Lack of supply is driving up property prices in Portugal

An imbalance between demand and supply is continuing to drive strong price growth in Portugal’s residential property market, the latest housing market survey suggests.

A similar picture is depicted in the lettings market, where rents continue to rise firmly on the back of solid tenant demand and falling landlord instructions, according to the October trend report from the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) and Confidencial Imobiliário.

Overall, new buyer enquiries remained unchanged in October with the net balance coming in at just -2%. This follows a broadly flat underlying trend in demand over the past few months, notwithstanding the 21% net balance reading in September.

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What’s more, enquiries were reportedly flat in all three regions covered in the survey. Likewise, the agreed sales net balance indicator pointed to no change in transactions at the national level, although sales did reportedly rise very modestly across Porto and the Algarve.

The report says that the softer trend in activity is having an impact on the National Confidence Index, a combined measure of near term price and sales expectations, but this indicator still remains comfortably in positive territory at plus 15 in October compared with plus 27 in September but it is the weakest reading in four years.

Meanwhile, the headline new instructions indicator edged further into negative territory in October with a net balance of 27% reporting a fall. Significantly this marks the nineteenth consecutive month in which the supply of properties for sale have declined.

On the back of this, prices continued to rise firmly at the headline level with a net balance of 24% of respondents citing an increase. Expectations for the coming three months have moderated slightly but are still suggestive of further price inflation nonetheless.

In the lettings market, tenant demand continued on an upward trajectory, albeit the pace of growth in the latest results was the softest since February 2016. Alongside this, new landlord instructions declined once again.

As a result, the rental growth indicator continued to point to further gains. Expectations suggest this will persist over the coming three months, the volume of lettings, however, are envisaged to decline in the same timeframe.

‘The key factors driving the market remain the same. The most quoted, however, is regulatory and fiscal instability, which is increasingly affecting investors’ confidence. This is particularly true in Lisbon, where new rules regarding the local lodgement market appear to have had an adverse impact on Lisbon’s Historic Centre (LHC),’ said Ricardo Guimarães, director of Ci.

According to RICS chief economist Simon Rubinsohn, although October’s results suggest momentum has eased somewhat, forward-looking metrics are still suggestive a reasonably solid outlook for the market.

‘Indeed, the macro fundamentals remain strong, which should help provide a positive backdrop for housing market activity in the near term,’ he said.

Challenges of regulating tenancy in Nigeria

Rent control is a residual matter under the 1999 constitution. As a result, most of the states in Nigeria have their individual rent control laws. The abuse by landlords in unlawfully evicting their tenants necessitated the Rent Control and Recovery of Residential Premises law, to seek to protect all tenancies to which this law applies. It is worthy of note that the protection afforded tenancies by this law is not intended to deprive a landlord of the fruits of his/her investment in real estate.

Rather the protection only requires that a tenant should only loose his tenancy after due recovery procedure and process are complied with by the landlord.Though rent control law exists, it has largely remained a dormant most tenants are left to suffer in the hands of their landlords who in the absence of any control, exploit the situation with arbitrary increase in the monthly or annual rent on their property.

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Under Section 37 of the Lagos State Tenancy law 2011, a tenant can apply to court for a declaration that the increase in rent is unreasonable and the court has power to determine whether or not the same is reasonable, taking due cognizance of the rent payable in similar apartments in the locality. If the court is satisfied that the increase is unreasonable, it can change it to a specific amount.

Please note that under this law, if an action is pending in court challenging the reasonability of an increase in rent, it is unlawful for the landlord to eject the tenant pending the determination of the action. But how many people will take the time to go to court and test the law? Your guess is as good as mine.

Even though this law exists, it can be likened to a theory on paper because the reality is that the law respects our freedom to enter into contract agreements and will usually not intervene in a bad bargain in favour of the landlord. Who is a landlord? In the feudal system, a lord so called, would own a land and his tenants became his vassals. The feudal lord had dominion over the land and the produce together with the vassals living on that land. The vassals were then required to swear to an oath of allegiance to the lord, as if a monarch. The landlord could eject his tenant as and whenever he wishes, he could change and alter the rent at will; and could impose any terms on the tenant.

The purpose of rent control is to ensure that a city has a certain amount of affordable housing for lower and middle class residents. In fact, the primary advantage of rent control occurs for tenants. Besides paying an affordable rent, they can predict what rent will cost in future and budget accordingly without the fear of a sudden increase that may make living in an apartment unaffordable. The rent control system creates artificial scarcity by encouraging tenants to remain in their apartment it also creates incentive for illegal rental practices such as unauthorized subleases that tenants use to make a profit by renting their apartments to new tenants for more than they already paid the landlord under rent control.

The effort of the National Assembly and State Assemblies to implement the rent control laws has faced criticisms because, the increase in Nigeria’s population in the urban areas has led to increases in the demand for affordable housing, which is far-fetched. Government should intensify efforts at providing affordable accommodation. It is only though this means that government will break the monopoly of landlords.

The rent control laws though good, what about the regulatory aspect of it? When the law clamps down on the landlords, what about the cement dealers, building materials merchants? The reduction of the cost of building materials will ameliorate the problems encountered by landlords, because some landlords take loans from banks. It stands to reason that the multiplier effects are always on the tenants who are the end users of the building.

Source:The Tide News

FCTA unveils new legal search on landed properties

The FCT Administration (FCTA) has unveiled new procedures for conducting legal search on landed property in the territory to curb fraud and abuses.

The FCT Director of Land Administration, Adamu Jibrin Hussaini, disclosed this at the weekend in his office while addressing some senior staff of the department.

He said applicants would henceforth write and make three copies of application to conduct legal search, addressed to the director of lands.

“But for corporate organizations and companies, applications must carry the RC Number (Corporate Affairs Registration Number), while lawyers handling such transactions must affix their Nigerian Bar Association seals (NBA seals),” he said.

He added that “all applications must have photocopies of title document(s) attached while the original(s) must be brought for sighting with the person presenting the title document producing valid identification like International Passport or Driver’s License or Voter’s Card,” Hussaini added.

He said relevant original title documents such as Certificate of Occupancy, Right of Occupancy and recertification of acknowledgement letter must be presented.

He, therefore, advised that any person wishing to do any transaction on any property either developed or undeveloped within the 8,000 square kilometers of the FCT should come forward to conduct legal search or visit the ultra-modern customer service at AGIS, No. 4, Peace Drive, Central Business District, Abuja to avoid being scammed by fraudsters.

Registering Properties In Nigeria: A Case For Streamlining The Process

The ease with which title to real properties is perfected enhances the property rights enjoyed by private persons as well as corporates in any country. Land acquisition and security of title and interest in land (as guaranteed by perfection of title), is fundamental to the harnessing of investments, expansion of businesses and the growth of economies.

In recognition of the importance of security of interest and title to land to foreign direct investments, the World Bank, last year, included “registering property” as one of the new indices used in its annual Doing Business report. Hitherto, these indices were limited to: (i) starting a business; (ii) dealing with construction permits; (iii) getting credit; (iv) protecting minority investors; (v) paying taxes; (vi) getting electricity; (vii) trading across borders; (viii) enforcing contracts; and (ix) resolving insolvency.

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In the 2016 Doing Business Report, published by the World Bank and tagged “Measuring Regulatory Quality and Efficiency”; Nigeria is ranked 185th out of 189 countries rated globally with respect to the “Ease of Registering Properties”. Although Nigeria ranks 169th in the overall Ease of Doing Business Index, it is clearly a disincentive, to prospective investors interested in land acquisition deals (and/or investors who are willing to provide debt capital) when faced with the seemingly daunting regulatory issues as well as the high cost of registration connected with registering title to property or creating security over landed property; more so in the light of the World Bank ranking.

To help with a better appreciation of the legal and regulatory maze bemoaning land matters in Nigeria, this article will expatiate on the process of perfecting title to land in Nigeria, especially as it obtains in Lagos State, with some mention of other States and the Federal Capital Territory. This article will also analyze the challenges encountered in registering properties and creating security over land.


“In our basic economics, land is a very important asset to capital formation… you can’t start a bank, you can’t start a business, you can’t farm; you can’t even extract crude oil without identifying a particular piece of land or oil well (embedded in land). So it’s the basics of capital formation, it’s the basics of prosperity; it’s the basics of economic well-being and the basics for job,” said Babatunde Fashola, the erstwhile governor of Lagos State, at the signing into law in January 2015 of a Bill to consolidate all land-related laws in the State.

As a valuable investment vehicle and collateral for obtaining credit, property is a catalyst for growth. However, property-backed investments and transactions (such as leases, mortgages, and assignments) can only be properly and securely concluded, where the relevant property transaction is appropriately registered in a depository, usually called the “lands registry”, for ease of verification. Indeed, countries where property registrations are governed by investment-friendly and seamless legal and regulatory frameworks enjoy favorable perception from investors globally.

Source: Banwo & Ighodalo

Housing Challenge: Understand the Process of Buying a Property in Lagos State

Nigerians abroad and those living in the country have been scammed several times trying to purchase a property. This can be traced to either they don’t understand the process involved in acquiring a property or chose not to carry out due diligence.

As a property professional, I have seen people fall prey to scam and other dubious acts making them lose millions of Naira. Even though we know that government have not played its role in providing affordable housing, the onus is up to individuals and corporate organisation to know the process involved in buying a property. With this knowledge, they would know if they are involved in the right transaction or are being scammed.

After several years as a Real Estate consultant, it is no news that the government is not taking the appropriate step to combat the bureaucratic process involved in verifying a property and the lack of affordable housing in Nigeria.

Abraham Maslowâ’s Hierarchy of Needs puts shelter as a basic need for every human. Without shelter, a man’s social activities and other areas of life will be distorted. Also, adding to the fact that man needs a place to rest after the day’s work.

What should have been a basic provision by the government has become a den of lions for scammers and fraudsters who claim to be Real Estate professionals.

According to 2011 housing survey report, there is 17million housing deficit in Nigeria. These challenges of housing in Nigeria can existed in previous administrations. In 1991 the government of Ibrahim Babangida promulgated the National Housing Policy aimed at making housing affordable and accessible, but the policy failed. I would not bore you with the failures of the past administrations. Even the current administration under the leadership of Babatunde Fashola as the Minister of Works, Power and Housing also introduced a policy to address the challenge of housing in the country, you can tell the result. The foregoing shows that Nigeria is not bereft of policies. And I’m sure it’s not stopping soon; this is the reason I believe you should understand the process involved in purchasing a property of your own so you are not scammed.

What both the state and federal government have failed to address is an indicator of the many abnormalities that happening in the housing industry.

Every adult at a time or another would get involved in housing transaction, either for outright acquisition (purchase) or on Lease (rent).

My focus as a practising real estate professional is to explain the p process involved in the acquisition of properties (Virgin Land or a House). And to help individuals and corporate organisations who want to buy properties have the basic knowledge of what to look out for when involved in buying a property. I tailor this article to properties in Lagos, but I’m sure it can be applied in other parts of the state.

When considering buying a property the first process is to sort out the aspect of finance, location & housing type. Immediately you find a property of interest and have agreed on a purchase price, quickly request for the copy of the subsisting Title or registration details of the property for a Title search at the Lagos State Lands Bureau.

 The essence of Title verification at the Lands Bureau is to ensure that there is no encumbrance(s) on the property. You may not do this yourself; the service of a Professional is required in the verification of Title. This is one of the most important aspects of buying a property, in the real sense; it is the residual interest in the property that will be transferred. This aspect must be handled with utmost professionalism. The realtor handling this process must be detailed & ensure that the buyer is protected from any provision(s) that may serve as an additional burden if the property is acquired.  If possible, apply for the Certified True Copy from the Lagos State Land registry; the buyer and the realtor must be satisfied with the existing Title before going ahead with the transaction. Most potential transactions end at this stage when the buyer is not satisfied with the documents provided.

However, the process is different, where the property does not possess a registered Title and requires a Certificate of Occupancy (C of O) after purchase. In such situation, a copy of the Survey is taken to the Surveyor-General’s office for charting. This is to establish whether the property falls within the Government Acquisition Scheme or not. This is because not all properties within the Government acquisition scheme are rectifiable.

Another basic consideration when buying a property is the issue of Development Permit. The purpose of buying a property is specified, it is best to find out whether the development permit for that area will allow the intended development. Things to consider include: prevailing Land use zoning, Height restrictions (permissible number of floors), the allowable number of units, Car parking requirements, Setbacks/ Airspace considerations and Landscape requirements. If all the issues stated above are not considered, the application for Town Planning approval to develop from the Lagos State Ministry of Physical Planning & Urban development may not be granted. This is a serious issue.

The next is to carry out due diligence on the owner of the property. It is important to establish that the person selling is the owner or has instruction. Sometimes people bear the same name, impersonation or fraud. Where it is established that the Assignor (The person assigning his/her interest in a property) is not available and has confirmed his/her representative to the Assignee (The person acquiring the residual interest in a property), a Power of Attorney is required, authorizing the person to act on behalf of the assignor. When the property belongs to a family, there is need to establish that the people selling are the accredited representatives of the family, to avoid dispute from an aggrieved family member(s) or Litigation after the purchase.

After you have confirmed the documents, make sure that your payment goes through bank clearing, payment is acknowledged once received by the assignor/his representatives and the signing of the Deed of Assignment is done when the assignor has received value on the payment.

Finally, once the Deed of Assignment has been signed, the assignee takes physical possession of the property and commences the Title perfection process at the Lagos State Lands Bureau.

I’ll advise you to follow these processes to secure your transaction.

Source: By Olusola Oduleye

Why CEOs of Government Owned Housing Finance Institutions Must Work Together

A house is one of the most important thing in human life. It provides shelter, pleasure and security to a person in modern life. With the increasing large population year by year, the house demand is also increasing rapidly in Nigeria.

Different figures have been reeled out to estimate the housing deficit in Nigeria, whatever the real figure might be, a large number is accounted for by the economically weaker sections, for whom it is difficult to gather huge sums of amount at once to acquire a house.

Here comes the role of housing financial institutions. Presently, the government owned financial institutions involved in housing finance in Nigeria are the Federal Mortgage Bank of Nigeria (FMBN), Family Homes Funds, and the National Mortgage Refinance Company (NMRC).

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These institutions have different roles to play in ensuring the provision of affordable housing to Nigerians. Though they have different mandates in the delivery of affordable housing, it is imperative that the heads’ of these institutions must see themselves as partners in progress rather than competitors in the housing finance sector.

The FMBN, NMRC and Family Homes Funds, all work on different aspects of providing affordable housing for Nigerians. Primarily, FMBN is a public sector institution focused on the role of providing mass housing and mobilisation of housing funds for the neediest in society.

FMBN provides long-term credit services to mortgage banks in Nigeria and other mortgage institutions at rates that will allow the mortgage banks and institution grant loans to individuals who want to acquire their own houses. It encourages and promotes the establishment and development of mortgage institutions at federal, state, local, and even rural levels.

It encourages the growth of secondary mortgage institutions to meet the housing needs of Nigerians. The Federal Mortgage Bank of Nigeria gives licensing authority for secondary mortgage institutions in Nigeria.

From time to time, the bank also introduces different innovative mortgage-related programs and products to achieve its mandates. The main goal of the FMBN is to advance home-ownership among every Nigerian by creating mortgage markets with a sustainable financing system.

Loans are directly accessed by Nigerian citizens through the National Housing Fund in accordance with the provisions of the NHF Act. The NHF is also to service the non-salaried informal populace.

On the other hand, NMRC as a secondary mortgage refinancing institution will inject liquidity from the capital market to support mortgage loans accessed through respective financial institutions.

NMRC refinances portfolios of mortgage & commercial banks rather than originating individual mortgages and will cater for financial institutions rather than individual borrowers.

The institution also helps to bring down the cost of mortgage loan by improving market efficiency, lowering cost of funds and allowing for longer repayment tenor period by financial institutions. NMRC as an intervention medium encourages access to mortgage loans from financial institutions at currently approximately 2.5% above where the Federal Government borrows.

Lower income households will benefit from direct jobs created by the construction of new housing units and services required to build a home and deliver it to the final customer.

While, Family Homes Funds will leverage its capital in facilitating access to affordable housing for millions of Nigerians on low to medium income groups. Through strategic partnerships with various players in the sector. The Fund also supports the development of a local content framework for inputs into the house building process, to ensure that up to 80 per cent of manufactured inputs are locally produced.

However, leveraging its capital to support the supply of new homes for families on low to medium income is only a means to an end. The key priority for the Fund is to take advantage of the opportunity a large scale house building programme offers to create jobs which are sustainable and offer families security, improved quality of life and hope.

It is clear that the potential in CEOs of government owned housing finance institutions working together is huge, and it has never been more important for these organisations to be close partners, because much more can be achieved collectively than with a single player.

Heads’ of housing finance institutions must build strong partnerships to maximise this opportunity, unnecessary tensions amongst what should be very strong partners must be eliminated. Instead bridges must be built, and they must work together to provide the safe, decent and affordable housing that Nigerians need.

People must be at the heart of why there must be synergy among these institutions to increase and improve their capacity to provide many more truly affordable homes.

Homelessness in our country is unacceptable, so housing finance institutions need to embrace and appreciate each other’s differences and move forward to deliver stronger, more innovative housing solutions together, by doing this they can make the most of their partnership and start to make a real impact on the well-being of Nigerians.

Source: Affa Dickson Acho

What to consider when leasing a property

When leasing a property it is always advantageous to approach the issue in a structured way. There are different items that you need to consider, depending on whether or not it is a commercial property. The initial terms in most leases of commercial properties range from three to five years.

While this gives you security, regarding the term of the lease, it also means that if you enter into a bad agreement or lease the wrong property, you might find it difficult to get out of the transaction for some years. It is advisable to consider the lease before you sign.

It is important you ensure that you are dealing with the right person who has the authority to make the lease.

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If it is a sublease, it might be prudent to request for a copy of the initial lease to be sure that the person leasing has the right to do so and you are not paying for more than the term remaining on the lease.

While this might seem basic, many have been burnt by failing to consider this in the light of the general rule that a person cannot give what he or she does not have the authority to give.

Once you have the assurance that you are dealing with the right person, you can proceed to schedule an inspection of the property. Real estate agents and valuers manage many commercial properties, which makes it more assuring to engage them as professionals who have a brand name to protect. During your preliminary inspection, you should take note of critical issues such as parking, water, garbage collection, general security of the building, among others.

While carrying out the inspection, make sure that you ask about the person responsible for the repairs of damaged parts of the property. Most property leases are done on a “as it is” basis, but if you specifically point out property damages and other concerns, you are likely to receive the assurances of the landlord to repair such damages. This is also a good time for you to confirm if you could alter the property to your taste and the process for securing the property owner’s approval. Depending on the nature of the repairs, you might be able to get a rent discount for a certain period.

During your period of inspecting the property, do take out time to look beyond the building into its environment. Ask the agent or owner for details on the general attitude of the neighbours and the neighbourhood. Is it a neat and decent environment that will attract quality people to your business? The garbage collection practices of that area should be looked upon. Are there smell or noise challenges? Does the building have adequate parking onsite and around it? Are you comfortable with the nature of businesses in the area? Sources of unusual noise or smell should be discreetly investigated.

In some instances, some properties cannot be altered without government approval. You must be very careful in assuming that because a property is in an area that is turning commercial that all the properties there were approved for commercial usage. If the property is zoned for residential purposes, it might pose a problem if you intend to change the use to commercial. In most places, the change of use process is time consuming and costly. This could lead to cost overruns and delays in construction timeline.

In addition to the above issues, you should read the lease carefully or better still, get a legal practitioner to read the lease agreement. There are a couple of tripping points in some lease agreements that an observant reader should be cautious. Be sure that the commencement date reflects the period that you are in possession of the property, and not the period when the owner is still carrying out renovations and repairs. If your lease commences before you gain full access or use of the property, you are losing money because you have paid for an unused term.

It is noteworthy that the right to sublet is not automatic. It should be clearly spelt out in the agreement. After the expiration of the initial term, there should be an option for you to renew the agreement and it is possible to lock in a fixed rental increase. If the option to renew is absent and the other party refuses to incorporate it, this might be a huge risk that you are taking by proceeding to renovate and refurbish the property. Furthermore, an arbitration clause should be included to enable the parties, in case of any dispute that might arise, to resolve as soon as possible.

Source: Abiodun Doherty

Judge declares Lagos property state’s most litigated

Justice Harrison has identified the twin three-storey buildings on Palm Avenue, Mushin directly opposite the Mushin Local Government Council Secretariat, containing 14 flats, a warehouse, offices and shops as the most litigated property in Lagos State.

Justice Harrison is about the 24th judge that is sitting on the case which is already on its way again to the Court of Appeal, having gonup to the Supreme Court and back.

Daily Trust investigation shows that no fewer than 24 justices and judges have so far sat on the case which was instituted in 1976 with suit No. ID/331/ 76 at the Lagos High Court, Ikeja.

A breakdown of the figure shows that apart from the 10 high court judges that sat on the matter, six justices of the Court of Appeal, Lagos Division and seven justices of the Supreme Court finally decided the case as far back as April 16, 1996 which allowed the appeal filed by the owner of the property – late Frederick Oluyole Bamgboye.

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The judgment debtor – Abeke Olusoga (deceased) – purchased the land from the Isiba family while the judgment creditor – late Fredrick Oluyole Bamgboye purchased it from the Alago-Asalu family. The Supreme Court held that the judgment creditor had always been in possession of the land since the 1950s.

The Supreme Court in its judgment prohibited both the judgment debtor and its privies – the Isiba family – from further trespass on the land. The judgment debtor however claims to have handed over the land to the Isiba family after the SC final judgment.

Justices of the apex court that sat on the panel that finally delivered the unanimous verdict include Muhammad Lawal Uwais, Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN) as he then was, Salihu Modibbo Alfa Belgore, (former CJN), Michael Ekundayo Ogundare (JSC), Uthman Mohammad (JSC), Sylvester Umaru Onu (JSC), Yekini Olayiwola Adio (JSC) and Anthony Ikechukwu Iguh (JSC).

After the apex court’s 1996 decision was executed in 2003, the judgment debtor went back with the aid of thugs and policemen led by one Adetunji Adebimpe and took possession of the property. The judgment creditor again went back to court and got order for possession, (based on the subsisting apex court judgment) which was again executed on March 6, 2015.

The court sheriff spray-painted the court order number and date of eviction on various parts of the building. Which reads: “ID/331/76 POSSESSION TAKEN TODAY 23/06/15 BY COURT ORDER.

Based on this development, the Isiba family sued the judgment creditors – Bamgboye family before the Lagos High Court in a bid to re-litigate the case, but Justice Adefowope-Okojie now of the Court of Appeal re-affirmed the apex court verdict and threw out the case because it had been finally settled by the SC and ordered Isiba to pay N100, 000.

The case however took a dramatic turn when a Lagos based lawyer – Mr. Aina Chanbang was said to have concealed the names of the judgment creditors so as to grab the property.

The lawyer- the Olu of Agege, Oba Kamali Oyedeji Isiba, his brother Tubosun Isiba and one Ligali Isiba, had approached the court through their lawyer, Mr. Ania Callastus Chanbang and concealed the true names of the persons they were suing (as persons unknown) even though they knew the true identity of the property owners.

Justice Harrison ruled in a 16-page judgment, delivered on Monday 15, January this year that “The Court agrees that this amounts to fraudulent concealment”.

Harrison, who had earlier given the monarch possession of the property, having discovered that the monarch and his lawyer fraudulently concealed the true names in their bid to obtain the court order, made a U-turn and wasted no time before setting aside her earlier judgment.

“The said order shall be set aside conditionally and rent shall be collected by official receiver of the High Court of Lagos State pending the final determination of the suit”, Justice Harrison said.

The court mentioned that this is the third time the monarch and members of his family attempted to grab the land since 1996 when the Supreme Court delivered final judgment on the property and on each occasion, it took the order of court to sack the monarch from the property.

The Isibas, it was gathered have lost several cases in the Lagos High Court in the past over the same property, which judgments they refused to respect until they finally took over the property recently with a default judgment obtained against “persons unknown” while judgment in the subject matter of the case was still pending before Justice Cyril Nwapa, another Lagos State High Court judge.

Source: Nurudeen Oyewole

Town planning schools:The challenge of planning African Cities

In this article, Professors Vanessa Watson and Babatunde Agbola discuss a paradigm shift occurring in Nigerian Planning Schools: from the American and European planning theories that have so far been applied in Nigeria to new theories more suited to dealing with the unique challenges presented by African cities.

According to Watson and Agbola (2013) in their book ‘Who will Plan African Cities’, “Planning is the single most important tool that governments have at their disposal for managing rapid urban population growth and expansion and Nigeria would seem to have an abundance of this tool to affect and effect the desired changes in the Nigerian urban space”.

Today in Nigeria, ,there are 49 Planning Schools, 31 of which are in Polytechnics and Colleges of Technology, while Urban and Regional Planning are taught in 18 Universities spread unevenly across the Nigerian geographic space. This is the largest assembly of planning schools on the African continent. The most poignant question, however, is how these number of planning schools has and their products impact the morphology of Nigerian cities or the livelihood of its citizens?

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That these number of planning schools and their products have not positively or evidently affected the morphology of Nigerian towns and cities may be traced to three factors: either the curricula of the planning schools are faulty or; the products of these schools have no leverage to practice what they learnt; or both.  In the view of Watson and Agbola (2013), it is more of a faulty curricula which feeds wrong professional practice which seeks to produce Euro-American cities on the African continent

Most planning educators in Nigeria,are products of top rate schools in the global north of Europe and America, including this writer. The received knowledge by these educators are mostly in contradistinction to the needs, aspirations and indeed, realities of African cities. The result is the transplanting of America and Europe knowledge of city plan to Nigeria . Yet, the form, functions and processes of these Africa cities are uncommonly different. Many of the attending problems of Nigerian cities are not the contending issues in the global north. No wonder Nigerian cities remain undeveloped but growing and its major problems remain unsolved.

This need has been accentuated by the Association of African Planning Schools (AAPS) beginning in 2008 when a major conference on evolving a new curricula by African Planning Schools was held. At that conference, thoughts of African Planning educators were distilled and five major themes that should be entrenched in all African Planning Schools curricula were identified as:

  • Informality
  • Access to land
  • Climate change
  • Collaboration between planners, communities, civil society and other interested parties
  • Mismatch between spatial planning and infrastructure planning

In addition to this effort and confronted by daring challenges of urban development in Nigeria, the Nigerian Institute of Town Planners (NITP), and the Town Planners Registration Council (TOPREC), have encouraged Planning Schools to come up with revised curricula to take into consideration topical issues of practical relevance to the lives of Nigerians. Taking the lead, for example, the TOPREC Mandatory Compulsory Development Programme (MCDP) 2013, an annual mandatory seminar series for planners nationwide was based on Climate Change with a message that all planning schools should include these in their curriculum.

These curricula changes to include all the five identified issues are being pursued with dedicated seriousness by TOPREC as they go on periodic accreditation and any planning school that do not have issues of common and practical relevance are refused re-certification.

The required change is very challenging but with collective determination of the planning schools and the unrelenting enforcement by the statutorily supervising bodies, the battle for a more realistic curricula for Nigeria’s planning schools can be evolved and implemented.

With this, the urban form and landscape of Nigerian cities can be more inclusive, growing with development with the possibility of having decidedly Nigerian cities with which the city residents can relate and be proud of as their own cities.

 SOURCE: Future Cape Town

NMRC:Bridging The Housing Deficit Gap Through Mortgage Refinancing

The Nigerian Mortgage Refinance Company (NMRC),was set up to bridge the funding gap of residential mortgages and promote availability and affordability of good housing to working Nigerians, and  to provide mortgage lending banks with increased access to liquidity and longer term funds in the mortgage market. Incorporated on 24th of June, 2013, the company is an integral part of the country’s financial system, with special focus on housing finance and, or the mortgage system.

NMRC is driven by substantial private sector participation consisting of commercial banks, primary mortgage banks, insurance companies, private equity investors, and implemented as a component of the Nigeria Housing Finance Programme, an initiative of the Federal Ministry of Finance in collaboration with the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), the Federal Ministry of Power, Works and Housing, and the World Bank/International Finance Corporation (IFC).

The company has the mandate to resolve access to affordable housing finance and, more importantly, as a focal point for creating an enabling environment for housing finance by playing a strong developmental role in supporting the improvement of land, legal framework,  housing development and construction.

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Thus, it is the hope for low-income earners, who cannot afford the cost of a mortgage loan. The introduction of NMRC has reduced the cost of mortgage loan by improving market efficiency, lowering cost of funds and allowing for longer repayment tenor period by financial institutions.

This initiative is for the benefit of all Nigerians in the long term, average Nigerians with sustainable and verifiable level of income can access mortgage loans easier and faster from participating mortgage lenders.

These institutions will be better equipped to provide long term loans having refinance from NMRC. It will enable developers to build homes faster and allow these homes to be purchased at an affordable cost.At inception, the World Bank approved a concessional $300 million, International Development Association (IDA) loan to facilitate the execution of the Housing Finance Programme.

About $250 million of the IDA loan will be disbursed in installments to NMRC as Tier 2 Capital based on key performance indicators–it will be retained on NMRC’s balance sheet to provide credit support for NMRC’s bond issuances.

The balance of $50 million will be allocated to other components of the Housing Finance Programme. NMRC has 18 pilot States, these include: Abia, Anambra, Bauchi, Bayelsa, Delta, Edo, Ekiti, Enugu, Gombe, Kaduna, Kano, Kwara, Lagos, Nasarawa, Ogun, Ondo and the FCT.

The Lagos State government has led the way by signing a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with NMRC to deliver 20,000 houses, under the State’s Lagos Affordable Public Housing (L.A.P.H.) initiative, to help bridge the housing gap in the State.

The MoU will avail residents of the State the housing affordability and accessibility that NMRC provides through the refinancing of long-term mortgages.The partnership with NMRC also includes Ibile Holdings Limited, the state’s investment company as well as some developers engaged by the state through direct and Joint Venture Initiative to deliver 20,000 housing units by the end of 2018.

At the signing of the MoU, the Lagos state Commissioner for Housing, Prince Gbolahan Lawal, revealed that the Ministry is working on various modalities to ensure accessibility of the citizenry to these housing units.

By creating an enabling environment for mortgage finance, State Governments will be able to attract NMRC to refinance mortgage loans created in these states. This will in turn improve the economy of these states by increasing employment/labour and housing production by stimulating housing construction and manufacturing of building materials in such states.

The opportunity presented by the housing market can be exploited if all Government agencies (State and Federal) and Private Sector (Financial Institutions and Construction Companies, etc.) act responsibly. What this means is that households wishing to either, develop their existing home, or acquire a home of their own, must know that they have easy and fair access to a certificate of occupancy without any doubt.

Land registries in the States must provide access to these rights at a low cost and within a few months rather within a few years, as is often the case. Mortgage Institutions have to provide transparent product offerings, with standardized documentation, so that consumers can make self-assessments and develop realistic savings plans towards financing their homes.

Construction companies, artisans, suppliers of building materials, have to start building homes of real value and not of speculative value. This means that the quality and cost of homes should be easy to assess without large costs to the borrower.

As part of its contributions to the housing sector,NMRC is also ensuring the availability of data to drive housing development and sustainable lending through the introduction of its housing information portal and mortgage market system. The systems have been developed and is in use by mortgage lending institutions to drive improved access to lending and property as an ecosystem.

SOURCE: Affa Dickson Acho

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