Global house prices increase by 4.6 per cent

House prices worldwide increased by 4.6per cent in 2017, led by Iceland and Hong Kong, but their rate of growth has slowed while European housing markets are rising up the rankings, the latest global index shows.

Overall some 85per cent of the 59 countries tracked by the Knight Frank global house price index saw mainstream values rise and seven European countries now sit within the top 10 while Russia, Peru and Ukraine registered the weakest growth in 2017.

READ:ABUJA INTERNATIONAL HOUSING SHOW – THE LARGEST HOUSING AND CONSTRUCTION EXPO IN WEST AFRICA

“The latest house price rankings provide a glimpse as to where the world’s housing markets are in relation to their property market cycles, as the era of economic stimulus comes to a close and rate rises occupy the minds of policymakers in several key western markets,’ said Kate Everett-Allen, head of international residential research at Knight Frank.


She explained that while 2017’s growth of 4.6per cent was lower than 2016’s 5.3per cent, it was still a reflection of steady growth, tied primarily to the fact the global economy registered growth of 3.7per cent in 2017.

“That is not to say there aren’t headwinds. Rising interest rates in the US, UK, and Canada as well as the withdrawal of stimulus is influencing buyer sentiment, and with over 13 countries pegged to the US dollar, further rate rises by the Federal Reserve will have repercussions beyond US shores,” she pointed out.

Indeed, the index’s more moderate rate of growth is reflected throughout the rankings. The gap between the strongest and weakest performing housing market has narrowed from 27 percentage points to 20.

Get your daily housing news on your mobile phone : Download from goggle playstore Now

Iceland and Hong Kong still occupy first and second position but their rates of annual growth have slipped from 20per cent to 15per cent and from 18per cent to 14per cent respectively since the previous quarter. Mirroring a trend seen in the prime residential markets, European countries are rising up the rankings.

The Czech Republic and Ireland were in equal third with price growth of 12.3per cent, followed by Turkey at 11.2per cent and Serbia at 11per cent, Hungary at 10per cent, Latvia at 9.5per cent, Bulgaria at 9per cent and Malta at 8.8per cent.

The UK is ranked 24th with annual growth of 5.2per cent, Portugal at 31 with price growth of 4.5per cent, France at 35 with 3.9per cent, Germany at 38 with a rise of 3.6per cent, Spain at 43 with 3.1per cent and Italy close to the bottom at 53 with a fall of 0.8per cent.

At the bottom is Ukraine where prices fell by 5.1per cent, while in Peru they fell by 4.2per cent, in Russia they were down 3perc ent, in Saudi Arabia down 2.2per cent, in Finland down 1.5per cent and in Poland there was a fall of 0.9per cent.

In terms of the world’s largest economies, the US with growth of 6.3% has overtaken China at 5.8per cent. The index report says that in China, although tighter capital controls are limiting cross border flows, policy levers at home are having some success stemming its tide into domestic markets.

The strong performance of the US and Canada at 8.9per cent means North America outpaced all other world regions in 2017, recording average price growth of 7.5per cent. “With a raft of new measures announced to curb Vancouver’s price Inflation and further rate rises mooted we may see Canada shift down the rankings during 2018,” said Everett-Allen

A Comparative Analysis of Housing Indicators in China and Nigeria

In our previous review of “Nigeria’s journey towards sustainable housing provision”, we highlighted several housing indicators in the areas of housing deficit, mortgage interest rate, mortgage down payment rate and repayment period, policy reforms, cost of housing, which were used to explain the current state of the housing in Nigeria. In this second edition of the review, a simple comparative analysis of housing in China is done to further explain the dire need for the complete overhauling of Nigeria’s housing sector.

Read More: WHY YOU SHOULD EXHIBIT AT THE 12TH ABUJA INTERNATIONAL HOUSING SHOW

China is a socialist state, with a government with crystal clear vision of its role. China is the most populated country in the world with a population of about 1.4 billion people. Given this population, one would assume that China would suffer from extreme housing deficit, but the numbers in China’s housing sector are fairly good. While Nigeria has a housing deficit of 17 million, 90% of families in China own their homes and 80% of these families acquired the homes outrightly, without mortgages or loans.

China has seven of the world’s top ten most expensive cities for residential property. The prices of houses in China are very high when compared to their income, price-to-income ratio (PIR). This however, does mean that the country is in a severe housing situation, the system can be said to have been managed almost effectively by forces of “government policies” and “way of life”.

The process and qualification for getting mortgages in China is relatively straight forward and low, respectively. At most, the mortgagor will need to have a monthly salary that is at least twice the monthly repayment rate of the loan. The outcome of this is that mortgages perform well in China, and in 2013, default rate was a mere 0.17%. Usually, a down payment of 30% is made on mortgages, which is 5% higher than that of Nigeria. However, interest rate on mortgage in China is about 6%, almost 4 times lesser than Nigeria’s. It is important to recall that mortgages are uncommon in Nigeria due to high interest rate and the arduous process of getting a mortgage.

Majority of the Chinese don’t mortgage, just 18%, as earlier mentioned 80% of homeowners acquire their homes outrightly. Hence, mortgages contributed 15% to China’s GDP in 2012. This is still higher than Nigeria’s 0.5% mortgage contribution to GDP in 2012.

China also has a Housing Provident Fund. In a way, the Fund works like the Nigerian pension system in which employees and employers co-contribute to a pension account. A part of the Housing Fund, included a savings plan initiated by the government in which employees are given the option to contribute a portion of their monthly wages and have it matched by their employer to assist them with buying a house. This has contributed positively to mortgage acquisition in China, as prospective home owners are able to make the required 30% down payment.

Just like Nigeria, China has had several housing policy reforms, but so far, the difference in both countries has been the approach. While Nigeria’s style is for each administration to come up with a policy that can be attributed to the office holder, without good reference to learning points from previous reform(s) as every effective policy reform should do, China has transitioned from one policy reform to another with the soul aim of scaling up successful practices and downscaling non-performing ones. For China, policies have resulted from current realities. Among the latest drive by the government of China, is to regulate the rising rent cost in cities.

The success story of housing in China is as a result of an interplay between culture and systemic and intentional policies driven by its government to ensure sustainable housing provision for its citizenry. The government has largely charted housing in the country onto a sustainable path. Housing policy reform after reform, the government’s aim has simply been to provide adequate housing for its people. As for culture, the Chinese treasure home ownership, to many of them it could be their lifetime’s biggest achievement and they would work diligently towards saving up to buy one. Parents go out their way to support their children in getting their own homes, owning a home is somewhat of a yardstick for being fully prepared for marriage.

We have seen where Nigeria stands from the comparison; we can also deduce who/what the major actors in China’s housing sector have been. The last article in this series will be released in two weeks from today and will basically feature solutions to Nigeria’s housing woes. It will involve a mix of adoptable policies, low cost housing option and many others, till then, please stay tuned.

How People In China Afford Their Outrageously Expensive Homes

I was surprised when the owner of the run-down, 82 square meter apartment outside of the core downtown area of Xiamen that I once rented told me that he was selling it for nearly US$300,000. The apartment was in a well-worn 15 year old building — old in a country where housing only lasts for 25-30 years — and had grime covering the walls, tiles from the kitchen floor that were peeling up, water oozing up from the shower drain, and fixtures that were all mismatched . . . and dilapidated at that. Although at 22,000 RMB per square meter I couldn’t say that this place was priced abnormally high — this is just what people pay for homes in the east of China.

An average 80 square meter apartment within Shanghai’s Inner Ring Road goes for upwards $886,000; while in the city’s hinterlands it sells for around US$200,000. In Beijing, the average cost of a home of this size is roughly US$310,000. This is all in a country were $5 can get you a bulging armful of food from the local market and $70 gets you a bunk on a train that’s going all the way across the country.

According to the IMF ’s house price-to-wage ratio, China has seven of the world’s top ten most expensive cities for residential property. All through the country’s tier-one, tier-two, and even some tier-three cities, housing prices are severely out of proportion with the incomes of the people who live there.

In Xiamen, a coastal city with a perpetually hot property market, $300,000 for an apartment is normal — even though the minimum wage there is hardly $200 per month and the average wage is around $1,000. Even for the city’s middle class residents, who make between $1,200 and $5,000 per month, the price seemed prohibitively high.

However, the people of China can afford to buy these extremely expensive properties. In fact, 90% of families in the country own their home, giving China one of the highest home ownership rates in the world. What’s more is that 80% of these homes are owned outright, without mortgages or any other leans. On top of this, north of 20% of urban households own more than one home, according to Nomura . So with wages so out of whack with real estate prices, how can so many people afford to buy so many houses?

Before we can understand how people in China can afford to frolic in their country’s over-inflated housing market, we must look at where this market came from. Hardly 20 years ago China’s real estate market didn’t exist. It wasn’t until the mid-90s that a series of reforms allowed urban residents to own and sell real estate. People were then given the option to purchase their previously government-owned homes at extremely favorable rates, and most of them made the transition to being property owners. Now with a population provisioned with houses that they could sell at their discretion and the ability to buy homes of their choice, China’s real estate market was set to boom. By 2010, a little over a decade later, it would be the largest such market in the world.

When we talk about how people afford houses in China today, more often than not we’re not talking about individuals going out and buying property on their own — as is the general modus operandi in the West. No, we’re talking about entire familial and friend networks who financially assist each other in the pursuit of housing.

At the inner-circle of this social network is often the home buyer’s parents. When a young individual strikes out on their own, lands a decent job, and begins looking to pursue marriage, getting a house is often an essential part of the conversation. Owning a home is virtually a social necessity for an adult in China, and is often a major part of the criteria for evaluating a potential spouse. As parents tend to move into their children’s homes in old age, this truly is a multi-generational affair. So parents will often fork over a large portion of their savings to provision their children with an adequate house — oftentimes buying it years in advance. If parents are not financially able to buy their kids a house outright, they will generally help with the down payment, or at the very least provide access to their social network to borrow the required funds.

Take for example the case of Ye Qiuqin, a resident of Ordos Kangbashi who owns two houses across the country in Guangdong province, where she is originally from. Together with her fiancé, she makes roughly US$3,200 per month from running a cram school. For her first home she made a down payment of roughly US$20,000; of which $3,300 came from her parents, $10,000 came in the form of loans from her sister and friends, and the rest came from her savings.

To decrease the amount of volatility in China’s often hot property market, there are very strict rules as to how much money people can borrow from the bank for purchasing real estate. Although this slightly varies by city and wavers in response to current economic conditions, for their first home a buyer must lay down a 30% down payment, for the second it’s 60%, and for any property beyond this financing isn’t available. So for people to buy homes in this country they need to step up to the table with a large amount of cash in hand. In fact, 15% of all residential property in China is paid for in full upfront.

Why there is so much liquid cash available for these relatively large down payments is straight forward: the Chinese are some of the best savers in the world. In fact, with a savings rate that equates to 50% of its GDP, China has the third highest such rate in the world. As almost a cultural mandate, the Chinese stash away roughly 30% of their income, which is often called into use for such things as making a down payment on a home — which is the most important financial transaction that many Chinese will ever make.

Another way that Chinese home buyers are able to afford their down payments is via the country’s Housing Provident Fund. This fund began when the country started privatizing urban housing as way to help residents afford to buy their homes. Part of this fund included a government initiated savings plan where employees are given the option to invest a portion of their monthly earnings and have it matched by their employer to assist them with buying a house.

Read More: WHY YOU SHOULD EXHIBIT AT THE 12TH ABUJA INTERNATIONAL HOUSING SHOW

Once the down payment is accounted for, getting mortgages in China is a relatively straight forward affair, and the standards for qualifying are relatively low. For the most part, a borrower’s monthly salary must be at least twice the monthly repayment rate of the loan. Interest rates hover around 6%. On average, those who have these loans will devote between 30% and 50% of their monthly income towards paying them back.

While there is much talk in China and abroad about the increasing number of Chinese home buyers taking out mortgages, relative statistics should quell the hype. Just 18% of Chinese households have mortgages, compared with half of all home owners in the USA. China’s home mortgage-to-GDP ratio was just 15% in 2012, whereas in the USA it was a staggering 81.4%. Although monthly wages in China tend to be relative low, non-performance on mortgages is virtually unheard of — in 2013 the default rate was a mere 0.17%.

Although we must remember here that China’s banks are fully owned by the Communist Party, and social stability often takes precedence over the raw pursuit of profit, so their lending practices cannot be compared like-for-like against those of Western banks.

Part of China’s boldness when it comes to spending relatively large amounts of money on housing comes from the assumption that wages will continue rising. Nominal income growth in urban China has been going up at a 13% clip annually over the past decade, while annual per-capita disposable income has risen from $1,800 in 2006 to around $4,800 today.

This is to say that the Chinese are able to afford their homes, even though they are extremely expensive.

The Housing Provident Fund in China

Explanation
In China, different cities have different laws and regulations regarding the social securities and housing fund. All Chinese employees and employers are required to contribute the mandatory social insurance and other social benefits such as housing fund and the social security funds on a monthly basis. The Housing Fund, also known as the Housing Provident Fund. In 1999, Housing Fund was established, for the purpose of helping Chinese employees save money in terms of buying their own properties. By doing so, the social stability and security has been guaranteed in China. Together with other types of social welfare programs, Housing Fund is legislated by the government at a national level, but all the local governments have the authority to set up the contribution rates by their own.

The Housing Fund and other social insurances
The ministry of human resources and social security regulated the welfare and social security system, and there are five social insurance items in the welfare program: the maternity, medical, pension, work-related injury and unemployment insurances.

When it comes to Chinese welfare system, the Housing Fund is generally administrated respectively by the Ministry of Housing or other local Housing Funds offices, but always included inside the system. The core difference between Housing Fund and other social schemes is that there is no social pool for the Housing Fund, because all the amount will go to the employee’s personal account. Moreover, the credits can only be withdrawn for specific situations, such as the down payment, construction, purchase, renovation of the property and paying back a mortgage.

Read More: WHY YOU SHOULD EXHIBIT AT THE 12TH ABUJA INTERNATIONAL HOUSING SHOW

Contribution
Example: Base and Rate of Publicly Accumulated Housing Fund in Shanghai
Rate:
The rate of publicly accumulated housing fund payment for employee and employer and employer is 7% respectively.

Base:
Contribution Base= the previous year monthly average salary of the employee.

Employees who start new work from January 1st, 2015 shall calculate the housing fund contribution base in accordance with the employee’s second month salary or the actual monthly average salary since the employee start new work.

Employees who joined from January 1st, 2015 shall calculate the housing fund contribution base in accordance with the month salary after joining or the actual average salary.

For 2015 (July 1, 2015-June 30, 2016), the upper limit of publicly accumulated housing fund contribution base is RMB 2,290, the upper limit of small private business and its employees and freelancers is RMB 3,924.

For 2015(July 1, 2015-June 30, 2016), the lower limit of publicly accumulated housing fund contribution base is RMB 254, the lower limits of small private business and its employees and freelancers is according to this standard.

The Amount of Monthly Housing Fund Contribution
The amount of publicly accumulated housing fund monthly payment= contribution Base x (rate of publicly accumulated housing fund payment of employee+ rate of publicly accumulated housing fund payment of employer).

 

Ethiopia builds Africa’s first energy plant that converts trash into electricity

Waste management is one of the biggest challenges confronting many African countries. The issue of collection, management and disposal of solid waste still features highly in major towns and cities across the region. Failure to correctly manage waste disposal has often led to flooding and the outbreak of diseases.

In Ethiopia, its largest rubbish dump Koshe was for almost 50 years, home to hundreds of people who collect and resell rubbish trucked in from around the capital Addis Ababa. It, however, made headlines last year when it killed about 114 people, compelling the government to rethink an alternative use for the site which is said to be the size of 36 football pitches.

Ethiopia has since turned the site into a new waste-to-energy plant via the Reppie Waste-to-Energy Project which is the first of its kind in Africa. This forms part of efforts to revolutionise waste management practices in the country.

Read More: WHY YOU SHOULD EXHIBIT AT THE 12TH ABUJA INTERNATIONAL HOUSING SHOW

The plant, which was expected to begin operation in January, will incinerate 1,400 tons of waste every day. This represents about 80 percent of the city’s waste generation. The plant will also supply the people with 30 percent of their household electricity needs.

“The Reppie project is just one component of Ethiopia’s broader strategy to address pollution and embrace renewable energy across all sectors of the economy. We hope that Reppie will serve as a model for other countries in the region, and around the world,” Zerubabel Getachew, Ethiopia’s deputy permanent representative to the United Nations said in Nairobi last year.

The waste-to-energy incineration plant will burn the rubbish in a combustion chamber. The heat produced will be used to boil water until it turns to steam, which drives a turbine generator that produces electricity.

Waste-to-energy incineration is also vital for cities where land is in short supply, as apart from generating electricity, space will be saved and there is a substantial prevention of the release of toxic chemicals into groundwater, and reduction in the release of the greenhouse gas – methane – into the atmosphere.

The Reppie plant operates within the emissions standards of the European Union, as it contributes towards alleviating air pollution.

Waste-to-energy plants are already popular in Europe, as nearly 25 percent of municipal waste is incinerated.
In France alone, there are about 126 waste-to-energy plants, with Germany having 121 and Italy having 40.

The Reppie plant in Addis Ababa is the result of a partnership between the Government of Ethiopia and a consortium of international companies: Cambridge Industries Limited (Singapore), China National Electric Engineering and Ramboll, a Danish engineering firm. The consortium is hoping that the project will be a series of similar ones in major cities across Africa.

Government must provide infrastructure – Estate Developers

Real Estate Developers are appealing to government to develop the infrastructure needs to enable them easily provide affordable housing.

According to them, it is the duty of government to provide the roads, drainage system and other infrastructure needs, since such activities are capital intensive and add to the cost of building.

Ghana’s housing sector has been faced with a worsening housing deficit of about 1.7 million units.

But Vice Chairman of Regimanuel Gray Limited, Regina Botchwey said the deficit could reduce if government intervenes.

Read More: WHY YOU SHOULD EXHIBIT AT THE 12TH ABUJA INTERNATIONAL HOUSING SHOW

“About 40% of the cost of every house is infrastructure. There must be good walkways, water pipes, electricity among others,” she said, adding that it is the responsibility of government to provide such infrastructure.

She stated that there have been times developers have attempted to take on the cost but could not bear with it.

“If these are done by the developer, it costs so much. So I can’t see how we can talk about affordability. Until the authorities take up this infrastructure costs we will still have this problem. It is a major challenge for us” she stressed.

Flexible pension laws to reduce high mortgage costs

In a related development, Banks want government to amend certain aspects of the housing law to allow collaboration between them and the National Pensions Regulatory Authority (NPRA) to make mortgages cheaper.

According to the banks, various restrictions surrounding the tier one and tier two pension funds, hinder their ability to assist Ghanaians to access mortgages.

The call comes after President Akufo Addo in his State of the Nation Address disclosed that the NPRA and banks will design a system to make mortgages affordable.

Managing Director of HFC Bank, Anthony Jordan in an interview with Citi Business News insists this can only be realized if government amends the legislation.

China dominates global city rankings for house price growth

Chinese cities recorded the strongest mainstream house price growth in 2017 and seen the biggest rise in the prime property market, new research has found.

Price grow by more than 10% in eight Chinese cities in the mainstream market, led by
Chongqing with an increase of 58.9% and only two European cities, Amsterdam and Dublin, made the top 10 with rises of 20.9% and 12.3% respectively.

Vancouver saw annual growth of 16%, New York was up 11.7% and Shanghai up 10.7%. Paris recorded growth of 8.3%, Sydney 5.8% and London just 2.3%, according to the report from international real estate advisor Savills.

Prices were unchanged in Mumbai and Warsaw and fell in Rio de Janeiro by 4.4%, in Stockholm by 5.2%, in Shenzhen and Johannesburg by 6.3% and in Dubai by 7.9%.

Read More: 12th Abuja International Housing Show

In the prime property markets there were more falls than growth, including long established markers such as London, New York, Stockholm and Moscow but values in these cities are still higher than they were ten years ago. San Francisco was the only US city to feature in the top 10.

Chongqing also saw the highest growth in the prime sector at 48.5%, followed by Tianjin at 39.4% and Wuhan at 25.5%. Vancouver, Dublin, San Francisco and Amsterdam also make the top 10 with growth of 16%, 12.6%, 12.3% and 10.7% respectively.

Hong Kong remains world’s most expensive city for prime property at US$4,000 per square foot, followed by Tokyo at US$3,280, London US$1,770 and New York US$1,570.

‘This outperformance by the mainstream housing markets across key world cities is part of a longer term global trend. Prime values rose first and fastest after the global financial crisis, but some are now hitting a high plateau. It’s now the turn of the mainstream markets to play catch up,’ said Yolande Barnes, head of Savills world research.

‘Prime residential markets around the world reacted quickly to quantitative easing by central banks and the consequent yield shift in line with low interest rates. This was a one off yield shift and expectations are that central banks are moving towards raising rates, reducing the potential for price growth,’ she explained.

‘Importantly, while some cities have recorded small falls, we generally don’t expect these to become significant, but we do expect prices to remain relatively stable, on a high plateau for some time, though we will continue to see volatility in oil dependent economies, for example,’ she added.

According to the report cities such as Hong Kong, San Francisco, Sydney and Vancouver, which have now seen strong 10 year growth, are expected to hit a high plateau in the next year or two.

European cities such as Amsterdam, Madrid, Paris and Dublin, where prime residential value growth ranged from 5.1% to 12.6% in 2017, are poised for further price growth, though they too are expected to hit a long term peak within the next five years.

‘With large amounts of capital pointed at Hong Kong from the mainland, and held at bay only by capital controls, it is difficult to see a scenario where capital values will fall significantly,’ Barnes pointed out.

‘Equally, unless capital flows from the mainland were dramatically relaxed, it’s hard to see scope for further significant value uplifts. Prime Hong Kong residential values look set to occupy the same high plateau as many other world markets for a while,’ she explained.

Tokyo, where large, centrally-located, prime properties are rare, ranks as second most expensive for prime property, with values averaging US$3,280 per square foot after rising 10% in the year, more than five times the mainstream average of just US$630, and the biggest different between prime and mainstream across the Savills measures.

‘In future, investors will pay more attention to occupier fundamentals: not just the quantum but also the quality of demand. The biggest value differences will not be between world cities so much as between different neighbourhoods and different types of property within those cities. Tokyo is an early case in point,’ Barnes concluded.

KUALA LUMPUR DECLARATION ON CITIES 2030

We, the participants of the Ninth session of the World Urban Forum — representing  national, subnational and local governments, parliamentarians, civil society, older persons, women, youth, children, persons with disabilities, grassroots groups, indigenous peoples and local communities, private sector, foundations and philanthropies, international and regional organizations, academia, professionals and other relevant stakeholders — gathered in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, to localize and scale up the implementation of the New Urban Agenda as an accelerator to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals.

Led by a strong spirit of collaboration, creativity and innovation, we share our aspirations for the future of Cities 2030 as the Cities for all where no-one and no place is left behind.

To this end, we call for the deployment of all efforts, means and resources available towards the operationalization of the concept of cities for all, ensuring that all inhabitants, of present and future generations, without discrimination of any kind, are able to inhabit and produce just, safe, healthy, accessible, affordable, resilient and sustainable cities and human settlements to foster prosperity and quality of life for all.

We believe that global, regional, national and local implementation frameworks of the New Urban Agenda being formulated since its adoption should be supported by key enablers capable of unlocking positive transformation, such as:

Read More: 13 Reasons Why you Should Exhibit at the 12th Abuja International Housing & Construction Show 2018

  • Strengthening the role of subnational and local governments, urban governance systems that ensure continuous dialogue among different levels of government and participation of all actors, and increasing multilevel and cross-sectoral coordination, transparency and accountability.
  • Encouraging sharing of creative solutions and innovative practices which enable a shift in mindset necessary to drive change.
  • Building inclusive partnerships and strengthening age and gender responsive environments to ensure meaningful participation and engagement at all levels.
  • Adopting integrated territorial development, including through appropriate urban planning and design instruments, to ensure sustainable management and use of natural resources and land, appropriate compactness and density, diversity of uses, and revitalization of cultural heritage.
  • Deploying monitoring and reporting mechanisms, including assessment of impacts, that encourage best practices for effective policy making.

We draw attention to the persistent challenges faced by our cities and human settlements, such as:

  • Limited opportunities and mechanisms for youth, women and grassroots organizations, as well as other civil society organizations, local, subnational and national governments, international and regional bodies to work together in planning, implementation and monitoring;
  • Inequitable access to the city, including to decent jobs, public space, affordable and adequate housing and security of land tenure, safe, efficient and accessible public transport and mobility systems, infrastructure and other basic services and goods that cities offer;
  • Insufficient protection from human rights violations, including forced evictions, and inadequate inclusion of people living in poverty, persons with disabilities and other disadvantaged groups in urban planning, design, and legislation processes;
  • Gender inequalities in urban economic and leaderships spheres.

We recognize that today we face emerging challenges that require urgent actions, including:

  • Recognizing that crises are increasingly urban, which calls for inclusive urbanization tools adapted to local contexts and to the nature of natural and human made disasters and conflicts, as well as to guide humanitarian assistance, fast track recovery, and contribute to building and sustaining peace.
  • Managing the complexities of increased migration into cities, at all levels, leveraging positive contributions of all and using more inclusive planning approaches that facilitate social cohesion and create economic opportunities;
  • Understanding the impact of new technologies and potential of open and accessible data, which require governance and design models that help to ensure no one is left behind;
  • Addressing growing social and cultural inequalities, lack of access to economic opportunities, that are increasingly manifested in cities.
  • Responding to environmental degradation and climate change concerns.

Actionable recommendations

We, the participants of the WUF9, leveraging the advantage of the Forum, which convenes thousands of decision makers, key actors, stakeholders and communities, generated a wealth of ideas.

We encourage the acceleration of the implementation of the New Urban Agenda through:

Frameworks

  1. Encourage the formulation of implementation frameworks for the New Urban Agenda at all levels, including monitoring mechanisms, providing a coordinated space for an effective contribution from all stakeholders, aligning to the efforts and actions of the 2030 Agenda and other international, regional, national, subnational and local development frameworks.
  1. Support the creation and consolidation of inclusive platforms and agendas for dialogue among all levels of government, decision makers and stakeholders such as regional, national and local Urban Forums and committees that can strengthen policy review and assessment of impacts. These can also foster exchange of experiences and cooperation, as well as scaling up voluntary commitments and actions from all partners.
  1. Further develop and advocate for integrated territorial development, which includes integration of sectoral policies, institutions and investment; integration among the different spheres of government; spatial integration across the urban-rural continuum; improved coordination across actors; and enhanced alignment of national, subnational and local policies with international agendas.
  1. Adapt innovative and robust mechanisms for the diversification and expansion of the means of implementation, to cater for complex and integrated approaches promoted by the New Urban Agenda. Technological innovations and improvements, research, capacity building, technical assistance and partnership development, among others, may require enhanced resourcing.

Governance and partnerships

  1. Adopt multiple collaborative governance mechanisms that actively engage national, subnational and local governments, all groups of society, including youth, women and grassroots organizations and particularly the excluded, vulnerable and disadvantaged groups. This work in solidarity is critical to promote more buy-in and co-responsibility in the activities towards sustainable urban development, and to ensure the sustainability of the results.
  1. Promote multi-stakeholder constituency-based coalitions to use the implementation of the New Urban Agenda to better prevent, prepare, and respond to urban crises.

Innovative solutions

  1. Foster a culture of creativity and innovation to be embedded in the way cities and human settlements operate.
  1. Develop monitoring and data collection mechanisms, including community generated data, to enhance availability of information and disaggregated and comparable data at city, functional urban areas and community levels. This would promote informed and evidence-based decision making and policy formulation, assessing progress and impact at all levels.
  1. Create an enabling environment and develop capacities for scaling up of good practices including municipal finance, sustainable private and public investments in urban development and job creation, and generating value while advancing the public good.
  1. Adopt accessibility and universal design as core principles into national, subnational and local action plans for implementing the New Urban Agenda through inclusive, accessible and participatory processes and consultations.

We, the participants of the Ninth Session of the World Urban Forum, recognize the value of the Forum convened by UN-Habitat as an inclusive platform to collect inputs from a broad range of stakeholders and to feed these into annual and quadrennial reporting on progress in the implementation of the New Urban Agenda.

We call to further develop the role of UN-Habitat as a focal point in the United Nations system to support all countries and mobilization of stakeholders in the implementation, follow up and review of the New Urban Agenda, including through scaled up normative support.

We thank the Government of Malaysia, the City of Kuala Lumpur, and UN-Habitat for organizing the Forum, and commit to provide continuous cooperation to the next hosts, the Government of the United Arab Emirates and the city of Abu Dhabi.

Kuala Lumpur, 13 February 2018

Kuwait Government spending to stimulate real estate

By Mohammad Kamal
KUWAIT, Feb 4 (KUNA) — Following recent recession in domestic development, government spending on housing and construction is forecast to trigger hike in the realty demand in Q1 2018.
It is also predicted that hotels and furnished apartments will flourish, in tandem with execution of government mega projects, namely development of Kuwait International Airport, expanding the Amiri Hospital, constructing Jaber causeway, Al-Jahraa and Jamal Abdulnasser roads, in addition to a number of private projects.


The local property market has been affected with unfavorable domestic and external factors, namely imbalance in supply and demand and maintaining a strict credit policy by the banks.
Other factors have also left marks on the market; such as decline of proceeds from realty enterprise, capitals’ shifting to stock markets, unsteady oil prices, geopolitical events and increase of construction materials’ prices.
Moreover, the sector recent recession was attributed to increase of power, water and fuel rates.
Nevertheless, experts believe that investment in the sector remains safe due to high proceeds, reaching in general eight percent.

READ: ABUJA INTERNATIONAL HOUSING SHOW – THE LARGEST HOUSING AND CONSTRUCTION EXPO IN WEST AFRICA

Last year, there were bids to stimulate the market; with auctions confined to selling land plots, however up to 20 auctions had to be delayed due to investors and auctioneers’ absence.
Realty experts, interviewed by KUNA, believe that some of the main factors affecting the market are shortage of promoted plots against high demand and rare investment alternatives.
Rents in the investment and commercial sectors have recently dropped by 10-15 percent, they say.
Qais Al-Ghanim, Secretary of the Kuwaiti Real Estate Association, affirms that the market has remained largely in a lackluster status, with trades not exceeding seven percent of the displayed properties.
Some entrepreneurs have been shifting to the stock market, lured by instant profits.
Suleiman Al-Dlaijan, manager of a property agency, says young citizens, who make up 60 percent of the 1.4 million Kuwaiti population, are number one trades’ seekers. Up to 700,000 young Kuwaitis aspire to own a private house, but most of them cannot afford it.
Figures by the Public Authority for Housing Welfare (PAHW) show that there are 100,000 residence applications per year.
Twelve thousand residential units were distributed last year
Al-Dlaijan believes that hike of power, water bills; restrictions imposed by the Central Bank of Kuwait (CBK) on credits for private housing stemmed the high property prices.
As to trades’ value over the past three years, he said it amounted to KD 4.4 billion (USD 14.5 billion in 2014), KD 3.2 billion (USD 10.5 billion) in 2015 but dropped in 2016 to KD 2.4 billion (USD 7.9 billion).
Abulaziz Al-Dghaisheem, chairman of a realty group, believes that auctions have stimulated the market, however geopolitical factors’ negative impact are still noticeable.
Director General of Athra Real Estate Company Maitham Al-Shakhs forecasts revival of the property market this year, amid predicted economic growth. (end) mke.rk

Property investors prefer tourist rather than urban areas in Greece

According to the findings of a survey conducted by pollsters Kapa Research for the Hellenic Property Federation (POMIDA), a large percentage of property owners are finding it difficult to pay real estate taxes. Only 21.6% of the respondents said that they would be able to pay the unified property ownership tax (ENFIA) next year, compared to 25.4% who said they were unable to cover the tax. 38.3% responded they would find it difficult and 14.7% refused or did not know what to answer.

The data recorded that most of the property owners received late rents and a significant percentage does not receive delayed rent payments from their tenants, with a large portion not receiving any rent at all. The survey also revealed that the majority of real estate owners reduced rents, subscribing to the notion that it is best to get less than nothing at all. 76% have decreased rental rates over the past three years.

  • 30.2% intend to sell some property in the next two years, while 76.4% noted they do not intend to buy property in the next two years.
  • 76.8% consider property taxes to be unfair, while 63.3% of the respondents argue that leasing property is a net loss.

READ: 13 Reasons Why you Should Exhibit at the 12th Abuja International Housing & Construction Show 2018

Furthermore, a long-standing trend in Greek society where investors valued more urban real estate (Athens, Thessaloniki, large urban centres) seems to have been reversed as an increasing number opt to invest in tourist areas.

WP Facebook Auto Publish Powered By : XYZScripts.com
Translate »

You have successfully subscribed to our newsletter

There was an error while trying to send your request. Please try again.

Housing News will use the information you provide on this form to be in touch with you and to provide updates and marketing.