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New Study Analyzes Land Tenure in Ghana

In August 2018, the local government of Accra, Ghana, in West Africa, appropriated 1,800 homes for demolition to make way for, among others, tomato retailers. Officials had already begun plotting the land for its new use when residents of the largely poor neighborhood erupted in protest, to no avail.

The extreme usurpation of land wasn’t entirely illegal—nor was it entirely legal. And therein lies a new “idiom of planning” overtaking many African cities as they navigate rapid urbanization under competing land ownership and use laws that date back to British Colonial rule.

University at Buffalo urban planner Emmanuel Frimpong Boamah recently published an analysis of the complex legal and political backdrop to land tenure in Ghana in the journal Environment and Planning: Politics and Space. Frimpong Boamah is an assistant professor of urban and regional planning in UB’s School of Architecture and Planning, and has a faculty appointment in the university’s Community for Global Health Equity.

In “Planning by (mis)rule of laws: The idiom and dilemma of planning within Ghana’s dual legal land systems,” Frimpong Boamah and co-author Clifford Amoako of the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology in Kumasi, Ghana, argue that the competing systems of colonially inherited statutory and customary property law create vacuums of power and opportunities for exploitation of poor and vulnerable groups by both state and non-state authorities.

The dual system dates back to 1894, when the Aborigines Right Protection Society was formed to resist the Crown Lands Bill, which sought to vest the country’s land and mineral rights in the British Crown. The resulting dispute between customary land owners and the state created parallel legal land systems that persist today.

According to the authors, the land and planning laws empower both customary and statutory officials without clear distinctions in authority on land ownership and use decisions. As a result, officials navigate the spaces between the law to accumulate wealth and power.

For instance, in the Accra case, the local government—the Accra Metropolitan Assembly (AMA)—over-applied one part of statutory planning law, appropriating land based on an a priori, or after-the-fact, non-compliance with the government’s own planned use and development scheme. Yet the local government conveniently placed itself outside these same statutory planning and land laws by not consulting residents before carrying out the demolition.

Customary authorities, such as tribal leaders, similarly act within and outside their own customary laws, for instance, by negotiating with state and prospective land buyers when the land is held in public trust, (re)leasing publicly acquired lands to private developers, and engaging in double dipping within Ghana’s deregulated land market—leasing the same land parcel to multiple developers.

Such (mis)rule of planning and land laws by state and customary authorities results in actions that “(un)map people, places and informal economic activities,” the authors write. “It is a conflict-ridden nexus where those owning the land (indigenous institutions) are different from those deciding on how and what to use the land for (state planning institutions).”

Focusing their research on two case studies—the rapidly urbanizing Ghanian cities of Accra and Kumai—the authors conducted interviews with dozens of customary and state authorities, residents, developers and opinion leaders, while bringing together a corpus of empirical work, newspaper articles and existing literature on Ghana’s land tenure and planning systems.

The paper serves as an “alternative conceptual lens” on the complex relationship between Ghana’s planning system and its dual legal land systems, which, the authors state, “have paralyzed planning in Ghana.”

Moving forward, Frimpong Boamah and Amoako argue more research is needed—including a political economy analysis of planning and land laws, which can help planners move beyond an overemphasis on enforcing planning rules. As the authors state, “what’s the point of enforcing rules that marginalize poor and vulnerable groups in society.”

Frimpong Boamah researches how governance of land, water and food can facilitate sustainable and healthy urbanism in both Global North and South countries.

Source: phys

Flooding: Edo Commences Removal of Illegal Structures on Waterways, Moats, Others

The Edo State Government has commenced the removal of illegal buildings and structures that violate the state’s extant town planning laws, as part of a renewed bid to keep faith with its urban renewal plans and prevent man-made disasters such as flooding.

The structures affected are those along waterways, moats, right of way of roads/streets, river banks and Transmission Company of Nigeria (TCN) high tension lines, among others.

Speaking to journalists during the exercise in Ugbor Village, the Commissioner for Physical Planning and Urban Development, Dr. Erimona Oye Edorodion, said the state government embarked on the exercise after several notices put out to warn erring members of the public to remove the structures, which seriously contravened extant state town planning laws.

According to him, the illegal structures being removed include “roof extensions, structures erected on the right of way of roads, moats, river banks, Transmission Company of Nigeria’s high tension lines, all attachments on fence, caravans, kiosks and wooden sheds which are scattered all over Benin City.”

He noted that the exercise became necessary following the threats of climate change as the illegal structures built on waterways, right of way of roads/streets, river banks result in flooding.

Edorodion said the action will discourage other people from erecting illegal structure and stressed that people ought to obtain permits before erecting buildings.

He bemoaned the practice of erecting structures on moats which are historical landmarks and heritage sites in Benin, noting that the trend was discouraging.

“It is unfortunate that developers build on moats which are supposed to be preserved. The moats are not what should be destroyed,” he said.

He maintained that the exercise will send a clear message to people who disregard the state town planning laws by erecting structures on moats, adding that before the exercise was carried out notices were served.

An elder in Ugbor community, Mr. Oviawe David, commended the state government for the action, which he said will rescue the community from the activities of illegal developers who erect structures on moats and waterways.

The Ohen Igie of Ugbor, Chief Unity Igiorobo, also hailed the action, adding that the exercise will bring succour to community residents.

Recall that the state government in an earlier notice advised illegal developers to  remove the structures by themselves and reinstate the land to its original status prior to their illegal development.

The commissioner had warned that if they failed to comply with the directives, the ministry shall enforce the provisions of the extant town planning laws of the state against them and recover the cost of such an action from them in a law court of competent jurisdiction and prosecute them accordingly.”

Source: thenationonlineng

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

Proposed Regulations Allow Majority of Homes to be Sold Without Human Appraisal

The battle between man and bot has a new front: your mortgage.

Federal regulators have proposed loosening real-estate appraisal requirements to enable a majority of U.S. homes to be bought and sold without being evaluated by a licensed human appraiser. That potentially opens the door for cheaper, faster, but largely untested property valuations based on computer algorithms.

The proposal was made earlier this month by the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency, the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. and the Federal Reserve. It would increase to $400,000, from $250,000, the value of homes that can be bought and sold without a tape-measure-toting appraiser visiting a property.

Key Takeaways
Federal regulators have proposed loosening real-estate appraisal requirements to enable a majority of U.S. homes to be bought and sold without being evaluated by a licensed human appraiser
Some worry, though, that dropping appraisal requirements would introduce new risks into the $10.7 trillion market for home loans.
“The appraisal profession is suffering a death by a thousand cuts,” said Joan Trice, chief executive of Allterra Group
More than two-thirds of U.S. homes sell for $400,000 or less, according to U.S. Census data and the National Association of Realtors. If the regulators’ proposal had been in force last year, about 214,000 additional home sales, or some $68 billion worth, could have been made without an appraisal, regulators said in their 69-page proposal.

Some worry, though, that dropping appraisal requirements would introduce new risks into the $10.7 trillion market for home loans.

“We still would prefer a human being doing the appraisal,” said Lima Ekram, a mortgage-backed securities analyst at Moody’s Investors Service.

One issue: Automated valuations done by computers are largely unregulated. The 2010 Dodd-Frank financial overhaul required regulators to propose quality control standards for so-called automated valuation models, but they have yet to do so.

“There are a lot of problems with appraisals, but there are voluminous standards,” said Ritesh Bansal, chief executive of Appraisal Inc., a New York-based provider of automated valuations. “On the AVM side, it’s a wild, wild West. And that just invites abuse of all kind.”

Regulators say the immediate effect of dropping appraisal requirements would be limited because a vast majority of home loans in that range are bought these days by mortgage giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac , or guaranteed by other federal agencies. Those typically require appraisals regardless of home value.

Appraisals help “ensure that the estimated value of the property supports the purchase price and the mortgage amount,” regulators wrote in their proposal. “However, the agencies also are aware that the cost and time of obtaining an appraisal can, in some cases, result in delays and higher expenses.”

Scrapping the appraisal requirement would open a swath of new turf for upstart property valuation companies, like HouseCanary Inc., which use artificial intelligence, algorithms and sometimes even drones to value homes. Jeremy Sicklick, the company’s chief executive, said that replacing appraisers with computers will speed up home sales by weeks, reduce costs for buyers and eliminate human bias and error from the process of valuing mortgage collateral.

“The technology has reached the level to where this change creates a win-win for the consumer and lender,” Mr. Sicklick said.

Although appraisals are based on criteria such as sales of recent comparable homes, they are sometimes more art than science. And appraisers came under fire following the housing crisis, shouldering much blame for inflating home prices at lenders’ behest.

Their latest turf battle comes months after a defeat at the hands of lawmakers rolling back some financial-crisis-era banking rules. That change eliminated a chunk of appraisers’ business by exempting many rural properties from appraisals.

“The appraisal profession is suffering a death by a thousand cuts,” said Joan Trice, chief executive of Allterra Group, a Maryland firm that tracks the industry.

Source: The Wall Street Journal

Housing Is Booming, But Investors Are Still Too Scared To Invest In It

The US housing market is booming.

This past month the number of Americans looking to buy a new house spiked to a three-year high. Mortgage applications jumped 40%.

And Quicken Loans, the US’s largest mortgage lender, had its best month in 30 years.

“The phone is ringing off the hook” CEO Jay Farner said in a recent interview.

The Housing Crash Sowed Fear Among Investors

In February I explained why buying homebuilder stocks was a near lock to make you money in 2019. Specifically, I recommended buying homebuilder NVR Inc. (NVR) among other disruptive stocks I see skyrocketing in the coming years.

I have to admit, my housing call wasn’t popular. US housing, as we all know, crashed in 2008 and almost wrecked the global financial system. Many people lost hundreds of thousands of dollars. Some lost their jobs, their houses, their businesses.

The housing crash was perhaps the most financially disruptive event of the century. It caused a whole generation of folks to swear off housing as an investment.

I understand why no one wants to hear about housing. But you should want to hear about housing, because the evidence is overwhelming.

As a refresher, 2018 was a terrible year for housing. Mortgage rates rose significantly for the first time in five years, which made it more expensive to buy a home. Home sales plunged. Lots of analysts warned of another 2008-style real estate meltdown.

This all led to the slaughter of US homebuilding stocks. 2018 was their worst year since the 2008 financial crisis! The US Home Construction ETF (ITB) plunged 32%, as you can see here:

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But everyone failed to realize one thing…

Housing Affordability Tells We Are Nowhere Near a “Bust”

Housing affordability is a primary driver of home prices. And housing is still very affordable for most Americans.

The National Association of Realtors affordability index takes three key metrics—home prices, mortgage rates, and wages—and boils them down into a single number.

This number tells us if average folks can afford a home. When affordability drops too low, the average American simply can’t afford to buy. That often forewarns a housing bust.

Here’s the index going back to 1992:

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You can see affordability is well above the 30-year average, as shown by the red line.

This is key because every housing bust in the past 50 years happened when affordability was below 120. We’re nowhere near that level today… which tells us the risk of a “bust” is virtually zero.

There’s a Big, Silly Myth Going Around About Housing

Have you heard this “fact?”

Today’s generation of young adults, known as “millennials,” don’t want to own houses like their parents did. Instead they’ll rent for life. This lack of young buyers, the story goes, will put a cap on house prices.

This is nonsense. The data shows it isn’t just false… the total opposite is happening.

Census Bureau figures show the number of households in America just hit an all-time high at 122 million.

At the same time, the number of Americans who own their own home has jumped in the past three years. That’s significant as the rate had been plunging for over a decade.

As for the number of folks renting rather than owning a house, the number has plunged for three years in a row.

In other words, folks are buying houses faster than any time in the past 30 years.

Millennials are waiting longer than their parents to have kids. But once they have kids, they’re buying houses… just like every generation of middle-class Americans before them did.

Pew Research data shows the average age of a first-time home buyer is 31. This year the average millennial will turn… 31!

The Outlook for Housing Gets Even Better

There’s a shortage of homes in America.

After the 2008 housing bust, tens of millions of vacant homes were for sale. That’s no longer the case. It would take only six months to sell every existing home on the market today, as you can see here:

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The seeds of this shortage were sown in 2008. In the boom leading up to the bust, US homebuilders built record numbers of houses. Four million new houses went up in 2004 and 2005 alone—more than any other two year period in US history!

As you know, the market turned south in 2006, demand collapsed, and US homebuilders lost their shirts. America’s largest homebuilder, D.R. Horton (DHI), tanked 86%.

The housing bust seared one thing into homebuilder’s minds: don’t overbuild EVER again.

So for the past decade they’ve been conservative. Census Bureau data shows an average of 1.5 million homes were built each year since 1959. Yet since 2009 just 900,000 homes have been built per year.

Now Is a Great Time to Buy NVR

NVR is unlike any other US homebuilder. In short, most home builders buy raw land then build houses on it.

NVR never buys raw land. It only buys developed land, which removes a lot of risk. This unique approach helps it avoid the riskiest part of the housing business.

When I recommended NVR back in February, it was trading at just 13-times earnings—its cheapest level since 2009. Because the stock has jumped 30% since, it’s no longer a “steal.” But it’s still a great buy, and it’s still dirt cheap.

Source: forbes

Housing will Weaken Further in 2019 & 2020

Strong home price appreciation last year led many to wonder if housing was unsustainably strong. I thought not and in November 2018 wrote Housing Forecast: Not A Bubble In 2019. This update shows that housing will continue to soften, though not quite so much as previously expected.

The most important factor determining housing construction and pricing is the underlying demographics. Housing is mostly built to accommodate new residents; just a little new construction replaces demolished or abandoned housing. My first gauge of the housing market is construction relative to population growth. The accompanying chart shows how many housing units were started per 100 new residents. New residents come from births in excess of deaths, plus net foreign immigration. The population data include estimates of illegal immigration, though there’s obviously some uncertainty there.

 

This ratio shows we are in the ballpark of building just the right amount of new housing, single family homes plus apartment units. This is a low-fidelity measure, ignoring factors such as mobile homes shipments, demolitions, and houses abandoned in rural counties as people migrate to cities. Nonetheless, it gets us in the ballpark of whether we are grossly overbuilding or underbuilding.

Key to this chart is the slow population growth of recent years. The United States population growth last year was the lowest percentage increase since 1937. Many people in the lumber business think of 1.5 million housing starts as normal, but that was back when population growth was much faster. Today, 1.1 million is a normal year, and we built 1.2 million housing units in 2018, though with a downward trend in the second half.

The cause of recent weakness is most likely mortgage interest rate increases. From September 2017 through November 2018, the interest rate on 30-year mortgages increased from 3.8% to 4.9%. Sales of existing homes dropped sharply, with about a one-month time lag. Sales of newly-built single-family houses peaked just after mortgage rates started rising, then dropped sharply in the following months, hitting bottom in December 2018. Mortgage rates obviously affect the affordability of a house, but the changes in mortgage rates also affected expectations of future affordability. Homebuilders moved quickly to avoid the worst sting of the higher rates, then returned to the market at the first signs of rates easing.

 

The income part of the home buying equation has been steadily improving. Disposable income has increased by four to five percent over the past few years, driven by increases in employment and even greater increases in wage rates.

Looking forward, the demographic trends won’t change much, unless the United States suddenly lets in a great many more immigrants. That seems unlikely, even if President Trump  is not re-elected in 2020.

Interest rates have dropped every month since November 2018. Part of this is a global drop in long-term interest rates, and a secondary factor is the recent Federal Reserve policy shift, which involves both short-term rates as well as the Fed’s large portfolio of long-term securities. I expect rates to be level for a few months and then to rise again, as the Fed sees more signs of inflation in the economy.

Household income growth should continue to be strong. Weakness in employment would most likely be driven by labor shortages rather than soft demand. The labor shortage will continue to drive up wage rates, boosting total income.

Rolling these factors together, we are currently close to a reasonable range for housing construction, but a little bit high. The slight oversupply will put downward pressure on price appreciation. If I am right that inflation will accelerate—and be warned that this is now a minority view—then higher interest rates will dampen demand. Combining weaker demand with a little too much supply, and home price appreciation will slow. A major price decline is unlikely, but don’t expect to make easy money simply owning a house.

As I talk to people about the economy, I hear a range of opinions. The gloomy old men see housing as overpriced and younger people too profligate to be able to afford to purchase a home. The real estate professionals panic at the thought that mortgage rates could rise over five percent, as if we haven’t survived much worse. And investors don’t understand that the economy is not the same as the stock market. A good solution to the inherent biases that we humans have is to slow down, roll through the fundamental factors, and ignore headlines as much as possible.

These are the 7 most luxurious properties in Australia and Asia on Airbnb Luxe

Airbnb unveiled its new luxury arm, Airbnb Luxe, on Wednesday, which offers guests a stay at more than 2,000 swanky properties around the world. The properties have to pass strict evaluation processes over their design and function, with criteria including chef grade appliances, the use of high end furnishings and having spaces that can accommodate groups.

Airbnb Luxe offers eye-watering chateaux, villas, penthouses, estates and properties in metropolitan areas from South Africa to France to New Zealand. It comes after the company launched Aibnb Adventures which offers 200 “bucket list worthy” travel experiences hosted by “local experts”.

On the list are 50 Australian properties throughout Sydney, Byron Bay and Queensland. Airbnb also told Business Insider Australia in an email that properties in Melbourne will be online from September.

Here are some of the properties that made the cut:

Wallis St, North Bondi, Sydney – $3,150 per night

This property is only an eight minute walk from the beach and has stunning ocean views. It has four bedrooms, a heated pool and floating stairs.

 

Bondi Beach Penthouse, Sydney – $3,988 per night

Anything with the title ‘penthouse’ is bound to be a treat, and this property is no exception. It has a terrace that provides panorama views of the ocean that’ll have feeling like you’re right above the water itself. And did we mention a 24/7 concierge service?

Eagle Retreat, Casuarina – $893 per night

This property has a more homey feel to it, with wide open spaces and giant glass windows to let in plenty of sunshine.

Sky Loft, Darlinghurst, Sydney – $1,200 per night

This property offers quintessential views of Sydney’s skyline – hello Harbour Bridge! – and is in an ideal spot if you want to head into the city for some shopping.

 

Te Kahu, New Zealand – $3,727.63 per night

This stunning property overlooks Lake Wanaka. It features wooden ceilings, heated floors and a private courtyard.

 

Nukutepipi, French Polynesia – $209,394.30 per night

This stunning location is on a private island and comes with several different staff members to cater to you needs – a chef, doctor and massage therapist among them.

 

Villa Belong Dua, Bali – $587.48 per night

This secluded villa is all about relaxation – laze by the pool, play chess in the media lounge or simply enjoy the ambience.

 

Source: businessinsider

Young families looking to escape housing crisis lead exodus from London

The net outflow of Londoners from the capital to other parts of the UK has topped 100,000 for the second year running, official figures reveal today.

They show that 340,500 London residents quit the capital to move to other regions of the country in the 12 months to June 2018, while 237,270 moved in the other direction.

That left internal migration from London standing at 103,230, slightly down on the 106,608 recorded in the previous year.

But it was still a huge rise on the just over 50,000 seen in 2012 and 2013, according to the Office for National Statistics (ONS).

Typically London attracts young people drawn to the capital by university and career opportunities but loses residents in older age groups, particularly families with young children. Today’s figures show a net inflow of 30,094 people aged 20 to 24, slowing to just 5,816 for the 25 to 29 age group

But this has flipped to a net outflow of 19,070 for people aged 30 to 34.

The increase in the net outward migration has been blamed on London’s housing crisis, with sky-high prices and rent forcing thousands a year to relocate to cheaper areas in the commuter belt or other towns and cities elsewhere in Britain.

By borough, the biggest outflows were from Newham, where 8,976 more residents left than arrived, Ealing (7,241) and Haringey (5,795).

But today’s data from the ONS also revealed that the four local authority areas with the fastest growing populations in Britain are all in London — the City, Westminster, Camden and Tower Hamlets.

This is due to their young populations and international immigration. The overall UK population grew by 0.6 per cent to an estimated 66,436,000, the same rate of growth as in the previous year.

Net international migration in the UK was 275,000, which was 6,000 higher than the average for the past five years and 45,000 higher than last year.

Neil Park, head of the ONS’s population estimates unit, said: “In the last two years, population growth in the UK has been at its lowest rate since 2004.

“For the fifth year in a row, net international migration was a bigger driver of population change than births and deaths.

“However, overall population change to the year mid-2018 has remained fairly stable, as an increase in net international migration has been roughly matched by the fewest births in over a decade and the highest number of deaths since the turn of the century.”

Source: Standard Uk

Australia’s property bubble shows the lessons of the 2008 crash haven’t been learned

hen I arrived in Australia and turned on the TV in my hotel room, I was bombarded with adverts for mortgage refinancing, equity withdrawal and cheap credit cards. One ad depicted a woman talking elatedly about how she’d managed to pay off $90,000 worth of credit card debt over just three years.

In St Kilda, a trendy district in the south of Melbourne, entire streets were covered in boarded-up shops plastered with the logos of various real estate companies. On one street, someone had taken a Sharpie and written “lower your rent” over every sign, and homeless men and women could be found sheltering in the unused doorways.

A few days later, I recounted my experience to one of the organisers of the political conference I attended, telling him that all the signs pointed to a property boom that was running out of steam. He nodded in agreement: “my house is worth no more today than it was when I bought it two years ago”.

After 2008, policymakers across the world claimed to have learned the lessons of the financial crisis. They recognised that the pre-crisis approach to regulation hadn’t worked — rather than predictable risks in individual institutions, they realised they should have been focusing on unpredictable, systemic risks.

But the financial crisis didn’t result simply from a failure of regulatory oversight. 2008 was a crisis caused by financialisation — and this means much more than simply bigger, under-regulated banks.

A financialised economy will have a thriving banking system, but it will also be characterised by rising household and corporate debt, soaring asset prices, huge capital inflows, deindustrialisation and growing income, wealth and regional inequality.

In the US and the UK, the deregulation of commercial banking and the removal of restrictions on capital mobility led to a lending boom in the 1980s. Banks faced far fewer restrictions on their ability to create money by extending credit, and mortgage lending in particular soared.

As the money directed into property markets increased faster than the housing stock, property prices boomed. Rising house prices allowed consumers to borrow even more by releasing the equity from their homes.

Capital from all over the world flowed into British and American property and financial markets, pushing up the value of the currency and harming exporters. As tax revenues from the sector flowed into Treasury coffers, the state’s willingness to regulate it waned.

Economists failed to pay attention to any of these indicators before the crash, instead dubbing the period between 1989 and 2007 the “great moderation” — a time of high growth, low inflation and generalised economic and financial stability. Only when the boom finally ended did they realise the veneer of moderation had concealed a wellspring of excess.

But the financial crisis did not spell the end of financialisation — instead, it heralded another phase of its expansion. Since the financial crisis, property prices in Sydney and Melbourne have risen 105 per cent and 94 per cent respectively. Private debt-to-GDP, which includes all household and corporate debt, has increased from 184 per cent of GDP in 2010 to 205 per cent today. Household debt is more than 200 per cent of average incomes, making Australian households some of the most indebted in the world.

As major cities have boomed, those areas less reliant on the finance, insurance and real estate (FIRE) economy have stagnated. Sydney aloneproduces nearly a quarter of the nation’s GDP, with Melbourne responsible for another 20 per cent. Wealth inequality has risen significantly and stagnant wages and rising profits have led the Australian Council of Trade Unions (ACTU) to conclude that Australia is facing US levels of inequality.

Wandering around the conference I was attending, there was a palpable sense of disappointment in the air. In allowing the boom to continue as long as they have, Australia’s political and economic elites have clearly prioritised short-term profits over the nation’s long-term economic health.

Yet at last month’s general election, which many expected to bring the opposition Labor Party to power, voters handed victory to the free-market Liberal-National coalition.

I was surprised by the shock over the election result. Radical governments don’t come to power when the finance sector is booming, property prices are rising, and billions of pounds worth of new money is being created out of thin air every day. It is only when the boom gives way to a bust, and peoples’ expectations of constantly rising living standards are shattered on the rocks of post-crash stagnation, that radical politics comes into its own.

Australia’s property bubble will burst at some point over the next few years — most likely when China’s post-crash boom comes to an end. When it does, the socialist resurgence might just find its way Down Under.

Source: Newstateman

Property Market in Uganda More Stable

The property market in Uganda has not recovered to its past glory but it is more stable and less volatile than it was two years ago, according to a market update by Knight Frank Uganda, a real estate consultancy firm.

It adds that many of the factors which led to the slowdown of the sector leaving property investors exposed have been reigned in.

“For example, prime lending rates have reduced significantly, the shilling though still weak has remained stable, speculative development of commercial property has reduced significantly and rental levels are stabilising as office occupancy rates steadily increase,” it reads the update in part.

Knight Frank, however, cautions government on being quick to regulate the property market by offering knee jerk reactions to complex and structural issues like the dollar versus shilling rental regime.

Despite the upbeat projection, the consultancy says the landscape in Kampala faced a dramatic change in the second quarter of 2017 when Nakumatt stores closed, causing a dip in business and consumer confidence.

Source: africapropertynews

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