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SA Investors put R3.38bn into UK Property despite Brexit

ACTIVITY in the UK property sector has seen South African Investors conclude 29 deals with a combined value of R3.38 billion (£190m) in the past few years.

It’s no secret that 2018 was a difficult year for local investors with most asset classes declining in value both locally and abroad. However, one asset class does stand out amongst the rest – SA’s listed property sector.

“The sector is wading off many challenges including a weak economy, a volatile rand and tenant struggles. And much of the sector is now offshore which is providing support to investors returns,” said Ortneil Kutama, SA Commercial Prop News Media Director.

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Brexit chaos is battering the UK property market, but SA investors with an appetite for volatility are snapping up real estate in the country.

They are lured by falling UK property prices on the back of a weak pound and looking for favourable returns over time.

According to UK building and project consultancy, Paragon, has advised South African investors on 29 deals with a combined value of R3.38 billion (£190m) in the past few years.

London has seen few large deals with South African investors in recent years, but Paragon has observed a significant uptick in inward investment from the country, driven by discounts on currency as the pound weakens.

Paragon’s joint managing director, John Munday, said in email statement that the trend looks set to continue. “There are always trophy asset hunters looking to make a mark in London, and that is an appealing approach for some. But we’re also seeing many South African investors being hungry for new opportunities and asset classes all across the UK and in every sector.”

“South African investors keep a relatively low profile in the UK, but they’re now looking much more open-mindedly at the whole UK market,” says Munday.

The listed property sector has grown almost six-fold to R600 billion over the last decade.

“The growth was largely fuelled by local property companies expanding abroad and they are likely to continue to make more money offshore than in their own backyards,” Kutama adds.

There has been a change in the thinking of the South African investor community towards offshore diversification in recent years.

“The sector has seen a dramatic shift offshore with about 46% of its value in overseas markets, including eastern and western Europe,“ says Kutama.

Eastern European-focused property stocks such as Nepi Rockastle, MAS Real Estate and EPP NV look set to reward investors in 2019 as they benefit from strong economic growth and improving rentals there.

These companies have exposure to the likes of Poland, Romania and other countries in central and Eastern Europe, which have strong property fundamentals.

The World Bank has projected that the Polish economy will grow about 3.9% in 2019 and 3.6% in 2020. It expects 3.5% and 3.1% from the Romanian economy in 2019 and 2020.

Change is inherent to real estate market

There is some speculation locally that real estate market conditions are changing and that the market may be “slowing down.” One of the truest dynamics of the market, however, is that it’s constantly changing.

There were four changes to the prime interest rate in 2018, ultimately moving from 4.75 percent to 5.5 percent. Some people believe that when interest rates increase, home values tend to fall somewhat, all other things being equal. This assumption is based on the fact that the majority of real estate transactions use a mortgage to handle a large percentage of the purchase price; however, a percentage of the purchase price is almost always allocated to an equity position.

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In the past, the rates of return on equity positions have been very good. Borrowers have to live with the recent interest rate increases, but the returns on their equity can be lowered, and in essence the prices paid for income properties can remain stable or continue to increase.

At the start of the Great Recession in 2008, many areas in Oregon were hit hard. In general, housing prices plummeted because of an oversupply of properties and a lack of purchasing power and demand.

Locally, housing supply and demand were more in balance, fortunately, and we did not see the substantial decreases in property values as experienced in other geographic areas of Oregon.

Lane County continues to have a very limited supply of available properties for purchase, and as such, many investors will continue to pay reasonable prices for the opportunity to own an income property and perhaps take less of a return on their equity. Our metro area will continue to attract people who want to live and invest in our community.

Certain sectors of investment property are lagging behind others due to factors mostly outside our immediate area. Retail has slowed and continues to be challenging in certain market segments. Industrial construction is underway because demand for industrial buildings continues to outstrip supply. Offices may be finding it difficult to cost-out new construction, but the continued increases in rent are narrowing the gap between that cost and the economic sense of building new.

We may continue to see construction costs rise because there are hundreds of millions of dollars for projects on the horizon, such as, The University of Oregon’s Knight science center; the renovation of Hayward Field; and the renovation of Eugene schools, thanks to the school-bond measure that passed in 2018. These projects don’t require financial feasibility. Cost is the driver for all these projects, not whether they can command enough rent to justify construction. As such, the pressure will remain on construction costs, complicated by a limited supply of skilled workers and a strong demand for certain material supplies.


Five Key Factors To Keep In Mind When Setting Annual Real Estate Goals

Real estate is a constantly evolving market, shifting with changes in interest rates, economic landscapes and policies. As such, it is critically important for professionals working in the real estate market to keep track of current trends.

Yet, deciding which factors to remember when forming yearly goals can be challenging. To help, five members of Forbes Real Estate Council weigh in below on the key factors they believe are most important to remember when planning. Here’s what they said:

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1. Plan For Change

Given the pace of change impacting commercial real estate, the key for service providers is to embrace change, in particular, technological changes. It’s not a question of if the industry will change, it’s not even a question of when. The “when” is now. So, plan for change and think about how your company can be part of the future. – Greg Fogg, TenantSee

The key thing to remember when planning next year’s goals in real estate is to be aware of current conditions in the market you are investing in. By understanding what the trends are regarding days on market, interest rates and housing availability, you can make informed decisions and wise investments that will withstand any instability in the overall market. – Melissa Johnson, HomeAid, Inc.

Forbes Real Estate Council is an invitation-only community for executives in the real estate industry.

3. Stick To A Methodical Approach

Make sure you don’t get caught up in hitting numbers or projections. Instead, stick to being disciplined and methodical in your approach. Sometimes doing no deal will exceed any goals you have written down. – Scott Morongell, Morongell Capital

4. Structure Plans With An Eye To Events

We have structured our plans for the 2019-20 calendar years as net sellers of real estate. A close eye on interest rates and the presidential election will be key indicators for the market, and where we are in the cycle. If we can maintain 2.5-3% GDP growth over the next two years, any real estate acquisitions should be purchased with a recession or correction in mind. – Otto Bonahoom, Bohouse

5. Mitigate Risk

As all commercial real estate investments contain numerous amounts of inherent risk, our driving force is to mitigate that risk through two areas: diversification and limiting the use of leverage. Whenever possible, we strive to limit or eliminate the use of debt/leverage in our acquisitions. If we are able to buy our properties all-cash/debt-free we know that we will never have a lender foreclosure and a complete loss of equity as many real estate investors have suffered over the years.

Nigerian real estate solutions firm joins league of firms on London Stock Exchange Group 2019

One of Africa’s leading total real estate solutions companies, Alpha Mead Group, has been identified as one of the companies in the London Stock Exchange Group’s, LSEG 2019 companies to inspire Africa Report. The report, according to David Schwimmer, CEO, London Stock Exchange Group “identifies Africa’s most inspirational and dynamic private, high-growth companies to a global market.”

The companies to inspire Africa report is a listing of 360 leading private corporate organisations across 32 African countries that demonstrably outperform their sector and market peers. Aimed at improving awareness on the region’s most dynamic companies, the report showcases outstanding stories of innovation, growth and entrepreneurship in African business to a global audience. To be included in the list, companies need to be privately held, and show an excellent rate of growth and potential to power Africa’s development.

Reacting to Alpha Mead Group’s listing in the LSEG report, Femi Akintunde, Group Managing Director, said the listing is another attestation to Alpha Mead’s capacity for growth, transparency and strong corporate governance regime. According to him, “One of the things that has driven us over the years, is the need to expand across Africa and provide an all-encompassing service that makes the real difference in the businesses and operations of our customers.

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“We observed the dynamics of the market and the challenges of most multinationals to run smooth operations across Africa with unified standards; and we chose to invest in developing our people, processes and technologies, expand our operations across major cities in Africa and warehouse key parts of the real estate value chain in one place for organisations with desire to implement a global Real Estate contract strategy.

“It is therefore fulfilling to see a prestigious report like the Companies to Inspire Africa attesting to the standard we have designed for our customers. For us, sustainable business operations goes beyond meeting the varying needs of our customers across Africa, it is also about assuring new international brands planning to come into Africa that the continent is no longer a black box. So, for us, this insignia of LSEG, also re-affirms that the capacities, opportunities and possibilities we are creating are recognised and accepted globally.” This is the third time in seven years that Alpha Mead will be featured in rankings or recognitions of Africa’s promising companies.

In 2012, it was ranked 16th Fast Growth 50 Company in Nigeria by the Allworld Network Inc. (co-founded by Professor Michael Porter of Harvard Business School) and The Tony Elumelu Foundation. Also, in 2013, Femi Akintunde won the emerging category of the Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year, West Africa.

These are among several international and local awards like the European CEO awards in 2014, Middle East and Africa Award 2017, Africa Real Estate Conference Award 2018, among others. For the Alpha Mead Group CEO, it is not just about an African company being recognised on the global stage, it is about an African Real Estate business showcasing the potentials of the market through success stories and the opportunities such recognitions create for the African Real Estate industry in the global scheme of things. LSEG’s Companies to Inspire Africa report was established in partnership with African Development Bank Group, CDC Group, PWC and Asoko Insight who contributed their insight and expertise to select the featured companies out of a total of 4,000 companies in Africa.

Source:Vanguard News

PAKISTAN: CCP urges govt to establish Real Estate Regulatory Authority

The Competition Commission of Pakistan (CCP) said the real estate sector in the country suffers from the issues of transparency, lack of mutual confidence and the protection of consumers’ confidence.

The commission suggests that a Real Estate Regulatory Authority be established in Pakistan which would play a critical role in development of the real estate sector and help grow the national economy.

In order to enact and support the functions of Real Estate Regulatory Authority, the CCP urged the government to pass a law in parliament envisaging the empowering provisions of the proposed authority as well as to support its functions.

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The role of such a regulatory body will not only be to develop laws and regulations, but also to develop and employ mechanisms to effectively and transparently supervise the existing and developing areas in the real estate sector of Pakistan. It will also have the task to introduce role of technology in this sector, it added.

Pakistan’s competition watchdog has issued opinion note on issues in the real estate sector of Pakistan which will provide detailed insight into the issues raised by different stakeholders and the recommendation that the Commission has proposed for the said sector.

The Commission after receiving number of concerns relating to the Real Estate Sector decided to hold Open Hearing in three major cities of Pakistan, i.e., Islamabad, Lahore and Karachi. The open hearings were attended by various stakeholders including customers, builders and relevant associations, property agents and their associations, Provincial Governments and Development Authorities of different cities.

The CCP, in its opinion note, said it may be observed that the entire sector comprises of various transactions which include acquisition of land, its development and conversion of the properties into commercial buildings. Furthermore, to provide utilities and to develop relevant infrastructure particularly in remote areas is a challenging job.

In Pakistan, development of the real estate and providing houses to general public is divided among federal and provincial governments. Although certain regulatory authorities have been established at federal and divisional level of provinces, yet in the absence of a focused national policy and lack of regulatory frame work, there is a mushroom growth of various projects which are being launched at massive level in almost every town and city of the country. However, the existing legal framework has failed to maintain a vigilant and a system of proper check and balance in this sector, which results in the general public as well as commercial investors losing their hard earned money at the hands of felons and other factors, causing instability in the sector and further disrupting the ease of doing business, it added.

Therefore, in order to enhance the productivity of this sector, realize its full potential and protect the rights of all stakeholders, it is imperative that immediate attention is given to this sector by the government and necessary measures are undertaken to organize, formalize and regularize it, CCP recommends.

Source: Abrar Hamza

Stakeholders bemoan investor apathy for real estate

Nigeria’s fragmented real estate industry, difficulties in obtaining construction permits and other factors have discouraged foreign investors from large-scale investments in the sector.

According to experts and major players in the sector, despite improvement of Nigeria on the Ease of Doing Business global ranking 2018, private developers have continued to encounter difficulties in obtaining construction permits and property titles due to lack of transparency by officials of government.

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They agreed at a Business Forum organised by the International Real Estate Federation (FIABCI) Nigeria in Lagos that the World Bank’s Ease of Doing Business index had impacted positively on the market, but a lot still needs to be done in attracting foreign direct investment into the market by creating an enabling environment for the sector.

After setting up the Presidential Enabling Business Environment Council (PEBEC), Nigeria had registered a historic improvement in Ease of Doing Business ranking released last year by the World Bank. The country jumped from 170th to 145th place out of 190 countries.

The experts noted that insufficient sources of funds had also worsened the liquidity crunch of developers and slowed down the sector’s recovery from recession.
Managing Director, Alphamead Group, Femi Akintunde, argued that government had not demonstrated the capacity to reduce construction cost despite the new ranking by the World Bank.

He pointed out that bureaucracy and delays in issuance of certificate of occupancy, especially in the use of property for mortgage refinancing, were hampering several property developments.

To grow businesses in real estate sector, Chief Executive Officer, Eximia Realty Company Limited, Hakeem Ogunniran, urged government to reduce documentations needed for planning permits and multiple regulatory agencies in the built environment sector.

Also, past President, Nigerian Institution of Estate Surveyors and Valuers (NIESV), Mr. Bode Adediji, suggested that all government policies should be holistic and ensure ease of doing business.

Justifying the forum, FIABCI-Nigeria President, Mr. Adeniji Adele, said it was one of the association’s ways of providing access and opportunities for real estate professionals interested in gaining knowledge, sharing information and conducting international business with each other.

The Permanent Secretary, Lagos Ministry of Physical Planning and Urban Development, Mrs. Boladele Dapo-Thomas, stressed that building permit process in the state was not cumbersome, urging applicants to avoid the use of third parties.

She added that government had also improved planning permit application process through the introduction of e-planning platform.

Source: Dayo Adeyemi

Saudi real estate ‘to witness healthy correction in 2019’

Saudi Arabia’s real estate market, which had over the last few years seen a major surge in property prices, will be seeing a healthy correction in 2019, according to KPMG Al Fozan & Partners, a leading audit, tax and advisory services company.

“This correction is expected to continue over the short term, but the market will pick up in the medium to long term, given the recent government initiatives to incentivise the sector, particularly the Ministry of Housing initiatives,” remarked Islam Albayaa, the head of advisory at the company.

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Last November, Saudi Arabia’s Ministry of Housing announced plans to build nearly 19,500 residential units for its citizens through “Sakani”, its major housing development programme. Additionally, new real estate projects are planned through public-private-partnerships, he stated.

On the other hand, the Public Investment Fund, the kingdom’s sovereign wealth fund, has been at the forefront of launching large-scale projects such as Qiddiya, the Red Sea and Neom.

“These gigaprojects will promote the property market in the newly developed locations especially the second home concept in the kingdom. Moreover, some of those projects will introduce new asset classes that will increase the real estate investment alternatives,” observed Albayaa.

Back in the capital, the launch of Riyadh Metro has been a blessing for property owners, as the market witnessed land price appreciation for locations closer to the metro stations, he added.

According to him, the research shows that prices per square metre of residential land parcels in districts closer to the metro stations witnessed a slight increase compared to last year.

“Moreover, by reviewing some relevant benchmarks, we can deduce that residents tend to live closer to metro stations, therefore, increasing the prices of residential units in the vicinity of such stations,” noted Albayaa.

While villas have historically been more popular in Saudi Arabia than apartments, a new trend is emerging with young Saudis switching from traditional detached residential units towards smaller units including duplexes, townhouses and affordable apartments, he stated.

“The current economic slowdown and changing mindsets of the youth are driving the new trend,” he pointed out.

“Besides, private investors tend to develop either regular or luxury apartments since they are less price sensitive to the current market volatility,” added Albayaa.

Source: Trade Arabia News Service

Turkish real estate firms to be promoted to Turks in Europe

Some 76 Turkish real estate firms will introduce projects to Turks in Dusseldorf, Germany as part of the “My Home Turkey” real estate and investment fair supported by the Environment and Urbanization Ministry, Demirören Media and ISTexpo on Feb. 8-10.

For three days, participant companies will introduce special campaigns, payment methods and details of the projects on a 4,900-square-meter fair area.

The exposition is organized with Lineadecor’s partnership and Turkish Airlines’ official transportation sponsorship.

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“Demirören Media has a special place in the industry with the news it reports on international platforms and media and the magazines and newspapers it publishes,” said Environment and Urbanization Minister Murat Kurum, conveying special thanks toDemirören Media for organizing the event.

“The fair is quite important to encourage our citizens in Europe to buy real estate from Turkey and for being a platform on which our citizens residing in Europe can easily invest,” Kurum added.

Turkey’s Housing Development Administration (TOKİ) will also take part in the expo, according to the minister.

“Our expatriates purchasing real estate from Turkey will be beneficial to Turkey’s economy as well as [their] homesickness,” said Şekib Avdagiç, the president of Istanbul Chamber of Commerce (ICOC).

He also said that 17 firms are participating in the event under ICOC, and demands from the real estate sector were so high that they had to widen the stand area to 400 square meters, almost 10 percent of the exposition area.

“In 60 years, expatriates will open new doors to their homeland. In some way, it will be a step toward reverse migration. This is the exposition in which investment is most desirable for our expatriates,” Avdagiç added.

According to figures Avdagiç provided, over 6 million Turks are residing overseas and at least 3 million of the number is in Germany.

More than 600,000 Turks are active in business in Germany, as Avdagiç said.

“This year, German tourists coming to Turkey is aimed to hit 5.6 million. It will not be a surprise than this attention will also be reflected in real estate. The exposition carries a lot of potential for our firms in this sense,” he added.

Avdagiç also stressed that in 2018, foreigners have purchased approximately 40,000 estates in Turkey and 36 percent were in Istanbul.

In 2018, over 1,000 German citizens have bought property from Turkey.

“It is not tough to increase this figure to 10,000,” said Advagiç.

Apart from the 76 firms, the Association of Housing Developers and Investors, Association of Istanbul Constructors and Association of Real Estate and Real Estate Investment Companies will also participate to the exposition.

Many celebrities, including German-born Turkish football player Hamit Altıntop and German actress who has acted in several Turkish TV series Wilma Elles, will attend the fair.

Source: Daily news

Consortium of real estate operators collaborate to fight housing deficit

An initiative to empower Nigerians towards owing landed properties or having office spaces with ease has been flagged off by a group known as AIMS Global International.

The group which partners with Perfection Betoniq and Perfection Real Estate observed with dismay that Nigeria’s young graduates have problem of embracing entrepreneurship because of exhorbitant rent for business operations, office premises and spaces as well as warehouses.  For this reason therefore, the group has come up with a design need a little amount of money as commitment from young men and women who want to do businesses anywhere in the country to own properties with ease and be focus to explore their entrepreneurship potential.

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Speaking at a workshop over the weekend, the founder/CEO, AIMS Titans, Engr. Jery Patrick, said  the company is poised to help Nigerians solve inaccessibility of houses and office spaces for their business Start Up and expansion by themselves using their networking, marketing as well as  communication skills.

Jery maintained that with a token of N38, 000, anyone can own a Housing lot anywhere in Lagos, Owerri, Portharcourt, others, within 12 weeks. According to him, anyone can earn as much as N34.8 million in one year provided such a person is willing and able to network and leverage on the opportunity provided by the group.


“With N38,000, you can register a one- time, Life-time partnership with us and get paid on daily basis, an amount which is dependent on the number of persons who network with the company, so the networks of persons one can link up determines how fast one grows to enjoy returns on investment (RoI)…”

The publics can reach us through; www.lagoshomeownership.com, www.allianceinmotion.com”

Addressing Journalists on the authenticity of the business, Jery said, the Group of Companies is legal and secured in Nigeria, hence, allays the public of fear of the unknown.

“we are registered with Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC) and Security and Exchange Commission (SEC) as well as other financial houses in our parent country in philippine. So our business is legitimate, and we are in to make people smile by giving them room to earn as much as they can to enjoy houses, landed properties, cars and other luxuries, though not by magic but by physical and online marketing communication and entrepreneur skills” He added.

Source: Uche Henry

What ‘Space-As-A-Service’ Could Mean For The Future Of Real Estate

We’ve already seen how information, communication, goods, capital and transportation industries have been transformed by tech platforms — think Google, Facebook, Amazon, etc. The future of office and living space is being revolutionized by technology as well. Based on my work helping corporations innovate and reimagine their business for growth and scale, I expect the real estate industry’s transformation will be substantial.

I advise my clients that there are six technological developments that must change the way we conceptualize and monetize real estate.

1. The world is more connected. Private satellites are covering the earth, from SpaceX and OneWeb to Google, which is trying to connect over 4 billion people to the web by floating balloons 20-50 km off the ground. And 5G is being rolled out.

2. Intelligence is being democratized. Everything is becoming intelligent as a result of the cloud. It means that the average user now has access to all their data, anytime. They can experience unlimited computing power.

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3. The internet of things (IoT) is prevailing. Sensors can collect data about our physical space and use this to develop virtual reality and spatial planning tools for living and working spaces. We’ve seen examples of IoT applications for space with Nest (acquired by Google), eero, Sonos and Ring.

4. Our work/life distinctions are changing. The tech developments referenced above support a shift in the way we understand the traditional work/life distinction. Superior connection and computing power come hand-in-hand with the rise of the gig economy, freelancing and crowd-tasking. Workers no longer need to commute to offices to get the job done. As a result, employers have access to a geographically wider-reaching talent pool.

5. Fewer brick-and-mortars are required. This as automation and artificial intelligence (AI) developments alter how we work and consume products and services.

6. The platform economy has emphasized a shift from products to services. And the way we understand ownership is changing. From ownership, we’re now seeing a shift to rentals. For example, you can catch an Uber instead of owning a car.

The Creation Of A New Business Model: Space As A Service

I predict these six tech developments are indicative of how the real estate business model will evolve. This new model will be founded on the notion of “space as a service.”

We’ve already seen space as a service play out with firms like Airbnb, Common, WeWork and Clutter. They decouple the services you expect from real estate asset ownership but still monetize the physical space.

For example, Clutter collects, moves and stores people’s belongings as a service. Its storage facilities are located in remote areas, which means they can store items at a far lower rate than traditional storage facilities based in inner-city locations. And because they rent the buildings in which they store, they do not own any physical assets. They are a real estate platform with a service, but they don’t own any real estate.

WeWork is another example. WeWork doesn’t own any office space. They sign leases, then pack their spaces with more customers (since a space as small as a single desk can be rented, this negates redundant spaces, which is commonly found with office spaces rented to a single client). And they can charge higher rates since they provide a unique service. The outcome? Massive profitability.

Businesses that can reimagine real estate can prove to be highly profitable. Last year there was $267 billion of aggregate public and private enterprise value in real estate technology companies. Airbnb has been valued higher than all hotel companies at $30 billion. The largest public owner of office buildings in the U.S., Boston Properties, has been valued significantly lower than WeWork ($19 billion against $30 billion).

Real estate companies can learn from this model and reimagine opportunities ahead. The future of space lies in the clever servicing of it — not, it would seem, its ownership. To thrive in the future, I believe companies would be wise to learn to monetize space. Physical assets do not need to be purchased in these models, making them highly scalable and capital-efficient.

Source: Lital Marom

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