Kenya: Cooperatives to Deliver 500,000 Social Housing Units

Kenya is ranked highly globally with regard to a thriving cooperative movement having an asset base of more than Sh900 billion and deposits worth over Sh600 billion. The movement has continued to grow over the years.

“This gives Kenya a competitive advantage while at the same time providing a great opportunity which many Kenyans have taken advantage of and tapped into, especially in acquiring decent and affordable homes,” said Mr Patrick Bucha, housing secretary at the State department of housing, urban development and public works.

In a statement read by Mr Bucha, Housing Principal Secretary Charles Hinga Mwaura noted that the ministry has recognised the contribution of the cooperative movement in Kenya towards the attainment of affordable housing, which has gone a long way to uplift the living standards of Kenyans, particularly through the provision of decent housing. “The government is aware of the huge potential that housing cooperatives hold in delivery of affordable housing in the Big Four agenda,” he said.

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“The strength of cooperatives in the provision of housing has been derived from their ownership of vast parcels of land, and a huge financial asset base through shareholding of their members…” read part of the statement. “It is for this reason that the Kenya Vision 2030 blue-print envisaged that cooperatives had the capacity of contributing 25 per cent of household stocks in urban areas in Kenya,” said Mr Bucha.

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He added that there was a need for other housing cooperatives in Kenya to emulate Urithi. “The government alone cannot meet the demand for affordable housing in the country as it is a big project that requires multi-pronged strategies and partnerships to be achieved. Cooperatives have been considered as a very key partner in the Big Four agenda programme of delivering 500,000 affordable and social housing units,” added Mr Bucha.

Millicent Mwololo

Kenya lauded for moving to make housing affordable

Kenya has been acclaimed for coming up with initiatives to meet the rising demand for houses and making them affordable.

The latest plan contained in the 2018/2019 budget presented last week involves the creation of a National Housing Development Fund, which is expected to offer alternative financing solutions for low cost housing.

The fund will be fashioned akin to a pension scheme such that employees will contribute 0.5 percent of their gross earnings each month to a maximum of 50 U.S. dollars and employers will match the amounts contributed.

Contributors will then book the houses, and since the percentage contributed is not sufficient to cater for the cost of the houses, they will start paying for the houses off-plan.

“Individuals in the affordable housing bracket will use the funds to purchase houses through tenant purchase schemes, while individuals with a stronger financial muscle will use the funds as deposits for mortgages or other forms of collateral,” Cytonn, a Nairobi-based investment firm, noted Monday.

The fund is the latest initiative by the government aimed at achieving affordable housing under President Uhuru Kenyatta’s Big Four Agenda.

Another plan announced in February involves the setting up a 160 million dollars mortgage refinancing company.

The Kenyan Mortgage Refinancing Company (KMRC) will get funding from the World Bank, the Kenya government and private sector led by commercial banks and cooperatives.

KMRC, according to the Treasury, would be a non-bank financial institution to provide long-term funding to mortgage lenders.

The company’s main objective would be to enhance mortgage affordability and offer long-term loans at attractive market rates in the country.

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“The mortgage company is a step in the right direction towards making the government initiative of providing 500,000 homes per year until 2022 a reality. We expect the body to result to a rise in number of mortgage lenders, the number of mortgage undertakings, and thus increased uptake of homes by the low-income population,” said Cytonn.

The government has also offered a 15 percent corporate tax relief to developers who put up at least 100 low-cost residential houses annually and there have also been land swaps that entail the exchange of public and private land between the government and developers.

Antony Kuyo, a real estate consultant with Avent Properties in Nairobi, said that with Kenya’s housing deficit growing annually at approximately 200,000 units, the government has no option but lead from the front.

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“Over the years, the private sector has been at the forefront of providing houses amid growing demand, with the government only stepping in when it comes to legislation. But this model has not worked as thousands are living in informal settlements,” said Kuyo.

High mortgage rates of between 13 percent and 17 percent have made things worse for those in formal employment, with the East African nation only having some 20,000 mortgage accounts.

“The housing fund and the mortgage finance company are novel initiatives that would enable the country meet the over 200,000 deficit annually and provide affordable houses. Under these initiatives, I expect the housing part of the Big Four Agenda to be met,” said Kuyo.

However, while the initiatives have been welcomed, experts noted they would not get an easy ride, especially the housing fund.

“The housing fund is likely to face opposition due to possibility of primary contributors not benefiting as it is structured in a lottery form. And employers and employees have begun to oppose it given that both parties are already being subjected to a number of statutory deductions such as National Hospital Insurance Fund,” said Cytonn.

Li Xia

Affordable Green Housing For Nigeria

An estimated 80% of Nigerians live in indecent, informal housing structures with no basic amenities and in deplorable conditions. Only few own the house that they live in. Chinwe Ohajuruka set out to prove to the Nigerian authorities and to communities in Port Harcourt in southern Nigeria that change is achievable – and that change means green housing.
I could not believe the words of the former Minister of Housing, Ama Pebble when she pronounced then in 2011: 80% of Nigerians living in deplorable conditions, in informal housing without access to potable water and other public infrastructures. That would have affected 130 million Nigerians at the time! This was especially shocking, as, at that time, Nigeria was the 8th largest exporter of oil globally. At the same meeting, the Minister also estimated the housing deficit at a whopping 17 million units.

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THE PROBLEM

With an estimated 2014 population of 178.5 million Nigeria is currently the 7th most populous country in the world. As the population grows, so does the housing deficit, as the number of houses being built does not come close to the desperate need. In May 2014, at a World Bank forum, the Coordinating Minister for the Economy and Hon. Minister of Finance of Nigeria Dr. Okonjo-Iweala had some grim statistics concerning housing construction, home ownership and mortgage penetration as follows:

Mortgage finance (as a share of GDP) is extremely low in Nigeria at 0.5%, compared with 80% (UK), 77% (USA), 31% (South Africa) and 2% (Ghana).
The housing and construction sector account for only 3.1% of Nigeria’s rebased GDP.
Housing production is at approximately 100,000 units per year while 800,000 units are needed yearly.
As a result of this lack of a robust mortgage financing system, Nigeria’s rate of home ownership is one of the lowest in Africa at 25%. According to the Managing Director of the Federal Mortgage Bank, Nigeria’s homeownership rate is much lower than countries like Singapore (90%), Indonesia (84%), Kenya (73%), USA (70%), Benin Republic (63%) and South Africa (56%).

In addition to these obstacles to home ownership, Nigerians face daily battles with poverty, unemployment, low human development index (HDI), low access to clean water & improved sanitation and incessant power outages. A large percentage of Nigerians are unbanked as only about 40% of the adult population is financially included.

THE SOLUTION: AFFORDABLE PASSIVE HOUSE PROTOTYPE

“Success occurs when opportunity meets preparation” – Zig Ziglar (1926 –2012)

Soon after I became aware of these troubling housing statistics, a golden opportunity arose, to demonstrate that green building could be viable at the affordable housing level.

The African Diaspora Marketplace (ADM II) Business Plan Competition

In 2012, in collaboration with an amazing team of dedicated professionals committed to sustainable development, we entered an African Diasporan business plan competition in the United States. The competition was organised by USAID and Western Union for Africans wanting to do meaningful and innovative development in their home countries. Out of 495 entries, we were delighted to have been among the 44 finalists, and ultimately, one of the 17 winners! Our winning entry was titled “Renewable Energy through the Vehicle of Affordable Housing” and our innovation was called the “Passive House Prototype”.

The term passive house (Passivhaus in German) refers to a rigorous, voluntary standard for energy in a building, reducing its ecological footprint. It results in ultra-low energy buildings that require little energy for space heating or cooling.

Our definition of “Passive House Prototype” (PHP) tailored to tropical Nigeria was: “A building that uses 50 – 75% less energy than a similar building in a similar location”. We boldly designed, engineered and built an energy-efficient model of affordable housing, targeted at upgrading the “Face-Me-I-Face-You” tenement housing. Our goal was to prove that it is possible to do well while doing good, thereby inspiring the private sector to get involved in green building and sustainable design at the grass root level.

We chose to upgrade the “Face-Me-I-Face-You” housing type because it is the most affordable and commonly found in urban areas across Nigeria. These rooming houses or tenement buildings usually accommodate whole households (of up to 8 persons) in one or two rooms, with central corridors, shared kitchens, toilets and bathrooms. They are often fraught with problems of security, safety, privacy and dignity, with living conditions that are less-than-ideal.
Building & Site Characteristics

Each building comprised 4 units for 4 families arranged around 2 courtyards on a single minimum-sized plot of land (15m x 30m, or 50 x 100 feet). Each courtyard is shared by 2 families, and each dwelling unit (of approximately 40m2) includes:

1 living room
1 bedroom
1 kitchen
1 bathroom
Circulation/storage.
Flexibility – each building can comprise 1, 2, 3 or 4-bedroom units.
Phase-able – the units could be based in phases
The Process & Projects

Completing the detailed design, engineering, specifications bills of quantities and planning approvals took nine months. We approached the Rivers State Government and received instant support when we explained that we intended to build sustainable affordable housing. The approval process was thorough but swift and we were invited to make a presentation to the Executive Council of Government. We started off by building two prototypes in Igbo-Etche, Port Harcourt, close to the well-known “Eleme Junction”. The buildings had identical floor plans but used different materials for the exterior walls. One was built with 9-inch sandcrete blocks and the other with 9-inch compressed earth blocks (CEBs).

In June, 2013, a block-making machine was brought to site and the CEBs were moulded from a composition of 95% laterite and 5% cement. The laterite came from Obehie, Abia State, 35 kilometres from the site.
Construction of the two buildings started simultaneously in July 2013 and by December 2013, two PHPs, comprising eight 1-bedroom apartments were erected.
Second Project

During the construction of the Igbo-Etche project, we were awarded the construction of another Passive House Prototype close to the Port Harcourt International Airport at Igwuruta-Ali. This time, we were asked by the client to build the external walls using a combination of sandcrete blocks and CEBs. Construction started in October 2013 and by December 2013, this PHP, comprising four 1-bedroom apartments was erected.
The solar system was installed, activated, and the building turned over to the client in September 2014.
Lessons Learned

On both projects, various challenges were experienced, not totally unexpected on pilot projects. Of significance was that they were built during the rainy season, which, in Port Harcourt, involved very heavy rainfall. This caused delays, as September typically has 21 rainy days out of 30!
Building sustainably basically involved going back to first principles of bio-climatic design.
With careful thought and team collaboration at the design stage, the projects did not cost more.
Using compressed earth blocks resulted in cooler interiors.
The CEB walls took less time to erect, but in this case, were not cheaper than the sandcrete block walls. Laterite for the CEBs had to be transported from a distance.
If the laterite source is close to the site, CEBs can work out much cheaper than using sandcrete blocks, as erection is faster, mortar is not needed and the walls do not need to be plastered.
Light coloured roofs, light coloured walls and shading went a long way in aiding the building to cool itself, eliminating the need for expensive mechanical cooling equipment.
Economies of scale allowed for more cost-efficient construction. The costs could go as low as N7.5million per building if 10 or more were to be built at the same time.
With commitment and care, it is certainly possible to do sustainable affordable housing developments!
Opportunities for the Government

In October 2014, the Minister of Lands, Housing and Urban Development, Mrs. Akon Eyakenyi stated that 43,126 housing units had been added to the nation’s housing stock between July 2010 and September 2014. She also said the Federal Government has created the enabling environment for the private sector to take the front seat in the provision of housing for millions of homeless Nigerians. While these achievements are commendable, Nigeria needs to build at least one million housing units per year to address the growing deficit and population increase. Enabling conditions such as providing infrastructure, unlocking land, reducing bureaucracy and increasing the availability of mortgage and construction finance will facilitate the process. If housing policy is focused more towards building sustainable 1-bedroom units, more decent housing can be provided affordably to improve the living conditions of a greater number of people in less time! These will come with added benefits of clean energy, potable water, improved sanitation, employment, poverty reduction, wealth creation and national economic growth.

Opportunities for the Financial Sector

The absence of mortgage products is a huge barrier to large scale provision of affordable housing. 1-bedroom apartments are cheaper and quicker to build than larger residences and micro mortgages and/or micro loans could be designed to service this housing type. The provision of housing microfinance and micro-mortgages could also present opportunities for reaching the unbanked and increasing financial inclusion in Nigeria. Home-ownership is a dream of all and could be the bait used to draw in the informal sector through housing cooperative schemes, to open accounts and make regular deposits. Micro-mortgages should be expanded to include home construction, as most of the houses in Nigeria are self-built.

Opportunities for the Private Sector

We could not have achieved the success in developing our Passive House Prototypes without the collaboration and support of the Rivers State Government, especially the Greater Port Harcourt City Development Authority. We discovered that engaging the government brought interest, cooperation and more opportunities. The government cannot and should not have to solve the problem of the housing deficit on its own, and is waiting for the private sector to come forward with bold and innovative ideas. The opportunities for the private sector are endless, ranging from Public Private Partnerships, to private sustainable real estate development. Imagine how the built environment could be transformed if large corporations invested in affordable green estates for their lower income staff as part of their corporate social responsibility (CSR).

CONCLUSION: THE GOAL – WORLD LEADERSHIP

On a site visit in 2013, I hired a taxi driver called Faith to take me to and from the project sites. After I had spent about 2 hours inspecting the construction and taking photographs, he remarked:

“Madam, I hope you don’t mind if I say something? I took my time to go around the site and inside all the buildings. At first, I thought you were building a house for yourself. But when I went inside, I saw that each building had four apartments. Each apartment had 1 living room, 1 bedroom, 1 kitchen, 1 bathroom, a small store and a corridor. I realized that these apartments were for people like me! Wow Madam! Look at the quality! Wow! Madam, you should run for office!” His comments revealed to me that people are not asking for too much to be satisfied: food, clothing and access to decent housing, all of which are fundamental human rights. Faith will indeed become one of the potential homeowners, as he has expressed his willingness to occupy one of the apartments. He also has a community of people that he says would also be willing to move into the apartments, and he is delighted at the prospect of owning his apartment in the not-too-distant-future. Together, we will navigate the journey of obtaining financing until they own the units. We will start with a “Rent-to-Own” agreement, and explore traditional and modern sources of microfinance such as “Isusu” and micro-finance.

Affordable green housing could well be the “silver bullet” to address the triple bottom line for sustainable development in Nigeria. With the sheer size of the Nigerian market and economy, Nigeria could lead the world in environmental sustainability, affordable green housing, green mortgages and leases, green facility management and achievement of its Millennium Development Goals.

by Chinwe Ohajuruka

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.

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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.

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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.

Finintell

Study Reveals Housing Microfinance Can Become Major Offering For Financial Institutions

A new study from Habitat for Humanity says that housing microfinance can and should become a mainstream offering for financial institutions in Sub-Saharan Africa.

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Housing microfinance consists of small, non-mortgage backed loans starting at just a few hundred dollars that can be offered to low-income populations in support of incremental building practices.

The business case study, released today, is entitled “Building the Business Case for the Housing Microfinance in Sub-Saharan Africa.”

It builds on a project carried out over six years in Kenya and Uganda called “Building Assets Unlocking Access”.

The project was a partnership between Habitat’s Terwilliger Center for Innovation in Shelter and the Mastercard Foundation.

So far, the project has reached over 47,000 households and mobilized more than $43 million in capital to benefit over 237,000 individuals.

The business case study argues that housing microfinance, small non-mortgage backed loans for short terms, can become a mainstream offering in the market to address growing housing needs in the region, incremental building patterns, and the land tenure realities of low-income households.

There are an estimated 1.6 billion people in the world living in substandard housing. This figure is climbing, especially as the world becomes more urbanized and people migrate to cities for economic opportunity.

In Sub-Saharan Africa, however, as much as 99 percent of people do not have access to formal financing – credit, savings, mortgages – that can let them start building or improving their homes. Traditionally, they build homes gradually as their resources allow.

Developer-built, bank-financed homes are rare in Africa, serving fewer than five percent of households in most countries.

“Solving the housing challenges in Africa will require a massive amount of capital investment and most of that will need to come from the private sector,” said Patrick Kelley, Vice President of Habitat’s Terwilliger Center for Innovation in Shelter.

He said, “Financial institutions of all kinds have a role to play, especially those already deeply embedded in communities and who understand people with informal sector livelihoods.”

Habitat’s Terwilliger Center for Innovation in Shelter partnership with the Mastercard Foundation sought to motivate local financial service providers in Kenya and Uganda to develop housing microfinance loans to fund the incremental building process common among low-income households.

The results have proven that there is demand for housing microfinance among families or individuals earning as little as $5 a day who are seeking to build, extend, or renovate their home.

“At the Mastercard Foundation, our focus is on helping economically disadvantaged people, especially young people in Africa, to find opportunities to move themselves, their families and their communities out of poverty,” said Ruth Dueck-Mbeba, Senior Program Manager at the Foundation.

“This project has provided access to appropriate finance for decent housing. We believe that decent housing can provide more than four walls and a roof over one’s head. It offers people hope, dignity, and a place in their communities.

This report should help financial service providers to scale these products, which would benefit their enterprises as well as the lives of many poor people in Africa,” she added.

Financial institutions in the region that have ventured into housing microfi­nance have often reported it to be a popular product with their clients.

To understand the demand side factors, the value proposition of these products, the competitive advantage of financial service providers offering it, and the differentiated features that make housing microfinance a strategic product, the business case study surveyed the work of two financial institutions: Kenya Women Microfinance Bank, or KWFT, and Centenary Bank in Uganda.

The study argues, through the lenses of these two institutions in different geographies, that success and profitability of a housing microfinance product relies on a number of factors: connection with the financial service provider’s mission, good marketing, a clear pricing structure, understanding of land tenure realities, an opportunity to attract new clients, and secure long-term capital to fund the expansion of such portfolios.

“Financing incremental housing solutions is a natural step in the progress of greater financial inclusion. Centenary and KWFT are providing a great example of how financial institutions will benefit from understanding their clients and developing products that serve them well,” said Patrick Kelley.

Africa needs $170bn annually to meet infrastructure requirement – AfDB

The African Development Bank (AfDB) says Africa needs about one hundred and seventy billion dollars annually to meet its infrastructure requirement.

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Prof. Vincent Nmehielle, Secretary General of the bank disclosed this at a media briefing to announce the bank annual meeting, on Thursday in Abidjan.

“ In 2016, the bank approved 7.8bn dollars to finance investment in African continent and in 2017; it was about 6.7 billion dollars.

“ If you look at the African economic outlook that was released in January, it is very clear that for Africa infrastructure needs to be fully met, it will require about 170 billion dollars yearly.

“This will help it to meet the infrastructure gap,’’ he said

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He said that the bank only approved seven billion dollars for all aspects of the high five, adding that there was the need to diversify the sources of African development through promoting the private sector.

He noted that improving the private sector operation was the only way for African to meet its development potentials.

“That is the reason why, going forward, the bank has just instituted the African Investment Forum.

“The Forum is a platform where the bank is trying to bring lots of investors to look at projects to finance across the African region, particularly private sector projects.

“We also have some government arrangement that will do PPP arrangement to leverage on the resources that the bank has for the continent,’’ he said

He said that the Forum would be launched in South Africa on the 7th to 9th of November which would attract a number of international financing organizations.

On the funding of the High five priority projects of the bank, he said that the bank had earmarked 9.99 billion dollars for the implementation of the projects.

Housing News reports that the high five projects include, Light up Africa , Feed Africa, Industrialise Africa, Integrate Africa and Improve the quality of life of the people of Africa.

Commenting on the Annual Meeting, he said that the meeting would focus on review of the Bank accounts by the Board of Directors adding that some resolutions would equally be passed at the meeting.

“There will decisions on the direction of the bank and concrete decision would made on strategic projects of the bank,’’ he said

By Edith Ike- Eboh

CBN Seals $2.5bn Currency Swap with China’s Central Bank

Obinna Chima

The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has signed a $2.5 billion bilateral currency swap with the Peoples Bank of China (PBoC).

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Confirming the swap, which has taken two years to negotiate, a statement released Thursday by CBN spokesman Mr. Isaac Okorafor said the Governor of the CBN, Mr. Godwin Emefiele, led CBN officials while PBoC Governor, Dr. Yi Gang, led the Chinese team at the official signing ceremony in Beijing on Friday, April 27.


Governor Emefiele of the CBN and Governor Yi of the People’s Bank of China signing the currency swap agreement between both countries.

The transaction which is valued at Renminbi (RMB) 16 billion, or the equivalent of about $2.5bn, is aimed at providing adequate local currency liquidity to Nigerian and Chinese industrialists and other businesses, thereby reducing the difficulties encountered in the search for third currencies, said the statement.
Among other benefits, this agreement will provide naira liquidity to Chinese businesses and provide RMB liquidity to Nigerian businesses respectively, thereby improving the speed, convenience and volume of transactions between the two countries.

It will also assist both countries in their foreign exchange reserves management, enhance financial stability and promote broader economic cooperation between the two countries.

News on the swap comes at a time Nigeria’s foreign reserves have inched up to $48 billion on higher oil prices, giving the country leverage in its negotiations with the Chinese central bank.

Saudi Real Estate Refinance Company injects another SR1 billion into Saudi housing finance market

RIYADH: The state-owned Saudi Real Estate Refinance Company (SRC) continued its mission of supporting the consumer mortgage market with the injection of SR1 billion ($266 million) funding from Amlak International.
It is SRC’s third SR1 billion transaction and demonstrates its growing role as a catalyst for the Saudi housing market. The agreement announced on Tuesday was SRC’s first refinancing deal of 2018. It includes portfolio acquisition and a short-term financing (Murabaha deal).

READ:ABUJA INTERNATIONAL HOUSING SHOW – THE LARGEST HOUSING AND CONSTRUCTION EXPO IN WEST AFRICA
Fabrice Susini, SRC’s chief executive officer, said: “We will keep enabling lenders to offer more accessible home buying solutions to more Saudi citizens by providing liquidity as well as balance sheet relief.
“The deal also signals SRC’s commitment to the Ministry of Housing to offer more accessible housing finance solutions and facilitate market growth.”


Real estate financers Amlak’s chief executive officer Abdullah bin Turki Al-Sudairy said: “As the first company granted a license to engage in real estate financing in Saudi Arabia, we recognize the need to work with the public sector to grow the real estate market.
“This agreement will help us provide sustainable mortgage solutions to ensure that citizens can easily own the right home.”
He added the deal showed what can be done through cooperation and an effective relationship between the public and private sectors. The SRC, fully owned by the Public Investment Fund (PIF) — the country’s main sovereign wealth fund — was formed in 2017 to create a secondary home loan market in Saudi Arabia. In line with Vision 2030 objectives, SRC aims to improve the real estate market, increase its contribution to GDP, and raise home ownership to 52 percent by 2020. The Kingdom’s mortgage market is expected to grow from SR280 billion in 2017 to SR500 billion by 2020.


Amlak International was the first real estate financing company approved by the Saudi Arabia Monetary Authority (SAMA). Amlak International recently announced that it will offer the first real estate financing for Ministry of Housing beneficiaries to acquire ready-made housing units within King Abdullah Economic City (KAEC).
Over the past 10 years, Amlak has developed a close working relationship with developers, financing more than 9,000 units in more than 100 projects across the Kingdom.

8th Global Housing Finance Conference

The World Bank Group will hold its 8th Global Housing Finance Conference on May 30 – June 1, 2018. The theme of the conference is “Breaking the Mold – New Ideas for Financing Affordable Housing” and we will explore innovative ideas around the role housing finance can play in ensuring access for all to adequate, safe and affordable housing. Preconference sessions and a site visit are planned for May 29, 2018.


The theme for the 2018 Conference is “Breaking the Mold – New Ideas for Financing Affordable Housing”. The conference will not only create awareness of the major challenges in developing or strengthening housing finance markets but will also focus squarely on solutions and resolution of these challenges by highlighting innovations, new ideas and global experiences in the sector.

The Global Housing Finance conference is an opportunity for policy makers, practitioners, NGOs and donors to gather, exchange views, learn about latest developments and to network.

The registration fee is US$1,000 per person, and covers all course materials, admission to seminar sessions and social events. Travel, accommodation, and other expenses are not included, and are the responsibility of each participant.

This year, the conference will take place over 2.5 days, in addition to preconference sessions scheduled for May 29, 2018. Preconference sessions are smaller, simultaneous sessions that provide an opportunity to delve deeper into selected topics and facilitate a broader discussion.

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.

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“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.

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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

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