Lagos Denies Demolition Notice on Abraham Adesanya Estate

The Lagos State government yesterday debunked news circulating on the social media that it had earmarked the Abraham Adesanya housing estate located in Ajah for demolition and rebuilding into a luxurious estate. Government also denied reallocating new houses to former landlords in the estate at a new location.

In a letter signed by the permanent secretary, Lagos ministry of housing, Mrs. Olayinka Patunola-Ajayi, and addressed to the facility manager of the estate, the ministry said government is “proposing nothing like that” and urged all homeowners/resident of the estate to disregard the information.

The letter reads: “I am directed to discredit the fake news and let you know that the ministry is proposing nothing like that and that all home owners/residents are advised to disregard this information. You are by this letter, requested to allay the fears of homeowners/residents and stakeholders”.

Also debunking the news, the Public Relations Officer of the Lagos State Building Control Agency (LASBCA), Titilayo Ajirotutu, who spoke with The Guardian on telephone, said there was no plan to demolish the estate.

Abraham Adesanya Estate is the property of the Lagos State government leased to occupants. It is a middle-class residential estate where all houses are strictly commercial.

According to investigation, following the purported news emanating from social media users some days ago alleging of plans by government to demolish the estate, some landlords had begun processes to sell off their buildings at cheap prices.

Similar eviction notice scare also became public four years ago, which made many of the residents to panic.

Victor Gbonegun

German Dorms are so Pricey, Students are Building their Own

Since 2010, rents in the university town have increased by almost a quarter

In a bid to boost supply to ease the national housing crisis, German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s government has pledged to build 1.5 million new flats nationwide before the end of her fourth term in office in 2021.

Faced with sky-rocketing rents in the southwestern city, one group of 25 university students has taken matters into their own hands and decided to build their own student dorms: Collegium Academicum.

“We want to create affordable living space, where students can live together and learn together,” 22-year-old psychology student and member of the dormitory project Ina Kuhn told BBC Capital.

Rents at Collegium Academicum will average at 300 euros ($338) per month, with the hope of dropping even lower in the future, once the bank loan has been paid off.

A draw for international students

Founded in 1386, Heidelberg University is Germany’s most ancient university and ranked among the top three in the country and 47th in the world – attracting increasing numbers every year. Currently, some 39,000 of the city’s 160,000 citizens are students.

Its picturesque, toy-town landscape is also proving a lure for foreigners. According to the city’s administration, most of Heidelberg’s newest arrivals in recent years came from China, Italy, Romania, India and Poland – often aged between 18 and 30.

Compared to university students in the US and the UK, however, German students have a significant financial advantage. In 2014, all 16 German states abolished university tuition fees for undergraduate students, meaning both domestic and international undergraduates at public universities in Germany can study for free. Most students pay a small fee per semester to cover their administration costs.

More demand than supply

The winter semester is particularly difficult for students searching for housing though, says Studierendenwerk, Heidelberg’s university student services, which provides advice and limited accommodation in purpose-built dormitories.

“At that time, there are often more students trying to find a place to live than there is accommodation – especially affordable accommodation,” says Tanja Modrow, head of Studierendenwerk Heidelberg.

Therefore, many students either have to live farther out of town, or deal with the higher living costs. Heidelberg’s “green” appeal has also seen more graduates staying in the university town to start their careers and families, putting further strain on housing supply. In the state of Baden-Württemberg, where Heidelberg lies, Germany’s environmentalist Green Party is currently topping opinion polls with 32%.

Sustainable housing

On the land of the former US military hospital, purchased from the city, the 25 students behind Collegium Academicum hope to ease the demand for Heidelberg by providing space for 226 dorms in 46 shared apartments.

Sustainability is also a key goal of the project. The land itself was purchased from the city. Fitted with triple-glazed windows and built entirely out of wood, Collegium Academicum will be the biggest building in Germany without metal supports. An onsite workshop will also allow tenants to carry out small repairs. But with a hefty price tag of 16 million euros ($18 million), the sustainable project doesn’t come cheap.

Most of the money has been provided by means of a bank loan, grants from the state and Germany’s credit institute for redevelopment. But 2 million euros of the total cost was needed in equity capital to get the project off the ground.

“This was the building block of the project,” says Kuhn adding that six years of seeking out donations and support was no easy feat. Much of the financial support came from local individuals.

“We were also often at the weekly market in Heidelberg with our information stand, to seek out support from people who are interested in sustainable projects,” she says.

The rising tide of ‘Wohnungsnot’

Heidelberg students aren’t alone in their struggle to find affordable housing in Germany. The German Economic Institute’s latest price index shows that rent prices for students in German university towns have risen from between 9.9% and 67.3% since 2010. In April, thousands of people took to the streets of Berlin to demand more action from the government. The German capital of Berlin, which has become one of the world’s fastest-growing real estate markets, will soon hold a referendum on mass expropriation of property by the city.

Students under pressure worldwide

Housing shortages and unaffordable rents are an all-too-familiar problem for students in other university towns.

In Hobart on the island state of Tasmania in Australia, the University of Tasmania recently purchased a three-star hotel in a bid to help students who have found themselves struggling to find affordable living space. A growing number of tourists and the expansion of Airbnb have reportedly played a significant role in the city’s housing shortage.

Meanwhile, on the US West Coast, at the University of California, Berkeley, a new programme is pairing graduate students with retirees who have an extra room. In return for place to call home, students provide pensioners with social interaction, help around the house, as well as a monthly rent of less than $1,000 – less than a third of the average prices for apartments around Berkeley.

Back in Heidelberg, construction is due to begin within the coming weeks, with the first tenants hoping to move in by the beginning of 2021.

Applicants to the dormitories will go through a so-called casting process, as is the norm across most student house shares in Germany, known colloquially as “WGs”.

“We want a mix of ideas and backgrounds,” says Kuhn. “We want people from different fields of study and different political ideas.”

By the time the building and the renovations are finished, many of the founders of Collegium Academicum will have graduated.

“This is a project made to last,” Kuhn adds. “This is about building for the future and making sure that other students have affordable housing too.”

Kate Brady

National grid suffers 6 system collapses in 4months

The national grid has suffered six system collapses in the first four months of the year, implying more setbacks for the nation’s power sector, in spite of ample investment by the Federal Government through the Transmission Company of Nigeria, TCN, to stabilise the grid.

This development undermined distribution of electricity to Nigerian households, resulting to intermittent darkness. Electricity System collapse is witnessed when a system disturbance occurs with the grid not being able to withstand the disturbance, which usually leads to a blackout or abnormally low voltage in a significant part of the power system.

A report obtained by Vanguard from the Ministry of Power, Works and Housing, PWH, shows that total collapse occurred five times in January, while one partial collapse was witnessed in April. The report also showed that seven Generating Companies, GENCOs in the country are yet to generate any megawatt to the national grid.

The seven GENCOs include Alaoji NIPP, Afam IV-V, Ibom, ASCO, A.E.S, Trans Amadi, Egbin ST6. A source who spoke on condition of anonymity told Vanguard that the major reason why the GENCOs were not able to generate electricity to the grid was as a result of non-availability of gas due to accumulated debts.

Furthermore, a report obtained from the office of the Vice President, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo, shows that, an estimated amount of N161 billion was lost to an insufficient gas supply, distribution, transmission and water reserves from January to April 15, 2019. Commenting, Chief Executive Officer, All-On, a renewable energy company, Mr. Wiebe Boer blamed this development on bad-grid investment decisions in the power sector value chain. He said:

“There are enormous bad-grid investment opportunities in high-density low-income urban areas in Nigeria. This is not just a deeply rural play. “Nigeria is coming from over four decades of underinvestment in the power sector, resulting in 120 million Nigerians in either a no-grid or bad-grid situation.

“This is more people than the entire population of the next largest African country and almost the population of all of the rest of West Africa. The energy gap serves as the foundation for a lot of the challenges the nation faces; health, education, insecurity, unemployment, environmental pollution, amongst others.

“We have an installed capacity of approximately 10,000 megawatts, MW and a distributed capacity of just over 4,000MW on a good day; to serve a population of about 198 million persons in 2019, despite numerous projections to increase capacity over the years that have not materialized. “This is not acceptable.

We cannot continue to be the nation of perpetual darkness. We cannot continue to normalize this and just accept that in Nigeria power will always be a problem – and the national excuse for why we haven’t achieved what we should have as a nation.

“We need to make sure that the on-grid and off-grid section of the power chain do not drift apart so wide that they cannot seek common ground. The power gap is too massive for either one to solve, and we are better off through collaboration”.

Source: By Prince Okafor

Obiano’s Aide Appeals to Communities to Protect Government’s Property 

Chief Ambrose Egwuonwu, Senior Special Assistant on Community Liaison to Anambra Governor, Chief Willie Obiano, has appealed to communities to protect government facilities located in their areas. Chief Willie Obiano Egwuonwu made the appeal on Wednesday in Awka, in an interview with newsmen.

He said community leaders and relevant government authorities’ in-charge of such facilities should be more effective in enlightening the people on how to safeguard public facilities.

Minister reiterates commitment to develop Niger Delta region He decried the high rate of destruction of public facilities across the state, adding that government was not happy with the development.

“I am surprised that people will take pleasure in destroying what was  provided with  their  own money  for the benefit of the common people , am amazed at such action,’’ he said. Egwuonwu urged the residents to take full ownership of all public facilities in their communities and not to relent in sensitizing people with lesser understanding of the need to protect public facility around them.

He appealed to the community leaders in all the 179 communities of the state to join in the fight against vandalism of public facilities. Atiku Campaign angry over Obiano’s memo to Anambra workers Egwuonwu said that Obiano has implemented important programmes for the people and provided amenities, stressing that the facilities should be protected and not vandalized.

He called on the youths to embrace the agricultural programmes of the Obiano`s administration to ensure food security in addition to being self-reliant.

VANGUARDNG

Land Management: Nigeria, Others To Benefit From $8m Forest Protection Scheme

Nigeria and 14 other Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) members are to benefit from an $8 million five-year forest protection project, courtesy of the Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations (FAO).

The global body, which made the announcement last week in Abuja said that three agencies – the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (Sida), FAO and ECOWAS – had joined forces to protect West Africa’s forests to help safeguard the livelihoods of millions of people, depending on them.

Other ECOWAS countries to benefit from this largesse Togo, Burkina Faso, Niger, Mali, Sierra Leone, Ghana among others.

The programme, coming under support initiative piloted by Sida, FAO and ECOWAS, would also address trans-boundary forest threats to maximise the livelihoods of forest-dependent communities.

Also, the programme is aimed at strengthening sustainable forest and land management.

According to a document, which was reviewed by the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Abuja, Tiina Vahanen, FAO’s Chief of Forestry Policy and Resources Division, said the project would be key to the rolling out of the ECOWAS-led Convergence Plan for the Sustainable Management and Use of Forest Ecosystems in West Africa.

“The ECOWAS-led Convergence Plan was adopted in 2013 by ECOWAS. It seeks to mobilise support to address trans-boundary forest issues across the 15 member states.

He described the project as a concrete step towards improving the forest management in the region that would build on the momentum created in recent years to safeguard West Africa’s forests.

Mr Ulla Andrén, Sida’s Head of Regional Development Cooperation in sub-Saharan Africa, said the project to be implemented by ECOWAS would be financed by Sida with over $8 million while the FAO would give technical support.

He described the project as not only important for the people and governments of the region but also crucial for the global effort to stop climate change and loss of bio-diversity.

Andrén expressed the pleasure of his organisation to be partners with ECOWAS and FAO on trans-boundary forest management in West Africa.

Johnson Boanuh, ECOWAS Commission’s Environment Director, noted that West Africa’s forests and wetlands were an important source of livelihood for millions of people.

He pointed out that about 72 million hectares were under threat.

According to him, the forests and wetlands are also home to a wide range of vulnerable endemic animal species and more than 200 plant species.

“They are exceedingly affected by deforestation and degradation caused by various drivers, including unsustainable agricultural expansion and illegal logging.

“These are often exacerbated by trans-boundary issues such as trade between regions or within a region, which require strengthened forest governance and capacity at a regional level.

“The loss of forest cover in West Africa was four times higher between 1990 to 2015 than at the global level,’’ he said.

The ECOWAS director said the project would develop a regional knowledge portal to improve access to data and share information on best forest management practices.

“It will also provide legal recommendations and guidelines on forest management, support community groups to implement sustainable forest and land management and build global capacity.

“The project will also support the implementation of other national and international commitments of West African countries, such as the Nationally Determined Contributions under the Paris Climate Agreement and Sustainable Development Goals,’’ he said.

INDEPENDENTNG

FG Advised by Experts to Execute Workable Housing Policies

Operators in the Nigerian real estate development industry, say that there is a need to look at the sources of financing construction of housing to make life meaningful for Nigerians and also make housing affordable for all.

Director of Locke Homes Properties Ltd, Idowu Bakare, stated this on Tuesday while presenting the key to a 3-bedroom flat at the Gold Estate, Ayobo Ipaja, Lagos to Miss Chioma joy Oruh who emerged winner in the Win-A-Home-Today lottery organized organised by the Home Lottery Limited in conjunction with Locke Homes and MTN.

He said the lack of affordable mortgage availability has been a big problem confronting an affordable housing scheme in the country. “People haven’t been able to afford the deposits required to secure a mortgage and, put simply, if people can’t buy, builders can’t build.

“That there’s a need for more affordable housing in Nigeria is beyond question. The government needs to ensure new schemes are implemented swiftly and effectively so that as many developers as possible are up and running with them at the earliest opportunity,” he said.

Also speaking at the presentation, Oladayo Oyelaja, who is the lead advocate for Home Lottery Ltd, operators of ‘Win A Home Today’ Lottery, said the company is determined to give out more houses through the lottery scheme which is going to be a monthly affair.

According to him, the initiative is strategically designed to advance and complement the government’s target of achieving housing for all citizenry. He said winners are expected every month and everybody can be part of the exercise by just texting “Home’ to 718 on their MTN line when they have over N250 credit.

He said the procedure for picking eventual winners is strictly monitored to ensure that the process is not manipulated. Speaking further, Oyelaja said regulatory agencies like the Consumer Protection Council, Lagos state lottery board and as well as other independent bodies are involved during the draws to pick winners.

Expressing her joy, winner of the new 3-bedroom flat, Chioma Joy Oruh, an accountant, said she couldn’t believe her hears when she got the message that she had won.

“It’s still like a dream. I played the lottery last year. Right now, I’m speechless but I’m happy and I want every other person out there to also play and benefit from this one in a lifetime opportunity.”

She emerged winner after the first set of draws was supervised by officials of the National Lottery Regulatory Commission (NLRC), CPC and several other independent professional bodies.

Guadianng

Breaking: FCTA Demolishes Buildings in DAAR Communications Premises

Some structures within the premises of Daar Communications have been demolished, following a directive from FCT administration.

The organisation’s TV station, AIT, beamed it live from the scenes of demolition.

The land dispute between the authorities of the Federal Capital Territory Administration (FCTA) and DAAR Communications Plc, owners of Africa Independent Television (AIT) and Raypower has lingered despite promises by the two parties to resolve the issue amicably.

daar communications

It would be recalled that the two warring parties had on November 2018 resolved to tow the path of peaceful resolution of issues surrounding a portion of land occupied by DAAR Communications Plc.

READ MORE: REAL ESTATE SECTOR GROWTH EXCITES INVESTORS

During the November 2018 reconciliatory meeting, the duo had mutually agreed to reach an out-of-court settlement that would bring about permanent solution and forge ahead with the development of the FCT and the nation.

During the meeting, the Chief of Staff to the FCT Minister, Bashir Mai-Borno, who led the FCTA team, harped on the necessity for not complicating simple issues, while assuring that the current administration would solve the matter amicably, satisfying all the parties involved.

Mai-Borno said while pointing to the problem areas on a satellite image map, exhibited an in-depth knowledge of the situation, and effectively explained the knotty issues about the landed property to High Chief Raymond Dokpesi, owner of DAAR Group and his team.

daar communications

He, however, directed an immediate on-the-spot investigation of the area and appealed for calm, promising that the FCT Minister, Malam Muhammad Musa Bello, would finally resolve the matter in a manner that all parties would be happy.

He added that the physical visit was necessary to determine the true position if claims and counter- claims by all parties, including complaints lodged by allottees that their plots had been subsumed by AIT, and that they do not have access to their land.

But the latest development has shown that the FCTA might not wait for settlement as buildings have already been demolished in the premises.

 

Singapore’s housing market most affordable of any major developed city in the world

Singapore’s housing market is likely one of the most affordable of any major developed city in the world, said a recent research by JLL. The report which said that Singapore’s housing market is leading the pack among the global housing market and added that there seems to be limited downside risk to investing in the Singapore residential market now, whether for owner occupation or long term investment.

The report highlighted that home prices have become unaffordable around the developed world as a consequence of excess liquidity and low cost of debt over the past 15 years or so and that home prices rose much faster than the increase in household incomes.

The greatest impact of this has been felt by our younger generations in gateway cities who find it increasingly difficult to afford to buy a home, it said. Adding, “this has contributed to unrest where the younger generation and those with lower incomes have taken a more socialist stance focusing on inequalities in society.”

 

“Governments around the world have recently responded to escalating home prices by introducing measures to reduce demand and curb price escalation. Home prices have started to fall in some markets but aligning home prices to incomes could take a number of years. In our view, it is likely that governments will keep in place the measures they have introduced for some time to come. Rising interest rates will also have a place to play in cooling price escalation as borrowing becomes more expensive.
“In addition to the need of governments to provide their citizens and residents with affordable housing , the memory of what triggered the GFC (Global Financial Crisis) is still fresh in the minds of policy makers who are looking to avoid the creation of another housing bubble.”

The report said that Singapore’s housing market largely stayed out of this conundrum because the policy makers acted by introducing measures to cool its housing market since 2010.

This policy stance, together with a very sound and successful affordable public housing policy, has made Singapore’s housing market likely one of the most affordable of any major developed city in the world, it added.

The Singapore government has since 2010, introduced a series of property curbs to cool Singapore’s housing market and to prevent cost of living from becoming too prohibitive for its citizens. Coupled with increasing supply and weaker sentiments, prices in Singapore’s housing market are likely to moderate or remain flat from this year going forward.

Another recent research pointed out that property prices in Singapore are still relatively affordable compared to those in top-ranked Hong Kong and our average price growth over 2018 is one of the lowest compared to the other 34 cities in this study.

Ms Regina Lim, Head of Capital Markets Research (SEA) for JLL, said: “Having a sound and comprehensive housing policy that supports affordable housing and responding early to house price escalations has helped Singapore house prices become probably the most affordable of any developed city when measured as a multiple of household income. In the light of this, we see little downside for owner occupiers and residential property investors in buying Singapore property.”

The JLL report said that investors in Singapore’s housing market should consider the following factors:

“• Stability and low volatility: We expect limited downside as prices in the Singapore residential market have not been allowed to escalate for the past decade and to the levels now seen in other major developed cities. Private residential median prices are affordable at about 5 years of median income. Price volatility in the last 10 years is low, compared to other gateway cities.

• Supply is moderating: While housing supply grew by 3-4% p.a. in the past five years, upcoming housing completions are lower, growing at less than 2% annually in 2019-2020. With less supply, a reduction in existing stock due to collective sales and growing demand as the employment market grows, we expect rents to trend up, helping to support price growth. In particular, upcoming supply in the prime districts is lower in 2019-2022, growing by less than 1% p.a.

• Stable returns expected: The government is likely to continue to manage prices to ensure they track income growth of 3-4% annually. While relatively modest, this is a stable return. In the last 20 years, both residential prices and household incomes have grown by 3-4% CAGR.

• Solid currency to be invested in: Singapore has highly competitive exportable goods and services and her foreign reserves are one of the highest in the world at over USD 52,000 per capita. As a result, the Singapore dollar has been resilient, appreciating against the US dollar by 20% over the last 15 years.

• For medium to longer term investors, total ownership costs are aligned with other cities: While total buyer stamp duties are high for foreign buyers at 24% of purchase price, holding and selling costs are competitive for foreign buyers who invest for the long term.”

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Source: By Ravi Philemon

More Investors Will be Attracted by Rise of Property Investments in Nigeria – Minister

The rise in property investments across the country is an expression of confidence by investors in Nigeria, the Minister of Industry, Trade and Investment, Okechukwu Enelamah, has said.

Enelamah, who disclosed this while speaking on the sidelines of the inauguration of Belanova Apartments and Suites in Abuja recently, also stated that the Federal Government would keep ensuring that it provided a conducive business environment for investors.

After inaugurating the facility, Enelamah noted that with respect to promoting domestic direct investment, the establishment of the outfit could be seen as part of his ministry’s programmes that encouraged investors to invest locally.

The minister said, “It is certainly a good example because as you know property investment is long term, particularly when you build something of this magnitude.

“And for such investment, it means that investors like Belanova are expressing faith and confidence in the country. It also means that they are part of the solution because such an investor will be committed to excellence, especially after building something of this magnitude.”

Enelamah stated that the government was aware of the significant contributions of private investors to the Nigerian economy and that government was ready to provide the needed support.

He said, “From the point of view of the government, it is important to us that investors like this are allowed to prosper and that whatever support they need from the government they get it.

“And I’m sure that in any way we can help, whether in the area of patronage or any other way, we will support, and basically making sure that our investors do not have any hassle in operating their business.”

The Managing Director, Belanova Apartments and Suites, Ugochukwu Ezeigwe, said the business outfit was established to meet the hospitality needs of clients in Abuja, as well as those who visit the Federal Capital Territory.

“As a wholly indigenous brand, the facilities and services at Belanova compares favourably with international brands. And so far, the feedback we’ve been getting has been very positive and encouraging,” Ezeigwe said.

Source: By Okechukwu Nnodim

London to Build Thousands of Council Homes from New Funding

The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, has announced a new £10 million fund for local authorities in the capital to help them deliver more council, social rented, and other genuinely affordable homes.

The fund will results in 11,000 new councils homes being built in London over the next four years under the £10 million Home Building Capacity Fund for local authorities to boost their planning and housing teams.

Khan said that over the last eight years, central Government cuts have seen council budgets for planning and development fall by 50% in London and this has held back housing growth, and particularly plans to build new council homes.

The money will help councils to deliver the Mayor’s flagship Building Council Homes for Londoners’ programme, the first ever City Hall programme dedicated specifically to council home building.

Through this, the Mayor agreed plans last year worth more than £1 billion with 27 London boroughs to start building 11,000 new council homes at social rent levels by 2022.

Some 30 London local authorities will receive funding up to £650,000. This can be spent on building a new generation of council homes, including social rented and other genuinely affordable homes, on small sites.

The money can be used for proactive masterplans in areas with significant growth potential, and planning for optimal density across new residential developments in an area.

The successful bids include a project to increase pipeline of council owned land in Ealing, a new Housing Delivery Hub in Newham, and a joint bid between Barnet and Harrow to develop a town centre planning brief.

‘London’s local authorities have seen their budgets slashed year after year through Government cuts. This has hit their services across the board and has severely hampered their ambitions to build more affordable homes,’ Khan said.

‘This funding won’t reverse all those cuts but it will help councils boost their teams to go much further than they otherwise could. We are going as far as we can, and it is now imperative for the Government to give us significantly more investment and greater powers so we can build all the homes Londoners need,’ he added.

Enfield Council Leader Nesil Caliskan explained that his borough, in common with many other areas of London, has a chronic shortage of housing. ‘We are working to increase the supply of genuinely affordable high quality family homes for Enfield residents, help get young people on the housing ladder, and eradicate homelessness,’ he said.

‘This additional funding will help us deliver new homes in the areas where they are most needed and complement our existing house building schemes, our ambitious estate renewal plans and the provision of 10,000 new homes at our flagship Meridian Water development,’ he added.

The Home Building Capacity Fund works alongside other practical support that City Hall is providing to help councils build again, including the new council led Housing Forum, run by Future of London, to provide technical advice to practitioners involved in council led delivery of homes.

The Home Building Capacity Fund is funded through the Business Rates Retention Pilot that saw the capital retain 100 per cent of the increase in business rate receipts above the Government’s baseline during the financial year 2018/2019.

‘The key priority for this administration is to deliver 1,000 council homes at council rent by 2022,’ said Councillor Emina Ibrahim, Cabinet Member for Housing and Estate Renewal and Deputy Leader of Haringey Council.

‘Despite the housing crisis that is affecting thousands of people across London and the lack of funding that we receive from Central Government, we are doing everything we can to ensure our residents get the homes they deserve. With thousands of people on the waiting list, this funding will give us the capacity to support our housing delivery team and go a long way to helping us deliver these homes,’ she added.

Source: Propertywire

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