Buying, renting property: Take these nuggets

For most intending house owners, certain considerations often come to mind when deciding where to buy or build a property. Some build or buy a home for the family, while others buy houses for business purposes.

Whichever one you choose, there is a fundamental question on whether owning a home actually makes sense for your particular circumstances. Some people believe that paying rent is throwing money away, but there are many benefits in renting, particularly if you move around a lot.

Depending on whichever intention you have for buying a house, there are different features you will also expect to be in the house you want to build or you want to buy. Aside being for commercial purposes, those who buy residential houses consider also the number of rooms in the house.

Some young do not buy house with so many rooms else, it will be an indirect invitation to permanent visitors who will come and feel comfortable. Whenever a beginner buys a house with only two rooms, anyone coming to visit will not be very comfortable because the man and the wife at least will have one room and the children and the house help as the case may be, will manage the other room.

A visitor will have to manage with the children room and because he is not comfortable, he will not consider to stay long. Those who just beginning and goes into buying or building a four room flat need not complain when the visitors begin to swell and become a constant decimal.

The first thing you should do is create a list of everything you want in a house. Then go through that list and put a check mark beside the items that you need in a home. It’s really important to distinguish between wants and needs.  As soon as you announce that you’re looking to buy property, you can expect friends and family to come out of the woodwork with all their well-intentioned advice.

Remember that principles that may have been true in the past don’t necessarily continue to be so in the changeable property market. You should be aware that whenever you have a project, all your brothers, relations including your uncles will extend their proboscis either to know your pocket or to find any corner they can pick from you. If you are not available and hand over the project to your uncles, be sure they will increase the cost of every thing they buy to make gains out of them.

But the the always way out of the work in the event that you did not contract your job out is to ask your brother to give you the list of everything bought. This will make you understand whether the quantity specified in the list is more that what can contain in the project.

If you are buying the project, ask two or three agents or valuers to cost the property and give you the real worth. In this way even if you are cheated, the difference won’t be much meanwhile you will get the worth of your project.

Scheduling a property inspection as a part of minding due diligence should be an absolute must on any investor’s checklist. This is especially when you are buying an already developed property. An inspection can help you get an accurate estimate of any repairs you will want to make, as well as address any serious issues that were not detected at first glance.

The cost of repairs, as well as the length of time repairs will take may make or break your investment deal. Including an inspection clause into your purchase agreement can help protect you in the case that you need to back out.

Buying a rental property can be an exciting prospect for a multitude of reasons; it can bring in a solid revenue of income, it can help secure your retirement, it symbolizes a certain financial or investing milestone you have reached, and perhaps you have always wanted to try your hand at “landlording” You may be wondering what to know before buying a rental property, so that you may head into your investment with some advance knowledge. Below you will find an extensive guide to help answer any questions you may have, including some advice from the pros.

In the event of buying a new property, take the time to sniff out any issues with the property by asking agents around or developers and neighbours. By that, you will be sure you are buying a property that will not put you in trouble. Smell for mould, and animal-related odours. Knock on walls to see if they sound hollow.

Open the dryer and the dishwasher – you never know if pests are living in there. Does the toilet flush properly? Does the heating/air-conditioning work? Is the flue functioning above the fireplace? Is the water pressure okay?  Hire the most thorough, licensed home inspector you can find to pinpoint any issues that could potentially end up becoming costly repairs.

To avoid conflict, make sure your lawyer is not also representing the seller. Buying a rental property can be a good investment, even great, as long as you have a solid strategy in place.

This includes knowing what to look for when buying a rental property, as well as having the right mindset going into the investment. Moreover, it includes having a clear vision of your personal goals and finances, as well as understanding that buying a rental property should be treated like a business. You may have voiced to yourself “should I buy a rental property,” or perhaps with confidence, “I want to buy a rental property!” Regardless of what your current mindset might be, taking a carefully researched approach will help lead you to a good investment.

Another important factor you must consider is the taxes tagged on the property and the wage bills like NEPA bill, Water rate, tenement rate outstanding and area or community levies not paid by either the owner or the developer. At least, one must make his client know what bills are outstanding and then reach an agreement how to get such bills defrayed.

Most people run into trouble getting into a new house they bought with first considering these bills and how they are to be settled. Many green property owners fail to factor in an emergency fund when figuring out their rental property finances. If you have a major plumbing disaster, have a roof deteriorate, or have appliances break down, how will you pay for it? One would be naive to think that none of these unexpected costs will percolate from time to time.

Many landlords will put away a set percentage of the monthly operating income into an emergency fund to help cover for these often untimely, unexpected and expensive repairs. Before purchasing any type of investment property, oft-forgotten costs such as insurance and taxes should always be factored in.

Make sure to spend plenty of time, and know how much of your budget you would like to spend on an insurance premium, how much coverage you would like, and what type of coverage you would like. For example, what type of natural disasters are common in your market? If your rental property is located in an area commonly susceptible to, for example, tornadoes or sinkholes, you may want to consider a higher-cost insurance package that provides more coverage.

Source: SunNews

Rwanda: Featured – Property and Home Expo Opens in Kigali

About 20 exhibitors from different housing and real estate companies are exhibiting their products at the fifth annual Property and Home Show that opened at Kigali Conference and Exhibition Village’s Kigali Hall (Camp Kigali) on Wednesday March 20.

Themed ‘The Key To Your Home’, the four-day exhibition is organized by Property & Home Show in partnership with Rwanda Housing Authority and intends to bring together key players in the local housing and real estate sector including government agencies, developers, architects, real estate agents and investors, construction, finance and insurance companies, designers and home builders and the public to learn about property and how to invest in the sector.

While officially opening the exhibition on Wednesday, Eric Serubibi, the Director General of Rwanda Housing Authority (RHA), said the exhibition is key to proving the quality and competence local construction materials and interior items are made with while calling for more investment in the housing sector.

Rwanda Housing Authority Director General, Eric Serubibi (C), touring at the 5th Property and Home Show after officiating the expo on Wednesday. Courtesy.

“The expo can help much in mobilization of investors, developers, and producers of local construction materials to play a big role in the development of the local housing sector. Participation in this show will increase more investment opportunities in the housing sector and local construction material promotion. We have seen here [at the expo] good, locally made materials. This proves that we do not need to go and import such materials like interior designs from outside the country while we can find them in the local market,” Serubibi said.

Serubibi appealed to the private sector and other stakeholders to scale up their support to ensure efficiency and advance the capacity in development of the sector. “We always expect the private sector to get more involved in this sector because it is a sector of opportunities. The products exhibited at the expo are showing us, clients, that we do not need to go outside, and that we have something we need locally, at an affordable cost.Our target is that in the near future we have good and competent construction materials made in Rwanda at our disposal,” he added.

Jati Evora Biague said the expo was organized to give a platform to exhibitors from the real estate sector to showcase products that people tend to buy from abroad because they don’t know they are available in the local market.”People, therefore, need to come to the expo and buy locally made products at an affordable price and support the local market and their own local producers. I would like to invite them to come to the expo, visit us, see how project developers are doing an amazing job in offering affordable housing in Kigali and Rwanda, in general. They may also go to the banks, talk to them and see how they can advise people that they can have their own homes,” she added.The expo will end on Saturday March 23.

Amanda Wu, the Sales Manager of Phoenix Plaza, a real estate company investing in real estate project development in Kanombe said the expo is an opportunity to show the expo goers the best of their products at affordable prices.”We would like to show people in Rwanda that we have a beautiful building environment. There is high speed development in Kigali and you can see why we are interested in investing in Kigali and creating many opportunities for Rwandans. At this expo, we want to show them how we can build a high-end living housing unit at an affordable price,” she said.

Source: Allafrica

Enforcing Building Insurance

The recent collapse of a three-storey building in the Ita-Faji area of Lagos Island Local Government, in which many people including school children lost their lives calls for enforcement of the compulsory building insurance laws, which implementation has been lying low over the years.

Building insurance is one of the five compulsory insurances stipulated by insurance Act 2003, but has been far from implementation at both federal and state levels.

When THISDAY visited the collapsed building site, it was discovered that the building had no insurance cover and none of the dead or injured victims had any form of insurance.
Indeed, one of the land owners in the area told THISDAY that houses in the area have no insurance and that most landlords in the area have no knowledge of insurance.

During the visit, many people were wailing and relating to members of the media, their sufferings and hopeless conditions.
What was more worrisome was that some of the structures close to the collapsed building are also in deplorable conditions.

Clearly, the Ita- Faji situation was just one out of many cases of building collapses that have happened in Lagos and other parts of the country in recent times.
Barely three weeks ago, in Apo Mechanic village Abuja, a story building collapsed trapping six people and there was also another reported case in Ibadan, last week.

In addition, in recent times, fire outbreaks in markets have become more frequent.
Unfortunately, when these happen, with the exception of the Ita -Faji case where the Lagos State governor, Mr Akinwunmi Ambode, has promised to take care of the hospital bills of the victims, especially the school children, both the dead and surviving victims are often left to their fate.

For the dead victims, their dependents are often left without any form of compensation mainly because in most cases, owners of the building run away for fear of facing the wrath of the law.
Here in Nigeria, it is fast becoming the custom to expect government to take responsibility of certain things common knowledge should teach people to do to stay safe.

For instance, government, after the 2012 flood that rendered many people homeless, had mandated that people who built their houses near canals and other flood passages should remove such houses and look for safer places, but till date, people are still living in such areas and have not cared or planned for the unexpected.

Presently, people are still occupying houses with shaky foundations.
Section 65 of the Insurance Act requires the owner or occupier of every public building to be insured against liability for loss or damage to property or death or bodily injury caused by collapse, fire, earthquake, storm or flood.

The Act defines a public building as one to which members of the public have access for educational, recreational, medical and commercial purposes. The penalty for non-compliance is a maximum fine of N100,000 or one-year imprisonment or both.

Also, Section 64 of same Act, stipulates that for insurance of buildings under construction, every owner or contractor of any building under construction with more than two floors must take an insurance policy to cover liability against construction risks caused by his negligence or that of his servants, agents or consultants which may result in death, bodily injury or property damage to workers on site or members of the public.

This insurance policy also covers liability for collapse of buildings under construction. Failure to comply with this provision is an offence punishable with a fine of N250,000 or three years imprisonment or both.

Despite these laws, house owners and owners of building under construction care less about insuring their houses.
But insurers have stressed that this is not supposed to be as insurance firms are set up for the purpose of mitigating risks.

According to them, if Nigerians can take insurance covers especially the compulsory building insurance when there is collapse of this nature, insurance companies would be there to compensate the victims.

To the President, Chartered Insurance Institute of Nigeria (CIIN) and Managing Director Consolidated Hallmark Insurance Plc, Eddie Efekoha, insurers are now focusing on retail insurance that covers individual policies like building, life, motor insurances as the corporate insurance has been saturated and over marketed.

He urged insurers to look critically into retail insurance areas that take care for such policies, adding that there lies the future of insurance and safety of Nigerians and their assets.
Few years back when cases of building collapses became more frequent, some state governments started enacting their compulsory building insurance.

States such as Imo and Lagos states were at the fore front of this.
The Lagos state government had commenced the enforcement of compulsory building insurance on owners of buildings across the state. It had also established a safety institute where stakeholders in construction work can be trained and certified to prevent frequent cases of collapse buildings in the state.

The Director General of Lagos State Safety Commission, Hakeem Dickson, had said the state government would synergise with a consortium of insurance companies and the National Insurance Commission, (NAICOM) to achieve this.
He was of the view that if residents in Lagos embraced building insurance policy, it would save them from untold hardship, losses and the hopelessness associated with emergency situations.
He also stressed that insurance companies have the financial capabilities to compensate and pay claims to victims of disasters than government.

This decision by the state government then, was in line with long standing crusade by both the insurance industry regulator, NAICOM, the umbrella body of insurance underwriters, the Nigeria Insurers Association (NIA) and other stakeholders in the industry on enforcement of compulsory insurance nationwide.

They have for many years been agitating for implementation of sections 64 and 65 of the 2003 insurance Act.
Its enforcement waas been lying low until when NAICOM in collaboration with the industry operators kicked off campaign on the enforcement in the six geopolitical zones of the country.

The expectation was that by now, everybody would have embraced this policy and a significant number of buildings in Nigeria covered by the insurance policy.
NAICOM, precisely, in October 2017, had inaugurated a technical committee that would drive the enforcement of public building insurance in Nigeria.

The committee was made up of representatives of NAICOM, the Federal Fire Service (FFS), representatives of states fire service from the six geo-political zones and
the Nigeria Insurers Association (NIA).
Since then nothing has been heard about the work or achievement of the committee.

Attempt by THISDAY to find speak with the Deputy Commissioner for Insurance Technical, NAICOM, Mr Sunday Thomas, immediately the Ita- Faji building collapse occurred and the workings of the technical committee, proved abortive.
But what is certain is that NAICOM itself and the insurers are no longer at ease with the long delay by the lawmakers in amending the insurance Act 2003.

The 2003 insurance Act was enacted a year before the Pension Act 2004, but the Pension Act has been amended since 2014, while the Insurance Act 2003 before the lawmakers is still yet to be attended to.
A former Managing Director of Niger Insurance Mr. Kola Adedeji, had said inadequate and ineffective framework for the insurance industry are challenges that must be tackled.
According to him, insurance law makes provision for NAICOM as the regulator to enforce the insurance laws, but provides no means of enforcement.

In the case of compulsory building insurance, there is no separate enactment for compulsory insurance of public buildings.
He noted that this inadequate legal framework makes it completely difficult to enforce the provisions.

Pointing out its other pitfalls, Adedeji said: “The policy is meant to cover legal liabilities of either owner or occupier at what point in time does the occupier have legal liabilities or insurable interest in the building he or she is occupying?
“Despite these pitfalls, Lagos State government in 2017, took the bull by the horns to enforce the law by ensuring that owners of buildings in the state put in place insurance cover for the third party.”

While some said it is a good development, others said what Lagos residents need is solution to problem of building collapses not compensation.
They also feared that it would increase the cost of building in the state, which would in turn increase the already high cost of house rent in the state.

Insurance industry observers argued that using the insurance operators for enforcement would not yield much result because the insurers had often said they were handicapped in enforcing the policy because they find it difficult going into any standing building or building under construction and to ask for insurance policy paper.

The insurers have always wished the law enforcement agents would be assigned to act on their behalf.
But the NIA Chairman Mr Tope Smart had before now said Nigerians should learn to be safety conscious and to be sincere to themselves especially in things that affect their lives like the building insurance.
According to him, if a Nigerian can have money to erect five story buildings, the person was supposed to think about the safety of the workers.

When THISDAY contacted to comment on the Ita-Faji collapsed building, he declined to comment.
Industry analysts are of the opinion that prompt amendment of 2003 Act is the solution to the problem. They pointed out the N100,000 and N250,000 fine attached to violators of the compulsory building insurance should be reviewed.

Source: Ebere Nwoji

Building Collapse: At Least 80 Police Families Identified For Demolition In Lagos

Even the police community has not escaped incidents of building collapse.  More than eighty Nigerian police families are scheduled to lose their housing to demolition at the Ikeja highway police barracks.   Police say they are on the chopping block as a result of structural defects.

This might not have become so urgent if not for a building in the barracks that collapsed and killed two persons.

In another incident in the same barracks during the time of police commissioner, Fatai Owoseni, News Agency of Nigeria reports that a sergeant and a civilian lost their lives on Christmas day when a part of the bathroom in their unit in the barracks collapsed while they had their bath.

Owoseni ordered a demolition of the building at that time.

Maigari Dikko, Deputy Inspector-General of Police in charge of works says some of the occupants in the barracks had been instructed to vacate the defective buildings for a long time, but they are still there.

He said the force is looking at ways to rehabilitate all defective buildings in all barracks across the country to avoid a repeat of the collapsed barracks building.

Source: Nigerian News

Why buildings collapse in Nigeria

As other countries are challenging and breaking engineering boundaries, approaching a kilometer in height of buildings, piercing through the skies and going closer to the clouds, going deep down the sea and stretching several kilometers, digging deep underneath the earth, breaking through rocks and building mega structures with resilience and flexibility to withstand earthquake, Nigeria is still struggling to build robust one storey, two storey and three storey buildings that won’t collapse.

Buildings have collapsed, are collapsing, and are likely to continue collapsing in Nigeria. But the recent collapse of a three storey residential, business, and educational building all under one roof, on one foundation and housing some innocent school children points to our insensitivity and lack of willpower to face the problem head-on. Buildings collapse due to myriad of reasons from natural to manmade and in some cases, due to negligence.

To start with, our schools of Engineering are not preparing seasoned engineers. Our schools are only producing students that memorised what they can’t put into practice on site.

So many engineers out there can’t use design codes, interpret, and implement engineering drawings. Also, some engineers leave construction site at the mercy of artisans with less or no supervision. Like the average Nigerian, most engineers are corrupt.

Reducing quality and diverting and making excess money on site.

Clients, especially the general populace focuses on the money aspect of a building over quality. As a result, most people resist engaging professionals, solely supervising and handling every aspect of their projects. Contractors on the other hand are greedy.

To maximise profit, they cut all sort of corners. Consultants and government officials are compromised to look the other way. On one of my recent visit to a three storey primary school under construction, I was shocked to realise that the person supervising the project has no engineering background.

In fact, when I asked him about the mix ratio he uses on site, his answer was that he uses his eyes to determine whether the cement is sufficient enough for the concrete from the colour of the cement after combinining it with enough sand, gravel, and water

. In a nutshell, he is not adopting the design mix for the structure. But then, what else do you expect when the contractor is a friend to the governor?

Construction is capital intensive. and in Nigeria, being in charge of a construction site is synonymous to becoming rich. So, everyone wants to join and eat from the cake. That was how a metallugical engineer supervised the construction of a faculty of engineering office while I was an undergraduate. That building brought so much shame to the whole faculty of engineering. Not until it was recently demolished and a new one erected. Because most Nigerians don’t know the difference between architects and Engineers, most architects tend to override engineers and hijack their responsibilities on site. And in some cases, architects will insist on aesthetic over structural integrity.

Source: Yahaya Idris

These 2 cities are defying the property downturn

While the powerhouse capitals Melbourne and Sydney are continuing to suffer a property downturn, it’s not all bad news for the rest of the country – if you know where to look.

In fact, some areas that had been weaker during the property boom are now beating the rest in a major rebound, according to property adviser Anna Porter, principal of Suburbanite.

“There are markets throughout the country that are seeing sales going through quicker [and] there’s more buyer demand, and that usually leads to some level of price increase,” Porter told Your Money Live.

“So that’s a big bounce-back for markets that might have been really subdued over the last couple of years.”

Unfortunately for investors in Sydney and Melbourne, that growth story is mostly a tale of just two cities: Brisbane and Perth.

“They’ve entered that timing in the cycle where you’ve got a lot of affordability coupled with a number of economic drivers. It’s driving that growth back up again,” she explained.

Good news for Perth

It’s been a particularly difficult five years for Western Australia’s capital city, with the property market delivering consecutive negative growth year-on-year.

“Everyone in the country has heard that Perth has been through some tough times. It’s had not only the housing boom but the mining boom coming off,” she said.

The good news is that it appears to be going through a surprise rebound, with a number of areas delivering solid growth, according to Porter.

While the property downturn is slowing, she said other economic drivers are also starting to come into play, such as solid employment figures and population growth.

And according to Porter, there are five key Perth suburbs that investors should watch, having delivered high growth in the last 12 months:

  • South Perth: 13.7 per cent
  • Glen Forrest: 14.4 per cent
  • Subiaco: 10 per cent
  • Murdoch: Nine per cent
  • Osborne Park: 7.4 per cent

Slow times over for Brisbane

Despite a positive 2016 and 2017 for the Queensland city, last year saw Brisbane’s property market feeling the pinch.

With higher lending restrictions, Porter said investors had been starting to look toward less expensive locations in regional Queensland, pushing buyers out of the more expensive Brisbane.

“We are now seeing some of the better Brisbane suburbs really power through the past 12 months, even in a declining or flat environment, and there are certainly a few stand out suburbs that are emerging,” said Porter.

While not all areas of Brisbane are in the growth zones, key economic drivers are  painting a positive overall picture for the city in the long run.

“We’re seeing some great data coming out, not just in the growth but vacancy rates are going down, days on market are going down… We’re seeing the buyer demand increasing,” she noted.

According to Porter, the Brisbane suburbs delivering high growth in the last 12 months include:

  • Greenslopes: 7.8 per cent
  • Nundah: Five per cent
  •  Ashgrove: 9.2 per cent
  • Hendra: 10.8 per cent

Source: Kylie Purcell

149 Defective Buildings Identified In Lagos

The Lagos State government has identified 149 distressed and defective buildings and marked them for demolition.

Prince Rotimi Ogunleye, Commissioner for Physical Planning and Urban Development, revealed this on Sunday after five houses were demolished on Lagos Island by the state government.

The commissioner said of the 149 buildings, 40 of them have been demolished.

Ogunleye stated that the demolition was done in order to avert the repeat of the collapse of the building in Ita Faji area of Lagos Island last Wednesday, that led to the death of 20 people. Many people were also injured in the incident.

The houses demolished on Sunday were 25, Elegbata Street, Apongbon; 199, Tokunbo Street; 27, Inabiri Street; 16, Egatin Street, and 45, John Street.

Ogunleye added that the state government would comb the whole state for structurally defective building, and advised landlords whose houses have been marked to either demolish them or risk forfeiting the houses to the government.

Speaking on how people secretly move into marked-for-demolition buildings, Ogunleye said: “In some instances, where the owners and occupiers were served with notices and evacuated, people secretly returned to re-occupy the buildings, despite the sealing off of the structures by the LASBCA.”

He warned that the government would invoke Section 74 of the Urban and Regional Planning and Development Law and move to take over any house or building that collapses due to the “negligence of owner or developer in the state”.

Source: Sahara Reporters

Finding Home: Affordable Housing Crisis Leads To More Homeless Students

Third-grader Naveah Taylor bounds out of Reid Park elementary school in a pink jacket and backpack. Her favorite subject is math.

“I learned about adding fractions,” she said. “You only can add the numerator but not the denominator.”

Naveah started school in Charlotte this year. Kindergarten was in Jacksonville, Florida. First and second grade were in Atlanta. Then her parents couldn’t care for her anymore, and she and her brother Dakari came to live with her grandmother in Charlotte. He’s adjusted to second grade here and his favorite subject is science.

“I like that we go and explore stuff,” he said referring to an experiment about the densities of liquids. “Like at school the other day, we did a rainbow jar.”

Dakari and Naveah are with their grandmother now. Alohma West brought the kids to live with her in the one-bedroom apartment in west Charlotte she already shared with her son’s family. With seven people and several air mattresses, it’s a tight fit.

“We are still there on top of each other,” West said. “But it’s still better than being outside on the street.”

West’s grandkids are considered homeless under a federal law called McKinney-Vento. The classification applies to students living in a motel, car or emergency shelter. It also applies to those living in someone else’s home because they lost theirs or can’t afford their own. This qualifies Dakari and Naveah for meals, academic support and transportation from wherever they are to their home school that year.

The Department of Education reports more than 29,000 kids in North Carolina were considered homeless in the 2016-2017 school year. About three-quarters of those are living with other families because it’s too expensive to live on their own.

According to Shantiqua Neely, it’s not necessarily because people don’t have jobs. She’s the executive director at A Child’s Place, the organization helps homeless CMS students and families. She said it’s because rent is too expensive.

“Over half of our parent and caregivers that we serve are employed,” Neely said. “Things like affordable housing and lack of access to livable wages, and other factors like inter-partner violence and histories of eviction, play a big role in contributing to what we are seeing as family homelessness.”

Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools has the largest population of homeless students in North Carolina. Last year the district has identified almost 4,600. That’s up from nearly 2,500 10 years ago.

Neely said she is paying close attention to Charlotte’s efforts to make affordable housing a priority. The city says there’s a shortage of about 24,000 affordable housing units. She said she’s excited to see big corporations pitching in.

“I’m happy that we are talking about it in Charlotte,” Neely said. “But I’m looking for the day where it starts to translates to the population that we are serving.”

The city just approved spending more than $2 million to renovate nearly 80 apartments in east Charlotte to and keep them affordable. A quarter of those units would fall in the budget of most of the families that are in Neely’s program. She said the average family she serves makes about $800 a month.

CMS found through Project LIFT, a public-private partnership focused on west side schools, that kids moved so much that it’s difficult to track their progress. 50 percent of kids transferred to other schools after one year in the program. Neely said that movement is mainly within west Charlotte schools.

“We are servicing a family at one school and then we are in a meeting talking about that family, but that family is now at another school,” Neely said. “They are going back and forth all because parents are trying to look for that stability.”

Federal law requires the district transport kids from wherever they live to their home school for the rest of the year — even if they move outside the district. McKinney-Vento specialist at CMS Sonia Jenkins said about half of the 3,800 homeless kids this year live outside of their school zone, some even moving to Rock Hill or Gastonia because it’s too expensive to stay in Mecklenburg. She said the district spends $2 million on their transportation.

West is searching for a more permanent place and wants her grandkids to have some stability after years of being on the streets and sometimes living in squalid conditions.

“They definitely need a stable environment coming from not being fed, to being abused, to living with rats,” West said. “I mean, I listen to stories now that they have been with me a while. They are opening up more and they are telling me how the rats used to sleep in bed with them and it breaks my heart.”

CMS found students considered homeless were more likely to be behind in reading skills and tend to miss school more often.

School buses are pulling up and kids file out into the parking lot of the Center of Hope Salvation Army shelter in time for dinner. Today it’s chili, cornbread and salad.

As Kimberly Washington gets her food, she tells me her 8th-grade son didn’t get to school that day.

“He actually missed it this morning,” she said. “[The school bus] was one minute early.”

Because Washington doesn’t have a car, her son stayed at the shelter. They have been living in the shelter for a little more than a month. Washington said she ended up here after bouncing around homes of her family and friends. It started when she left an abusive relationship.

For a time, she was renting a room in a house — it was expensive. Then, she lost a temp job.

Washington is about to start as a cashier at Chick-fil-A. She’s planning to start saving up so she and her son can move out of the shelter. But as she looks for places, she’s finding rent has gotten more expensive.

“The wages that are earned in Charlotte, the compensation matching the cost of living. It just simply doesn’t,” she said. “I don’t understand how even though market rates increase, how rates of pay don’t match that.”

Washington’s applied for housing assistance but like many others, has been on the waitlist for years. She said she’s not expecting to get a voucher anytime soon.

But Alohma West is proof that a voucher doesn’t make it easier to find a place. She’s been looking for a bigger place for her and the two grandkids with a voucher, which provides a little more than a $1,000 a month. She said she’s called more than 30 places and is on several waitlists.

“But the problem is everywhere you look, nobody wants to take the voucher,” West said. “I can’t just sit. I have to get out. I don’t have a car so I have to look for something on the bus line. It’s been rough.”

While dealing with all this stress, West is trying to keep life normal for her 8- and 9-year-old grandkids. They have a homework routine after school and on the weekends, she tries to take them to free activities.

Often Dakari, her grandson in second grade, said they end up doing stuff at the apartment.

“Because she do not have a car to take us anywhere,” he said. “So lately, she hasn’t had enough money to do stuff so we just do stuff at home.”

His sister Naveah added that she’s looking forward to finding another place to live that’s less crowded so she can take her Christmas present out of the box. She’s been waiting a few months to open the easy bake oven.

“We got to get a bigger space because there’s a baby in the house and he messes with completely everything,” she said.

West has until May to find a place with the voucher before it expires. She is searching for anywhere in the county so the children can stay in CMS schools.

Source: Wfae

March is traditionally a strong month for Australia’s housing market, but not in 2019

For what is traditionally a seasonally strong month for Australia’s housing market, March isn’t proving to be all that strong in 2019.

Clearance rates still remain well below the levels of a year ago while prices in Australia’s largest cities are continuing to fall at decent clip, according to latest data.

According to CoreLogic, Australia’s preliminary combined capital city clearance rate rose to 56.1% last week, up from the initial estimate of 52.2% reported seven days earlier.

The lift came despite more homes going under hammer, lifting to 1,894 from 1,196 in the prior week.

Of those auctions held, CoreLogic received results from 1,416, equating to a reporting rate of 74.8%. That was above the 73.4% level seen seven days earlier.

Of those results received, 797 homes sold prior to, during or after auction. 619 failed to sell, including 108 that never actually made it to market.

While the national clearance rate currently sits well above the record lows struck late last year, the 56.1% level still remains well short of the 66% level seen a year ago when a far larger 3,316 homes went under the hammer.

Across the individual capitals, Sydney, at 63.1%, recorded the highest preliminary clearance rate across the country, followed by Canberra at 55.4% and Melbourne at 53.7%.

While that was an improvement on the levels of a week earlier, all three cities still recorded a lower preliminary rate than the final rate registered in the same corresponding week a year ago.

Elsewhere, preliminary clearance rates also improved in Perth and Brisbane compared to a week earlier although Adelaide, at 54.8%, was marginally weaker than the 55.3% level recorded seven days earlier.

Given the national preliminary clearance rate and reporting rates, the final clearance rate for the week is likely to be revised down to the low 50% region when released by CoreLogic on Thursday.

In the prior week, the preliminary national estimate was revised down from 52.2% to a final reading of 47.8%.

Despite the improvement in clearance rates in early 2019, that has not helped to stabilise home prices which have continued to fall.

Based on settled sales received, daily data from CoreLogic showed prices in Sydney and Melbourne fell by 0.3% last week, outpacing declines of 0.2% in Brisbane and 0.1% in Adelaide. Perth prices were stable compared to a week earlier.

Those weekly declines extended the price falls in Sydney and Melbourne since the start of the month to 0.6% and 0.5% respectively. Prices have also fallen 0.2% in Brisbane and Adelaide since the end of February. Mirroring the weekly result, prices in Perth have been flat so far in March.

While prices in Sydney and Melbourne have now been falling for well over a year, the recent scale of declines in both cities is noteworthy given March is traditionally the seasonally strongest month for home prices in Australia.

Even with far fewer new properties being listed, prices are continuing to ease lower, reflecting the impact of tighter lending standards, uncertainty ahead of the federal election and expectations that prices will continue to fall in the period ahead.

The lift in auction clearance rates suggests that along with reduced volumes, price expectations among vendors may have also been adjusted lower, contributing to more properties clearing than what was the case late last year.

Source: Businessinsider

LSDPC, firm target middle-income earners for Ogudu project

In a renewed bid to cushion effect of housing shortage in Lagos, a new housing project is being considered at the Ogudu Government Reserved Area extension, Alapere, Lagos.

The project, a Public Private Partnership (PPP) initiative is at the instance of the Lagos State Property Development Cooperation (LSDPC) and Direct Construction Nigeria Limited. The housing development called ‘The Avenue Estate’ hinges on the urban renewal drive of the Lagos state government and is situated in an expanse of land of about 17,000sqm at the Ogudu section of the Alapere/Oworosoki expressway.

It consist, 48 units of four bedroom semi detached duplex with one bedroom boys quarter and facilities which will include, five A-side football field, gymnasium, swimming pool, children play ground, 24 hours electricity, good drainage system, water treatment plant, central sewage system and other facilities.

Due to a reduction in the supply of luxurious and contemporary quality housing in the mainland as a result of increasing demand, which has led to many relocating to the Island to seek for desired homes, LSDPC in partnership with Direct Construction Limited is set to change the narrative.

The location is strategic and the most convenient connecting points between the mainland Lagos and the Island Lagos.

Specifically, the location offers the best of serene and secured environment while the designs and structures are tailored made as well as allow for a workable deliverable price as agreed between the subscribers and the developer.

Average unit of the housing will occupies about 174Sqm floor space of livable area, typical ground floor and first floor. Each semi-detached house has car park space for up to three to four cars.

According to sources, mortgage facilities would be made available through the Lagos Building Investment Company Plc (LBIC) for intending subscribers.An official of LSDPC, Olusola Martins said the project aimed at providing houses for residents who falls within the middle as well as those in the upper income class of the population.

He told The Guardian that subscribers would be introduced to mortgage facilities to enable them have access to finance and purchase their units.

He said, “The target buyers are the middle classes; we are also looking at the upper middle class as well. The project is embarked on, to provide more houses for Lagosians.

We have arrangement with mortgage houses that would also provide mortgage for buyers.

“When people come, we introduce them to mortgage houses that can give them mortgage so that they won’t need to bring out the whole money from their pocket”.

Price for unit is offered at an introductory price of N65, 000,000 for outright sale and a twelve months installment payment plan. The delivery period for the project is 12months.

Source: Guardian
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