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How Universities are Maximising Revenue from Real Estate

At weekends and especially during holidays, campuses tend to empty out but the buildings still incur operating costs and require maintenance work to keep them in top condition.

Underutilized space is a valuable asset when marketed and positioned correctly in the market, says Shaun Johnson, business development manager at Integral UK, JLL’s UK facilities and engineering services firm.

“The way campus buildings and facilities are used is slowly changing to generate more revenue all-year round,” he says. “Whether they’re hosting external conferences in lecture halls or opening up sports facilities for local teams to use, universities are collaborating more with businesses and the local community.”

Making the most of facilities

Universities across the UK and U.S. often have state-of-the-art facilities which have significant construction and running costs. Indeed, the UK’s higher education sector has started £8.8 billion-worth of capital projects since 2014, according to industry tracker Glenigan.

In the U.S., universities from New York’s Columbia to California’s Stanford have been pursuing a range of options within their real estate in recent years, explains Julia Georgules, senior research director at JLL U.S.

“We’ve seen straightforward divestment of real estate, the repurposing of campus buildings and creating portfolios of real estate – as well as a combination of all three,” she says. “There are more options on the table for those universities who are on sound financial footing.”

Privately-held Massachusetts Institute of Technology has a dedicated real estate management team tasked with the rotation and redevelopment of assets, as well as a ‘capital projects’ website – highlighting its investment in refurbishing and expanding its own real estate portfolio.

However, less-affluent institutions across the U.S face a shortfall between revenue and upkeep costs at a time of decreased further study and tuition discounts to lure students.

In the consequent search for revenue and book-balancing, there’s been some impressive leveraging of real estate by U.S. universities, says Georgules.

“Some of that has been reactive and driven by need, while more prosperous establishments have innovated and collaborated with the outside world,” she says, pointing to California’s Stanford University. Its Research Park in Silicon Valley forms part of a wider drive to collaborate in the world of tech.

Such partnerships between universities and the innovation economy will become more common in years to come, and will work to the benefit of both parties, she adds.

Growing collaboration

In the UK, third party use of university real estate is in its early days.

Local, national, and even international organisations, are frequently looking for high-quality facilities in easily accessible locations to host events, says Johnson.

The University of West England in Bristol, for example, regularly hosts events at its exhibition and conference centre for the UK’s Institute of Workplace and Facilities Management body.

“A university with a top-class conference hall is hugely appealing to businesses or trade bodies looking for a venue,” says Johnson.

“Universities are already set up to accommodate and cater for hundreds, or even thousands of short-term visitors, in a way that few hotels can match.”

Sports facilities – such as football, hockey and rugby pitches, are also in demand, says Johnson. Players from Welsh football team Newport County, for example, train on University of South Wales pitches.

“It’s often a two-way thing,” says Johnson, who points to the way the football club is working with the university to offer sports degrees and courses. “Students in return get the chance to gain real time sports science experience.”

New relationships between campus theatres and the wider community are being established.

Last year, the University of Southampton opened a second theatre in Southampton’s Cultural Quarter, over 50 years after the construction of its first on-campus venue. Also in Southampton, the university’s data centre is used by businesses as well as the establishment’s own staff.

Meanwhile other universities are turning to tourists; the University of London, for example, rents out rooms in its student halls located in prime areas of the city outside of term-time at prices to rival those of cheaper hotels.

Keeping facilities in top form

As universities come up with new ways to generate revenue from their real estate, it’s not just their events teams that are growing. More maintenance workers will also be needed.

“When wear and tear rises, there’s a point where having a full-time maintenance team on site to respond to new needs becomes worthwhile,” he says. “Standard visits and checks which may have sufficed in the past may not be enough.”

Indeed, while a university’s reputation may help to attract interest from conference and events planners, ultimately, it’s the quality of the facilities themselves that will ensure repeat business. And this can make a valuable contribution to a university’s longer-term finances.

“The extent to which UK universities think more openly about their real estate could help to generate revenue and define how financially effective they are in the future,” concludes Johnson.

Source: jllrealviews

Our Position on Estate Surveyors’ Protest Against Valuation Infringement

Ahead of the submission of committee report on the dispute over valuation practice in the country, the Council for the Regulation of Engineering in Nigeria (COREN) has formally responded to the petition by the Estate Surveyors Registration Board of Nigeria (ESVARBON).

The board had written to the immediate past minister of Power, Works and Housing, Babatunde Fashola that the COREN Regulations for Engineering Appraisal/Valuation; No. 98 Vol. 105 dated July 31, 2018; COREN Regulations for Engineering Economy; and No. 99 Vol. 105 dated August 1, 2018 as well as COREN Regulations for Cost Engineering, infringe on already existing ESVARBON law, CAP E13 LFN (2007) and gazetted ESVARBON regulations of 2014 which authorize only registered estate surveyors to value all properties and assets in Nigeria.

Estate surveyors expressed grave concern that Nigerian engineers will jettison their core areas of practice such as design and construction of bridges, roads, airports, railway tracks and dabble into valuation of properties and other assets, which they are not trained to handle.

ESVARBON maintained that estate surveyors and valuers are responsible for the determination of economic worth of assets in all its ramification, empowered by law to value and fix monetary worth on such assets.

They had urged the federal government to abrogate the new gazette, which empowers engineers to practice valuation of plant, machinery and equipment.

But in their response, COREN affirmed that valuation is a multidisciplinary activity and therefore not exclusive to estate surveyors. They want Nigerian Institution of Estate Surveyors and Valuers (NIESV) and ESVARBON to conform with their course of study which is estate management.

“The COREN Regulations for Engineering Appraisal/Valuation No. 98 Vol.105 of July, 2018 are derived from the mandate given by the interpretation clause of Decree No. 55 of 1970 as Amended by Decree 27 of 1992 now Engineer (Registration, etc.) Act, CAP E11, 2004.

“We agree with estate managers that the Acts setting COREN and ESVARBON do not contain any conflict. They have their mandate in land and building (real property) while engineers have theirs in personal property (plant, machinery, and equipment),” engineers said.

On ESVARBON claim that asset valuation has always been more of financial than brick and mortar or steel calculation, adding that the training of the valuer (the Estate Surveyor and Valuer, valuation as a course of study runs through each of the five years of study.

COREN noted that engineering appraisal/valuation is the art of estimating the value of specific properties, and it is where professional engineering knowledge and judgment are essential. Such properties include mines, factories, buildings, plant and machinery, industrial plants, public utilities, and engineering constructions.

According to them, “engineering students study engineering valuation, engineering economics, cost engineering courses in the engineering programme in the Nigerian universities. This could be seen in the Bench Mark Minimum Academic Standards (BMAS) and accreditation scoring criteria for under graduate engineering programmes in Nigerian universities.

“These courses expose engineering students to the economics sides of engineering, and are therefore very compulsory for anyone passing through any engineering programme.

“Due to the vastness of the engineering world, engineers unlike other professionals study engineering science in school, and specialize in practice at the work place. Cost engineering, engineering valuation/appraisal and engineering economy are established fields of practice.

“It should also be noted that not all engineering practitioners engage in them. Appraisal and cost engineering professional institutions belong to internationally recognized bodies like the International Cost Engineering Council (ICEC).

The Institute of Appraisers and Cost Engineers (a Division of the Nigerian Society of Engineers). Estate surveyors and valuers actually studied estate management while in school. They had valuation as one of the courses of study in the estate management programme, just like engineering students do.”

On the Bureau of Public Procurement (BPP) confirmation of estate surveyors as the valuers in 2014, COREN said BPP does not have the mandate to determine who qualifies to be a valuer. Only the laws of the Federation have that mandate. The Procurement Act 2007 Section 5(a) – (s) and Sec.6 (1) (a)-(m) do not include the determination of who is a valuer.

Similarly, COREN also refuted ESVARBON claim that when the matter came up during the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) valuation of the assets in 2016/17,, it was resolved in favour of estate surveyors as prime valuation consultants, but had to work in collaboration with engineers as advisers.

“It has been established that Engineers have their own role by nature of knowledge, skills, and experience. They are also guided by the principle of specialization in which every valuer is trained based on his/her basic discipline, which ensures competency on the job. The law does not give any one profession exclusivity in the case of valuation which we have clearly shown in our exposition,” the regulatory body said.

Engineers said: “COREN law also has valuation in it and COREN regulations are for the safety and health of the nation. Each profession has its own areas of specialisation and in engineering valuation, engineering judgment and knowledge are required.

Hence for ESVARBON to claim that they got the job because they were the only valuers is a mere fallacy. Also the fact that they were asked to work with engineers as advisers shows lack of core competence required to carry out the job on their part.”

Source: GuardianNg

MPC Capital Launches Commercial Real Estate Platform

MPC Capital AG has launched a new commercial real estate platform called ‘InTheCity’.

The platform will be run by MPC Capital’s Dutch subsidiary, Cairn Real Estate, and initially consists of eight assets, valued at around EUR 120 million.

It will follow Cairn Real Estate’s office strategy that focuses on assets located in close proximity to major transport hubs in strong regional cities in the Netherlands. These assets must also be highly sustainable, offer flexibility to tenants and have a focus on employee well-being.

The seed portfolio consists of eight assets that were initially acquired by Cairn Real Estate in 2016 under a redevelopment mandate. The assets were originally from the former ‘Transit’ portfolios and have yielded a strong return for the initial investors.

The properties total roughly 63,000 sqm of office space and are located in Groningen, Leeuwarden, Zwolle, Utrecht, Amersfoort, Schiedam and Haarlem. All office space is fully let with leases set to run for another five years.

Source: Investmenteurope

Indiabulls Real Estate Shares Surge for Second Straight Day

New Delhi: Shares of the Indiabulls Real Estate (IBREL) surged as much as 17% in two days on buzz of US-based Blackstone acquiring a part of the promoters stake in the company. Indiabulls Real Estate in a statement to stock exchanges said its promoters intend to dispose of up to 14% of the fully paid-up share capital of the company (out of the aggregate 38.72% fully paid up share capital of the company) to third-party investors.

Indiabulls Real Estate shares rose as much as 10% today on NSE, following 6.5% gain on Thursday. At 10:40 am, Indiabulls Real Estate shares were up 1%, paring most of the early gains.

The stake sale is in line with the company’s promoters’ strategy to focus on financial services in the long run, Indiabulls Real Estate statement added.

Mint on Thursday had reported that the Blackstone-Embassy joint venture plan to buy part of the promoters’ stake in Indiabulls Real Estate.

In March last year, Indiabulls Real Estate sold a 50% stake in its marquee office properties in central Mumbai to Blackstone for $730 million or 4,750 crore. The developer had then said it will use bulk of the money to pare debt.

Blackstone had also bought Indiabulls Real Estate’s commercial office property in Chennai One Indiabulls Park for around 900 crore.

Indiabulls Real Estate had posted a 95% decline in its consolidated net profit at 108.56 crore for the fourth quarter of the last fiscal as against 2,181.13 crore in the year-ago period, according to a regulatory filing.

Source: Livemint

Everything You Need to Know 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.
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.

Real Estate Investor

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.

Real Estate Investor

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.

• 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.

Real Estate Investor

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.

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?

Source: Nairametrics

European Real Estate Rubble a ‘Real Possibility,’-Commerzbank

The euro area is at risk of a new real estate bubble as a result of expansionary monetary policy from the European Central Bank (ECB), Commerzbank analysts have warned.

 

The ECB council meets on Thursday June 6, and is likely to decide on the details of the third edition of its targeted longer-term refinancing operations (TLTRO-III) program, a series of Eurosystem operations that provide financing to credit institutions for periods of up to four years.

TLTROs offer long-term funding at attractive conditions to banks in order to encourage them to lend capital to the real economy.

The central bank has faced calls from some corners of the market for fresh stimulative measures to aid the anemic European economy, and the third round of TLTROs represent a continuation of its expansionary monetary course.

“With a view to low core inflation, some policies are often passed off as a free lunch,” a note from Commerzbank senior economists Dr Ralph Solveen and Dr Jorg Kramer said in a note Friday.

“Yet the ECB’s expansionary monetary policy has a cost and it comes in the form of higher house prices, which already appear expensive in some countries, and the threat of a property price bubble is a real possibility.”

Rising house prices

Commerzbank highlighted that house prices have been rising rapidly in the majority of eurozone economies, including the large economies of Germany, Belgium and France. With an increase of around 4.5% in the course of 2018, Germany was slightly above average in terms of rising house prices, while Slovenia and Latvia saw double-digit rises. Portugal, the Netherlands and Luxembourg all rose at almost 10% rates.

Yet Commerzbank analysts anticipate that ECB interest rates will remain in negative territory for the foreseeable future, further heightening the threat of a real estate bubble.

“The relation between house prices and rents, a frequently used measure for the valuation of real estate, has risen by more than 10% since early 2015. This is less than 5% below its level at the beginning of 2008, when the housing market in some euro area countries had formed considerable bubbles,” the note stated.

Commerzbank expects that if the ECB maintains its monetary policy stance until the end of 2020, average house prices will exceed pre-crisis levels.

Falling debt and no building boom

Solveen and Kramer pointed out that the strength of impact of a bursting price bubble on the real economy depends, in part, on the extent to which rising house prices are accompanied by rising debt and a construction boom.

The euro zone as a whole is not yet in this position, the analysts suggested, with private household debt relative to GDP falling steadily across most of Europe’s Economic and Monetary Union (EMU), although Belgium and France were noted as exceptions.

There is also no question of a construction boom, the economists highlighted, and the share of residential construction investment in eurozone GDP is now significantly lower than at the beginning of 2008.

“The situation is somewhat different in Germany, where the rise in prices in recent years has been accompanied by a sharp rise in construction investment and bottlenecks are increasingly occurring in the construction sector,” the Commerzbank note stated.

“However, the share of residential construction investment in GDP is still lower than at the beginning of the monetary union, and there was certainly no construction boom in Germany at that time.”

Source: cnbc

Real Estate Market in Ghana: CPL Group Providing Tailored Residences for Ghanaians

Interview with Stephen Debrah-Ablormeti, CEO of CPL Group

What is your assessment of the real estate market in Ghana? What are the latest trends? Is the market competitive?

The Ghanaian real estate market is quite competitive. There are a lot of developments springing up by the day and we see new models of designs and new models of finishes and people trying to do things that are different in the market. It is making customers very savvy in terms of what they want. The demand for quality is increasing. The appetite for great locations is also increasing. People have realized that they have to place a premium on location because that is where they can have all the values coming in after investment. There are foreign companies that are also entering the market space just to get a piece of the pie.

In this environment, how does CPL Group distinguish itself? What is your competitive advantage?

At CPL Group, we focus on three segments of the market: low income, middle income, and the high end. If any client walks through our doors, we will be able to meet their needs. We never take for granted things like quality or bringing improvements to every new project we are doing. We make sure that successive projects are better than previous ones because that helps us to drive our clientele along. We are always up to coming up with new designs, sourcing new finishing materials from new regions, just so that we can be different. We have one of the greatest products in the real estate market in Ghana.

What are some of the projects that you are working on currently?

We have about four project sites. We have the gated community of 120 houses of which we have built close to 60% of those units. We also have a villa development in town north of Dzorwulu, and Airport West specifically. We have two apartment projects, one at Dzorwulu, and one at Shiashie. Shiashie is the one where we are targeting the rental market. This is a new frontier we want to break into. We are bringing a bit of a twist to our model based on the present indicators.

What is the idea behind the model?

We have realized that the sale market is a bit low and collection is a difficult side of it. The majority of the clients that come to our office do not have the financial wherewithal to pay so they want to switch to the rental option. We realized that since the request for rentals was on the increase, there was a need for us to focus part of our budget to meet the needs of that market. We will start with this 120 unit and probably increase it next year. Should it work well, then we may end up focusing our business on that because there is also liquidity.

What is your gated community project?

The gated community project is a tailored residence for Ghanaians, both living abroad and at home. Ghanaians have a way of loving their family homes, so we modeled this project behind that sort of Ghanaians. We have a long, walled street, a leafy community, a playground, clubhouse, and we are providing adequate security for the community, manned security service, and some other management services to them. These are some of the basic things that Ghanaians really love if they want to be part of a gated community family. We came up with the Gardens, and as the name alludes, the project is very premium, leafy, and looks great. We think it will delight people. It is located in East Legon Hills, which is about 20 minutes’ drive from main East Legon.

What is your housing project?

The Villa Market became very exciting about two years ago. Those high-end market individuals who probably have built a home or two but in a not very favorable location tend to buy these Villa Market properties in a very good location where they have only a 10 or 15 minutes’ drive to the city center or whatever else they may want to do. It became very popular. CPL decided to take that opportunity to invest in that sector of the market. We delivered about 30 units of those villas in about two years before we had a bit of a slowdown. There is still a potential market for the future. All the villas that we have are around Cantonment, Airport residential, and Dzorwulu North.

What is your apartment project?

We have an apartment at Dzorwulu North. We realized that there were many expatriates that wanted apartments very close to the airport. So, we decided to build one bedroom, two bedroom, and three bedroom units around Dzorwulu to serve this niche in the market. That is under construction now and hopefully by the end of the year we should be able to close that project. Besides, we realized that the market was gravitating more toward rent so we wanted to put up these 120 apartments and see how it turned out. It was a bit capital intensive but we were determined to make it work. We are about 98% complete and we have positive signs of inquiry and positive letters of intent from various organizations to take up these units. It will be one of the leading niches in the market.

What is your international reach? Where are your buyers coming from?

We have buyers from all over the world: Canada, the US, the UK, Dubai, NigeriaIvory Coast, Cameroon and South Africa.

What percentage is coming from abroad vs Ghana itself?

About 80% is from abroad, even for the gated community houses.

What are the fundamentals here in this business to succeed?

In real estate in Ghana, if you want to succeed you have to make sure that you get your marketing right. I do a lot of exhibition in the UK, US, Canada, Dubai, etc. I am able to attract these people and then I bring them down to Ghana to buy my property. I use a very flexible payment plan to also get the attention of these people and differentiate myself from the market. There is competition in the market and very stringent payment plans. I try to be flexible and accommodating to attract the majority of these people.

What are the major challenges in this industry?

The present challenges have to do with collection. When people sign a contract with you and put down a deposit up to 30%, their standing balance could stretch beyond two years for various reasons. Those are the type of sales we do in Ghana if you are selling to the typical Ghanaian because there are no mortgage structures in place to give these people alternative means of payment, so they have to depend on their income to pay you. If things do not go well for them, it means that your payment is delayed. It gets even more serious when you have these people paying beyond 50%. It becomes very difficult for them to pay the rest. On the other hand, our clientele from abroad do not have problems with payment. They are very prompt and you have no issues. Once you hand over keys, you get paid in full.

What CSR activities are you working on?

We have been doing things for communities that do not have water (not necessarily in the area that we develop because our locations are already developed and have amenities) so they can get clean water. As of now, we have more than 15 communities that have sent in requests for us to extend that courtesy to them. We hope to complete these projects for all 15 communities in the north and part of the Ashanti region this year.

What is your vision for the company in the next two to three years in Ghana?

In three years, we are looking at keying into globalization. We do not want to constrain our business to only within the walls of Ghana, but to extend to other countries. We want to be in the global market. At certain times and certain seasons, you realize that the economy for a specific sector might not be supporting your business, so then you can quickly pay attention to an economy that is working well and have that balance across the board for your business. That is very key to us. We have done some feasibility studies in Gambia, Nigeria and Ethiopia. We are looking at the possibility of stepping into those territories. We have done some research also in the UK and we have started processes to venture into real estate there as an investor. We are looking at all those possibilities. In a span of about a year or two, we should be able to start at least one project in all these locations and see how that can push the company forward. We are also very open to strategic partners. We want to join forces and become bigger.

What kind of partners are you looking for?

We are looking at people from the real estate sector, financial institutions, equity investors. We want to be able to do greater things than we are doing now. So far, CPL has been able to put up almost 1,800 housing units since we started, but it has taken a long time to achieve this little. We should be able to turn out about 1,000 units per year in the next ten years.

Source: Marcopolis

WealthStone – Democratizing Access to Commercial Real Estate

WealthStone LLC announces the launch of its new website, WealthStoneLLC.com, where technology brings increased access to institutional-quality commercial real estate investments to a wider audience, while delivering the best customer experience possible for its growing global investor base.

WealthStone is a vertically-integrated real estate investor and developer, targeting income producing assets in markets that exhibit solid growth and positive fundamentals. The organization’s main focus and legacy experience is in commercial real estate investing. Although the firm’s advanced technology aims to make the process seamless for investors, the firm uses traditional and time-tested underwriting metrics and methodologies in evaluating real estate investment opportunities, and is not built on an algorithmic or automated acquisition process. WealthStone’s goal is to generate targeted risk-adjusted returns for its partners by evaluating markets and asset classes and acquiring and actively managing high quality real estate opportunities. Generally, targeted returns provide a total ROI of 70-80%, equal to an annualized investment return of 10-12%, including an annual cash dividend of 5-8% to the equity invested in its projects.

Commercial real estate is an increasingly important asset class within many investor portfolios, having a proven history of generating wealth and attractive returns over extended periods of time with relatively low volatility. Real estate investment opportunities provide potential for current income and capital appreciation while also serving as an effective hedge against inflation.

WealthStone, as the sponsor of its projects, oversees the sourcing, acquisition, financing and administration of real estate assets on behalf of its partnerships. The organization manages each investment to achieve its financial objectives. WealthStone undertakes in-depth analysis as well as physical and operational due diligence, a rigorous evaluation process assessing a variety of risk and financial metrics. The firm aims to mitigate risks while creating value in the journey towards wealth creation for its investors.

WealthStone seeks to allocate approximately $300 million of equity capital for an estimated $700 million of total investments in a variety of real estate ventures during its current deployment phase. With over 20 years and $2 billion of legacy expertise in its management team, the firm has the capability to act nimbly and execute on a broad array of transaction types.  WealthStone aims to build a diverse portfolio of investment opportunities for its investors, including traditional multifamily and specialized residential properties such as senior living and student housing, office buildings, retail centers, industrial properties and hotels.

While WealthStone partners with large capital contributors, it has opened the doors to wise investing through its website and platform. Wealthstone is democratizing the process of commercial real estate investing by inviting accredited individual investors to join a platform which provides investment opportunities in institutional quality real estate assets across the United States, with a starting investment of $100,000.

Source: Wealthstone

ASB core real estate fund buys Florida warehouse for $38.2m

A core real estate fund managed by US investor ASB Real Estate Investments has acquired a 221,542sqft warehouse from Bridge Development Partners from for $38.2m (€33.9m).

The $7.5bn ASB Allegiance Real Estate Fund has bought the new warehouse-distribution facility on 12 acres immediately off I-95 in the Southeast Broward industrial submarket.

ASB senior vice president Nicolas Franzetti said: “This state-of-the-art distribution building, less than two miles from downtown Fort Lauderdale, has exceptional access to South Florida commercial and residential districts, the airport and Port Everglades.”

Franzetti said Southeast Broward ranks as one of the country’s most dynamic industrial submarkets, with annual rent growth of over 7% and a vacancy rate of less than 3%.

“At ASB, we continue to expand our holdings of prime industrial assets, tapping into increasing tenant demand related to e-commerce logistics and ongoing economic growth across the US.”

Since the beginning of 2018, ASB has acquired 3.1m sqft of industrial space in leading industrial markets, including Northern New Jersey, San Francisco, Houston, and Philadelphia.

Source: Realassets.ipe

Quebec Real Estate Developer Tops Air Canada Buyout Offer for Transat

Real estate developer Group Mach Inc said on Tuesday it offered to acquire Canadian tour operator Transat AT Inc for C$527.6 million ($392.9 million), topping an earlier offer from Air Canada.

A deal with Transat would help Mach expand in the leisure and hospitality business by leveraging its expertise to ramp up the development of Transat’s hotel chains.

Mach said it would take Transat private at C$14 per share in cash, C$1 more than Air Canada’s all-cash offer that valued the parent company of leisure carrier Air Transat at C$520 million.

Mach’s offer represents a premium of 18.2% to Transat’s closing price on Monday’s close.

“The public markets are not the proper setting for Transat’s 2018-2022 strategic plan, particularly its hotel development strategy,” Mach said in a statement.

Transat’s strategic plan projects 5,000 rooms within six years. However, Mach said it can turn that into 12,000 rooms in the same time.

Air Canada said in May, it was in exclusive talks to buy Transat as it looked to boost its leisure travel business at a time when the carrier faces a potential turnaround in rival WestJet Airlines.

However, Air Canada’s potential deal runs the risk of scrutiny from Canadian regulators that are concerned with protecting fares and service for travelers in a country where the cost of air travel is padded with fees and surcharges.

Transat and Air Canada have both agreed to a 30-day period of negotiations to finalize a deal.

“We believe Air Canada could ultimately offer a better price for Transat given the strong rationale behind the transaction and the potential for cost synergies with its operations”, Desjardins analyst Benoit Poirier wrote in a note.

Air Canada is in the process of finalizing its binding agreement with Transat, the airline said on Tuesday.

Also, Transat on Tuesday confirmed that it has taken note of the press release issued by Mach, but declined to provide further details on the offer.

Mach said on Tuesday it had approached Transat seeking a potential negotiated deal earlier this year and followed it up with an initial letter of intent addressed to Transat’s board.

While Group Mach does not have a background in running airlines, president Vincent Chiara said Transat executives would continue to operate the carrier.

“We’re buying an existing team,” he said in an interview.

Mach’s offer to take Transat private comes at a time when Transat’s largest shareholder, investment manager Letko Brosseau, urged the company to not sell itself to Air Canada until it had restored its profitability, according to a Globe and Mail report.

Peter Letko, a co-founder of Letko Brosseau, could not be immediately reached for comment.

A spokesman for Transat’s second-largest shareholder said the company is analyzing Mach’s offer.

Any formal submission to the federal government will be subject to several conditions, including regulatory reviews, a spokeswoman for Canadian Transport Minister Marc Garneau said by email.

Source: Reuters

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