end up.”

On the same day as the Harvard report’s release, President Donald Trump signed an executive order that establishes a new advisory body that will be led by HUD Secretary Ben Carson. A total of eight federal agencies will work with state and local government officials to remove “burdensome governmental regulations” affecting affordable housing.

“Increasing the supply of housing by removing overly burdensome rules and regulations will reduce housing costs, boost economic growth, and provide more Americans with opportunities for economic mobility,” stated Secretary Carson.

If Secretary Carson means that local zoning rules favor single family homes over multi-family developments is a fundamental public policy flaw, he may be on to something. However this focus misses the crux of the affordable housing crisis: Wages are not rising in line with increasing housing costs.

And now, after the housing industry continues to cater to more affluent consumers, while many older adults choose to age in place, the market has very little to offer those who want their own American Dream, including some who are anxiously awaiting the chance to form their own households.

Builders have historically, not just of late, complained about the time it takes to secure permits or the series of inspections that must be approved during construction and before properties can be listed for sale. What is missing from this new initiative is a solution to the financial challenges that average people face.

It was scant regulation and regulatory voids that enabled risky mortgage products with questionable terms that took our national economy to the brink of financial collapse with worldwide effects. Taxpayer dollars to rescue financiers while many unnecessary foreclosures stripped away home equity and wealth from working families.

Time will tell whether new advisors and proposals remember the lessons from the Great Recession.

Source: seattlemedium

Why Nigerians Prefer Bigger Homes.

Nigerians have lofty dreams and often look at the future with blink interest. The fear that certain previlages may be withdrawn from them within a short while, often tend to make them prepare and acquire wealth meant for generations unborn thereby putting themselves into unnecessary hassles. This is also why they always build property they cannot manage alone just to show off. So to advise one to build small homes may be one advice that may be thron out. Those who consider the idea of building small houses are mostly seen as people who are not affluent in the society. In places like Dubai, where real estate accounts for 20 per cent of GDP (compared to an average of 7 per cent in most other countries), governments need to reconsider regulation of the real estate sector. This is necessary in order to ensure that the sector continues to be healthy, transparent, professional and not-fragile, while keeping the whole economy balanced.

The Great Recession of 2007 has taught most Africans costly lesson of what it means for a real estate sector to be out of control. There was a financial loss of more than $14 trillion in the United States alone, and more than 20 million jobs were lost worldwide, according to the International Labour Organization. This was a crisis of confidence, when people’s trust in governments and businesses were at an all-time low. Unfortunately, this trend continues until this day. Therefore, governments and businesses need to find a formula to regain people’s confidence, as traditional regulation of real estate has proven ineffective.

All homes are mostly the ones whose economic and financial levels are nothing to write home about, so they manage to develop the small home to shelter the nucleus family. Also, when life seems too complicated, some people advocate the solution that it is better to move into a smaller home to have a bigger life.

Although, for some, the tiny house movement has become a way of life, adjusting to a smaller space and fewer possessions, with a goal of saving money and focusing on relationships and experiences. This system is not rampant in the country because of government housing policy. Housing policy in Nigeria can be defined as the government’s action on its people’s housing objectives. Basically, whenever the government gets directly involved in the housing objectives of its people, either by taking actions to provide shelter for her citizenry or by taking actions to improve the quality of the shelter of its people, it means talking about government housing policy. A second perspective of housing policy would be government interventions and subsidies on housing. In this case, we are talking about any government effort to make housing affordable for its people or and its attempt to take care of the housing of its homeless citizenry. Since housing is one of the most fundamental needs of the human race, it goes without saying that everyone should be interested in knowing and understanding the government policies out there that could make it easier or more difficult for one to get his/her own basic shelter or the house of his dreams.

When you talk of policies in places like Dubai, where real estate accounts for 20 per cent of GDP (compared to an average of 7 per cent in most other countries like Nigeria), governments need to reconsider regulation of the real estate sector. This is necessary in order to ensure that the sector continues to be healthy, transparent, professional and anti-fragile, while keeping the whole economy in bal- ance. The regulations will also help to examine and determine why one should go into a style of building
in consideration with where he intends to build it.

Those that go after small home despite government policies, have some advantages they believe could be inherent in the system. For in- stance , if you’re looking for reasons to build small, there are some ideas to think about. In this regards, the biggest or best reason for doing so is very subjective. Ultimately, you will decide what is most important to you. First and foremost, small homes are easier and cheaper to maintain. Building a small home is quicker and less expensive. With a good design, a small home can be cozy and comfortable and the costs to heat and cool is less. It will make your home less expensive because in-laws and friends coming to your home already know that you don’t have space and so shall make their visits very snappy. They will legitimately know they will require a motel to stay in. Although, these are some of the reasons people go after small home, the Nigerian housing policy has got a lot of challenges.

In 1991, for instance, Nigeria got a new housing policy that was intended to provide solutions to the problem of housing her increasing population. Twenty years later, the government confessed its inability to achieve the then set objectives and went on to review the National Housing policy. In 2012, Nigeria got her latest national housing policy that promised Nigerians real mass housing which the country has been dreaming of. The new national housing policy emphasized the introduction of mass housings that will provide houses for Nigerians of all financial levels. The policy also introduced the concept of social housing stating that the government hoped to provide housing for even the poorest of the poor by making houses that aren’t for luxury but that will ensure every Nigerian gets a house.

Three year slater, in 2015,a check was made with the Federal Ministry of Housing and Urban Development to analyse the progress made with housing the poorest of the poor and how one can get the social houses the government promised. The report was that the government has not started on that project. Surprised, questions were asked why it is taking so long and the authority stated that the process was at its planning stage which must come before execution. So, for all these, it will make sense for you to ponder the possible disadvantages as well. If your house is small, it can also be very frustrating. The small home can be a problem to the woman in the home because there is not enough storage to ‘play’ around, put this utensils and the food stuff. Because the space is too small, it could be too crowded or closed in to be comfortable. You would not want to put yourself in position of rejecting the home in a year or two. The fact that you feel uncomfortable, the owner of a small home always consider resale value and because it does appeal to a large enough market, it could be a liability to the owner.

For some time, bigger was better. Families, especially in Abuja, Lagos and Port Harcourt could need large space just like in North America where houses seemed to get bigger and bigger. But things are changing. It’s not that big is no longer desirable, but there’s definitely a move towards smaller homes. To make sure that your small home is marketable, get professional help with its design. Small homes require thoughtful design and experts recommend that you find a good architect. You really want to maximize your space, focus on comfort, and enhance its usability. Good designers can do that for you. Governments need to create and enforce high quality governance practices for the industry, while still leaving room for creativity and innovation.

One of the reasons for this is that the real estate market does not have official, and therefore credible, access to performance indices or accurate information on supply, demand, property sales prices, ownership records and other important market variables.

source: Nweke, (manweke@gmail.com)

Affordable Housing is the Answer to Many Woes

When the nonprofit Michigan League for Public Policy announced that Detroit’s lack of safe, affordable housing could become much worse in the next few years, and those most in need are likely to suffer the worst, I nodded my head.

I know too well that housing is one of the biggest barriers to social, emotional and economic health and well-being for Michigan families and the dearth of affordable, safe housing in Detroit and throughout Michigan.

Affordable housing is the top health and human service need in the country and in our state. In articles published online and in national media outlets, this urgent demand for good housing options comes up again and again as one of our most important focuses today.

It’s a concern we’ve had as we serve people struggling to stay afloat and keep their families together — which has been a huge motivator for us to collaborate toward building more affordable housing communities through tax credit-financed projects around the state.

For more than three decades, Samaritas has grown its affordable housing service to campuses, serving seniors, families and persons with disabilities. In July, we begin renovating the St. Joseph Seminary building in Grand Rapids. This site will include 52 apartments for seniors, seven of which will be seniors with disabilities.

We are on track to submit several applications every year to MSHDA for tax credit financing approval to add sites throughout Michigan.

Congress recognizes the severe need for affordable housing and so has established tax credit financing to meet this need. While securing these funds in an extremely competitive market for affordable housing development can be daunting, we soldier on with the hope that we can continue to be successful to expand our affordable housing services throughout the state and provide safe residences for so many Michigan residents.

The need is increasing at a fast pace. While our legislators in Washington and in Lansing recognize and support this need, are we doing all we can do to empower every American with the tools they need to succeed? To survive? To thrive?

The best thing we can do when creating affordable housing is take the whole picture into account. Is the proposed site close to public transportation? Within a short distance of groceries? Medical and dental care? Urgent care? Community activities?

Location is everything. An affordable housing community has no value if it’s far from the services and programs every day folks need to thrive.

Better yet, affordable housing campuses that offer a service coordinator on staff better meet the needs of residents. Maintenance, security and programming are essential elements that guarantee safety and promote community.

 

Doctor visits, field trips, parties, planned activities on and off site, guest speakers and classes keep people connected, involved and aware. Seniors in affordable communities like to volunteer at faith centers and schools; when transportation is easily accessible or provided by the community, they fulfill the soul-deep need to be of value, to give to others, and their lives and health benefit as do the people with whom they connect.

As the need for affordable, safe housing continues to grow, we need to meet those needs — and exceed them. If we are only as strong as our weakest link, then we must all care deeply about the welfare and well-being of every member of society — and do what we can to bring full health, satisfaction and value to every person among us. That’s the promise that accompanies affordable housing if we are to turn things around.

Source: crainsdetroit

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