Japan has opposite problem to Nigeria:It is giving houses away for free

A free house may sound like a scam. But Japan faces an unusual property problem: it has more homes than people to live in them.

In 2013, there were 61 million houses and 52 million households, according to the Japan Policy Forum. And the situation is poised to get worse.

Japan’s population is expected to decline from 127 million to about 88 million by 2065, according to the National Institute of Population and Social Security, meaning even fewer people will need houses. As young people leave rural areas for city jobs, Japan’s countryside has become haunted by deserted “ghost” houses, known as “akiya.”

It’s predicted that by 2040, nearly 900 towns and villages across Japan will no longer exist — and Okutama is one of them. In that context, giving away property is a bid for survival.

“In 2014, we discovered that Okutama was one of three Tokyo (prefecture) towns expected to vanish by 2040,” says Kazutaka Niijima, an official with the Okutama Youth Revitalization (OYR) department, a government body set up to repopulate the town.

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Okutama is a two-hour train ride west from Tokyo prefecture’s dense, neon-soaked center.

In the 1960s, it boasted a population of more than 13,000, as well as a profitable timber trade. But after the liberalization of imports and falling demand for timber in the 1990s , most young people left for the city. Today, Okutama has just 5,200 residents.

In 2014, it established an “akiya bank” — or vacant house scheme — which matches prospective buyers with aging homeowners and empty properties. While akiya banks are now common across Japan, each town sets its own conditions.

For example, Okutama subsidizes home repairs for new akiya residents, and encourages akiya owners to relinquish their vacant properties by offering up to $8,820 per 100 square meters (1,076 sq feet).

However, it stipulates that those who receive a free home or renovation assistance must be aged under 40, or be in a couple with at least one child under 18-years-old and one partner aged under 50. Akiya applicants must also commit to settling in the town permanently and invest in upgrading second-hand homes.

But even giving away homes is tough in a country where people prefer new builds.

Second-hand homes

Niijima leads the way into a vacant, box-like house with a blue roof and white walls that was built 33 years ago. Though sturdy on the outside, the musty smell inside hints at the decade it has sat empty. The kitchen is in need of a makeover, and the tatami floor is faded.

“It will suit someone who likes DIY,” Niijima said with a grin.

There are 3,000 homes in Okutama, and about 400 are vacant — only half of which are believed to be salvageable. The rest are either too dilapidated or were built in areas at risk of landslides.

In the 20th century, Japan experienced two major population spikes: the first after World War II and the second during the economic explosion of the 1980s. Both created housing shortages which led to cheap, mass-produced homes that were quickly erected in densely populated towns and cities.

Many of those properties were poor quality, said Hidetaka Yoneyama, a senior researcher at the Fujitsu Research Institute. As a result, about 85% of people opt to buy new homes.

Japanese laws also don’t help things.

In 2015, the government passed a law designed to penalize those who leave houses empty, in a bid to encourage them to either demolish or refurbish their properties. However, akiya owners are taxed more for empty plots of land than for having an empty property, according to real estate expert Toshihiko Yamamoto. This is a deterrent to razing a vacant home.

Urban planning regulations are also weak in Japan, said Chie Nozawa, a professor of architecture at Toyo University in Tokyo, meaning developers can keep building houses despite the glaring surplus.

Making rural areas alluring

In Okutama, revitalization official Niijima has found families for nine vacant houses so far. They’ve come from places including New York and China — the akiya scheme is not limited to Japanese citizens.

Filipino-Japanese couple Rosalie and Toshiuki Imabayashi, who live in central Tokyo with their six children, will move to the town in early 2019.

“It was getting too cramped for us in Tokyo and we liked that Okutama was within the same prefecture but surrounded by nature,” Rosalie said.

For most newcomers, though, free homes are not enough. Depopulated areas like Okutama also need a sustainable economic development plan — and community-building activities between locals and newcomers — if they are to thrive.

“If people can find a way of engaging in productive economic activities and supporting themselves, they will come and stay in rural areas,” said Jeffrey Hou, an architecture professor at Washington University.

Kamiyama, a town in southern Japan,added more people than it lost in 2011 after IT companies set up satellite offices there, attracting workers keen to escape city life.

The ingenuity of new residents is also a boon for fading towns.

Certified as caregivers for the elderly, the Idas knew they would have job opportunities in Okutama. However, in September 2017 they tried a new venture, buying and converting a second-hand “kominka” — a Japanese house more than 100-years-old — into a roadside cafe catering to roving hikers and bikers.

“The beauty of this place lies in retrofitting something that already exists,” said Naoko, inside the cozy cafe, which brims with vintage objects and local craft work. “Some people like this culture and really like old things but they hesitate about committing to rural life.”

On their quiet street, there is another empty house and the home of an elderly woman. Before the Idas came, wild monkeys kept eating the woman’s vegetable patch — now the area is busier, the animals keep their distance.

Yet while Naoko has found a permanent home for herself in Okutama, she shakes her head when asked whether her children see a future there.

“Actually, my eldest daughter says she can’t wait to leave home and rent a place of her own in the city,” she said.



Importance of Land Surveying

Surveying is the measurement and mapping of our surrounding environment using mathematics, specialized technology and equipment. Surveyors measure just about anything on the land, in the sky or on the ocean bed. They even measure polar ice-caps.

Land surveyors work in the office and in the field. In the field, they use the latest technology such as high order GPS, Robotic Total Stations (Theodolites), and aerial and terrestrial scanners to map an area, making computations and taking photos as evidence. In the office, Surveyors then use sophisticated software, such as Auto-cad to draft plans and map the onsite measurements. Surveyors work on a diverse variety of projects from land subdivision and mining exploration, to tunnel building and major construction, which means no two days are the same. They are experts in determining land size and measurement. They also give advice and provide information to guide the work of engineers, architects and developers.

Importance of Land surveying

Laser scanning is not only used in land surveying but is being adopted in more and more industries, since it gives detailed, accurate data, very quickly, and with fewer manpower requirements, saving companies costs. Surveying is important and most of us depend on it so as to ensure order in the physical world around us.

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Surveyors play an integral role in land development, from the planning and design of land subdivisions through to the final construction of roads, utilities and landscaping. Surveyors are the first people on any construction site, measuring and mapping the land. These primary measurements are then used by architects to understand and make the most of the unique landscape when designing and engineers to plan structures accurately and safely, ensuring buildings not only fit with the landscape but are able to be constructed.

According to Haglöf Sweden AB, It is valuable for everyone to keep track of assets to maintain control and healthy growth. Standardization, calibration and control systems are used in all industries, and when measuring, storing and processing data on-site, error sources are efficiently minimized. Problem areas are detected in time and actions are based on facts and figures.

It is necessary to mark the boundaries on the ground, so that they are clear to observers standing on or near the property. Also surveying and land surveying is intended to provide the evidence needed by the title insurer to delete certain standard exceptions to coverage and thereby provide “extended coverage” against off-record title matters including matters that would be revealed by an accurate survey.

Many properties have considerable problems in regard to improper bounding, miscalculations in past surveys, titles, easements, and wildlife crossings. Also many properties are created from multiple divisions of a larger piece over the course of years, and with every additional division the risk of miscalculation increases. The result can be abutting properties not coinciding with adjacent parcels, resulting in gaps and overlaps.

Many times a surveyor must solve a puzzle using pieces that do not exactly fit together. In these cases, the solution is based upon the surveyor’s research and interpretation, along with established procedures for resolving discrepancies. This essentially is a process of continual error correction and update, where official recordation documents countermand the previous and sometime erroneous survey documents recorded by older monuments and older survey methods.

GPS Surveying

The market for survey grade GNSS as well as for GIS handheld GPS is increasing in Africa. Survey grade GNSS is used by Land surveyors for new township layouts, and by construction
companies for survey control points and for staking out roads etc. It is needed for drone surveys for ground control points, and is increasingly used for precision agriculture.

According to Mr. Dave Beattie of Autobild Africa a distributor of a wide range of trusted surveying equipment from South Africa, some African countries already have CORS systems for getting accurate fixes from what is called NTrip Rovers, using cellphone networks to access the CORS bases via internet. Those that do not have such systems are looking to implement them soon.

“Because GNSS equipment is solid state electronics, and because accuracies of different makes is the same, there is very little to differentiate between makes of GNSS. Ease of Use, flexibility and Support are the most important things to look for. Most makes now offer Windows controllers with universally used software such as Field Genius or Carlson Surv Ce. These programs are well established, used around the world and have built-in co-ordinate systems for all countries. They also work with all makes and models of GNSS as well as total stations,” he says.

“If I were considering purchasing I would be wary of buying a system that uses controllers and software built by the GNSS brand. This is their way of tying in customers for life. To expand ones system to several GNSS units, ones options become severely limited,” he adds.

Mr. Beattie further mentions that, to replace these controllers is very expensive. With Windows controllers and universal software one has unlimited choices and flexibility.  There are universal protocols used by all brands such as RTCM or CMR+. Some manufacturers program their GNSS antennas to communicate in Brand specific protocol. Once again, these brands should be avoided because it limits one to that brand only for future purchases and expanding ones system.

“For example you may have a base and rover set and need to expand by buying another rover. Keep your options open by sticking to windows systems as mentioned above. Then support is the next big issue, and of course price. Prices can vary significantly but, unlike Opto mechanical instruments, GNSS products are all generally robust, lightweight, and give the same accuracies,” he affirms.


5 Common Mistakes First-Time Landlords Make

There is no doubt that owning a house doesn’t always come easy in Nigeria or any part of the world. Especially for the civil servants, whose salary doesn’t always permit to do so. However, if you are fortunate to own a house, there is a need for you to guard it properly. Guarding your properties, especially, houses entail avoiding some mistakes.

Managing a rental property like houses requires a lot of expertise, knowledge, perseverance and interpersonal skills because there is a difference between managing a business and managing a property. Meanwhile, if you are first-time or a newbie in that field, there is a need for you take note of some things.

For you to guard your housing property very well and to avoid troubles from your tenants, here are 5 common mistakes first-time landlords usually make that you can avoid.

  1. Not Adequately Knowing A Potential Tenant

Although most landlords hardly come in contact with their tenants prior before approaching them to rent their house, there is still a way a landlord can still get to know a potential tenant before admitting him/her.

Knowing a tenant before admitting him/her has to do with doing proper screening. There is need for you to allow a prospective tenant to fill out a rental or lease form that will capture the necessary personal details. It is through the details of a prospective tenant that you can know him/her properly even before giving your house for rent. So, don’t just joke with it.

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  1. Not Following The Law

If you are a landlord, that doesn’t give you the effrontery to go against the law bidding on rental properties in your location. You must get yourself acquainted with the laws that deal with leasing properties to the tenant and the right both the tenant and landlords have.

For instance, the eviction process is one thing most landlords usually get wrong in Nigeria and this alone can cause a serious problem for them if care is not taken. Study the law and follow the law, it is by this, that you can avoid problems most landlords usually have with their tenants.

  1. Underestimating Maintenance Cost

Another big mistake most landlords, especially first-time landlords should always avoid is to underestimate the maintenance cost. Most first time landlords don’t know the rudiments of housing maintenance and that usually cost them the pain of shooting themselves by the legs, when charging their potential tenants.

Repairs will cost you more than you think they will. Owning properties involves ongoing maintenance like landscaping, HVAC maintenance, painting and upkeep costs. But there are also unexpected one-time costs that will pop up, like foundation issues, concrete repairs to garages or roof repairs. Preventative maintenance will help, but there will always be unexpected costs. Just always ensure you do your calculation right to avoid this mistake.

  1. Over-Estimating Rent Rates

Another mistake first-time landlords usually make is to charge their prospective tenants far higher above the market price. Having spent so much on an investment doesn’t guarantee the fact that you must milk your tenants dry.

It is advisable you study the market very well before charging your tenants. One of the disadvantages of exorbitant price rate is that, prospective tenants will always boycott your house for another one with a lower price.

  1. Neglecting Tenants

The home(s) you are renting out are your responsibility. If you do not regularly check in with your tenants and on the condition of the property you will have no one to blame but yourself if something goes wrong. However, make sure that you are not violating the laws regarding tenant privacy before stopping by the property unannounced. You may inadvertently give them the right to sue you or be released from the terms of your lease agreement.


Liquidity crisis frustrates construction, real estate companies

Sector down by 78% year-to-date

The widespread liquidity crisis has been said to be contributing to the problem militating against every sector in the country and the construction and real estate companies are, however, not left out.

The construction and real estate companies listed on the Nigerian Stock Exchange, NSE, now currently ranks one of the worst performing sectors in the stock market. The sector is the only one that posted negative returns for the three consecutive quarters this year.

Majorly, activity in the sector went down by 13.78 percent year-to-date though it outperformed the NSE All Share Index, ASI, which is down by 16.34 percent year-to-date (y/d). Though almost every sector in the market recorded dismal performance in the third quarter (Q3) ended September 30, 2018.

The real estate and construction sector has maintained poor outing in three consecutive quarters this year. In the first quarter ended March 31, 2018, the sector declined by 15.97 percent. The performance which improved in the second quarter, but maintained a down-trend to 13.79 percent, while it closed the third quarter with 13.78 percent decline.

The lacklustre performance has also spread to other real estate related products, including real estate funds – a mutual fund that focuses primarily on investing in securities offered by real estate companies – and Real Estate Investment Trust, REIT.

REIT declined by seven percent between January and October 2018, according to data from the Securities and Exchange Commission, SEC. Capital market operators opine that the state of the sector is reflective of the general state of the economy, saying that once the economy picks up, the sector will be revived.

Hakeem Ogundiran, a former Managing Director of UAC Property Development Company, UPDc Plc, and Founder/Chief Executive Officer of Eximia Realty Limited, speaking at the forum by stakeholders in real estate, said that the slow progress in the sector is attributable to inconsistency in government policies and the high cost of construction. Additionally, he said that access to long-term funds is very limited hindering progress in the sector.

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Comparing construction/real estate with other sectors

Analysis of the performance by every sector, particularly, 11 sectors on the local bourse indicated that the oil and gas sector appreciated most than every other sector. The sector rose by 8.63 percent, followed by the agriculture sector, which rose by 7.84 percent and services sector that notched up by 4.69 percent. The financial service sector recorded a marginal increase of 0.89 percent. However, the natural resources sector, the information and communication technology, ICT, and the healthcare sectors led the laggards, dropping by 24.85 percent, 15.94 percent and 13.78 percent respectively. The real estate sector placed fourth with 13.78 percent decline, while the consumer goods and industrial goods sectors were down b 2.48 percent and 2.31 percent respectively.

However, the natural resources sector, the information and communication technology, ICT, and the healthcare sectors led the laggards, dropping by 24.85 percent, 15.94 percent and 13.78 percent respectively. The real estate sector placed fourth with 13.78 percent decline, while the consumer goods and industrial goods sectors were down b 2.48 percent and 2.31 percent respectively.

In the second quarter of the year, the consumer goods sector appreciated the most, rising by 31.27 percent, followed by the financial service sector with 27.03 percent increase and the agriculture sector, which rose by 25.46 percent. The services sector placed fourth, rising by 20.46 percent; industrial goods sector appreciated by 12.59 percent, while the oil and gas, conglomerates and healthcare sectors were up 4.58 percent, 3.01 percent and 2.38 percent respectively. The natural resources sector led on the flip side, depreciating by 18.05 percent, followed by the construction/real estate sector, which fell by 13.79 percent and the ICT sector with 10.08 percent.

How companies  in construction/real estate sector are performing

Further analysis showed that the share prices of the four companies listed in the sector ended the period in red. While two of them, Arbico Plc and Roads Nigeria Plc stagnated, UAC property Development Company (UPDC) Plc and Julius Berger Nigeria Plc recorded a price decline of 41.22 percent and 23 percent respectively.

Similarly, out of the three REITs trading on the Exchange two of them – Skye Shelter Fund and UPDC REIT – recorded price depreciation at -5 percent and -10 percent respectively. However, Union Homes REIT appreciated by seven percent during the period. The performance of the share prices is largely reflective of the financial positions of the companies as the three companies that have released their Q3 and nine months financial statement indicate a bad financial state.

UPDC Plc’s revenue, for instance, slumped by 36.6 percent to N1.989 billion from N3.136 billion in Q3’18, while it recorded a worsened loss before tax dipping by 138.05 percent. Specifically, the company recorded N4.530 billion loss before tax (LBT) compared to N1.903 billion LBT in the same period in 2017.

In the same vein, Arbico Plc’s revenue went down to N3.270 billion from N3.899 billion, representing 16.1 percent decline. Its profit before tax (PBT), however, improved by huge 320 percent to N174.29 million from N41.46 million in the corresponding period in 2017.

For Julius Berger Nigeria Plc, it was a mixed performance. The company’s revenue rose by 12.3 percent to N118.47 billion from N105.485 billion in 2017, while its PBT nosedived massively by 93.8 percent to N5.056 billion from N81.562 billion in 2017.

Operators react

Tola Odukoya, Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer, FSL Asset Management attributed the poor performance to liquidity problem within the economy.

He stated: “The real estate to a large extent is not doing well, even within the economy just because of liquidity issues. Though it is still a very good investment outlet, but for the fact that there is no liquidity generally within the system, investors are shying away from the sector because they need a sector that will guarantee them return on investment.

“Most people are also putting off their projects because they are finding it difficult to finance those projects. So, that dryness of liquidity affects the performance of companies within that space also.

“It is a sector that has a strong positive correlation with the performance of the economy; so when the economy was doing well, this sector was also doing well. We just came out from a recession and there is the likelihood of the economy sliding back into recession. So, in a situation like this, in terms of the scale of preference, real estate and construction sector is not the first thing people think of. They will, first of all, think of the basic needs of feeding and clothing. Once the economy picks up significantly, you will see activity in the sector will also picking up.”

“If UPDC Plc, for instance, was selling 200 or 500 units daily when the economy was good, I am sure it will not be doing as much as that now because of the liquidity crunch and of course, that will affect their performance in the stock market.

“Julius Berger, (JB Plc) which is a key construction company, has been having issues for sometime and it boils down to the same problem of liquidity.

“Do not forget that some unlisted construction companies are also competing with Julius Berger in vying and securing government contracts that, typically, would have gone to Julius Berger and this is eating into JB’s market share, Odukoya asserted.

Also reacting, Mr. Charles Fakrogha, Chief Relationship Officer and stockbroker at Foresight Securities, said: “The performance of the sectors in the market reflects what is going on in the larger economy. If you look at real estate itself (construction and housing), we are not seeing any activity there. There is a serious lull in the sector and the companies operating in that space are not doing well at all and that is what is reflecting in the market where we are seeing their performance. Virtually all the real estate companies are not doing well in the market and it is just a simple reflection of what is happening in the general economy.

“The sectors that are doing well in the market, of course, comprise of companies that deal on essentials. The consumer goods sector, for instance, is doing well because they offer essential commodities and that is why it is performing well. Companies in consumer goods and agriculture sectors sell products that everybody needs and so despite the liquidity crisis in the economy, some of these sectors will continue to perform well and companies that are in the sectors will continue to sell their goods and services and people will continue to buy and you see that also reflecting in their prices.”



“You Can Enjoy Rental Income without Owning a Property”

Founder of Africa’s Property Investment Group, Mr. Chudi Kalu, in this interview with Mary Ekah, speaks about investing in the real estate business as the surest way to building and securing one’s future, providing insights and latest money-making tips in the property market in Africa, among other issues

How would you describe Nigerians attitude towards investment in real estate?

So far we have realised that people fear that the recession in the nation will stop them from investing in property. But that is not the case because a lot of people are already taking advantage of real estate investment because they know that the way to come out of any form of recession is when they enjoy consistent cash flow. So a lot of people are investing in real estate at this particular time.

That is why we have been holding a lot of seminars and workshops lately aimed at opening the minds of investors to how they can change their financial levels for better by investing in real estate, the opportunities that are available to people and how ordinary individuals can take advantage of the investment opportunities available within the real estate sector without having to break the bank. And I think that for real estate industry to grow in Nigeria and for property business in Nigeria to be activated properly, investors should come in; and we cannot always expect foreigners to invest in real estate in Nigeria, we the local people should take advantage of the opportunities around us.

You have had series of conferences and workshops on real estate lately, what is the driving force behind all these?

We at AFPING are trying to give everyone an opportunity to invest in high quality real estate investment. Presently we have projects in Surulere, Yaba, Ijesha amongst other areas in Lagos and elsewhere. We also have some UK projects that we are pursuing at the moment. Anybody can take advantage of these opportunities and you don’t necessarily have to live in the UK to invest in the UK. To this end, we have been doing a lot of coaching on real estate investment and how people can take advantage of the rental market. We are particularly focused on educating people on how they can enjoy rental income without owing a property of your own.

People keep wondering if this is possible. It is actually very possible if you understand how it works. Now because of the challenge of buying property in certain areas, a lot of people have lost money because of “Omo onile” and they bought property expecting that some of those property will appreciate but after 10 years, they probably do not know where the location of that property is and at the end they would realise that they must have been duped. So it is better to play within a particular market where you can easily take advantage of. Now how do you participate in the Lagos market for example without getting your hands burned? At least we can see the population.

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When I see the Lagos traffic, I get so excited and then some people wonder why I am so. I feel so because as long as there are people within town, rent will continue to go up. And what drives rental income for landlords is the number of people that lives in a particular area. And how do I as an individual participate in that game without actually owning a house is what we have been able to figure out at these seminars and workshops. When you go round that, you see a lot of property that are empty and also property that the landlords do not have the required funds to put them in good shapes because they probably do not have a regular income and yet the property is within a good location.

All one needs to do is to invest in such property and renovate for better rental charges while both the landlord and investor share the profits. So, as an investor, you do not have to buy the property to share in the profits, All you need to do is just to invest some money for its renovation and then in return get huge rental income. That is what we coach people on during the seminars and workshops that we have been holding lately and you don’t have to be an expert in the industry before you can earn rental income but all you need is to have a little fund on ground.

According to statistics, we have 17 million housing deficit in Nigeria and if every household pays a hundred thousand naira from the 17 million housing deficit that we have in this country that will be more than 17 billion naira annually. So I would say that the deficit we are facing in the housing sector is an opportunity and not a curse.

And it is those people who see the opportunity within that market that would take advantage of it. If they say we have about 17 million housing deficit, what it simply means is that you have 17 million families who are ready to pay only for kind of houses they can afford, so that means that if anybody has the houses that fit their needs, they would be willing to pay. So the deficit is an opportunity for only those that see it as a business opportunity and can then thrive on it.

So it is a missed opportunity for me if I do not invest in such market. So real estate is a big market not just for the developers but also for people who can see opportunity in that area and grab it and this can only be achieved when I use my money to do renovations on some of these properties on ground.

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Many people have properties but they are still poor merely because they are not thinking creatively nor taking advantage of the immense problem of housing deficit and then convert that problem to their own advantage; and that is what our seminars and workshops are all about. We are trying to teach people how they can take advantage of the housing problem in Nigeria. Every problem is clothed with opportunity and how you take advantage of that opportunity is what this is all about.

How would the common man who could hardly save the miniature income earn benefit from this?

There is a scheme we have been doing for over four years now, where by certain people can put funds together to own high quality real estate investments. For example, there is a particular project somewhere in Ikeja that requires about N22 million. Now, if I come together with like 10 other people and together we raise N22 million, we all can buy and renovate that particular property and start enjoying cash flow from it. It simply means that 11 of us will share the profit based on the returns we get per year. That is what we are currently offering people right now, taking it to the market place, so that people can take advantage. We have already people buying into the idea and investing in real estate.

This also means that if I want to invest in a property in Lekki, I don’t need to have all the money for the property to invest in it, but it simply gives me an opportunity to invest in high quality real estate investment that may take me so many years of savings to be able to invest. So, we don’t just want to make opportunity for only those who can afford to buy plots of lands to make money, we also want those who have little means to also be able to invest in properties and make money. Why is it that it is easier for plumbers to own houses while a banker remains a tenant for a very long time? This is so because the plumber is thinking in terms of cash flow while the banker is thinking in terms of building and owning and so he waits for so long till he is able to save a huge amount to buy or build a house.

This is information that people in this sector may hardly want to give out so freely. So why and how are you doing this?

I have been using every platform available to me. I have been using the social media a lot to create awareness and I have been crazy about it and I know a lot of people that have taken this raw information and duplicate it for their own benefits and presently are having numerous properties around town.

This is to tell you that this actually works. It is better we cover this nation with success than preventing people from being successful because a lot of people have success but hide the secret of their success from others. The real estate market is too wide for me to hide anything. We have over 17 million people having housing problems in Nigeria; even I alone cannot serve half a million people. The market is too wide so there is no need for competition.

We hold seminars regularly on this. We just concluded one last week called the Rental Income Plan. It is all about helping people to understand how they can do these things on their own. People can be part of this by registering on our website, www.afping.com. We are thinking of holding these conferences at least once in two months, where we gather people in a class to learn. They don’t have to be real estate experts but those who are ready to take the opportunity in the real estate sector.

Husband and wives can also take advantage of this. We also do one-on-one training, leading people by their hand and helping them to explore the real estate market. And if someone says he doesn’t have the time because he has a regular job, then he/she can invest with us and grow with us. And investing in real estate is predictable, tangible and indestructible. That is why I am inviting everybody to do it and you don’t necessarily have to invest with me, you can do it on your own. I started doing this when I didn’t even have full information about the sector but for the fact that I had opportunities. So those whose eyes are opened to opportunities can take advantage of the real estate market.

How do you guarantee security for such investments and is the training free of charge?

Some amount of money is attached to the trainings because we bring in experts to coach these people. And the training one gets involved in also determines the amount one pays. When it is a class, that is a group of people, we give discounts. So the fee ranges from 50,000-750,000 naira depending on which class you want to attend. We also do executive class whereby after the class, you can pick a particular property and we would guide you by the hand, that means that we would follow you to where the property is, secure the property, negotiate the deal with the property owner and then show you by example how we do it.

And talking about security, we have, in the last seven years, been privileged to have sold more than 2,000 plots of lands; so what we do is that the same way we secure people’s property is also the same way we secure people’s investments. So you are not investing into any real estate project that is not insured. We are working with several insurance companies to ensure that people’s investments are secured and that they do not lose their investments in case of negligence on the part of the developers. So that is one of the ways we are guarding against people experiencing loss in their investments.

This Day

Buyer apathy threatens Abuja new estates

…developers see positive prospects, say prices to rise soon

Many new private estates in Abuja face poor patronage due to perceived high cost, a Daily Trust survey in the sector has shown.

The findings showed that the rate of sales of estate flats that has remained low despite flexible payment plans and juicy discount rates to attract potential buyers.

As such, some of the completed estates spread across the city have remained unoccupied with many more still under construction.

Low and middle income earners in the capital city for whom these new estate homes are supposedly targeted, lack the financial capacity to pay for the houses. A lot of them prefer, instead, to acquire land in the outskirts of the city, which they consider cheaper.

But a cross section of marketers, promoters and estate developers interviewed said they are not disturbed by the current rate of  low sales.

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The  survey carried out within the central part of the FCT metropolis, Lugbe, Apo, Kubwa and Karmo, showed that over 20 new estates have either been completed or are at various stages of completion in the last three years.

Urban Shelter Limited, a key player in Abuja’s real estate market, made up about 30 percent of the new residential developments in the FCT surveyed for this report.

One of the estates, Bellevue Residences, located in Life Camp, according to the company, is an “opportunity to respond to the socio-economic needs of the people by creating a privileged, safe and accessible residential development.” The price for a five bedroom villa at the residence goes for N150 million while a four bedroom town-home costs N70.5 million.

The price range for a home at its 30 apartment’s Lugbe estate begins from N9.5m. A two bedroom semi detached terrace apartment at its Sarauniya Estate Lugbe, which are at the building stage, cost N17.5m under a two-year payment plan.

A marketer of the estate said a subscriber who is unable to meet up with the two-year plan can opt for five-year plan but at a total cost of N22.75m.

Prices for a home  begin from N12m at The Brick City View, another member of the Brick City family in Kubwa.

The cost of an apartment at The Brick City Spring, an affordable luxury homes, situated in Jabi District begins from N9.5m, same as Brick City Valley estate along Kubwa-Zuba express way.

Prices start from N4m at its Kyami Estate, close to the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport.

Dantata Town, is another fast rising  estate developers in the FCT promoted  by Dantata Town Developers Limited, a real estate/construction firm. At the moment, it is marketing its newly developed Dantata Housing Estate Kubwa phase 1, 2 and 3 as well as the Dantata Mabushi Terrace Housing Estate in Mabushi Abuja in addition to those in Gwarimpa.

A two bedroom semi detached uncompleted apartment goes for N13.5m while the completed counterpart is N19.5m and an interested buyer is expected to make initial deposit of 30 per cent of the total cost, to spread the balance in instalmental payment.

Other ongoing estate developments surveyed included Brains and Hammers estates Apo 4-5 and Games Village, Flourish Estate Lugbe, Didi Estate Karmo, Park View Estate opposite Games Village, Kukwuaba where a  well finished, fully detached 5 bedroom luxury duplex goes for around N150m.

Some estates marketers, who spoke on the rate of subscription, however, said demand for estates is high because of the corresponding high demand for housing in Abuja due to the influx of people into the city.

“Many people have subscribed or have started buying,” said a representative of Urban Shelter Limited who markets Sarauniya Estate, Lugbe.

“In four months’ time the prices will even go higher because demand is high,” he said.

A marketer for Dantata Town Estate in Kubwa said there are now about 800 residents within all the phases in the estate.

However, some federal civil servants interviewed said the price of an average  estate home for workers on levels 8 to 10 was beyond their reach, and above the Federal Mortgage Bank Housing loan. But the developers blamed the high prices on cost of imported building materials as well as local ones.

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“The cost of land, building materials and logistics is actually why the cost is high,” said a developer who doesn’t want to be named.

Some developers said they are upbeat that the market will pick up particularly as the 2019 general elections draw near.

“After the 2019 general elections, the expectations are that new members of the National Assembly would buy personal houses in Abuja and likewise their aides.

“There might be new set of ministers, MDs and DGs who may be living outside Abuja before their appointment and by their appointments may need new homes. If the purchase of new homes does not rise by then definitely rent will increase,” he said.

By Daniel Adugbo & Malikatu Umar Shuaibu


Nigeria out of recession, NBS insists

The National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) on Monday restated that the country was out of recession. The Head of Public Affairs and International Relations Unit, Mr Sunday Ichedi, said this in a statement in Abuja.

Ichedi was reacting to claims by some media organisations which suggested that the Statistician-General of the Federation and NBS, Dr Yemi Kale noted that the economy was still in recession. “We want to emphasise and state categorically that the economy is out of recession and at no time did the NBS or its CEO state otherwise as has been reported.

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“Recall that it was the same bureau that announced the end of recession in the second quarter of 2017. “This followed the announcement of the first positive growth in the nation’s Gross Domestic product (GDP) due to five quarters of contraction.

“Economic growth as measured by GDP has remained positive ever since (0.72 per cent, 1.17 per cent and 2.11 per cent in the second third and fourth quarter 2017 and 1.95 per cent in the first quarter of 2018).

“The NBS has stated several times that the stages after an economic recession is an economic recovery where the economy moves gradually following the end of a recession toward sustainable strong growth.

“This is the stage of recovery that we are now and was alluded to by the statistician-general during his interview.

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“That the economy is in the second stage of recovery, heading toward sustainable growth, which is the last stage cannot and should not be wrongly interpreted as the economy is still in a recession,’’ Ichedi said.


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