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Zillow is now a mortgage lender, launches Zillow Home Loans

Zillow has owned a mortgage company for approximately six months, having purchased Mortgage Lenders of America in November 2018, but now, the online real estate giant has truly become a mortgage lender as well.

Zillow announced Tuesday that it is launching its own mortgage lending operation, which it is calling Zillow Home Loans.

For years, prospective homebuyers could search for a mortgage through Zillow’s site, as lenders paid to have their interest rates and terms listed on Zillow’s mortgage marketplace. Now, they’ll have a new competitor: Zillow itself.

The company is rebranding Mortgage Lenders of America to carry the Zillow name, and will use the lender to finance home buying and selling through its Zillow Offers platform.

It’s a truly massive move for Zillow, which describes the change rather simply: “Home shoppers who visit Zillow to shop for a mortgage can now get financing directly from Zillow Home Loans.”

The move is the latest in a nearly two-year effort to reshape how Zillow conducts its business.

Back in 2015, former Zillow CEO Spencer Rascoff said that the company views itself as a media company, not a real estate company.

“We sell ads, not houses,” Rascoff said at the time. “We’re all about providing consumers with access to information and then connecting them with local professionals. And we do a great job of giving those local professional high-quality lead, they’ll covert those leads to at a high rate and then want more media impressions from us. So we’re not actually in the transaction, we’re in the media business.”

But in the last few years, things changed dramatically at Zillow.

In 2017, Zillow shook up the real estate industry when it announced that it was getting into the home selling business by launching “Zillow Instant Offers.”

In the program, homeowners looking to sell their home in certain markets were able to get cash offers for their home from selected investors interested in buying it, all within Zillow’s platform.

But that was just the beginning. Later, Zillow began buying and selling homes directly to and from homeowners, becoming an iBuyer. Through its “Offers” program, Zillow buys a home directly from a seller, makes the “necessary repairs and updates” and lists the home “as quickly as possible.”

Zillow expanded the “Offers” program to new markets, but it didn’t stop there.

Last year, the online real estate landscape shifted dramatically when Zillow announced that it was getting into the mortgage business by buying Mortgage Lenders of America.

According to Zillow, the acquisition of Mortgage Lenders of America would allow the company to “streamline and shorten the home-buying process for consumers who purchase homes through Zillow Offers.”

The company paid $65 million to acquire Mortgage Lenders of America, and closed on the deal late last year. At the time, Zillow said that it planned to rebrand MLOA, and that’s just what it has now done, rebranding its mortgage business to carry the Zillow name.

“Getting a mortgage is often the hardest, most complicated part of buying a home. Since our inception, Zillow has been empowering people with information and resources to make smarter real estate decisions, including helping borrowers shop for the best lender and loan for their new home,” said Erin Lantz, vice president and general manager of mortgages at Zillow.

“With Zillow Home Loans we are taking an incredible step forward to deliver an integrated payments platform to complete the financing for Zillow Offers that delivers a more seamless, on-demand real estate experience today’s consumers expect,” Lantz added. “We continue to offer consumers the power of choice to shop for loans directly through Zillow Home Loans or through our popular mortgage marketplace.”

According to the company, homeowners using Zillow Offers to sell their home can “easily secure their financing through Zillow Home Loans, giving them the certainty to be able to sell their existing home and shop for a new home simultaneously.”

Additionally, homebuyers who want to purchase a home that Zillow owns may use Zillow Home Loans to “seamlessly finance their home purchase, giving them a convenient way to get into their new home on their timetable, with less hassle and stress,” the company said.

But the company added that the use of Zillow Home Loans is “not restricted” to Zillow Offers home sales. According to Zillow, borrowers may still use Zillow’s mortgage marketplace to shop for a lender and loan for any home purchase or refinanced loan.

Zillow Offers is now available in nine markets, according to Zillow. Zillow Home Loans is headquartered in Overland Park, Kansas, and has more than 300 employees.

Source: By Ben Lane, Housingwire

Insecurity: Zamfara Govt. to number lands, houses

The Zamfara State Government says it will introduce numbering of lands and houses in the state as part of measures to address security challenges in the state.

The state Commissioner for Local Government and Chieftaincy Affairs, Bello Dankande, stated this in Gusau, the state capital on Friday during a security meeting with Village Heads.

Mr Dankande, represented by the Permanent Secretary of the ministry, Haruna Sallau, said his ministry was working with the Ministry of Lands and Housing to come up with a policy on the issue.

He said the policy would help government in tracing hideout of criminals, thus checking criminal activities in the state.

“We learned that some of these criminals are living in our communities.“Some of our people give them houses to rent, while some sell lands and houses to them to serve as their hideouts.

“This policy will help us know the number of such houses and lands, as well as their owners, across the state,” he said.

He said the purpose of the meeting with traditional rulers was to exchange ideas on how to address the security challenges in the state.

Earlier, the Emir of Gusau, Ibrahim Bello, had described the meeting as timely and a welcome development.

Mr Bello noted that traditional rulers, as fathers in the society, had greater role to play in addressing challenges in the society.

He said Zamfara was known to be one of the most peaceful states in the country in the past, but regretted that the situation had now changed.

“The most unfortunate thing is that some ward and village heads are supporting criminals in their areas; some are even giving information about their people to kidnappers and other criminals.

“This is very regrettable and disheartening,” he said, warning that any of them caught in the act would face the full wrath of the law.

Source:  News Agency Of Nigeria(NAN)

Basic things an average investor should know about titling

Individual and institutional investors wishing to invest in real estate but lack knowledge of the market should worry no more as K.Parkwood Property’s Real Estate Investor Series (REIS) has offered and will continue to offer insights on the basic things such investors should know.

REIS is an initiative of K.Parkwood Property, a Lagos-based asset & portfolio management firm, aimed to help investors make informed decisions when acquiring real estate, and protect them from possible exploitation.

The maiden edition of REIS, which held last week in Lagos, focused on the significance of title document to investors. It highlighted a few basic things including knowing a good title;

According to Tosin Ajose, Partner at DealHQ Partners, any document irrespective of the name it bears, satisfies the legal requirement of the instrument or alienation is good title.

A title must be in writing, describes the parties involved, describes the subject property in details, indicates a valid tenure, have governor’s consent, and issued for consideration.

Governor’s consent and, more importantly, registration with land registry makes a title authentic.

Documents like receipt, will, letter of administration, lease and tenancy agreement, license, power of attorney, contract for sale, survey plan, deed of mortgage and excision (except if it is gazetted) are not titles.

Ownership interest

Ownership interest in property can be legal or equitable. Legal interest is recognized by law or statute, and grants true ownership as well as rights that comes with land ownership. Owner has exclusive possession of the property, as well as easement, conveyance and partition rights.

Equitable interest is recognized by law and enforceable only to the extent that there is no superior interest. The only condition that can make owner of equitable interest lose his/her property is when another person tenders a more powerful document of ownership.

On excision

Excision, as explained by Olumide Osundolire, Partner at Banwo & Ighodalo, is a process whereby state releases a portion of land to the family or community from which the land was acquired.

Excision will be granted only if the land is not committed to a specific project. Also, proposed use must tally with the master plan of the state for the said area. Grant of excision is not totally guaranteed, and investors are advised not to undertake any transactions on the land till excision is granted.

Lawyer’s role in document preparation

A lawyer first has to confirm title to ensure no defect or encumbrances. He/she searches at the Land Registry and also checks other governmental offices such as Land Use Office to confirm the validity of the title. The lawyer drafts and perfects title documents before it is taken to the governor for approval.

Addressing title issues

Titling is still at primitive stage in Nigeria and other emerging markets compared. The process of titling needs to be simplified and the 30-day government consent regime should be enforced to lessen stress. urthermore, perfection costs needs to be moderated and the use of information technology is pertinent to better titling process.

Process of getting Governor’s consent

According to the Land Use Act, 1978, all land in a state is vested in the governor of that state, implying that any transfer of interest in a land requires the consent of the governor.

The Directorate of Land Services of the Lagos State Government Land Bureau is empowered to handle Governor’s consent to subsequent transactions on land among others.

The requirements for Governor’s consent to subsequent transaction processing in the bureau, among others, include duly completed land form 1c with grantee’s photo; Certified True Copy (CTC) of root of title, deeds/instruments of transfer; passport photographs of the assignee, Certificate of Incorporation, site photographs with date and time, and applicants’ means of identification.

Matters relating to acquisition, revocation, compensation, rectification, valuation of land/building and land policy formulation are also handled by the bureau.

Registration

After getting governor’s consent on titles, the next step is to register them with the State Land Registry. Lagos State Land Registry is empowered to handle all land documents within the territory of the state.

Registering land documents can be done internally or externally. Internal process means that the Land Bureau directly forwards title documents to the registry. External process means owners of title documents bring them to the registry.

Documents firstly pass through the investigation unit at the registry to confirm the authenticity of the documents, and afterwards the registration unit, where unique numbers will be assigned.

The planning & indexing, depository, search, rectification and prerelease units have stake in the registration process.

Agencies and professionals involved in titling

Lagos State Land Bureau, Office of State Surveyor-General and Ministry of Justice are the agencies that handle titles in Lagos State.

Professionals such as estate surveyors and valuers, legal practitioners, land surveyors and town planners are involved in titling.

Source: By Israel Odubola

Developers everywhere, yet housing gap persists

Translating the large number of real estate developers in Nigeria to a more affordable housing for the citizens is almost the same as pouring water from a big tanker into an empty basket.

Checks has therefore, revealed that there are a lot of challenges that cut short the large number of developers from bridging the housing gap which has remained above 17 million units in the last 10 years.

Lack of infrastructure, regulatory framework on the part of the government, low income on the part of the end users, and unavailability of affordable capital for developers were some of the issues noted by stakeholders.

Rotimi Akindipe, an Architect and MD/CEO of Groveworld Realties Limited, a real estate development company in Lagos, said the housing solutions Nigerian developers have are unaffordable to most buyers.

“There is a glut in the kind of houses that are delivered to Nigerians, especially first time homes buyers, who, naturally, are the people that need these houses. First and foremost, the houses are not cheap, but they have to be affordable; the places they are located do not help commuting to their place of work,” Akindipe told us.

Checks revealed that the increasing young adult population who are just starting their career in urban cities coupled with those whose income level were affected by the 5-quarter recession are now settling for one-room self-contained as a result of dampened purchasing power. They are the ones driving the demand for such properties.

Therefore, the average rate per month at which single room self-contained apartments are rented increased by 24.16 percentage points from 42 percent in 2017 to 66.16 percent in 2018, survey shows.

To that effect, Godwin Asuelimen, Head, Core Product at Propertypro.ng, said the demand for housing is mostly for the low priced properties. “For leasing, the studio room properties are the hot cake in the market, but developers want to get back their investment on time and, as such, they mostly focus on building 2 or 3-bedroom apartments,” he said.

He added that what is on offer is too expensive for the large segment of the middle and low income earners, noting that even single rooms, sometimes, are beyond their budget, especially when the property is located in a highbrow reveals that it is more expensive to construct a building in Nigeria than it is in most of Africa. Bankole Folorunsho, Deputy Managing Director, Stable Shelters Development Co. Limited, a real estate firm, says there is supposed to be a regulatory body for prices of land in Lagos, for example, as many people see lack of regulation as an opportunity to sell at high price.

“This is one of the factors that is driving cost of houses and translates to why real estate developers have not been able to bridge the housing gap,” Folorunsho told us.

His submission was affirmed by Asuelimen who emphasized, “it is very important that government plays a regulatory role in the real estate sector.”

Akindipe noted that “government’s influence is not really felt in the real estate sector; you can’t have large size of land where you can setup divisions like they do abroad, where you can build 100 houses.”

Meanwhile, credit sales reports that the average rent of Nigerians between 20-35 years of age is around $230 monthly and the average price of one-bedroom in mega cities like Lagos, Abuja and Port Harcourt is around $300 per month.

Folorunsho explained that even getting land documentation and building approval also contribute to the high cost of real estate properties, saying, “the guy that is going to push your documentation file is not going to do that except you give him something.”

On the solution that can help translate the large number of developers into affordable accommodation for Nigerians, Akindipe said Nigeria has to, first and foremost, upgrade its infrastructure because “housing is a subset of infrastructure.”

Folorunsho explained that a developer in Nigeria, gets his own light, supplies water treatment facility and builds good road network. This, according to him, is supposed to be done by the government. “For instance, in some parts of Lagos Island, you need to drill an industrial borehole before you get good water and upon that you would still have to treat it; those things don’t come cheap.”

“As far as government is not providing those social amenities, the end users are going to be bearing the cost of those things when they are buying real estate properties; this means construction cost will remain high”, he added.

Source: By Endurance Okafor

What is the next phase of real estate financing in Africa?

For a long time, the most prominent players in the African property sector have been private equity or other institutional investors. It is also true that there has been an obvious gulf between demand and supply in all property sectors (commercial, industrial and residential) across many markets on the continent.

The investment proposition, often-repeated to prospective funders, regulators and local partners, was that by pioneering landmark projects international investment and development teams would go some way to bridge this gulf. But few of those presenting this thesis have shown the success they predicted for themselves and their investors.

Asset realisations have taken longer and have been less profitable than expected. Some institutions have chosen to exit direct African real estate investment entirely. With few exceptions, large South African REITs that expressed broader African ambitions have either closed their African operations or indicated that they intend to do so. Given its uneven performance record, an observer of the market might question the market-theses that seemed to be so alluring only a few years ago.

Despite this, we still believe that there is evidence to show that the African property market has evolved, just not in the way and for the segments previously expected. It is up to investors, financiers and other stakeholders to adapt their approaches to pursue the opportunities this market offers.

For the past years we at Absa have been tailoring our business approach to cater for the range of real estate investment activities that we have seen taking place in our target markets. This has meant that we have been monitoring a wider market than that represented by the large multi-jurisdictional players that for some years dominated African property media coverage and were most visible at industry conferences.

Our analysis shows that since the end of 2015 the domestic bank-financed commercial property market in our active African jurisdictions (which we identify as Botswana, Zambia, Mozambique, Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania, Mauritius, Seychelles, Ghana and Namibia) has grown in US dollar terms at a compounded rate of 9.5% per annum. This represents an acceleration in growth since the period 2012 to the end of 2015 the same market grew by 8.3% per annum.

This means that since 2012, and even more so since 2015, growth of bank-financing to many African property markets has been faster than the growth of the underlying economies in these jurisdictions. Such growth could only have been possible if some combination of the following factors had been in place: the number and size of bankable projects and clients has increased; banks have become increasingly willing to undertake property finance; and/or the currencies in which property loans have been denominated have strengthened.

In all cases the factors mentioned above are positive for the property markets we are targeting: either the broader economies in which they are located are strengthening (as indicated by stronger exchange rates) or the property finance markets are becoming more active and formalised.

It bears repeating that not all African property markets are alike and data covering multiple markets may often conceal wide-ranging differences between those markets and nuances within markets. In the case of the countries we have been studying, there are two where the bank-financed property market has actually declined since 2015. These are Mozambique and Uganda.

In Mozambique’s case the decline (of 8.8% per annum) would be expected given the broader debt-crisis in the country. In Uganda the decline has been an annual 2.1% — less than the decline in the local currency over the period and thus indicating a market that is, at least, growing in local currency terms.

The largest property finance market on our list is Kenya which on its own holds about 46% of the total commercial property financing pool within the markets we service. Its commercial property finance growth rate has been at 9.6% over the past years. Its currency has been relatively stable, ranging only from 99 to 105 Kenyan Shillings to the US dollar over the period. The growth has achieved is largely, therefore, a function of real growth in bank funding and property investment activity. In our experience, growth in this market has been led by market participants that would in South Africa or similar banking markets be classified as commercial or local corporate clients rather than institutional players.

It is evident that even though the most prominent segment of the investment-grade African property market has shown signs of strain, the broader bankable property market has been growing significantly and in the case of key markets such as Kenya, the growth is the result of real property activity and risk-taking.

For banks and other financiers, future growth may require broadening their target-range of clients and adapting their credit and service models for strong local players. For equity investors, potential focus may be on finding ways to get effective exposure to this same category of market participants. Opportunities exist for those who are willing to adapt their approach and their guiding beliefs regarding this market.

Source: Biznisafrica

Land prices in Eko Atlantic 40% ahead close neighbourhoods

The relative lull in the Nigerian property market caused by the economic downturn in the country is apparently not having any significant effect on land price in the upcoming Eko Atlantic City in Lagos where values are way ahead of what obtains in the city’s close neighbourhoods.

Land price in Eko Atlantic is the highest of the various prime island locations in Lagos including Ikoyi, Victoria Island and Lekki. It is followed closely by Banana Island, the most exclusive residential location in Lagos.

Price per square metre of land in Eko Atlantic, estimated at $1,720 (about N523,000), is about 40 percent higher than the value of land in the neighbouring Victoria Island. That price compares favourably with land values in Manhattan City in the United States.

Manhattan real estate costs an average of $1,773 per square foot, which is also ahead of San Francisco, the next most expensive area on per-square-foot basis, according to NeighborhoodX, a real estate price tracking agent. Land price in San Francisco averages $902 per square foot.


Eko Atlantic is an emerging city in Lagos, Nigeria’s bustling commercial capital. It is the single most ambitious and comprehensive mixed-use development plan to come on stream in the West African sub-region in recent times. Modelled after the Skyscraper District of Manhattan Island in New York City, Eko Atlantic is expected to be home to no fewer than 500,000 residents, with commuter volume expected to exceed 300,000 people daily.

The uniqueness of this city is chiefly in its self-sufficient and sustainable state-of-the-art urban design, its own power, clean water, advanced telecommunications, spacious roads with about 200,000 trees planned to be planted. The residential units will be constructed as vertical high-rise apartment towers which explain its description as Africa’s Dubai.

The city enjoys considerable interest from both local and foreign investors. But in the last two years of economic slowdown in the country, Ronald Chagoury Jnr, vice chairman of South Energyx Nigeria Limited, told BusinessDay that interest has come largely from foreign investors.
“What we have today is a foreign market unlike two years ago when the city was a Nigerian market,” he confirmed.

It is easy to see a correlation between land values in Eko Atlantic and Manahattan Island relative to their closest neighbourhoods.

“Per square foot real estate in Manhattan is the most expensive in the United States, with the average property in the borough eclipsing all other locals,” notes Catherine Clifford in a report, adding that the price beats San Francisco which is widely viewed as one of the frothiest housing markets in the country by a mile.

“While Manhattan real estate is an average of $1,773 per square foot, the next most expensive area on a per square foot basis is San Francisco, which averages $902 per square foot. That’s followed by Boston at $586 per square foot, Washington D.C. at $515 and Miami Beach at $504,” Clifford says.

This reflects the situation is Lagos where Eko Atlantic land goes for $1,720/N530,000 per square metre while land in Victoria Island is selling at $1,244/N379,000 per square metre and Lekki at $681/N207,000 per square metre, but their prices have risen by 14 and 15 percent, respectively, in the course of last year. Oniru land, selling at $579/N176,000 per square metre, has grown by 7 percent over the year, while Banana Island has remained stable.

Ikoyi, the coveted residential and commercial real estate address in Lagos, has shown the strongest growth over the year, growing by 22 percent from $1,039/N316,000 per square metre to $1,226/N409,000 per square metre. But Eko Atlantic is still ahead.

Analysts are of the view that the growth trajectory seen in Eko Atlantic land values underpins the opportunities which it has in store for savvy investors.

“The city harbours great investment and growth potential and the opportunities are limitless,” an analyst who did not want his name mentioned told BusinessDay.

Eko Atlantic is a response to Lagos’ housing shortage in 30 years. The city is meant to bring 250,000 new jobs and address a housing shortage brought on by a surging population. This, and the fact that it’s privately-funded, has lent it the support of the state and federal governments.

It’s being sold to investors as a valuable foothold in Africa which is one of the world’s emerging growth markets.

What makes Eko Atlantic’s development an investment haven is its location. The city borders Lagos directly and it is rising from the ashes of Lagos Bar Beach through the dredging and filling in of 10-kilometre worth of land. Before the project began in 2006, the area was virtually non-existent, giving the city the appearance of being an island created from nothing.

Source: By Chuka Uroko

Kenya set to start Construction of $200m Muhoroni Road

Construction works of the US $20m Muhoroni road in Kenya is set to commence in May. This is according to area MP James K’Oyoo.
The area MP explained that the entire project which was scheduled to be completed in May 2024 faced initial tranche to kick-off works due to cost implications.
He however affirmed that the government has already disbursed  US $26m initial tranche to kick-off works of the key link road.

“I want to urge the residents to exercise patience for the period the project will be undertaken because this is a costly venture that will be spread over a period of six years,” said K’Oyoo.

Tamu to Muhoroni road

The road project is set to be developed from Tamu to Muhoroni in Kisumu County. The 14km road will link Kisumu, Nandi and Kericho counties. According to K’Oyoo, the road will bring to an end perennial transport crisis for farmers in the region, especially in the sugarcane sector and help boost food security for improved livelihoods.

The project, is currently at the drawing stage from where it would be tendered to pave way for the commencement of the official work.

Additionally, the Mamboleo-Muhoroni road that links Kisumu and Nandi will also be tarmacked this year, Koyoo said. He said the government had already allocated funds for the construction of the 36km C674 road.The MP praised the President for his efforts to build the road and plans to revive collapsed sugar industries. The 36km road is one of the 45 covering 2,000km the government plans to construct in phase one of the annuity programmes.

Meanwhile, more than 11 major roads are being constructed across the country at a total cost of US $1.4bn. All the projects are being undertaken by Kenya National Highways Authority (KeNHA), development partners and other financiers including the World BankChina Exim BankAfrican Development Bank (AfDB) and Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) .

KeNHA has also embarked on the rehabilitation of major road networks across the country for sustainable socio-economic development for Kenyans and the region.

Source: By Kenneth Mwenda, ConstructionReviewOnline

Expo: REDAN to inaugurate, hoist estate data for housing delivery

The Real Estate Development Association of Nigeria (REDAN) says it is set to inaugurate and hoist its National Real Estate Data Collation and Management Programme (NRE-DCMP) aimed at mitigating housing deficit nationwide.

Rev. Ugochukwu Chime, President of REDAN, told newsmen on Thursday in Abuja that the collated housing data would be inaugurated and hoisted during its forthcoming expo scheduled to hold in Abuja from May 7 to 8.

HousingNews reports that NRE-DCMP was initiated by REDAN and Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) to collate property price index nationwide to solve housing problems in the country.

The surveyor said that the data, collated from national land administrators on pre-construction, construction and post construction activities nationwide would be hoisted on the Nigeria Mortgage Refinance Company (NMRC)’s website for public usage.

“We are going to hoist the data on the website of the NMRC who actually is the key party and has done so much in the area of structural improvement to the mortgage process in Nigeria by keying into mortgage laws which they brought about.

Chime regretted that before now there was a big misrepresentation of housing data in the country which has not really helped the sector.

“I have been in different fora where ministers representing different various ministries in Nigeria outside this country were giving different data about the same issue, which is embarrassing.

“We need data for planning; we need to know where we need those houses, so we organised it in such a way that the CBN agreed to work with us to tackle housing sector crisis.

“The data emerged from developers profile and capacity, demand and affordability profile of the market within a given locality and household condition survey.

“We went a step further to ensure that all the parties who are involved in the planning of various aspects have data for it.

He said that the association collaborated with CBN, World Bank, Ministry of Power, Works and Housing, Federal Mortgage Bank of Nigeria (FMBN) , NMRC , Value Chain and other organisations.

“We also collaborated with the National Bureau of Statistic (NBS), National Population Commission (NPC) to be able to have the NRE-DCMP which is a novel thing that has never happened before,” he added.

He further noted that the data had input on land administration and the 37 land administration entities in Nigeria including the improvement that could be brought to bear on them.

He added that the collated data included issues of mortgage law and foreclosure law as well as how to standardise operations of various institutions to ensure a developer received a standardise allocation letter.

Chime explained that the collated data would also dwell on how to standardise the deed of legal mortgage and deed of assignments in various registries to ensure it’s financial acceptance.

“On affordability we want to know the numbers and the people in the 774 LGAs who need the houses and their affordability reach so that we will stop the issues of having duplexes everywhere or building houses people cannot buy.

“So we can now do targeted construction that can only happen when we have the data on affordability and business data to know the people who are developing the houses.

“We also have housing condition which is the baseline to ascertain the condition of existing houses in the 774 local government or the 37 entities we have in 36 states and FCT.

“These components are what we have gone on to do by organising the NREDCMP,” he said.

According to him, the association has been able to ensure the various stakeholders have understanding of how all the data they want to work upon were collated, gathered and analyse.

Source: HousingNews

Africa Construction industry performance survey for 2018

A quarterly survey of the performance of the construction industry in Africa from a panel of construction industry players in various countries in Africa. Read on and see how the construction industry fared in South Africa, Kenya and Nigeria.

Over the last decade, Africa has seen its ups and downs as economic fortunes wax and wane. To determine where Africa stood in 2018, Construction Review interviewed over 700 participants drawn mainly from Kenya, South Africa and Nigeria in order to determine how they felt 2018 compared to 2017. Collating the information produced interesting conclusions.

When comparing Kenya South Africa and Nigeria, Nigeria emerged as the most positive market with regards to improvement of the construction industry in 2018 over 2017.

Overall 52% of the Nigerians polled felt the construction industry was better or much better in the 3rd quarter compared to 42% for Kenyans while only a dismal 13% of South African respondents felt any reason to smile.

Table: 52 percent of Nigerians felt that the construction industry in the third quarter was better or much better than quarter 2.

 

Much better

The report took a closer look at this cadre of respondents particularly those that felt there had been an unusual improvement by looking at those who felt the improvement was ‘much better’ not only ‘better’.

It turns out that for Nigeria the reason was the fact that the country is emerging from a major slump after the fall of crude oil prices in the preceding years.

For Kenya those seeing major improvement felt it was due to a more stable political environment in the wake of a nail gripping general election and its aftermath. For South Africa virtually no one fell into this space suggesting that the South Africans were are very dismal lot in 2018.

Which occupations experienced the best improvements

Respondents were asked to categorise themselves as government, consultants, contractors or suppliers in the industry. From this it emerged that for those who were a very satisfied lot in the construction industry virtually all the respondents were consultants and project manager in Nigeria with no contractor or building supplier sharing the same sentiments.

In Kenya those feeling that the industry had enjoyed a much better improvement than in 2017 the respondents were equally drawn from the consultants, builders and suppliers of products and machinery. This could mean that in Nigeria the projects are on the drawing board and have not filtered down to actual project commencement while for Kenya this could mean these are ongoing projects.

Housing a key driver

In Nigeria improved performance was driven by housing with over 85% of respondents being active here while for Kenya which was also housing it stood at 52%. This means that housing was a key driver of the improved construction activity but more so in Nigeria than in Kenya

Why were South Africans a dour lot

From the table below for South Africa the performance of the construction sectors formed an almost perfect staircase where worst off in the year was those depending on the growth in the commercial building and housing sectors and telecommunications least so.

Respondents felt that the primary reasons for this state of affairs is lack of government and private spending in the sectors coupled by cut throat competition for the few jobs available which has meant projects were virtually not profitable. The upcoming elections has also introduced uncertainty.]

Source: Robert Barnes, ConstructionReviewOnline

Using Technology To Boost Nigeria’s Real Estate Industry

The world is getting smarter; people are getting more connected than ever before, the universe has become so central that with the snap of a finger or as they say with ”one-click” you are connected to another person who is more than 5000 kilometres away from where you are. It is safe to say that without technology, most of the innovations that have made life easier would not have been possible.

Whether we like it or we don’t, technology has come to stay, and with time, it is going to form the basis of everyday living. When channelled in the right path, technology has proven to improve the quality of life, and when it falls into the wrong hands, the consequences are devastating.

Technology has improved the way we work and live; it will change the future of work as more technologies are going to be deployed at the workplace increasing productivity in the process. Most industries have started incorporating technology into their operations, and you cannot blame them because let’s face it, technology is the future.

When thinking about real estate, technology and productivity in one breath, it is very easy for your mind to go to the cutting edge technologies adopted in developing a site right from when the first block is laid to when the building is finally completed. You are not wrong to think that.

Over the years, the real estate industry has undergone a technological transformation of its own. It used to be drawing out plans on broadsheets, but now with the help of 3D imaging, developers have now been able to express their creativity better and more precise.

This improves productivity as less time is spent on drawing out the plan, printing it out and then having to sell the idea to the client is entirely a different ball game but with 3D, it’s faster to get the designs out, and it is self-explanatory.

Almost all if not every part of real estate is touched by technology, from the beginning of the home search to closing deals, every transaction can be done with the click of a button. The internet has proved to be a blessing to the real estate industry, and that is set to continue for a long time.

Technology has also improved productivity when the way houses are designed is factored in, how you may ask. With the new trend of “Smart Houses”, productivity is further enhanced as the automation affords the occupant/owner of the apartment the luxury of focusing on other things instead of having to run the apartment manually.

While the shift to smarter homes is still relatively new to the Nigerian real estate industry, some developers have taken commendable steps into ensuring that they meet up with the global technological standards in the industry.

One of these forward-thinking developers is Hall 7, a real estate development company based in Nigeria’s capital city of Abuja. Established in 2013, Hall 7 Real Estate symbolises hallmark of excellence and perfection in the Real Estate sector. The company’s constant delivery of innovative, top notch and specialised customer experiences has enabled it to set the pace in the Real Estate sector.

Despite being relatively young in the business of real estate, Hall 7 is setting the pace for others to follow. From design to execution, their clients get exactly what was designed and even more by the time the project is completed. The brand says it “doesn’t promise but delivers”, this is particularly encouraging considering how a lot of developers promise you the world and then deliver structures below the expected standard.

Hall 7 is technologically inclined; it is evident that they are when one checks out the projects they have delivered in their six years existence, The Brookshore Residence and The Bridge Peridot are two examples of the company’s technological prowess. The Bridge, for example, is an automated set of apartments and townhouses, where all you need is just the press of a button away. You control lighting, temperature, entertainment systems, and appliances electronically with literally a snap of your fingers. When it comes to security, the bridge peridot is fully secured using some of the best security technologies in the world.

CEO of Hall 7, Olayinka Braimoh, a young and tech-savvy developer had this to say earlier in the year at the commissioning of the bridge peridot. “ We want to do things differently, that is why we decided on developing The Bridge Peridot which took more than two years to complete because we wanted it to be of world standard and we are pleased that we achieved that using some cutting edge technologies. We are excited about commissioning this, and we look to doing more for the Nigerian real estate sector in the near future”.

Living in an automated home like the two mentioned above for apparent reasons improves productivity, as you spend less time on managing your apartment because the houses are automated, you have more time to relax and also focus your energy on other things.

When you look at the success of Hall 7’s Bridge Peridot, you’d see that Nigerians are particular about value. If you’re not offering value to the typical Nigerian then whatever you are providing them is meaningless, and you can never fault them for that, because, who doesn’t want value anyways.

Real estate companies in Nigeria, Africa’s most populous country have a huge mandate to provide value to their customers because of the capital involved. One just cannot invest a considerable amount of money in a real estate project and not expect value in return. However, most real estate firms in Nigeria have fallen short of that in recent times.

This sometimes stems from their being in a hurry to finish up the project because the client can no longer wait. At other times, it’s down to some of the companies in the industry being outrightly incapable of delivering value.

But for Hall 7, the company has been able to excellently tap into technology in its operations and build processes such that each project has something technologically unique about it. In its six years of existence, the firm has been responsible for the development of arguably some of the best and tech-driven neighbourhood in the federal capital territory.

Aside the Bridge Peridot, there’s also the Brook Shore. Like the Bridge Peridot, the Brook Shore is fully automated.

In their execution, Hall 7 employed some of the best technologies available to make sure its buildings are safe, stands the test of time and at the same time gives the customer what they want. In a country where getting value for money is becoming very difficult to find, Hall 7 has made sure that the client gets what they asked for but with some extra features that makes the customer’s experience a whole lot better than it would have been.

It is that extra attention to details and those additional features that makes the client know they have gotten value for money and Hall 7 real estate is constantly working to make sure they deliver that value to their customers.

Source: Similoluwa Olunloyo

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