Iceland’s house prices rises decelerating rapidly

Iceland’s housing market is now cooling, amidst slowing economy. Nationwide house prices rose by just 3.01% during 2018, a sharp slowdown from a y-o-y growth of 12.89% in the previous year. In fact in a quarterly basis, house prices actually dropped 0.29% in Q4 2018.

Iceland saw a housing boom from 2002 to 2007, with house prices surging by more than 73%. However house prices plunged by 32.5% from early-2008 to 2010, due to Iceland’s extreme exposure to the global crisis. The housing market was quiet during the next three years, with house prices rising a meagre 5%. Iceland then saw strong house price rises of 5.22% in 2014, 6.89% in 2015, 12.55% in 2016 and 12.89% during 2017, attributed to strong demand coupled with limited housing supply, especially in the capital city of Reykjavik.

Analysis: Housing boom is fuelled by strong tourism

The continued increase in property demand in Iceland is fuelled by booming tourism. In 2018, foreign visitor arrivals to Iceland through the Keflavik Airport rose by 5.5% to more than 2.3 million people from a year earlier, according to Icelandic Tourism Board. Most tourists come from the United States (30%), the United Kingdom (12.9%), Germany (6%), Canada (4.3%), France (4.2%), Poland (3.9%) and China (3.9%).

Rents, rental yields: no reliable yields data

Recent news:  Iceland’s economy was estimated to have expanded by about 3.8% in 2018, a slowdown from expansions of 4% in 2017, 7.2% in 2016 and 4.1% in 2015, as the economy approaches full capacity. Economic growth is projected to slow further to 1.7% this year, the slowest pace since 2012, according to Statistics Iceland.

Source: Global Property Guide

Property developers advised to abide by FCT Laws

The coordinator, Abuja Municipal Management Council (AMMC), Umar Shuaibu, has said there are basic laws that property developers in the Federal Capital Territory should know in order not to fall foul of the Department of Development Control.

Speaking in an interview with Newsmen, Shuaibu said developers need to know whether their properties are residential or commercial and whether it is low, medium or high density development.

Shuaibu, a town planner, said all the categories have their building requirements.

“For low density you are supposed to put only two families; medium density four to six families; while high density houses about eight families.

“And for low density you cannot go more than two floors; medium density two to three floors: while high density is four floors. Commercial properties have their own criteria; we have neighborhood centres and city centre development, all have categories like the height you can attain and percentage area coverage.”

He said developers who need to know more about these have to come to the FCT Development Control Department to obtain the development manual of the city which will guide them on the do’s and don’ts.

Source: Daily Trust

Legal knots buyers can’t ignore when buying properties

Whether for personal or commercial investment purposes, there are legal issues buyers must give adequate considerations to enable a seamless acquisition and avoid bundles of litigation.

Checks by BusinessDay revealed that most Nigerians do not take into consideration some legal requirements on a property before purchasing, hanging their fate on the neck of agents.

The trust on the property realtor to carry out all due diligence on a property, sometimes as a means of reducing cost, make people fall prey to dubious and fraudulent property dealers.

 Analysts polled by BusinessDay reeled out the step-by-step legal requirements that should be ascertained by a potential property owner before making payments for a property.

Yemi Opemuti, chief executive officer at BAM & GAD Solicitors, a commercial, corporate and business law firm, explained to BusinessDay that initial considerations must include all title documents such as a purchase receipt, survey, title documents, that is, certificate of occupancy or approved building plan of the owner in the case of a landed property with an existing building.

“Ask for survey, go and chart the survey at surveyor general’s office to determine whether the land falls under government acquisition,” he advised.

This is imperative as many developed areas in Lagos fall under acquisition without buyers knowing.

“A property might be on Adeyemi Street in Lekki Phase 1, but unscrupulous sellers can present you the survey of a property on another street where the land is free from acquisition,” Opemuti explained further.

Breaking down the due diligence requirements, he said that since the certificate of occupancy is issued only once by a state governor, buying a property with an existing C-of-O will require application for governor’s consent. The consent acknowledges the transfer of ownership to the new buyer.

Corroborating him, Florence Alao, a real estate legal adviser, said a buyer must first ascertain if the property has been registered.

 “That is if it has a titled document in the name of whoever you are buying from, not from a roadside agent (Omoniles) who issued the person a land purchase receipt and also the registration of the property  should not be ongoing as at the time of the purchase,” Alao told BusinessDay.

Secondly, a legal research has to be conducted to ensure the property is not in combat or pledged for a credit facility because, in that case, the bank will register their interest on the title, Alao explained.

But legal issues vary from place to place and case to case.

In Lagos State, for instance, there are federal lands in some parts of Ikoyi, Festac Town and Abeokuta Expressway and likewise other locations. In these locations, buyers have to apply to the federal ministry of works for either C-of-O or consent which will be signed by the minister of Power, Works and Housing on behalf of the federal government before acquisition happens.

There are also areas in Lagos where excision—land acquired by the state government but later released to the customary or native land owner – is necessary.

“This is common within the Lekki area down to Epe. The excision is covered by gazette including the title of the customary owners, Opemuti noted.

“In that situation, a buyer needs to ask for the excision.”

Based on that, the buyer can make enquiry at the land registry as regards whether the excision given is genuinely issued by the Lagos state government to avert fraud.

However, there are also other issues buyers must be sensitive to.

If a property is to be sold by a company, a minimum of two directors must sign the Deed of Assignment, that is, the contract between the buyer and the seller.

Opemuti advised that soliciting lawyers in such case could conduct a search on the company to determine whether the signatories are current directors of the company. If not, it may result into a bad sale.

In the event of purchasing a property tagged Mr and Mrs, the husband and the wife must also sign.

Where  the owner is late, a buyer needs to seek granted probate will or ask for letter of administration in the event that the owner died intestate.

Granted probate will is the will by the former owner registered with the court while ‘letter of administration’ is for someone that died without a will.

Either the wife of the deceased or the children or family member could be appointed as the administrator of a property. If not, a buyer should decline until that is done in the court.

In the case of a family land, buyers must seek principal members of the family or accredited members capable of being signatories. If a party is selling on behalf of the other, a buyer must seek the registered power of attorney to sell.

The process of buying land in Nigeria could be challenging and poses a great risk without being properly guided.

Explaining his horrible experience to BusinessDay resulting from a property he acquired around Fadeyi in the Lagos, a buyer, who did not want to disclose his name, said “till today the property I bought through the help of an agent my brother recommended to me is still in court.”

He explained that after “I bought the four flat apartment with all necessary documents given to me, another man came to the house six months later and had same documents as the ones that were presented to me claiming ownership of the property.”

He admitted that he did not carry out any form of legal investigation as he was told that the agents knew how to go about getting everything and considering “my brother recommended him, I didn’t have any reason to waste money, but now I regret not doing all that.”

Responding to why most people do not like to involve a legal professionals when acquiring a property, Yemi Stephens of Estate Links said people do not recognize the place of a professional in a real estate transaction because they want to save cost.

“People don’t like paying professional fees and it is penny wise pound foolish,” Stephens said. He explained that even being a professional in the real estate industry does not stop him from consulting a Lawyer to help with his paper work when he wants to acquire a property.

“I can conduct due diligence search on a property but still what the trained eyes of a lawyer will see I might not be able to see. The case is the same for an engineer or a lawyer who is asked to come and do valuation of a property; they might not be able to see what I will get out from a property,” he noted.

On other areas where the expertise of a legal professional is required during the acquisition of property is confirming the originality of the property documents.

“There is also need to do verification to know if it is the original title you are holding, because sometimes title documents are cloned and this can be verified with the land registrar because they usually keep an original copy of a property document they issue,” Alao cited.

BusinessDay checks have shown that getting registration for land and real estate properties is one of the many issues that drags Nigeria’s property market which  is deficient by more than 17 million units.

“The land registry process, as I was told you, takes two weeks, but in the last two months I have been having an issue, and I have been advised by friends who have had similar issues to get a solicitor to help push on it,” a developer in Lagos told BusinessDay on condition of anonymity.

Source: Okafor Endurance

Purchasing Property in Turkey With Cryptocurrency Now Possible With Antalya Homes

Despite the loss in the value of many digital currencies and particularly Bitcoin in the past year, data from Statista indicates that the number of cryptocurrency wallet owners has increased 32% and reached 31 million by the end of 2018. Widely used in many industries including automotive, travel and informatics, cryptocurrency has also become widespread in the real estate sector.

Leading companies in the world such as Microsoft, Virgin Atlantic and Shopify now allow users to make payments in cryptocurrencies for their products and services. The real estate sector has also experienced an increase in the use of digital currencies and it is now possible to buy houses with cryptocurrency in Turkey, a home for many foreign investors.

With a total market value of 140 billion dollars, cryptocurrency is actively used in travel, food, information technologies, automotive as well as real estate sectors. As one of the most attractive European countries for housing investment where 40 thousand properties have been sold to foreigners in 2018, Turkey uses not only Bitcoin (BTC) but also Ripple (XRP), Ethereum (ETH), Bitcoin Cash (BCH), Bitcoin Gold (BTG), Litecoin (LTC), Tether (USDT) and Stellar (XLM) for house sale transactions. Antalya Homes, the leading international real estate agency, which has helped thousands of foreigners obtain a home in Turkey to date, adopted an innovative approach selling nine houses in 2018 using Bitcoin (BTC).

Purchasing property with cryptocurrency offers more advantages

Antalya Homes is one of the organizations in the sector that accepts cryptocurrencies. Stating that they have completed sales of 9 real estates in 2018 using Bitcoin (BTC), Bayram Tekce, Chairman of Antalya Homes said, Payment with cryptocurrency enables a more reliable and faster transaction performance such as money transfer between bank accounts without any exchange loss. By making investments particularly in countries like Turkey, where housing is becoming increasingly valuable, investors can shift their investment to a less risky and safer area, and multiply their savings. We created a special section named “Pay with Bitcoin” on the Antalya Homes website for all questions related to purchasing houses with cryptocurrency. For those who intend to purchase a home with cryptocurrency, Antalya Homes offers the opportunity to own a house in Turkey starting from 30 thousand Euros (9 BTC).

Source: Global Banking and Finance

6 of the biggest landlord headaches and what to do about them

Rental properties can provide a healthy income stream, but they can equally provide huge headaches for landlords.

Here are six of the main problems faced by landlords:

1. Finding the right tenants. Check a renter’s references and details. Make sure whoever lives in your property is suitable for the environment – a big crowd of students will not suit a quiet residential area; small children can be a concern if there’s a pool or other potentially dangerous spaces; an older couple might not cope with a noisy building; someone might require secure off-street parking when you have none to offer. Pets are a common cause of problems – only allow them if you specifically consent to them.

2. Sorting out the contract. The contract needs to be legally correct but also clear in its wording and covering every potential issue. Note that it’s important to detail what is not covered (e.g. security, Wi-Fi, gardening services) to avoid any conflict or confusion.

Specify very clearly the number of people letting the property and exclude anyone else staying for anything beyond a specified number of nights without your approval. Parking and pets must be addressed.

3. Ensuring payment. If there are multiple tenants, preferably have one source of payment which simplifies both your monitoring and debt collection. A deposit (usually equivalent to one month’s rental) should be paid before keys are handed over.

Move quickly and decisively if payments are not made. The consequences of defaulting should be clear in the contract and do not hesitate to enforce those conditions.

4. Regulating tenant behaviour. If you have got the right tenants in the first place, you should not have significant problems. However, it’s important that you have relationships with the neighbours – give them your number and have theirs available – to enable you to troubleshoot issues. Encourage the tenants to introduce themselves to their neighbours and to be conscious of their environment.

There should be clear clauses in the contract regarding noise, parties and anti-social behaviour.

5. Constant maintenance issues. Have a readily accessible list for emergencies – plumber, electrician, roofer, security service, locksmith, cleaner, police. If something is wrong, move quickly to fix the problem and be prepared to refund rental money if the issue is substantial.

If you cannot deliver the maintenance service yourself, then employ a third party to do it for you.

6. A clean exit. Have a good inventory in place at the start and a signed agreement about the state of the premises. Inspect carefully before the departing tenants leave, and only hand back the deposit when you are satisfied that everything is in order and you have deducted any repair costs. Note that swimming pools can be expensive to restore to working order if they have been neglected.

Make sure you collect all the key sets and that the tenants have disposed of unwanted furniture and rubbish – it’s not your job to remove or sell their stuff.

Source: bizcommunity

How land speculators swindle Abuja residents

Land in the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), especially in the Abuja Municipal Area Council (AMAC), is not only the choicest assets in the country, it is the costliest and most contested by the most powerful and most influential members of society.

While it is highly contestable, it is equally fraught with swindlers and scammers who scamper restlessly in search of who to defraud.

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Oftentimes, residents fall prey to these illegal activities and they are fleeced of their money. Although, the tricksters do not rob with dangerous weapons, most victims have died because of their activities. In view of the preponderance of land scammers in FCT, as property lawyers are feeding fat from the numerous cases in court.

According to a property lawyer and the National Co-ordinator of Peoples Rights and Justice—a human rights organisation, Mr Victor Giwa, before any buyer embarks on any land business, the first thing is to get experts. The first expert, he said, is a good lawyer, a property lawyer; the second expert is a surveyor and the third step is to take the document to the relevant agency that issued the document.

“You need to be careful. You need to be very careful. If anybody wants to buy land or any property in Abuja, the first thing is to get experts. The first expert you need is a good lawyer, a property lawyer. Not any lawyer. Some people run into problem because of what was involved in their property transaction. You should ask the lawyer if he has experience in property land transaction—-land business. You must also get some other experts like the land surveyor. But if you get a lawyer he will help you to put all these together. Then you ask for the title. The lawyer will conduct what we call ‘search’ with the necessary agency. The lawyer will tell you the way and manner you should go into the purchase of the sales of the property. It is very key that you involve an experienced and professional lawyer when you are going to enter into any land or property transaction” he said, citing cases of deaths as a result of land scammers.

“So, we have seen a lot of issues. I have seen a lot of families frustrated because of land transaction. He (victim) went to buy an AMAC land, sold to it to a person. When the person went to AMAC he discovered that the title he had was fake. As I speak to you now the family is scattered. These are the effects of fraudulent transactions as regards property. That is why we have concentrated so much on property. So, in a nutshell we have had more than 18 cases of fraudulent transactions” he disclosed.

Giwa told the story of a retiree who invested all his money in a property but discovered later that the property belonged to a catholic church. He collapsed, he said, and died before his case could commence in the court.

“A man retired some years ago. He was paid his pension allowance and all of that. He saw a good property at Garki and bought it not knowing that it belonged to a catholic church. The man was disappointed because of lack of due diligence on the land before he bought” he said.

Disclosing why he went into the business of helping those that have been defrauded of their land, he said: “Our organisation (a Non-Governmental rganisation) started with property issues because everybody who lives in Abuja is either a landlord or a tenant. And everybody lives on a property. So, it is very important that you know, especially, property in Abuja, what exactly is going on and how you are going to react on your property. So, we discovered that we are getting a lot of complaints from two major areas. One, on property and two, on transactions. So, 70 per cent of the complaints we are getting even from the courts, are from property. So, we felt that there was a need for us to concentrate on issues of property. And we also discovered that a lot of the residents of FCT are victims of frauds regarding property. Either fraud in the sense that you are buying the property or you are buying a fraudulent title or you are being defrauded as the seller. So, we started now as an NGO to concentrate on fraud in property in FCT. So, about 90 per cent of the cases so far that have been reported to the Commissioner of Police. We work with Commissioner of Police. We work with Department of State Security (DSS) and almost all the security organizations” he submitted.

A victim of land scammers, Mr Adenrenle Olubusi who bought a parcel of land from AMAC at Guzape in Abuja, said that early this year when he went to inspect the land with a view to developing it, he discovered that another man was already clearing his land. When he went to AMAC, he was told that it was a case of double allocation, which means, one of the owners should be reallocated. But the two owners did not want to give up to the another.

“When I bought my land in 2013, I conducted every due diligence and discovered it was real. But early this year when I went to develop it I saw some people clearing it. So, I contacted my lawyer who put a ‘caveat emptor’ notice on the land and invited the supposed owner for explanation” he said.

A man, Mr Okofor Afonjo whose land is also at Lokogoma lamented that after buying his land he went for study leave abroad. When he came back, he discovered that a gigantic mansion has been erected on his land.

“I bought three plots of land at Lokogoma in 2010. The title of the document was certified real by the appropriate authorities before I proceeded on leave. But after my study leave I discovered that a man is now operating a school on the land” the matter is now in court” he said.

By Isaac Anumihe

South Africa Farmworkers Find Themselves in Housing Policy No Man’s Land

The Extension of Security and Tenure Act deters farmers from providing housing on farms. It provides for retiring farmworkers, who have worked and lived at least 10 years up to their retirement on the same farm, to remain living in their farmhouse for the rest of their lives. It requires an onerous and expensive eviction process to get people who do not work on the farm, off the farm.

“Horizontal spreads of unplanned squats and shanty towns, unsightly dumps of humans and waste… gangs and paramilitaries rule and there is no access to clean water or sanitation….” Bar perhaps the paramilitaries, this vivid description of urban slums by The Guardian’s Ian Sansom could just as well fit the ubiquitous squatter towns that have become part of the rural landscape.

Click here to watch weekly episodes of our Housing Development Programme on AIT

Is the comparison over the top? In August 2018 News24 quoted Maurie Booyse, a resident from Avian Park, a township of Worcester, who lamented that the “sleepy” town which she moved to 10 years ago is gone forever. “(N)ow it’s skiet and donner (shoot and fight) as these gangsters run our pot-holed, gravel streets.” The same article reports that between January and August 2018, 20 people were killed in gang violence in Avian Park.

Were Booyse to move back to Robertson, where she came from, the situation would not be much better. Nkanini, a squatter town clinging to the slopes of a koppie outside Robertson, has no sewerage system. According to Robertson’s municipal manager, when the first rains fall, the sewage washes down the slopes into the Breede River. About 50km beyond Worcester simmers Stofland, a mix of RDP houses, dust and shanties, which formed the centre of the farmworker protest at the end of 2012. While new houses have been built there since, these have been matched by the growth in the number of shanties.

In his book Urban Slums, Mike Davis argues that urban slums are the flotsam and jetsam following the waves of neoliberalism that have crashed over the globe during the last 40 years. The same dynamic has also washed up in South Africa. The growth of rural squatter towns is not incidental but can be directly linked to structural changes in the South African agricultural sector and the government’s failure to deal with these changes.

The changes combine the simultaneous deregulation of the agricultural sector – leading to the phasing out of a range of policies that previously provided farmers with protection in the marketplace – and increased consolidation of the retail sector. As a result, power asymmetries between farmers and the buyers of their produce have grown astronomically, forcing down farmers’ prices. To cope, labour-intensive farming sub-sectors have extensively restructured their labour forces to cut costs. In the fruit industry, the majority of workers are now employed on seasonal contracts and no longer live on farms.

Several decades ago, when influx control still restricted the free movement and migration of most South Africans and farmers vied with mining bosses over scarce labour, farmers used on-farm housing to secure and control their supply of labour. However, given the current surplus of low-skilled labour and high value of agricultural land, this strategy no longer makes sense.

Moreover, ESTA, implemented in 1997, deters farmers from providing on-farm housing. From a farmworker’s perspective, ESTA seems perfectly fair: it inter alia provides retiring farmworkers who have worked and lived at least 10 years up to their retirement on the same farm, to remain living in their farmhouse for the rest of their lives. But this makes the provision of on-farm worker housing risky for farmers. Not only do retirees occupy houses that could be used for productive workers, but it requires an onerous and expensive eviction process to get people who do not work on the farm off the farm.

The National Department of Human Settlements has acknowledged that not a single subsidy application had been received in terms of the Farm Residents Housing Assistance Programme, which provides subsidies for on-farm housing. However, this is unsurprising given that it imposes onerous conditions on the farm owner as the developer. The failure of this programme has never been subjected to review.

Gauging from NGO and trade union reports, ESTA has not stopped farmers from evicting people living on farms – often without court orders, as required by law. The growth in rural squatter towns partly bears testimony to this trend as farmers often induce workers to leave the farm by offering them a once-off cash payment together with some building materials to construct a shack in an informal settlement. However, it is also possible that many of the people who live in rural squatter towns have never lived on farms. This is because a far more obvious and less costly strategy for farmers is to appoint all seasonal workers – and increasingly also new permanent workers – on an employment contract that does not provide on-farm housing as a benefit.

Farmworkers find themselves in a proverbial no man’s land: government argues that farmers should take responsibility for housing the workers they employ, but farmers ask why they should shoulder a burden that employers in other sectors don’t have to bear. In the meantime, the squatter towns swell with each new season. Municipalities are struggling to cope not only with housing provision, but also infrastructure provision. River systems are under pressure as untreated effluent from unserviced settlement flows into them.

Municipal officials point to long waiting lists and complain that it would take decades to deal with existing backlogs. And where municipalities do provide emergency housing for evicted or displaced farm workers, this creates enormous social tensions locally as residents of the town allege a “queue jump”.

In the meantime, the income of many farmworker households has risen above the R3,500 subsidy eligibility threshold for RDP housing. Yet, such households will find nothing in the Finance Linked Individual Subsidy Programme (FLISP) band which is supposed to cater for people with incomes between R3,500-7,000/month.

As a result of this policy gridlock, participants in the Social Dialogue Platform for Decent Work in Agriculture and the participants of the Laborie Initiative have called for the formation of an inter-governmental and civil society working group to address improved living conditions of farmworkers on farms. These are their requests:

  • The formulation of alternatives to current housing and services policies as well as subsidies and tax and rates relief to farmers for providing on and off-farm housing options.

  • The creation of opportunities for localised problem solving and solution finding by including relevant stakeholders in the Spatial Development Plans of municipalities.

  • Piloting public-private partnership options for the provision of off-farm worker housing.

  • Accessing tenure grants in terms of the ESTA Amendment Act (No. 2 of 2018) as a source of housing finance for suitable alternative accommodation and provision of on-farm retirement housing.

The question is whether the government and the agricultural sector will listen or are another couple of De Doorns protests required before they will get their act together?

Source: Margareet Visser

How to speed up your property transfer

Time is money – and transfer delays can be costly

In complex, protracted transactions like property sales, delays are not only frustrating, they can also be extremely costly and may even torpedo the deal completely. However, while some delays cannot be foreseen, it’s possible to exponentially reduce the risk by doing one’s homework and having all one’s ducks in a row from the onset.

This is according to Jill Lloyd, veteran agent and Area Specialist in Rondebosch and Claremont for Lew Geffen Sotheby’s International Realty, who says: “Essentially there are two primary types of delay; the first relating to the confirmation of the sale and those that occur once the sale has been confirmed and hold up the transfer.

“Property transactions are known to be lengthy processes with multiple steps and reams of documentation, and once the potential minefield of suspensive conditions and contractual obligations has been successfully navigated and the deal is finally done, many people breathe a sigh of relief. But the expected downhill cruise to transfer can still become an uphill battle if one isn’t careful.”

 

Lloyd explains how this can happen:

“One of the main reasons for delayed transfers is that the timeline is out of sync, especially when two or more deals are linked and money from one sale is needed to purchase the next property and so on. I once brokered a transaction with seven linked deals all dependent on the sale of a Rondebosch East home and we had to pull out all the stops to get the house sold in time.

“It is also very important for buyers to budget for the transfer costs of the new property they are buying or have an access bond in place on their current home, otherwise when the attorney calls for bond cancellation that bond account will be frozen and they will not be able to access the funds.”

She adds that not giving the required 90 days’ notice of cancellation of the existing bond can also cause delays as well as avoidable late cancellation fees.

“If a homeowner is seriously thinking about selling, they should give notice to the bank holding the bond. In doing so, they are not committing to selling, merely notifying the bank of the possibility and they can keep on renewing the cancellation if they don’t sell timeously or revoke the notification if they change their minds.”

Craig Guthrie, Partner at Guthrie Colananni Attorneys says: “One of the transferring attorney’s key roles is to coordinate and control all the role players involved in a transfer, including SARS (transfer duty), the municipality (Rates Clearance Certificate) and the bank.

In order to do this as seamlessly as possible, it is essential that both the buyer and seller submit all the necessary documentation in time, as per the legal requirements and without omissions. This is especially important if either party resides in another country or is otherwise difficult to contact for information and signatures.

 

Guthrie says that although hiccups and stumbling blocks can occur at any point of the transaction, they most commonly occur at the following stages:

  • Bond Approval
  • Bond Cancellation
  • The signing of transfer documents
  • Obtaining valid compliance certificates
  • Issues encountered at lodgements requiring the removal of notes by the Registrar of Deeds
  • Transfers which are unusual and more complex, such as estate transfers which require an endorsement of the Master of the High Court, which can cause a delay

Most of these delays can easily be avoided, through prompt co-operation with the transferring attorney and the paralegal handling their transfer or, if they are outside of South Africa, by giving a valid power of attorney to a person within South Africa who can sign the necessary documents and act on their behalf.

 

“It’s vital that the client is completely up front with the agent regarding their financial situation,” says Lloyd. “We can then facilitate and expedite the process by having our bond broker at ooba, South Africa’s largest mortgage originator, prequalify them and the thorough credit check will reveal any potential snags.

“This step is particularly important for buyers who are self-employed as banks are very strict about the documentation that they require for a bond application. At this stage I always advise all my clients to avoid making any expensive purchases that could negatively impact their affordability.”

 

Lloyd concludes: “Experienced estate agents will guide their clients every step of the way and as long as they are upfront with their realtors, there should not be too many problems to circumvent.

“I also recommend appointing an accomplished conveyancing attorney who is really on the ball. It is all very well allowing your best friend to handle the transfer, but you could end up being enemies if they make a complete hash of it and that happens more often than I like to remember!

“And, as the transferring attorney and agent work closely together behind the scenes to ensure a smooth transfer, it is always an advantage if they already have an established working relationship.”

 

Source: Private Property

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

 

Co-working spaces usurping traditional offices, now in 19,000 locations globally

The traditional offices have recently been superseded by coworking spaces which have proliferated all over the world.

Shared spaces concept is not only great choice for small and growing businesses but also chosen by big corporations.

It brings about the creation of a thriving community and fostering networking, such offices are becoming more and more popular among millennials and, thus profitable for their owners.

According to a survey conducted by Deskmag, a magazine about coworking, about 1.7 million people will be working in some 19,000 coworking spaces across the globe by the end of 2018. Of the total number of coworking spaces, 29 per cent were opened over the past two years. About two-thirds of that total anticipates expanding their area by an average of 70 per cent, and a third are planning to open at least one more location.

In Nigeria, the development is fast usurping the traditional office space, creating more void than anticipated in that segment of the industry.

Co-working is a service provision model that involves individuals working independently or collaboratively in shared workplace or office but with independent activities. Typical users of the facility are the self-employed, entrepreneurs, international corporations with subdivisions across countries, or a company worker in private and public sectors.

The concept enables variety of businesses especially, the small and medium enterprises (SMEs) to work in the same start-up office space in strategic locations, without breaking a bank to pay for the costs of rent and it also offers benefits such as; 24hours Internet, constant power supply and other general operational overheads among other flexible packages.

Town planners see co-working station’s growth as a possible way to address the decline of high street retail in most of the urban centres.

According to investigations, since 2006, the market has become a goldmine with some international companies running the model across 20 different countries, including about 160 locations in the United States of America that comprise more than 10.7million square feet. It has also gained some degree of acceptance in Ghana, Nigeria, China, India, United Kingdom, Australia, Malaysia, South Africa and others.

The popularity of the model is not declining, as a recent report by JLL Global co-working survey revealed that 61per cent of co-working space providers are planning to expand their operations and almost 80 per cent expects the number of members to increase while statistics state that co-working spaces globally have been on a steady increase each year and it is predicted to have reached about one million in 2018.

An operator of the model in Lagos told The Guardian that, “With growing office space needs, co-working facilities offer flexible, amenity-rich options and are often situated in highbrow locations of the city centres. Operators with multiple locations have expanded their targeted tenant type, and are now using their economies of scale to appeal to large corporations. All you have to do is pay one-month fee or more depending on the individual financial capability, plug and work, no matter how long or short you require. Prices start from N70, 000 or below in most centres in Nigeria including Lagos, Port-Harcourt, Abuja, Kaduna, Ibadan and others while longer rental periods attract generous discounts”.

Speaking on the effects of co-working office space development on the commercial real estate sector in Nigeria, the Chairman, Faculty of Real Estate Consulting of the Nigerian Institution of Estate Surveyors and Valuers, (NIESV), Mr. Niyi Fadoju believes that it’s a response to the demand of the present time as the orthodox offices are no longer in en-vogue coupled with the reality that rents have also gone higher. Additionally, he noted that businesses has also gone paperless while in other part of the world, people now work from home.

He explained that the idea is equally a response to the fact offices couldn’t be rented as some developers continue to experience voids and long term loss of revenue. According to him, the traditional office space couldn’t fit into the demand of the current time, hence, co-working station has met the demand and so you could see the transformation of the some traditional offices who couldn’t secure tenants because of; their size, facility available and so, some business men moved in, set it up and create co-working spaces out of it to make money.

“Co-working concept arose from the need of the present time and the necessity to manage the cost of rents and the scarce resources as things has become very expensive.
Some people have so much space but couldn’t rent it and they discovered that the demand in the market is a place where they could work, when they need to and where they could have their correspondence. A lot of upward mobile businessmen particularly the young men, don’t need the big office. They just need a place where they could pick their mail, have a meeting and go away. How many people have secretaries these days, that write with long hand”, he said.

According to him, many businesses are looking in the direction of co-working space as it’s growing even faster in the commercial capital of Nigeria, Abuja.

“Many years ago, it used to be just one but now, you have them scattered around town. We could still do with more but they are not as many as they are in Lagos, being the commercial capital of Nigeria. The business environment might make the traditional office space to fade away with time. What we have will always respond to the demand of the business environment and that of the society. Those that wants to remain in traditional offices with time, if they don’t adjust to the co-working space, will find out that their market share in business will reduce”, he added.

He said, “If we don’t have the model, people that should have being going for the traditional office market would have doubled. One way or the other, it will affect the income that naturally should have accrued to that sector. It is a matter of upgrading facilities in such a way that it would compete favourably internationally. Businesses are now automated; there is no basis to ever do business with some level of mediocrity anymore as people are upgrading to compete globally”.

Speaking with The Guardian, Chief Executive Officer of Workbay Executive International Limited, Gbenga Aiyremi stressed that the demand for the office space model has become so high in recent time as businessmen and entrepreneurs see the model as the fastest means to start business devoid of the struggles associated with looking for nice space and adequately equipping it.

According to him, the traditional office space will soon fade away because the value proposition of co-working is huge. People don’t just rent offices via co-working stations, but they get Internet, recreational centre, conference room, opportunity to network and collaborate and so clients are enjoying it because it’s like a community and nobody wants to operate business in isolation”, he stated.

Source: TheGuardian

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