Real estate has attracted over US$4bn institutional capital –Ogundiran

With Nigeria ranking 145 out 190 countries in the World Bank Ease of Doing Business Index and acknowledged as one of the top 10 most improved economies in the world, real estate has contributed over US$4 billion of institutional capital according to 2018 statistics.

The country has also moved up by 24 points from 169th position of 2017 to 145th position in the World Bank’2018 report, 171 out 190 from the 182nd position 2017 for countries paying taxes. It also rose to 179th from 182nd for countries registering property.

Making the revelation recently at the Town Hall meeting of the 7th Edition of the Real Estate Unite, 2018 in Lagos, the Founder/CEO Eximia Realty Co Ltd, Mr. Hakeem Ogunniran, said that a lot of policies inhibit the growth of real estate in Nigeria.


According to him, the real estate sector in Nigeria is bedeviled by lack of key drivers, acute inadequacy of primary and secondary infrastructure, issues of power sector reforms, PHCN problems. This includes public utilities like roads, water and recreational facilities. This he said, is because every developer is a mini – local government.

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In his presentation, Mr. Luqman Edu, CEO Filmo-Realty noted that real estate is acutely affected by limitations of the sector as an asset class and this he said is compounded by the fact that data that is important in the sector is not available.

He noted that the use of technology can help in the growth of real estate.

 

Several other discussants at the town hall agreed that, although the sector had not done much as expected, recent policies or reforms in the sector if taken and implemented to the letter will help in improving on the sector’s growth.

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Some of the recent policies or reforms included but not limited to, Lagos State Property Protection Law of 2016, law on prohibition of land grabbing and new guidelines for pioneer status.

Others include, review of consent fees or charges, review of the Land Use Act and the Security and Exchange Commission (SEC) amendment of Investment Securities Act rules.

While giving analysis on growth of the sector in the Sub-Saharan region, Ogunniran said, “The Sub-
Saharan Africa region has seen limited progress over the last two years, with improvements led by the regional hubs – Nigeria and Kenya.

Market data availability continues to be pushed forward, while both valuation standards and transaction processes are advancing, with more international service providers entering markets across the region.

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Government data initiatives have been important in raising transparency levels, with Kenya and Rwanda digitising their land registries, while Nigeria and Ghana have started to publish more information on regulatory requirements online.

Kenya sees continued progress due to improved transaction process and greater data availability Nigeria top regional improver as 3rd party providers enhance market coverage and valuation quality”.

Maduka Nweke

How to market to different types of potential property buyers

 

For a quick property sale it is important to understand the different types of buyers and which of these your home will appeal to.

In the competitive real estate market, agents need to have an advantage when selling property. Getting in the mind of the perfect buyer and figuring out who they are and why they would want to buy a specific home is key.

“When marketing a home, one needs to try and determine the profile of the buyer for the specific property. In order to attract the right buyer the marketing needs to be focused and directed to that targeted audience which will result in a quicker sale, not leaving the property over exposed. We at Engel & Völkers make use of various analytics & tools in order to determine this buyer pool so that our sellers receive optimal exposure for their properties” says Craig Hutchison, CEO Engel & Völkers Southern Africa.

Sellers and agents need to establish and understand the persona of the buyer they are dealing with which will assist in determining the needs of the buyer and how they should be approached. We take a look at some buyer personas and what they entail.

1. Move-Down Buyers
• High net worth professionals who are looking to downsize from their larger homes after they have retired or their children have moved out.
• They are generally selling their luxury homes and buying smaller, pared-down homes that are easier to maintain, they’ll appreciate plenty of amenities and easy access.
• These buyers will enjoy being in a quiet location that offers easy access to parks, trails, coffee shops and restaurants.

2. First-Time Buyers
• Middle-class families who are looking for a foot in the door to home ownership based on affordability.
• These buyers are looking for a comfortable, liveable home and are likely to be drawn to homes with large gardens that provide plenty of room for gardening and space for children to play.
• Generally want at least two bedrooms and two full bathrooms to accommodate expanding families and room for visitors to stay.

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3. Move-Up Buyers
• Professionals who want to trade their existing homes for larger, more luxurious houses due to a change in income, new baby or marriage.
• They are looking for a home that allows them to live the lifestyle of their dreams.
• Their must-have features include modern kitchens, luxury bathrooms and a pool and will appreciate modern, high-tech design.

4. Luxury Buyers
• High net worth individuals or international professionals who may have several homes.
• They are happy to spend the money needed to secure a home that offers luxurious amenities such as heated floors, open floor plans, chandeliers and large bathrooms.
• Often look at many homes before committing to a specific location and may have a long list of requirements for their new home.

5. Investor Buyers
• High net worth real estate investors who specialize in buying and selling homes. These buyers often have many homes in the area and want to purchase another home to flip or rent to middle-class families or professionals.
• When it comes to purchasing a home, these buyers are receptive, sharp and attentive, although they are generally also thrifty and savvy.
• For an investor buyer, one of the most important traits a house can have is a good location at a decent price.

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6. Retail Buyers
• This is the average home buyer who is in the market to purchase a primary residence.
• They are buyers who have access to finance or enough money saved up to purchase a property for cash.
• An important aspect for this type of buyer will be the home’s price and their level of affordability as well as the proximity to their work and amenities such as schools, medical facilities and shopping centres.

7. Buy-to-let Investors
• A property that can generate revenue while it appreciates in value over the long-term is the main concern for this buyer.
• They are looking for a secure permanent investment that will be relatively low maintenance for instance sectional title units that require little or no renovation and can be rented out immediately to start earning income.
• In some cases they are also looking for larger homes that can be rented to upmarket tenants or students in a commune set-up.

8. Rent to Own
• Is normally a buyer who wants to buy but is not ready to do so yet.
• This buyer typically has credit issues and will need time to fix it up in order to qualify for a loan.
• This is also called a lease option buyer.

9. Fix-and-flip Investors
• Full-time property investors looking for property that is selling substantially below the market norm in a specific area.
• This type of investor will be looking for a property in need of renovation that they can restore and sell in a reasonably short period of time for a return on investment.
• They are looking for the lowest prices because their rehab costs are higher than most other buyers.

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10. Relocation Home Buyer
• This buyer is rock solid and qualified to buy.
• They know they only have a limited amount of time to find a property so they want to see as many houses as they can.
• They want a professional to help find them homes, and show them as many as possible.

11. Young Millennial Buyer
• These buyers do not necessarily rely on seasons and school schedules to purchase homes. For this group of buyers, the market is on at all times.
• They are very active buyers, and most importantly millennial want suburbs that feel like a city, they are fully connected, visual and will view listings at any time of the day.
• Most of these buyers prefer seeing homes that appeal to them on their own time.

In summary, it is of vital importance that expertise and time is spent on the pre-marketing of a property, to ensure the best results. Which type of buyer would you be?

Press

As Real Estate Tech Investments Rise, Here Are The Tools To Watch

 

Investment in real estate technology is at an all-time high. In 2017 alone, venture capital firms invested nearly $13 billion in the space. And with a number of new VCs now specializing in the arena (Camber Creek, MetaProp and Fifth Wall, to name a few), that number’s only going to rise in the coming years.

What does that equate to for buyers, sellers and those who work in the industry?

For one, it means more options — more solutions, products and tools that can make everything from buying, selling and investing to fixing, flipping and renting easier and more lucrative.

It also equals more competition for those in the tech space. And so far, that competition has certainly bred excellence.

As Jake Fingert, partner at Camber Creek, put it, “The real estate technology industry is expanding right now with incredible velocity. We are seeing enormous investment opportunities as innovative companies are leveraging new technologies, creating positive disruptive for buyers and sellers in the real estate market. There are, of course, large companies like WeWork, Redfin, and Zillow that have achieved mass market scale, but there is also an exciting new wave of companies that are looking to simplify various aspects of buying, selling and owning property.”

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Here are a few of those innovative companies to put on your radar:

For agents:

LiveBy, for localized content

According to Clelia Peters, one of the cofounders of VC MetaProp, LiveBy “is an exciting new company that is creating detailed neighborhood content for real estate agents to use with their clients to help them better understand where they are buying.” LiveBy offers hyperlocal, neighborhood-specific content that integrates with an agent’s existing site, as well as their listings or MLS data. It’s basically targeted marketing meets informational resource, giving agents clout with existing clients while bringing in new leads at the same time.

Kelle, an AI personal assistant

Created by KW Labs — Keller Williams’ own innovation hub — Kelle is an AI-based personal assistant designed just for real estate agents. Using simple voice or text commands, agents can get hyperlocal data reports, neighborhood information and more within seconds. It also helps agents manage their schedules, grow their network, monitor business goals and access training and educational resources as well. The app is available on Apple and Android and recently won Inman’s Best Real Estate Technology of the year award.

Agent Neo, an Amazon Echo app

Technically a consumer-facing app, Agent Neo helps buyers and sellers book appointments or showings with local real estate agents in their area. The reason it’s on the agents’ part of this list is two-fold: 1) because it feeds agents leads and helps fill their sales pipelines, and 2) because it can improve on-site tours and showings. If a Neo-enabled Amazon Echo device is located on an agent’s property, agents can pre-load it with tons of property-specific information to inform and guide potential buyers. Those buyers can then ask questions, inquire about things like utility bills and seller’s disclosures, and even get local neighborhood data as they tour the home.

First.io, for getting more clients

This one’s a great tool for agents looking to up their portfolio of listings. The tool connects with the agent’s network, contacts and social accounts and then uses data science to track and analyze more than 700 factors that might indicate someone is ready to buy a home. It then identifies the people in that network most likely to sell within the next six to 12 months and, as Peters puts it, “uses rigorous testing to determine the most effective forms of follow-up” with those connections.

For home buyers and sellers:

AskDOSS, for real estate-related questions

AskDOSS is a Siri-like personal assistant designed just for real estate. Buyers can use it to get deep-dive insights on virtually any property in the country, including things like property valuations, utility bill and tax information, school data and more. It works via voice or text command on both smartphones and smart speakers, and it even includes not-listed and non-MLS properties, too. AskDOSS technically isn’t available at the moment (it just closed out a successful beta run and will re-launch in 2019), but founder Bobby Bryant says his engineers are working closely with IBM Watson engineers to “cover every real estate function and query imaginable for every property in the country.”

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Edgewise, for building new construction

If you’re looking to buy a new home or build one from the ground up, you’ll want this tool in your sights. A unique platform that connects homebuilders directly with buyers, it allows shoppers to select open projects, make offers, customize their future home and even track its progress all online and digitally. The biggest benefit? Because it cuts out the real estate agent middleman, founder Bobby Juncosa says it’s a win-win for both buyer and builder. “The commission savings can be distributed back to the buyer and builder, making homes more affordable for buyers, and more profitable for builders,” he said.

Morty, a streamlined rate shopping service

Shopping around for mortgage rates is important — especially in today’s rising rate environment. But jumping from lender to lender, filling out dozens of applications and fielding calls from one loan officer after another can be time-consuming (not to mention tedious.) Morty aims to streamline the rate-shopping process. Buyers can upload a financial profile, learn about their loan options and then get rate offers from vetted lenders in one single dashboard. Once they choose their preferred lender, Morty helps move the loan through underwriting and closing all online. As Clelia Peters describes it, “Morty aggregates mortgage offers to improve both the rate and the consumer experience when shopping for a mortgage.”

Homelight, for finding the right agent

For buyers (or sellers) looking to work with an agent, Homelight can help. Users answer questions about their goals and preferences, and then Homelight analyzes millions of real estate transactions and databases to find the right fit. They’ll get a short list of potential agent matches and can use Homelight’s real estate experts for recommendations or to schedule in-person interviews. Peters calls it “agent performance analysis” that helps buyers select just the right broker for their needs.

TaskEasy, for keeping that yard in check

Having trouble keeping that lawn neat and tidy for showings? Sellers strapped for time can take solace in TaskEasy — a tool that Fingert dubs “the Lyft for lawn care.” TaskEasy offers on-demand lawn services with the click of a button. Schedule weekly or bi-weekly service, or book one as-needed when a showing is scheduled. No haggling or hassle required.

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For mortgage companies:

Jane.ai, an artificial intelligence support system

USA Mortgage just implemented this AI-based team member, which operates as a sort of support system for the company’s hundreds of loan officers and support staff employees. They can use it to access company data on the fly, whether it’s in email form, located on a network or database or even embedded in a document. As USA’s Ron Mueller told CMSWire, “The mortgage industry is an extremely competitive business and we need our team members engaging with customers, not spending their time sifting through reams of emails and documents. Having Jane on board means that our employees can now find exactly what they need in a matter of seconds instead of minutes or even hours.” The Jane.ai bot operates within Slack, a mobile-based communications app.

Spruce, an online title provider

Spruce is a fully digital title company that can integrate with lenders’ existing platforms and processes. It offers an easy e-closing solution, mobile notaries and e-scheduling, making the entire closing process easier and more efficient — both for buyer and lender. And because its technology cuts out added fees and expenses, Spruce can even cut down on costs, saving about $360 per loan, on average.

Matic Insurance, to ease the insurance process

This is another integrable tool that can save costs and money — and in this case, more importantly, prevent delays in closings. Many buyers aren’t aware (or become aware too late) that they’ll need homeowners’ insurance before proceeding with closing. Because Matic integrates with lenders’ existing platforms, it makes choosing insurance a natural part of the application process. Buyers can get quotes, sign up for policies and send proof of that policy to their loan officer within seconds. The tool integrates with popular platforms like LendingQB, Roostify and MortgageHippo.

Aly J. Yale

Lagos Federal Secretariat Complex should be sold – NSE Lagos Branch

– The federal government has been advised on the sale of the 15-storey federal secretariat complex in Ikoyi area of Lagos
– The call was from the Lagos branch of the Nigerian Society of Engineers
– The federal government was urged to collaborate with the Lagos state government to sell the building

Nigerian Society of Engineers (NSE), Lagos branch, has advised the federal government to collaborate with the Lagos state government to sell the 15-storey federal secretariat complex in Ikoyi to save the national monument from further deterioration. NAN reports that Johnson Akinwande, the branch chairman, said both governments should reach an agreement on the facility without further delay. It was gathered that Akinwande explained that earlier moves by the federal government to sell the asset to private individuals failed because the buyer wanted to use it for purposes that contravened the Lagos master plan for the area. He also called for integrity tests and proper environmental impact assessment of the facility.

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The complex, said to have been abandoned since 1991 following the relocation of the country’s capital from Lagos to Abuja, is now a shadow of its former self. Built in 1976, the facility which served as the engine room of the federal civil service, is virtually in a ruinous state, stripped of doors, windows and other fittings, a News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) check has revealed.

A section of the building formerly occupied by the National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC) which was gutted by fire is yet to be renovated. Contacted for his comment, Dickson Onoja, the director of public buildings in the federal Ministry of Housing, Abuja, said the property was no longer under the control of the ministry.

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Onoja said the Presidential Implementation Committee on the sale of federal government landed property in Abuja was in a better position to speak on the status of the secretariat.

He said: “The federal secretariat buildings in Ikoyi are no longer ours and no longer under our control as it is one of the buildings sold off some years back. I am told issues came up in relation to development control, building plan approvals and permits which are under the jurisdiction of state government.”

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Meanwhile, it was previously reported that the Nigerian Senate blocked the proposed sales of national assets by the executive arm of government. Members of the Nigeria’s upper legislative chamber registered their displeasure at the Senate on Wednesday, December 20, over the government’s proposed plans to sell the national asset.

Agency Report

‘We are driven by our vision to build 1 million homes in the next 20 years’

 

Taf Nigeria Homes, a subsidiary of Taf Africa Homes, is a ‘foreign’ real estate firm making direct investment in the Nigerian economy. The company entered the Nigerian property market with a bang, developing over one thousand luxury but affordable homes at its RIVTAF Golf Estate in Port Harcourt. In this interview with CHUKA UROKO, the Group Managing Director/CEO, Mustapha Njie, speaks on the Nigerian economy, the recession, the real estate market, the potentials, opportunities and challenges in the market. Among other things, Njie also speaks on the company’s future plans in Nigeria. Excerpts:

Taf Nigeria Homes Limited is, for purposes of definition, a foreign real estate firm making direct investment in Nigerian economy. What was the attraction to Nigeria?

When we came into Nigeria in 2013, Nigeria had an estimated population of about 150 million, a dearth of housing, and an increasing annual population growth rate. These factors made the real estate sector very attractive and the potentials still remain untapped. Our experiences have not been too palatable particularly in view of the economic situation of the country in the last 3 years, but it’s been worth the while as we take pride in delivering a luxury estate with quality homes and seeing our client express satisfaction with our products and services. We are also particularly elated to acknowledge that our project positively impacted the lives of members of the community, individually and collectively.

You have been in the Nigerian real estate market for over five years now and still counting. What story can you tell of Nigeria, its property market and the economy in general?

Prior to being hit by the recession experienced in the country, the real estate sector made certain contribution to the real GDP of Nigeria. In 2015, the real estate sector was reported to have contributed 8.26 percent to the real GDP of Nigeria (National Bureau of Statistics: Nigeria Gross Domestic Product Report, Q1 2015). Unfortunately, the contribution of the real estate sector to the real GDP has reduced over the past years due to the recession.

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The National Bureau of Statistics reported that in the third quarter of 2017, the real estate sector contributed 6.79 percent to real GDP, lower than the 7.18 percent reported in the third quarter of 2016 (National Bureau of Statistics: Nigeria Gross Domestic Product Report, Q3 2017) and lower than 7.57 percent reported in the third quarter of 2015 (National Bureau of Statistics: Nigeria Gross Domestic Product Report, Q3 2015). Although the country is said to have come out of recession, the real estate sector is yet to recover from the impact of the recession.

This is evident in the Nigeria Gross Domestic Product Report, Q1 2018 of the NBS which puts the real GDP growth in the sector in Q1 2018 at -9.40 percent and a contribution of 5.63 percent to real GDP (National Bureau of Statistics: Nigeria Gross Domestic Product Report, Q1 2018) which is lower than the 6.32 percent of Q1 2017 and the 6.48 percent of Q1 2016 (National Bureau of Statistics: Nigeria Gross Domestic Product Report, Q1 2017).

Nigeria successfully exited a crippling 15-month recession. Our focus in this report is on those real estate firms, which you are one, that are still afloat despite the impact of the recession. Tell us your story in the circumstance.

Without a doubt, the real estate sector attracted investments from individuals, corporates, foreign investors in a large scale prior to the recession that hit the Nigerian economy. It cannot be overemphasised that, just like other forms of constructions, real estate development requires significant capital. Till date, the sector has witnessed limited equity financing, hostile debt financing (particularly in view of harsh lending rates which was reported to have hit 30 percent per annum) and weaker effective demand triggered by inadequate and unfriendly mortgage facilities.

We were not insulated from the situation of the sector as we are a key player in the sector. However, we were resolute to deliver on our promise of delivering affordable luxury estate to our target clientele without compromising the quality and standards which our brand is known for across the continent. To this end, we decided to take certain strategic steps which I hope to discuss in the course of this interview.

A major problem for developers like you during the recession was credit drought and hyperinflation that eroded people’s purchasing power. How did you source funding for your projects?

The poor state of the economy, worsened by the recession, posed significant barriers on the availability of finance for the real estate sector. This is because the few lending institutions that could ordinarily provide construction financing to real estate players or mortgages to encourage demand for real estate products could no longer provide such facilities. The cost of finance (especially debt finance) during the recession was alarming so we decided to deploy other innovative and creative means of generating funds outside debt finance.

For you to have sustained your business till now means you are a resilient company and indeed you must have brought innovation and creativity into your operations. How did you do it?

In a bid to navigate the storms in the sector and continue to provide quality products and services to our growing clientele while we remain profitable, we had to deploy creative strategies. These include introduction of certain value added services to our existing superb customer service experience; redesigning our products to smaller units in order to make them more affordable; introducing new products like serviced plots; evaluating ongoing construction works on defaulting clients’ property and renegotiating sales agreement with a view to handing over such properties “as is”; strategic engagements of marketing agents especially by providing incentives to existing clients who make referrals to us; and ultimately introducing a contractor/vendor/supplier-financing (C/V/S-F) system.

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We are particularly fascinated about the C/V/S-F system which you adopted in the RIVTAF Golf Estate. What is this system all about and how did it work for you in the marketing and sales of that estate?

The C/V/S-F system is a system wherein certain aspects of the development and infrastructure within the RIVTAF Golf Estate were financed by the contractors/vendors/suppliers themselves. So, rather than paying the contractors/vendors/suppliers for the services provided to us, we issue them with some properties for the contract sum and at negotiated prices. The contractors/vendors/suppliers in turn sell off these properties or collateralise the properties to finance the contract. This strategy was not limited to new contracts, it was extended to existing contracts that had been partly paid for as well as to contract that had been fully performed but with outstanding debts to the contractors/vendors/suppliers.

As a result of the C/V/S-F system adopted in the RIVTAF Golf Estate, the estate is nearing completion. Work has progressed significantly on our shopping mall and completion is now in view, liabilities have been reduced thereby freeing up funds for other operations and commitments of the company. The C/V/S-F system allowed our company to continue to create value and deliver on the promises made to our esteemed clients while our contractors/vendors/suppliers remained in business and continued to make profit. It is apposite to also note that this system guaranteed sales of our products. This is in view of the fact that properties given to contractors/vendors/suppliers in place of payment for services rendered are deemed as sales on our accounts as they are deemed to have been paid for by the receiving contractors/vendors/suppliers.

The challenge of the C/V/S-F system was a potential parallel market but this was well managed as the structure of the C/V/S-F system already anticipated this challenge and had ready preventive solutions for such potential challenge. Rather, a viable secondary market was created where contractors/vendors/suppliers became strategic players in the secondary market for our products.

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RIVTAF Golf Estate is a project with which you stamped your signature in the Nigerian real estate market. Any plan to replicate that in any other part of Nigeria? Where and when should we expect that to happen?

Yes, we intend to replicate and do even greater projects in Nigeria. TAF Nigeria Homes Limited and its sister companies across the African continent are driven by our vision to build 1million homes in the next 20 years. Nigeria remains one of the biggest economies for such projects. With an estimated population of over 184 million as at December 2017 (World Bank: The World Bank in Nigeria), a conservative estimate of 17 million units of housing deficit as at 2015, an annual population growth rate of 2.8 percent (National Population Commission and National Bureau of Statistics Estimates), the potentials of the real estate sector remains unimaginable. We are optimistic that the sector would recover from the negative results being reported and start experiencing positive growth. The Nigerian real estate sector can!

We want to believe that it has not been a bed of roses for you operating in Nigeria. What have been your major challenges in this country? Do you have any regrets being where you are?

Every business faces certain challenges and indeed a significant chunk of such challenges emanate from governments and regulators in each sector. We have had our share of this and can only ask that government makes increased efforts at improving the ease of doing business in Nigeria. Another significant challenge is the dearth of infrastructure in the country. The absence of infrastructure such as roads and efficient transport system impacts location and viability of a project. Infrastructure must be given its deserved attention by the government.

What are your projects in terms of growth and expansion in the next four to five years?

We have a couple of projects to deliver in Nigeria but I would not want to put the cart before the horse. We are in advanced level discussions with the governments of some key states in the South-Western and South-South regions of the country and have reached certain Agreements in Principle and signed a Memorandum of Understanding. In due course, these projects would come on stream. It may also interest you to know that we have built a formidable and highly competent team in Nigeria to manage the company’s operations in more than one location as we expand into other states..

CHUKA UROKO

NIA President laments neglect of Nigerian Architects

President of the Nigerian Institute of Architects (NIA), Arch. Festus Njoku, has expressed concerns over what he described as neglect of Nigerian architects in the execution of government projects.

Arch. Njoku stated this while speaking with Housing News Crew ahead of the NIA’s 4th distinguished lecture series scheduled to hold September 24 at Shehu Musa Yardua Center, Abuja.

He emphasized the importance of Nigerian architects, especially in the infrastructural development of the nation, saying undermining them is detrimental to the nation’s economy.

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The NIA President lamented on the patronage of foreign architects to execute what their Nigerian counterparts can do far more better.

His words; “The architect is the master builder. He conceives the idea and transfers to a paper through sketch where another person can read his mind.

“It is a pity things are no longer happening in our country. Now what is happening in our country, you see Chinese bringing this sort of package they call “loan,” but they go further to put conditions. ‘our men will do the work’. They will do the design, they will do the construction, and our governments are willing to have it that way.”

“We are not happy about it because Nigerian architects have the capacity to design all over the world.” “We cannot go to China to do their works for them.” He added.

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Articulating his vision as NIA President, Arch. Njoku said he looks forward to ensuring a reduction in the cost of housing delivery despite some challenges affecting the housing sector. He disclosed that plans were already in place to launch the ‘Nigeria Affordable House’.

“Although alternatives to expensive building materials have been discovered, it is hand woven by somebody which makes the cost higher. Therefore, a strategy to mechanize the whole process is being worked on to reduce cost of production. Nigeria Affordable House is already on the way. We will present it to the public next year.” He assured.

Ibrahim Muhammed, Housing News, Abuja.

NIA 4th Distinguished Lecture Series to celebrate Arc. Gabriel Aduku’s excellence in the Nigerian Architectural community

 

The President of the Nigerian Institute of Architects (NIA), Arc. Festus Adibe Njoku has said that the NIA is set to recognize and celebrate the immeasurable impacts of Arc. Gabriel Yusuf Aduku in the Nigerian Architectural Industry at its 4th Distinguished Lecture Series to hold on September 24th, 2018 at the Shehu Musa Yaradua Centre, Abuja.

In a chat with HousingNews Correspondent earlier today, Arc. Festus explained that the distinguished lecture series is an annual event which was established as an avenue for past presidents to impart the knowledge they have acquired over the years to members of the association.

He made it known that as it’s the custom of the association; this year’s mantle has fallen on Arc. Gabriel Yakubu Aduku FNIA, PPNIA, OON a past president of NIA and the Principal Consultant & Director of Archon Nigeria Limited, to lecture the architectural community and Nigeria at large.

“… Arc. Gabriel Aduku is going to deliver this year’s lecture, somehow it’s like a parting gift to the profession where he will impart to us, what he want us to remember him for.” he said.

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The President added that the lecture series is “a time to give back to society… as a past president you must have gone through many stages and gathered many experiences right from the state chapter …so let him impart those ideas to the profession and to the society as we are celebrating his excellence by having him give us a distinguished lecture series”

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Also present in the chat session was Arc. Sunday Echono, Vice president of the NIA and the Chairman of the 4th distinguished lecture series committee. The NIA Vice President told HousingNews that the event will be a full program where excellence will be awarded and Arc. Aduku’s Book titled “Beyond simple lines” that “articulates his design philosophy, his accomplishments and the architectural culture that his firm has been able to establish and propagate in architectural economy” will be launched.

Arc. Sunday described Arc. Gabriel Aduku as “a man of many parts, he has led us as the president of NIA, ARCON, and if you look at the footprints he is someone who has played very key roles in our architectural economy. He is the first president from the northern part of the country and his firm Archcon Nigeria Limited is one of the top architectural firms in Northern Nigeria responsible for developing well known architects in northern Nigeria.”

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“His firm has been in operation for over 50years and has been producing so many architects who have gone on to also do lots of projects and a lot of that will be on display at the event” he added

Arc. Sunday enjoined friends, well wishers and every professional in the construction industry to come and join the Nigerian Institute of Architects to celebrate Arc. Gabriel Aduku an icon in the Nigerian architectural community.

“it is a period where we celebrate accomplished architects who have served the profession very well and also being a role model to the sector.” He said.

Wilson Ifeoma, HousingNews, Abuja

£2bn fund for building low-cost homes, Theresa May declares

Prime minister to call on associations to help end social housing ‘stigma’ that sees tenants treated as ‘second class citizens’

Housing associations will be handed £2bn in new funding to help them build low-cost homes, under plans set to be announced by Theresa May tomorrow.

The prime minister will tell associations they will be allowed to apply for money for the next decade in a bid to give them greater financial security.

Ms May will also call on housing providers to help end the stigma around social housing that, she will say, sees many politicians “look down on” people who live in low-cost homes.

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She will tell a conference of the National Housing Federation, which represents housing associations, that “the most ambitious” providers will be able to bid for government money to last them until 2028-29.

The money will come from housing budgets in the next spending review period – the details of which are not expected until next year.

Ms May is expected to say: “You said that if you were going to take a serious role in not just managing but building the homes this country needs, you had to have the stability provided by long-term funding deals. Well, eight housing associations have already been given such deals, worth almost £600m and paving the way for almost 15,000 new affordable homes.

“And today, I can announce that new longer-term partnerships will be opened up to the most ambitious housing associations through a ground-breaking £2bn initiative. Under the scheme, associations will be able to apply for funding stretching as far ahead as 2028-29 – the first time any government has offered housing associations such long-term certainty.

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“Doing so will give you the stability you need to get tens of thousands of affordable and social homes built where they are needed most, and make it easier for you to leverage the private finance you need to build many more.”

Ms May will demand associations “achieve things neither private developers nor local authorities are capable of doing” and call on them “to take the lead in transforming the very way in which we think about and deliver housing in this country” by “taking on and leading major developments themselves”, rather than simply buying properties built by developers.

She will also ask associations to help end the “stigma” around social housing, admitting that too many people, including politicians, “look down on” people who live in low-cost homes.

“For many people, a certain stigma still clings to social housing. Some residents feel marginalised and overlooked, and are ashamed to share the fact that their home belongs to a housing association or local authority”, she will say.

“And on the outside, many people in society – including too many politicians – continue to look down on social housing and, by extension, the people who call it their home.”

She will add: “We should never see social housing as something that need simply be “good enough”, nor think that the people who live in it should be grateful for their safety net and expect no better.

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“Whether it is owned and managed by local authorities, [tenant management organisations] or housing associations, I want to see social housing that is so good people are proud to call it their home… Our friends and neighbours who live in social housing are not second-rate citizens.”

Ms May used her speech at last year’s Conservative Party conference to announce £2bn of new investment in low-cost housing – enough to build 5,000 new homes per year – although this was criticised as being significantly less than is needed.

No 10 said the new £2bn was in addition to the amount announced last year.

However, Labour said the latest cash injection would not be enough to reverse the impact of previous cuts to housing budgets.

John Healey, Labour’s shadow housing secretary, said: “Theresa May’s promises fall far short of what’s needed.

“Any pledge of new investment is welcome, but the reality is spending on new affordable homes has been slashed so the number of new social rented homes built last year fell to the lowest level since records began.

“If Conservative ministers are serious about fixing the housing crisis they should back Labour’s plans to build a million genuinely affordable homes, including the biggest council house building programme for over 30 years.”

Benjamin Kentish

Affordable housing possible in Nigeria

It is becoming increasingly difficult for young people to get a step on the housing ladder. Available statistics on Nigeria’s housing deficit paint a grim picture; presents limitless opportunities.

Available data (for 2014) from the World Bank and the National Bureau of Statistics agree that Nigeria has an estimated housing deficit of over 17 million units.

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With a population of almost 180 million, according to data from the United Nations, an annual population growth rate of 2.8 per cent (2015) and an annual urban population growth rate of 4.7 per cent, we need to stop talking and start building.

Nigeria’s abysmal ranking on the mortgage finance scale show that the several mortgage financing initiatives by successive governments in the country have failed. The Nigerian Bureau of Statistics (NBS) reported that Nigeria’s real estate market contributed only 6.82% to the real GDP down from 8.37%.

However, stakeholders agree that the country’s real estate growth is impressive; with PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) projecting, in its report – ‘Real Estate: Building the future of Africa’, – that Nigeria’s real estate investment will rise by about 49%, from USD9.16 billion to USD13.65 billion in 2016.

Investors are impressed with the outlook and have made significant inroads in tapping into the opportunities presented by the country’s housing deficit. Housing is a basic human need as a first important level of need similar to food and drink; therefore, it is at the center of wellbeing, People must have food to eat, water to drink and a place to call home before they can think about anything else.

To encourage more of this type of investors, Nigeria’s policy makers need to ensure that access to long-term finance is guaranteed to enable investors attract consumers from the upper end of the market that play in the prime real estate sector. The gaps in government-run infrastructure would also need to be plugged to guarantee efficient urban development.

The government would also need to promote favorable macroeconomic policies which will in turn encourage private sector investors to partner with her in providing low-cost mass housing. These policies must result in low interest rates, stable exchange rates and low inflation to encourage investors move into mass housing projects and low-income earners move from rented housing to their own affordable mortgage-enabled homes The Federal Mortgage Bank of Nigeria (FMBN) initiated the National Housing Fund (NHF) scheme to facilitate the provision of houses to Nigerians and bridge the housing deficit.

Many civil servants have benefited from the NHF scheme, although some are yet to benefit; people clamor for the review of the scheme. In order to broaden access to affordable housing and also solve the problem of prolonged processing time for mortgage loans, Platinum Mortgage Bank created a product called PLATINUM FASTTRACK MORTGAGE.

This product allows eligible Nigerians have access to their homes through mortgage within 48 hours of meeting the conditions. The procedure is simple. Any Nigerian above 21 years with a verifiable and regular source of income, a tax payer who meets all the condition of the loan which includes equity and repayment plan gets the key to a house of his choice in 48 hours. Platinum Mortgage Bank Ltd is a flagship in the banking and Mortgage sector; one of Nigeria’s leading primary Mortgage Institutions that met the CBN’s stipulated deadline for recapitalization and raised its authorized capital of five billion Naira.

Platinum Mortgage Bank Limited has been re-positioned to provide excellent home ownership products and has assisted numerous Nigerians in their quest for home ownership in various estates across Nigeria through the National housing fund as well as other mortgage loan windows of the bank. Powered by a visionary leadership, Platinum Mortgage Bank Limited is poised to provide your dream home through affordable mortgage backed housing schemes. We are implementing our corporate mission which is to improve the welfare of Nigerians through the provision of efficient stress-free and quality house delivery services at affordable cost.

Joseph is Head of Corporate Affairs, Platinum Mortgage Bank Limited, and is based in Abuja.

Sunday Joseph

Fresh concerns over physical development as States shun cities, towns master plan

These are not the best of times for town planning practice as most of the State governments have relegated the issues of cities and towns master planning to the background, and abused physical developments.The Nigerian Urban and Regional Planning Law of 1992 stipulated that every State should embark on preparation of physical development plans at regional, urban and local scales to guide the efficient growth of its settlements. But the reverse is the case as most of them have ignored it, leading to rapid manifestation of slum conditions.

Conference of Directors and Heads of Town Planning Organisations in Nigeria recently confirmed the development and decried the generally poor level of regulatory and institutional instruments that are available to support town planning practice in Nigeria, and observed that most settlements do not have physical development plans to guide their growth and where available their life periods have expired.

They had agreed that preparation and implementation of a mutually agreed National Physical Development Plan (NPDP) should be adopted as one of the tools for integrated physical planning and effective delivery of development benefits to the people of Nigeria.Most States are not adhering to the recommendations and have continued with business as usual. Attempts were made by the United Nations Human Settlements Programme (UN-Habitat) to bridge the gap.

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UN Habitat has worked with many states to prepare structure plans for major cities. “All the plans were prepared with strong public/ stakeholder participation to ensure that the priorities and needs of the residents are well understood and adequately provided for in the plans,” according to Kabir Yari, Manager, UN Habitat Support Office in Nigeria.

The agency assisted Anambra, Nasarawa, Osun, kogi, Niger States in the development and adoption of structural plans in major cities. For instance, Awka, Onitsha and Nnewi (Anambra); Lafia, Doma, Karu, Keffi (Nasarawa); Osogbo, Ikirun, Ila Orangun, Ilesa, Ile Ife, Ede, Iwo, Ikire and Ejigbo (Osun); Lokoja, Okenne, Kabba and Dekina (Kogi) a as well as integrated development plan for Minna and Suleja (Niger).

Preparation of urban profiles in ten urban centres, provision of three one-stop youth centres and urban upgrading in the old city of Katsina and formulation and adoption of 20-year Structure Plans in the three participating Cities (Umuahia, Aba, Ohafia in Abia State is still in preliminary stages.

Specifically, the town planners are worried that situation has degenerated. Yari who was a past President, Nigerian Institute of Town Planners (NITP) told The Guardian, “Lack of development plans for major urban areas means that the cities will grow in a haphazard and inefficient way. “This makes accessibility difficult, cause in efficient use of land resources and conversion of good agricultural development to urban development. In addition the urban form becomes locked, needing alot of resources to upgrade to planned settlement.

“It is always more cost effective and more efficient to plan in advance, ahead of development. This ensures the development of compact, connected and integrated settlements that are efficient and safe and pleasant to live in. It therefore strongly recommended that all urban areas should have physical development plans to guide their growth.”

According to him, the challenges are many. They include lack of appreciation of the importance of planning, dwindling financial resources for states and local governments and lack of implementing most of the plans already prepared.NITP second Vice President, Mr. Olutoyin Ayinde said, “The moment there’s no balance in development as prescribed by the plan, there will be a tilt toward where development is taking place, which explains why migration takes place from rural to urban, from less developed states to more developed state.

He lamented that the policy makers are not paying attention to planning. “Policy makers and administrators often think that planning is about pieces of paper. What they do not realize is that dreams (of beautiful settlements) first start in the mind as a vision, then they are put on paper to test the feasibility. If you win on paper, you are likely to win on ground.

“A people get the kind of settlements that they deserve. It is necessary to underscore the high level of ignorance, even at the policy level, and that’s where the problem is. There is need for more awareness to put planning, especially physical planning in its rightful place. Organized cities are deliberate; they are not coincidences. It is planning that makes them organized.”

Collaborating the views, Abubakar Sani, a past President, Association of Town Planning Consultants of Nigeria (ATOPCON) revealed that only Abuja has and followed master plan for its physical development. “Even where attempts are made to have a master/structure plans, such plans are abused by the governments, only used as a tool to punish the opposition. Master plans are made to guide physical development but here in Nigeria, our leaders only call for master plan when problem arises. Master plans prevent foreseen problems not to cure problems.

“The master plan for Kaduna is obsolete, even though an attempt was made to renew it but it is not completed. Lack of master plan to guide physical development is like physical development through trial and error. Thereby leading to waste of resources, lives and properties. Town planners are trained to forecast challenges of physical development and provide guidelines for mitigating such challenges. However in Nigeria we just want to see physical development without preparing for it.”

Another town planner, and ATOPCON past President, Moses Ogunleye, lamented that the commitment to implement the master plans have not been there. “Even before it expires, less than 30 per cent of the proposals of the plans are not implemented.”

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The NITP Public Secretary, Mr. Olugbenga Ashiru stated that the situation always affect physical planning as there is no instrument to control development, “it leads to development of blighted areas and non availability of basic infrastructure facilities and utilities.”

He called for political will among the administrators to produce and implement physical planning policies and plans; synergy between professional bodies like NITP and government agencies as well as public sensitization and stakeholders’ engagement on physical planning issues. Ashiru exonerated the town planners in the public service and link the problem to inadequate manpower, funding and bureaucracy. “They can only suggest to government on what to do and enforce it, they work in line with the government directives,” he added.

Guardian

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