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How to Become a Real Estate Investor

If you are looking for a way to invest your savings, why not consider real estate? Such investments are always very lucrative. If you are in doubt, just look up any of the wealthiest people in Nigeria, or the world; you will find one form of real estate investment or the other in their portfolio.

Today, we are going to look at how you can make your first investment in real estate and earn some serious profit, regardless of the amount of money you want to put in.

What is real estate?

Real estate is property comprised of land and any structure(s) or natural resource on it, including water bodies and mineral deposits, as well as any flora or fauna.

Real Estate Investor
Based on its use, real estate can be grouped into three broad categories:

  • Industrial properties, e.g. factories and mines.
  • Commercial properties, e.g. office buildings, retail store buildings, and warehouses.
  •  Residential properties, e.g. undeveloped land, condominiums, and private residences.

Investment opportunities in real estate

Buying a house or building one is not the only way you can make a real estate investment. The market has lots of opportunities. Here are some of them:

1. Real Estate Investment Trusts (REITs):

This is one of the easiest ways to make real estate investments without actually acquiring a physical property. REITs are regulated by the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). They are a form of collective investment scheme, which pools funds from investors and use them to acquire income-generating real estate.

The portfolio of underlying assets is managed by a professional whose job is to maximize your returns. With REITs, you hold an indirect interest in real estate on a flow-through basis, which means that you hold the property as if it were a direct investment.

REITs are traded on the Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE). To buy one, you have to go through your stock broker. It’s just like buying or selling shares.

REITs are a solid investment stock that can earn you regular income. The benefits include the following:

  • Requires no minimum investment.
  • Offers tax advantages.
  •  It’s a highly liquid way to invest in real estate. You won’t need a realtor to cash out your investment.
  •  REITs pay high yields in the form of dividends.
  • Provides you the opportunity to share in non-residential properties like malls, industries, and hotels.

2. Land flipping

Another great way to invest is to buy land and sell it at a higher price. It is particularly profitable when you buy in a rapidly developing area, in which case you can make up to 300% in profits within a few months, or years, as the case may be.

You can start small by buying just a plot. Or if you have enough capital, buy as much land as you can and keep selling all year round.

While acquiring lands, keep the following in mind:

  • Buy in areas that are rapidly developing if you want to sell within a couple of months. Some areas are faster than others.
  • Ensure you obtain all the documents for the land that show you are buying from the legitimate owner. The documents should include a Certificate of Occupancy or a Governor’s consent. Ensure that you don’t get mixed up in land issues. Acquire lands with the appropriate land titles.

Benefits

• Low or zero maintenance costs.
• Ease of sale
• High profits

3. Become a real estate agent

This is a good option if you don’t have the capital to make an investment. You can simply offer your services to property owners who are looking for a buyer.

Becoming an agent means you get a commission after you find a buyer for the property. The common rate is 10%. So let’s say you find a buyer for a 40 million naira property, you stand to get a commission of 4 million naira.

To become a successful agent, you need to possess good networking skills in order to locate buyers and sellers. Here are some of the roles you’d have to play:

  • List the property to the public through notices, banners, fliers, and so on. But things have become very easy in the 21st century, in which case, advertising on the internet is the easiest and cheapest method you can use.
  • Be readily available to answer any questions buyers may have.
  • Take buyers to see the property (property inspection) and negotiate prices on behalf of the seller.
  • Screen the buyers to make sure that they are qualified to buy the property.
    Benefits.
  • Grow your network.
  • Great earning potential.
  • Little or no investment capital required

4. Open space leasing

In this scenario, you buy land in a good location. While you wait for the property value to rise, earn monthly fees by leasing the land to people for temporary use. For instance, you can lease it to a church, mechanics or car wash, or other businesses that can construct a makeshift structure that will be easily dismantled when you are ready to sell.

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Benefits

• Extra monthly profits before actual land sale, etc.

5. Property development

Property development requires a huge capital investment. It involves acquiring depreciated properties that you can renovate and rent or sell at a very high profit margin. As with any real estate investment, a good location is crucial if you want to make reasonable profits.

Before you go ahead to invest in property development, you have to make sure that the development costs will be far outweighed by the asking price of the property when the renovation is done. So if you spend like 2million naira in renovations, make sure you can sell the property for at least 3 or 4 million naira.
Listed bellow is one of the benefits:

• Earn a higher profit than when you buy and sell undeveloped land.

6. Franchising

Franchising is a brilliant way to acquire and hold land in different fast growing locations. It however requires considerable capital.

It’s as simple as when you acquire land and use it to establish a business, such as a fast food restaurant. You then buy land in various other locations, build your structures and find franchisees who will manage the restaurants on your behalf.

It may seem that brands, such as Mr. Biggs, McDonalds, Chicken Republic, and many others that exist today are only involved in the fast food business. But real estate acquisition is a major part of it. These lands quickly appreciate in value over time.

Real Estate Investor

• Run a sustainable business while acquiring high value real estate.
• Own land in several major locations across the country.

7. Build or purchase rental properties

Investing in rental properties is one way to keep earning for life. As a landlord, you receive monthly or yearly income after you build or buy properties and rent them out to tenants. You’d have to regularly maintain the building to keep it in good shape, so that you can attract new tenants or keep up with the competition from other landlords in the neighborhood.

You’d also have to find out the price other landlords in the area charge on rent so that you can fix a reasonable price. Over time, your property will appreciate in value, especially if you are in an area of high demand.

The biggest difference between investing in a rental property and other types of real estate investments is the time and effort it demands, especially if you accept bad tenants who damage your property or delay rent payments. If you are not in a good location or don’t invest in maintenance, you face the risk of not attracting any tenants at all.
Benefits including:

• Earning passive income for the rest of your life.

Top tips to keep in mind before investing in real estate

Now that you have seen the various ways you can make an investment, there are certain things you should keep in mind to give you that push you need to take the first step. Some of these tips will also see that you don’t experience any difficulties down the line. Keep reading to discover what you need to know.

1. It’s possible to invest without putting down any money

You can invest in real estate with other people’s money if you can find a lender. This is especially so if you can purchase and sell the land for profit within a few short months, or years. This way, you don’t have to keep waiting till you build considerable savings before you can spring into action.

Once you find a good land in a good location that can appreciate in value quickly, find a way to source for funds. After all, real estate is a stable investment that won’t slip through your fingers, as long as you follow due process and acquire all the necessary titles for the property from the appropriate authorities.

Another option is to collaborate with close friends or family and save up the required capital. Let’s say that 4 or 5 of you save 50, 000 naira every month, in a year, you would have saved up 3 million naira. After you buy a land and it appreciates in value after some years, you can sell and split the profits. However, be sure to sign well-structured agreements before going into such collaborations.

2. Conduct proper research

Ask a lot of questions before you commit your money to any property. Also make sure that you are familiar with the location. If you buy land in an area that has a bad history, experiences flooding, or is in a location that does not have good road access, you may have a hard time to get it sold.

You have to be able to identify areas with a high potential to develop quickly in some years’ time. If the area is in high demand and consequently overpriced, consider purchasing your property from the outskirts.

3. Negotiate

To get the best deals, you have to be able to negotiate. It is the one quality that differentiates a successful investor. When you get the price for a property and you see that you can afford it, don’t be in a hurry to agree at once. You may be able to negotiate a lower price. The same idea also applies when you are ready to sell.

4. Renovations may not necessarily mean an increase in value

Buyers have different tastes. You may find that you won’t be able to sell for as much profit as you had in mind.

Real Estate Investor

5. Always put it in writing

This is very important. Before you part with your money, make sure you acquire all the necessary documents that show proof of ownership. There are many scam artists out there waiting to take advantage of unsuspecting victims. Make sure you ask questions.

Benefits of Investing in real estate

Why should you consider investing in real estate? Here’s a list of some of the benefits:

1. Build equity for your future: Equity is an asset that makes up your net worth.
2. Real estate value appreciates over time
3. Generate passive income and cash flow for your retirement
4. Enjoy tax benefits

In conclusion

Investments are essential for wealth creation. It’s not enough to leave your cash in the bank, where you will get negligible monthly interests. Invest in real estate today. It is something you have to do at some point before you retire, if you want to be comfortable financially. Why not give yourself a good head start?

Tobenna Nnabeze

 

Real Estate Sector Growth Excites Investors

Without a doubt, the real estate sector has continued to be one of the most important sectors in the Nigerian economy. Figures have shown that the sector contributed immensely to Nigeria’s gross domestic product (GDP). For instance, in 2018, it contributed ?1.26 trillion to the country’s national income. Moreover,  the sector grew by 38% between the first and last quarter of 2018. However, the percentage contribution of real estate to GDP declined to 6.41% in 2018 from 6.85% in 2017. Notwithstanding, the real estate sector is engulfed with big potentials, according to Nairametrics, an agency report.

The report said “In developed climes, the mortgage sub-sector plays an important role in stimulating the real estate sector. But while there have been several mortgage schemes and initiatives in Nigeria , the impact has remained somewhat unfelt. File photo: Residential Housing Estate  In the meantime, investment analysts have expressed different views on the outlook of the real estate sector.

Executive Director and Co-founder of Pertinence Limited, an investment firm, Mr. Sunday Olorunsheyi, said earlier in January: “It will be difficult to project the the fortunes of the real estate sector, owing to factors such as lack of clear and consistent policies from regulators and a high degree of uncertainty”, Olorunsheyi stated. On the other hand, the Chief Executive Officer of Lifepage Group, an investment holding firm, Oladipupo Clement, scored the industry high.

According to him, “More landed properties were sold and bought in 2018 than apartments and houses, due to high capital requirement and cost of fund. Despite uncertainties, such as a decline in oil prices, political instability, inflation and the rising cost of funding, the real estate sector will still thrive”. Windfall for investors and the growth potentials The experts were of the view that investors in the real estate sector are likely to smile to the banks soon,  as they get returns on their investments.

They argued that generally, Nigeria’s real estate sector was sluggish in 2018 because of the lull in the nation’s economy, pointing out however, that real estate investors will likely experience better performance this year because of improvements in the economy, and the anticipated political and economic stability in the country after the just concluded general elections. According to them, “There was excess liquidity in the economy during the election period. Recall that the President recently expressed concerns over the huge amount of foreign currency flooding the country, intended to influence the general elections.

“With the conclusion of the general elections, the movements of both foreign and domestic currencies for electioneering processes will likely spread and drive patronage in the residential and commercial angles of the real estate sector. Eventually, what this does sometimes is to pressure the price of estate properties to increase, which implies higher revenue for investors.

“Similarly, 2019 will spark the beginning of new governments in some states across the federation. These states will have either consolidated or new policies, which may drive economic activities uniquely away from past administrations. Again, contracts and appointments lobbying will also form a block on its own.

“All these interplays are likely to redistribute income in some ways, and the real estate sector is likely to benefit in no small measure. How the economy reacts- Growth in the real estate sector in Nigeria will have impact on the economy significantly, from the jobs it creates to revenue generation. “Specifically, the real estate’s multiplier effect in terms of job creation is significant. Also, real estate activity stimulates the economy indirectly through the value-added impacts of the purchase of goods and services that stem from real estate-related businesses and transactions”, they opined.

Kingsley Adegboye

100, 000 Persons Set to Receive Support from Pertinence in Real Estate

Real estate development firm, Pertinence Limited, says it plans to empower about 100, 000 people in real estate business and other money-making ventures in the next 10 years.

The firm said it had commenced the process through its ‘Zero to Hero’ platform, which it initiated about three years ago.

According to the Executive Director of Pertinence Limited, Mr Sunday Olorunseyi, ‘Zero to Hero’ is a quarterly programme and an avenue for aspiring entrepreneurs to learn and earn, leveraging on the platform of a real estate company which gives them an opportunity to be mentored by the management of the company.

Olorunseyi said it also offered an opportunity to join a fast growing team of millionaires working as a network in Pertinence Limited.

He said, “When we started ‘Zero to Hero’, it was to share our story and those of people whose lives have been transformed through our platform. When you share stories, people can relate with it. The second reason is to empower people.

“In 10 years of doing business, we should be able to empower not less than 100, 000 Nigerians. The journey is still very far, we have done 5,000 so far, so we still have over 95, 000 to go and we are in our third year; we are doing our best to achieve that.”

He said the ultimate goal would be to empower about one million people in phases.

The second Executive Director of Pertinence Limited, Mr Wisdom Ezekiel, said the management of the company discovered that people were inspired each time they heard the story of how the company began, and decided to create a platform to empower and encourage people to create their own success stories.

He said, “We discovered that a lot of people come to ‘Zero to Hero’ to hear our stories and get inspired so we decided to add some guidelines on things they can do so they can practice the principles behind the story.

“This year, we have also introduced the hall of fame to encourage people to do better. We did an increase and factored it in the commission of our marketers across board. So we introduced the hall of fame to celebrate our most productive marketers.”

At the 2019 first quarter ‘Zero to Hero’ conference, Benita Charles was inducted into the Pertinence hall of fame as the first beneficiary of the initiative.

Maureen Ihua-Maduenyi

Mixed feelings about African Real Estate

While Attacq, famous for developing one of SA’s largest retail centres, Mall of Africa, and Hyprop investments, the owner of some of the best rated shopping centres, are trying to divest from the African continent, Grit Real Estate is spreading itself across the continent.

JSE-listed Hyprop which owns the likes of Rosebank Mall, Clearwater Mall and Canal Walk in SA wants to sell its stake in AttAfrica. This comes after its Nigerian and Ghanaian property portfolio displayed lacklustre performance in the half year results which ended December 2018.

Hyprop has exposure to five malls across three African countries in partnership with JSE listed real estate investment trust, Attacq and developer, Atterbury. The joint venture runs as AttAfrica Limited based in Mauritius.

Understandably adopting a more cautious view on the outlook for Africa as a real estate investment destination, given that several SA property players that have entered the continent over the past five years got burnt on the back of the sharp oil and commodity price slump and currency crises that hit a number of countries in 2015/2016.

Attacq and Resilient Reit, among others, have all reported impairments on their shopping centre portfolios in Nigeria, Ghana and Zambia in the past year or two as higher vacancies and negative rental reversions placed pressure on valuations.

“Although quite a few African economies offer good growth opportunities, there are ongoing regulatory and fiscal challenges. Lower commodity prices have also impacted the economies relying on these to generate foreign inflows. This has made accessing foreign currency in these markets a challenge,” said Ortneil Kutama, Africa Property News Media Director. .

But Grit Real Estate, the JSE’s only Africa-focused property play remains committed to the continent even as others are looking to exit. Its CEO, Bronwyn Corbett and her team have set up a base in Africa, over a period which took more than five years. The company owns around US800m worth of property spread across Morocco, Botswana, Ghana, Kenya, Mauritius, Zambia and Mozambique.

Unlike their SA counterparts, it seems that UK investors didn’t need much convincing to buy into the African growth story. UK fund managers have already increased their exposure to Grit from 12% to 20% since the Africa-focused company’s listing on the main market of the London Stock Exchange (LSE) at the end of July 2018.

There are countries in which Grit has not invested and these include the likes of Nigeria, Zimbabwe, DRC, Angola and Ethiopia. Investors in Nigeria, which is Africa’s largest economy, have struggled to get their money out of the country. Zimbabwe wants to change from the US dollar to a new currency which has created uncertainty and led to a fall in values of assets in the sub Saharan country.

“From the outset, we’ve deliberately avoided countries that were experiencing a boom economy, which were mostly resources dependent. Grit’s objective is to partner with blue chip multinationals on their corporate accommodation needs across the continent, and therefore we’ve been very selective of the tenants we engage with. This forms a very important part of our risk mitigation strategy,” Corbett said.

Corbett has grown Grit’s assets under management nearly fourfold since 2012, from $220m to about $800m. The company is also looking to invest $160m this year to buy two or three more hotels in Mauritius and, potentially, nearby Reunion Island.

Hyprop decided Africa isn’t working as such the fund will not invest in the continent further as it believes it can be more successful in south eastern Europe where it co-owns malls in a partnership with Hystead Limited.

Attacq has decided to stop buying more assets in Africa because it hasn’t been able to generate good enough returns from its assets on the continent. The company’s management believes it can better use its funds developing Waterfall City wherein the Mall of Africa is situated.

So who will buy AttAfrica’s assets? Grit stands out as a potential buyer. However, Grit likes to buy office assets in Africa which have one or two tenants signed to long term leases. It also tends to buy hotel assets which have long term leases signed to international operators.

“We are also selective of the assets we acquire in a particular country. Some economies lend itself better to corporate offices, others to hospitality and others to corporate accommodation. In this regard Grit is asset agnostic, again focusing on the counter party, quality and tenure of the lease as opposed to a specific asset class,” Corbett said.

SA’s largest listed property fund, Growthpoint Properties may also take an interest in AttAfrica’s assets. The company has committed itself to investing on the continent and has funding and debt facilities available, but it is yet to buy any assets. Group CEO Norbert Sasse says Growthpoint which owns assets worth more than R100bn is interested in diversifying and growing its income streams.

It already invests in Poland and Romania through its investment in Globalworth and in Australia through Growthpoint Australia. In its recent results for the six months to December, it highlighted that offshore investments had actually been responsible for most of the growth in its earnings and dividend.

But it will invest in Africa cautiously as it it likely to spend less than R1bn there in 2019.

UK real estate unaffected by Brexit uncertainties

Despite Brexit uncertainties, UK investment property companies continue to focus on the UAE market, report Cityscape Abu Dhabi organisers.

“For many years, the UK market has been high on the investment list of UAE investors and the Brexit issue raises many questions for both existing and potential owners,” said Chris Speller, Cityscape Group Director at Informa Exhibitions, which organises the event. UAE-based investors have remained unfazed by political developments in Britain, confirms Kevin Eyres, sales manager at Salboy, a major player in the UK property market. UAE investors, Eyres said, are knowledgeable, experienced and curious about the best way to expand their UK property portfolios.

UK

“The UK’s proven track record of delivering high-quality real estate products will resonate well with regional buyers,” he said. The firm is currently investing heavily in the regeneration of the UK city of Manchester as part of the Northern Powerhouse initiative by the UK government to boost the local economy by investing in skills, innovation, transport and culture.

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During Cityscape Abu Dhabi, which will run from April 16-18 at Adnec, James Lapushner, managing director of the real estate private equity and fund management company Anacott Capital, will be discussing the realities of UK real estate financing post Brexit. Phillip Hope, partner and head of real estate at London business law firm Fox Williams LLP Lawyers, will outline the changing landscape of the London investment market.

Global centre of wealth

London has shrugged off concerns regarding Brexit, continuing to flex its muscles as the global centre of wealth. The city provides safe investment, education opportunities and an incomparable lifestyle. Many of the world’s most prestigious schools and universities are found in London.

It is a reliable place to do business and there’s a reason why 500 of Europe’s largest companies have their headquarters here and why a significant concentration of ultra-high-net-worth-individuals call it home. Meanwhile, in terms of lifestyle, there is really nothing quite like it with top museums, five-star hotels, Michelin-starred restaurants, trendy bars and exclusive shopping; London has something for everyone.

Capital growth

According to JLL, central London house prices will grow at 15.3 per cent over the next five years. Nick Whitten, residential research director at JLL, says, “London remains a safe haven for international capital with strong factors continuing to underpin it as a solid investment proposition for both domestic and international purchasers.

A systemic failure to align housing supply with demand has led to more than 30 years of strong house price growth, exceeding many other asset classes. Meanwhile, Sterling is currently undervalued, but is expected to appreciate against the US dollar by up to 20 per cent over the next three years.”

Despite Brexit, and stamp duty land tax reforms, the global super rich have been taking advantage of the decline in the value of the sterling, which has resulted in a significant uptick in sales in the last few months. Niccolò Barattieri di San Pietro, CEO of ultra-prime developer Northacre, said, “Despite the UK’s expected imminent departure from the EU, we can confirm it certainly hasn’t put off foreign investors.

There is increasing speculation that post Brexit the flood gates will open — those that were taking a ‘wait-and-see approach’ will release funds and London will see a significant influx of capital. We are wholeheartedly betting on Britain!”

Milestone year for Northacre

Northacre has entered a milestone year that will see 90 per cent of No.1 Palace Street apartments fitted out, including a show apartment ahead of its completion next year. Its second key development, The Broadway, will complete at the end of 2021. Despite potential Brexit challenges, the firm believes the allure of London cannot be underestimated with its credentials as a safe investment haven.

UK

Battersea 
Areas such as Battersea are seeing a significant regeneration at the moment and are likely to offer returns for buyers in the future. Omer Weinberger, managing director of Avanton, developers behind the new residential development at Battersea that comprises 299 new homes, landscaped communal spaces and the new global headquarters for the Royal Academy of Dance, says, “London is a global city attracting interest from around the world from those looking to work, learn and live in the city, meaning there is always a demand for homes. Because of London’s status as an international hub, it offers wonderful opportunities for investment, particularly in areas like Battersea.”

Source: Esha Nag

Surveyor General ascribes his successful tenure to Buhari

Perhaps his background has a lot to explain his unprecedented achievements. He is undoubtedly one of the most detribalized Nigerians ever to hold the post of Surveyor General of the Federation. His name is Ebisintei Awudu, and he is one of few Nigerians who can stake a genuine claim to being from the far-north and the far-south. Reason? From his paternal side, he is from Bayelsa, and he is a Borno man from his maternal side.

When he was appointed to this office at the twilight of the Jonathan presidency, ethnic merchants were seriously taken aback. To their luck, the then President got defeated at the election of that year, and the winner was a northerner, in the person of Muhammadu Buhari. To these ethnic jingoistic therefore, it was only a matter of time before the new President give them what they desperately wanted: kicking Awudu out of office.

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But their optimism was the key indicator that they knew nothing about President Buhari, who, throughout his military career, has saved and promoted a countless number of Christian southerners.

So when the matter of Mr. Awudu was brought to the attention of the President, all he asked was whether the man was qualified for the job. He asked for evidence to that effect. As far as President Buhari was concerned, where the new Surveyor-General hails from was not even a matter for consideration. He needed someone who could do the job. And in Mr. Awudu, the President saw a clear round peg in a round hole; a man who is well educated, was surveyor-general of Bayelsa State, a director in the office he is heading, and a member of the prestigious National Institute for Policy and Strategic Studies, Kuru.

surveyor general

The President wondered why anyone in his senses could even contemplate removing such a person from office just because he belongs to a minority tribe. It was to the blessing of this country that such a dispassionate persona is its Number One Citizen. And Nigeria is the best for it.

But these enemies of progress will not allow peace to reign. They keep churning out everything – from the ridiculous to the disgusting – to smear Mr. Awudu all in their desperate quest to shove him aside and get their preferred lackey appointed in his stead. Unfortunately for them, the Surveyor-General is here to work, to make President Buhari and Nigeria proud.

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He has no time for such frivolities. Or engage in war with anyone on account of where he comes from. As human, Mr. Awudu definitely has his limitations. But most often his mistakes are of the head, not of the heart. They are therefore forgive-able.

For the Surveyor-General, the achievements of his office automatically translate into the achievements of President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration because they would have been impossible without budgetary allocations and releases. And without a President who regards the entirety of Nigeria (and not sections of it) as his constituency.

In Nigeria the Office is the nation’s apex authority in surveying and mapping and their related matters. The Surveyor General of the Federation (SGoF) is the Chief Executive Officer of the Office.

The primary responsibility of the Office is the provision of requisite geospatial information needs of the country for sustainable national development, the co-ordination of all Surveying and Mapping and their related activities in the country.

The staff strength of the office as at December, 2018 is 687, with approved establishment staff strength of 1074.

surveyor general

Since the appointment of Mr. Awudu, the Office has been restructured and expanded into thirteen departments comprising ten technical departments, three service departments, nine units, six Zonal Directorates and thirty six state survey offices.

The constitutional roles of OSGoF give rise to the following activities: Establishment of National geodetic Infrastructure including National GIS; and definition of all international and internal boundaries of the country. Other include the provision of all geospatial Information products such as administrative maps, topographical maps, electronic national atlas, gazetteer of geographical place names, road maps and other thematic maps, as well as execution of vital National and Peculiar surveys in collaboration with relevant Ministries Departments and Agencies (MDAs) of the government.

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These peculiar surveys include time-lapse mapping of exploration and exploitation of solid minerals, oil and gas, forestry, other national resources and ecologically impacted areas such as desertification, gully erosion and land degradation.

The office also handles the provision of Magnetic, Gravity, ROW, Geo-hazard and other special surveys for monitoring, guidance and decision making; provision of Cadastral/Legal Surveys of all Federal lands and properties; provision of training, supervision and research in Surveying and Mapping in collaboration with the academic institutions; provision of consultancy  services to all Government agencies and Ministries on Surveying and Mapping themes; serving as National Repository of all Geospatial data and information including Metadate, and finally, pooling of Surveyors in the Federal Civil Service.

 

To achieve the constitutional responsibilities of the office, Surveyor Awudu has evolved some core strategies that has ensured some unprecedented achievements, including, but not limited to the expansion of the Office from six to twelve Technical Departments with the approval of the Head of Civil Service of the Federation.

surveyor general

At present, the Office has Survey and Mapping Units in eight ministries where it pooled 8 Resident Surveyors. Also, the Schemes of Service for Surveyors, Survey Technologists, Survey Technicians and Craftsman cadres were revised to conform to international best practices of Surveying and Mapping profession. Similarly, craftsman cadres were referred to a standing committee on establishment for further consideration.

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Experience over the years has shown that Surveying and Mapping is the bedrock of any physical development, and hence more investments and additional operational departments are required for the Office to meet her constitutional role for sustainable national development. This is even more apt now following the greater awareness and requests from the various MDAs on the use of geospatial (surveying and mapping) information in their sustainable planning and informed decision making.

The Office of the Surveyor General of the Federation is clearly determined to achieve its mandate in order to contribute its quota towards sustainable national development. The challenges faced by the Office, such as inadequate funding, would, if addressed, greatly enhance the achievements of this objective.

Source:  By Mohammed Dahiru

Issuing Houses: economy needs N35tr investment to thrive

The economy needs N35 trillion investment annually for the next 10 years to achieve desired economic growth, Association of Issuing Houses of Nigeria (AIHN) has said.

In a statement at the end of its first bi-annual business lunch in Lagos, the AIHN President, Chuka Eseka, said Nigeria is a N140 trillion economy, adding that to reverse the negative trends in unemployment, poverty and experience real growth, the country needs  capital investment of N35 trillion per annum consistently for the next 10 years and the capital market if properly incentivised, can facilitate this.

He explained that to deliver economic growth, revenue generation must be a priority for the government. “We must stimulate productive activities within the economy that will generate revenue. Private sector efficiency is critical in harnessing the potential infrastructure development. Increased efforts must be made to galvanise Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) as well as domestic investment,” he said.

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He added: “For the power sector to thrive, the government must create an enabling environment and address existing governance, legal, regulatory, funding and pricing issues.”

Investment

According to Eseka, this is the time for the capital market to invest in intellectual capital and develop solutions for funding key national priority sectors such as power, transportation and telecommunications to achieve the transformational and catalytic economic benefits.

“While recognising the desired supporting role of government, the private sector and capital market need to put themself in the driving seat. The government must, however, be decisive and close out on key policy issues affecting the functioning of the economy to create the right framework for the market to thrive. Focus must be on policy reforms that promote market economics,” he said.

According to the group, Nigeria is out of recession, but growth is anaemic at approximately two per cent. Inflation has moderated from 18 per cent to 11 per cent, but remains sticky above the Central Bank of Nigeria’s target of six to nine per cent.

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“Revenue improved by an estimated 41.2 per cent, but underperformed by an estimated 47.6 per cent relative to budget in 2018, the fiscal deficit remains elevated but reduced to 2.6per cent of Gross Domestic Product (GDP) in 2018. There is also a lack of fiscal buffers as the Excess Crude Account has reduced to $249 million as at February 2019 from $2.3 billion as at October 2018,” it said.

Investment

Continuing, it said: “The capital market is the barometer for measuring the health of the economy. Since the global financial crisis of 2008–2009, Nigeria’s capital market has been constrained in fulfilling its mandate to drive the growth and development of the biggest economy in Africa. The capital market provides a good platform for addressing many of Nigeria’s economic challenges.

The AIHN must take the initiative to influence the new administration’s implementation strategy of its Economic Recovery Growth Plan (ERGP) by pointing out areas where funding can be more easily accessed from the capital markets if appropriate reforms are introduced.”

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The group said for the capital market to deliver on its role as a catalyst of economic growth, market operators have to be put in the position to operate optimally. Pricing for our services has to be market driven and policies put in place that would allow operators intermediate properly in the financial markets and develop local capabilities so that Nigeria can develop its own global firms and rely less on foreign expertise to execute major projects.

Source: By Collins Nweze

Black Housing

How black residents of Long Beach fought racist real estate policies and influenced a nation

“I can sympathize and empathize with the frustration, dismay and disappointment experienced in unsuccessful attempts to acquire housing in the bigoted ‘International City’ of Long Beach. I have not been able to rent an apartment after searching for almost three months—indubitably due to the fact that I am a Negro.”

This is what a Long Beach professor, communicating anonymously to protect himself, wrote in the Long Beach Fair Housing Foundation Newsletter in 1965.

The professor’s experience was by no means unusual, in fact, it was the stark reality when it came to real estate in the 1960s: a black person, whether university professor or a blue-collar worker, could be denied the ability to purchase a home based solely on the color of their skin. A person selling or renting a home could shrug their shoulders, say they don’t do that kind of thing for negroes and there was absolutely nothing legally that could be done about it.

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Black Housing

In Long Beach, the practice led to how neighborhoods were shaped, affecting everything from the dispersion of infrastructure to white flight, leaving some neighborhoods, particularly in the west and north, hanging with no future investment. In fact, by 1963, blacks could find housing in one of only two places in the city: a small, particularly disinvested neighborhood northeast of 10th Street and Atlantic Avenue and an area southwest of Willow Street and the Los Angeles River, one of the few integrated neighborhoods in the region.

That, of course, has all changed, in large part because the racist practices were fought and defeated throughout Los Angeles County, particularly and most effectively by the efforts of black men and women of Long Beach.

“The way we were being treated had lit something within us,” said Councilman Dee Andrews, who moved to Long Beach from rural Texas when he was 5 with his family. “We were tired of being tired, tired of not receiving the benefits of the lives we were being robbed of. We stood up and we wouldn’t shut up.”

In 1959, Assemblyman William Byron Rumford—the first black person from Northern California to serve in the state legislature—headed the campaign for anti-discriminatory legislation in California, proposing the creation of the Fair Employment Practices Commission as well as the Unruh Civil Rights Act.

Named after its author, Assemblyman and eventual California State Treasurer Jesse Unruh, the bill was clear in its intentions: Anyone, outside of their race or economic class, has the right to participate in business to the best extent they can, including finding housing.

Despite heavy Republican opposition, the Unruh Act passed.

Four years later, Rumford decided to tackle the subject again because he was deeply concerned about two very big issues: weaknesses in earlier fair housing legislation and what the influence of the larger civil rights struggle nationwide meant fighting for important political issues like the creation of a permanent Fair Employment Practices Commission at the state level. That was a battle that black Californians had been struggling with between 1946 and 1959, when the California Fair Employment Practices Act passed.

Rumford succeeded. The Fair Housing Act of 1963, dubbed the Rumford Act, was passed by both the assembly and senate, prohibiting public and private property owners to discriminate when selling on the basis of “ethnicity, religion, sex, marital status, physical handicap, or familial status.”

This led to what some believed was genuine progress, especially within Los Angeles County: Compton, a predominately white suburb with a charming downtown, became a destination for black families escaping urban Los Angeles. Likewise, Long Beach saw significant growth in its black population.

Republicans, however, did not let the act pass as it was originally written, exempting most forms of private homes. The result? While the original law freed up some 3,779,000 homes to potential buyers of color, that number dropped to about 950,000 after Republicans amended the law.

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Black Housing

“Even with the Rumford Act then,” author Mark Brilliant writes in “The Color of America Has Changed,” “the bulk of California home and apartment owners remained free to discriminate on the basis of race when selling or leasing.”

Despite the Republican exemptions, those attempting to gird the former racist policy coalesced. Led by the California Real Estate Association, they pushed forward Proposition 14, one of the most racially divisive initiatives ever proposed on a California ballot.

“If an individual wants to discriminate against Negroes or others in selling or renting his house, he has the right to do so,” Ronald Reagan told audiences during his 1966 gubernatorial bid, after openly criticizing the Voting Rights Act of 1965 and using Prop. 14 as a bolster against the Rumford Act.

Here’s how Prop. 14 read:

Neither the State nor any subdivision or agency thereof shall deny, limit or abridge, directly or indirectly, the right of any person, who is willing or desires to sell, lease or rent any part or all of his real property, to decline to sell, lease or rent such property to such person or persons as he, in his absolute discretion, chooses.

Proposition 14 argued, essentially, that requiring someone to sell to someone of another race against their will was forced integration as well as a stripping of property rights, which it claimed was un-American. If anyone was in doubt whether Prop. 14 was racist in its intent and practice, the Real Estate Association made clear in its messaging that its mission was “the promotion, preservation, and manipulation of racial segregation as central—rather than incidental or residual—components of their profit-generating strategies,” according to historian Robert Self.

Prop. 14 passed easily by a two-to-one margin. In its passage, and before it was found to be unconstitutional by the U.S. Supreme Court in 1966, it prompted a fear that led to what was called “blockbusting” in West and North Long Beach. Real estate agents would go into the prominently white areas, convincing them that minorities were on the move into their neighborhood following the political movements set forth by Rumford. This, in turn, would prompt many white families to sell their homes, often at significantly lower prices than their worth. In turn, these same agents would sell the homes to affluent black families at a higher price.

Prop. 14, and the subsequent battle over it in the Supreme Court, prompted the creation of the Long Beach Fair Housing Foundation in 1964, formed with a mission “devoted entirely to the promotion of fair and open housing practices in our community” and to “act as a clearinghouse and work with all persons interested in fair housing, to carry on a continuing educational campaign, to function as a fact-finding agency, and to maintain a working committee of volunteers available.”

The organization was made up entirely of black women who worked for free. As there was no money initially to work with, they volunteered 30 hours a week. Even after they garnered enough money from private donations and $2 subscriptions for their newsletter, that money went toward leasing office space while the women continued to volunteer their time.

The foundation eventually developed an important listing service where property owners who actually believed in equal housing could list their properties. Every single neighborhood, from Signal Hill to Naples, was eventually represented on the listing and by 1965—at the peak of tensions between the passages of the Unruh Act, the Rumford Act and Prop. 14—the foundation’s listing service “handled a total of 180 open occupancy listings (129 for sale and 33 rentals) and requests from 80 minority group applicants,” according to its newsletter in November of that year.

“It was as if California was the tale of two states,” Andrews said. “Sure, we had integration. I went to Poly, played sports. On the court, it seemed like nobody cared what color you were—if you were black or white or brown, I’d still beat you; that’s where the respect probably came from. But afterward, the black kids had to go to the Cal Rec center to hang out while the white kids went to The Hutch. There was no mingling—and the politics reflected that.”

Within 10 months of operation, the women of the foundation increased the number of families of color living in integrated neighborhoods from eight to 33. By 1969, that number grew to 160. But the fight was more than just listings and information; those in the foundation knew it had to increase its power with the city of Long Beach itself.

Journalist George Weeks, writing for the Press-Telegram, noted that in 1965, 50 West Long Beach residents testified in front of the city’s Human Relations Committee, accusing California real estate agents of creating a “reservation of Negroes” on the West and North sides while “talking down the area to discourage Caucasians from viewing and buying homes [there].”

By 1966, the Navy de-commissioned its yard in Brooklyn, New York, moving many Naval officers, including blacks, to its Long Beach yard—something the Chamber of Commerce welcomed with pamphlets advocating Long Beach as a “fair city” with “abundant housing.” Now the foundation was flooded not only with local families of color seeking help, but veterans of color, amping up the foundation’s efforts and tactics.

One of those tactics included “testing,” which involved sending a white person to see if a house was available and, if it was, then sending a black person with the same qualifications to see how differently they were treated. These and other tactics—the far more complicated “double escrow” involved opening two different escrows to two different parties, one white and one black, on the same property on the same day to see which one would be processed more efficiently—allowed the foundation to build up more legal ammunition that blatantly proved racial biases in real estate transactions that, on paper, are entirely similar.

By 1967, Prop. 14 having been ruled unconstitutional allowed the foundation to take discriminators to court and Long Beach led the way by winning six cases.

Claude Hudson, shown speaking to a KABC reporter, at a Prop 14 protest with Congressman James Roosevelt (far left) and Leon Washington (2nd from left), owner and publisher of the Los Angeles Sentinel newspaper. The group is seen on Spring Street, east of the Hall of Justice (left). Courtesy of the Los Angeles Public Library.

“No other city in California has had anything approaching this amount of court action on housing,” the foundation reported in “Newsletter #22” in 1967.

Court victories were led by foundation co-founder and lawyer Myron Blumberg who, despite facing all-white juries, managed to find success in part because of Shirley Blumberg, his wife, who convinced city hall to give the organization $25,000 in support of their efforts. The foundation’s efforts also led to the submission of evidence to the Department of Justice in June of 1970 after the Office of the Attorney General began examining 8,000 rental and real estate agencies across the county.

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Black Housing

Still, progress was slow. The foundation had 75 volunteers to investigate more than 200 apartment complexes in Long Beach, and what they found was remarkable:

Out of 243 buildings covered in the investigation, fully-documented evidence of racially discriminatory practices emerged from 114 buildings. These represented a total of 1,450 units; and the owners of these properties also owned an additional 875 units not included in the investigation. There was a grand total, then, of 2,325 units directly or indirectly involved in the reports sent to the Justice Department – all in the immediate Long Beach area. The last reports went to the Housing Section, Civil Rights Division on September 15, 1970. Foundation was assured that prompt action would follow.

Despite overwhelming evidence, the Department of Justice eventually decided not to file suit and instead sent officers to the offending areas to issue warnings. The foundation was informed that the department would have political officials and powerful groups like the Realty Board chastising them.

However, the efforts of the foundation continued, leading to a landmark case in 1972 that rewarded a black couple $10,000 after dealing with a racist landlord, one of the largest awards of its time, and those efforts altered the local, regional, state, and national attention toward discriminatory housing policies.

Source: Brian Addison

How unplanned cities and urbanisation contribute to human misery

When Okafor Ofoegbu left his village in the Eastern part of Nigeria for Lagos, the country’s sprawling city and commercial capital, he did so with high optimism, thinking  that the city was the answer to the many unanswered questions about life and living that forced him out of his place of birth.

It is believed that the city is a land of opportunities and Ofoegbu had no doubt about that, hence, he told himself that he must, on coming to the city, tap into these opportunities, position himself properly by getting something doing, earn income, build a house and set up a family.

But coming to the city was a great eye-opener for Ofoegbu because there and then it dawned on him that the grass is always greener from afar; that perception is always different from reality. This is Nigeria where cities are unplanned and so, life and living are not only difficult, but also stressful, tortuous and miserable.

In advanced economies of the world, when cities grow and urbanisation rises, they usually do so with economic growth and wellbeing, improved living standards for the people, and increased prospects for job and wealth creation.

But, in Africa, when cities grow and urbanisation follows, they come as liabilities chiefly because cities are not planned. Expectation is that, in about 15 years to come, unless something happens to check it, city population will double its current figure of about 65 percent of the continent’s total population.

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Though misery is an off-shoot of many unfavourable human conditions, it is almost always linked to poverty and suffering. Of the many sorrows of life that include the anguish of death, the torture of poverty, the pain of alienation and betrayal by loved and cherished ones, Bertha M. Clay, an English writer, contends that none is as heart rending as the misery of long suffering.

In Nigeria misery is a native. It lives and thrives in many homes which is why there is protestation, in many quarters, that the recent ranking of Nigeria as the 6th most miserable country in the world is incorrect because, given the reality on ground, the country ought to have been ranked number 1.

Steve Hanke, an economist from John Hopkins University, United States, in the 2018 Misery Index report, ranked Nigeria among the top miserable countries of the world, citing unemployment, poor access to bank loans, among others.

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But, both experience and findings have shown that poor human conditions, very common in unplanned cities, are major sources of misery in Africa as a whole and Nigeria in particular.  Nigerians, whether in the city or in the rural areas, live miserable lives.

Those in the cities, especially Lagos, seem to suffer more. Lagos is urbanising rapidly. This is not an economic asset which it is supposed to be because it is happening in a largely unplanned city.

It is estimated that about 60 percent of the urban city dwellers in Africa lives in slums and Nigeria has a large share of this percentage. Lagos, which is the country’s largest commercial city, has nine identified slum areas including Ijora Badia, Amukoko, Ajegunle, Okokomaiko, Orile, among others and over 70 percent of the city’s 20 million people live in these slum areas. Abuja, the federal capital city, also has a number of growing slum areas like Kuje, Kubwa, Nyanya and others.

Majority of the people in these urban slums live on dollar a day. Their sources of livelihood are mainly at the city centres where they serve as domestic servants to the very few rich who live there. Others are mid-income workers whose places of work are also at the city centres.

From these slums they commute to their various places of work and businesses at the city centre, spending quality hours on traffic, enduring stress, getting weak and sick, in some cases, and ultimately miserable even before getting to their work places.

Every morning, people from Okokomaiko, Ajegunle, Agege, etc are seen milling out and snaking their way to Lagos Island, Ikoyi, Lekki or Victoria Island where they work, and repeat the same process in the evening on their way back. The same thing happens in Abuja where every early morning residents from Nyanya, Kuje, Kubwa and even Suleja in the neighbouring Niger State file out like ants to their offices at the city centre and come back the same way in the evening.

All these are sources of stress, coupled with the fact that many of these residents have no access to electricity and clean water. They go home to either endure the cacophonous noises of generators or sweat their way into sleep for the night.

An official of the UN-Habitat, therefore, advises that governments at all levels should improve the city, bearing in mind that  improving the city means improving the economy and the human person, thus creating chances of people getting more jobs.

Promoters of upcoming cities should, therefore, reflect modern city development that incorporates living, working and leisure.

Source: Chuka Uroko

Reasons for drop in bank lending to real estate in Q4 2018

The decline in the rate at which Nigerian banks allocated credits to the real estate in Q4 2018 may have resulted from their quest to invest in risk-free assets coupled with the political uncertainty during the review period, industry analysts have said.

Figures from the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) for the last quarter of 2018 reveals that the N622 billion credits to the sector represents a 12.3 percent decline from the N 710 billion it got in Q3 2018.

The credit share the sector got from the country’s commercial banks in the review quarter represents 4.12 percent of the total N15.13 trillion credits to the entire private sector.

Jide Ogunleye, CEO of Denaro Properties Limited, who is also a business and investment strategies expert with emphasis on real estate, explained that the only reason a bank would lend money at any point in time was not for charity purposes.

“It is to make good returns and, on that note, a couple of reasons can be linked to why the banks reduced their lending to the real estate sector”, he said.

The CEO said “it could be that they are finding returns in fixed income market. You can put your money there and go to sleep, as there is no risk involved.”

This was affirmed by Godwin Asuelimen, Head, Core Product at Propertypro.ng as he said: “I don’t think the decline in the bank lending to the sector was about the fact that the sector was less attractive; it was mostly because of the election uncertainty.

Analysis of the banks’ credit to the property industry in the review quarter shows it represents the lowest decline since Q3 2015. Meanwhile, figures from NBS reveal that the all-time highest and lowest credit allocation to the sector were in Q3 2017 and Q2 2015 with credit of N798.39 billion and N548.21 billion respectively.

Yemi Stephen, a partner at Estate Links, a firm of estate surveyors and valuers in Lagos, said despite the decline in bank lending to the sector, it is still one of the most attractive sectors for investment.

“The year was coming to an end and people were uncertain about the recently concluded elections; it was also as a result of the economic performance, as the more the economy grows the more activities that will be reported for the real estate sector, Stephens said.

Real estate is about real investment. Huge capital outlay is needed and the stake is very high. Femi Akintunde, GMD, Alpha Mead Group, explained in an interview, noting that banks slowed down lending to real estate just as even people taking corporate bonds were being careful in Q4 2018 because of the uncertainties that surrounded the just concluded general elections.

This is quite evident, looking at bank lending to the sector earlier in the year as reported by NBS. According to the Bureau, N784 billion and N744 billion were lent to the sector in first and second quarters of the 2018 respectively.4

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Another factor that may be daunting banks’ lending to the property industry, according to Ogunleye may be risk assessment. “Every bank has a risk assessment unit; if they carry out risk assessment and they see that the real estate sector is not going to do well in a particular year, definitely, they will withhold their funds.”

He said the banks now carry out their due diligence owing to their past experiences with non-performing loans. “You know there are some banks that have not recovered from the loans they gave to oil and gas industry which may have been as a result of the fact that they failed to carry out due diligence.”

Ogunleye noted that the banks have information about the property market, citing instance of when people take loans from the banks and they give them property as collateral, upon their default, the banks put those properties in the market and as such they know the sale velocity of the real estate market.

Unlike other sectors of the economy, real estate in Nigeria plunged further into recession in Q4 2018 fuelled by the political uncertainty from the February general elections.

After showing signs of rebound for two consecutive quarters through to Q3 2018, the property market turned southwards, falling deeper into contraction mode.

The figures released by NBS show that, in real terms, the sector contracted by 3.85 percent in Q4 (year-on-year), which is 2.07 percent points better than the -5.92 percent recorded for the fourth quarter of 2017.

Source: By Endurance Okafor

 

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