REAL ESTATE NEWS UPDATE – August 8th #3inews

Land Use Act bill; Professionals Condemns Senate’s Rejection

Professionals in the Built and Environment sector condemned the action of the Nigerian senators over the rejection of the Land Use Act bill. The bill which sought to alter the 1999 constitution, by gaining authorisation to be removed from the constitution thereby giving allowance to regular process of review and amendment suffered defeat in the upper legislative Chamber. The professionals described the Land Use Act as a clog in the wheel of development in the country over the years, and pointed out that the deletion of the Act which is 39 years old from the country’s constitution would make it easy to review and amend from time to time.

Nigerians and stakeholders in the housing sector have faulted the Act, citing among other reasons the delay it creates in making land accessible to average Nigerian, and are therefore clamoring for its removal from the constitution to lessen these bottlenecks. This glitch among many others prompted the professional to call for the bill at the National Assembly. It was gathered however, that there was intense lobbying among senators from the Northern region, who were of the view that the bill amounted to resource control.

According to reports, the Northern senators allegedly argued that “if you delete the Land Use Act and remove the powers of the federal government over land, it would be easy for the South-South states that have been at the forefront for the control of their oil resources to achieve it. “The states would just legislate on the land in their territories and whatever natural resources lie below the ground belongs to them, instead of the federal government. They could even use individuals who would just claim that certain acres of land are their ancestral land and they can decide they will not allow exploration of the resources therein.

Mr. Moses Ogunleye of Moses Ogunleye & Associates (a town planning consulting firm) who also served past chairman and president of Nigerian Institute of Town Planners NITP (Lagos state branch) and Association of Town Planning Consultants of Nigeria ATOPCON, respectively, while reacting to the actions of the senators said that the Act which has not been reviewed since it was enacted 39 years ago, can easily be reviewed from time to time if it is expunged from the constitution. According to the town planner, “If it remains in the constitution, it will be difficult to review and amend from time to time because such reviews must go through the National Assembly, but outside the constitution, reviewing will be easy because it will only require public hearing which makes the review easier and faster”. “The Northern senators have no reason to be afraid of the Act being expunged from the constitution because its review will benefit every section of the country”, Ogunleye stated.

In his reaction, the 2nd vice president of the Nigerian Institute of Building, NIOB and former chairman, NIOB Lagos state branch, Mr. Kunle Awobodu, said “because of the deep interest in land as it relates to natural resources, some people will not want it expunged from the constitution, due to misled believes that the control of resources will no longer be under the control of the federal government. Most people at the senate do not know the implication of allowing the Act to remain in the constitution and its benefits outside the constitution. But if built environment professionals are invited to enlighten them about the implication of allowing it to remain in the constitution and the benefits Nigerians stand to gain from removing the Act from the constitution, perhaps, this will change their position on the issue”.

Also reacting on the issue, Mr. Sunday Olorunsheyi, Director, Pertinence Ltd, a real estate development firm, and owners of ABC Gardens and ABC VIP Gardens across the country, said the constraints in processing land documentation is an aspect of the Act that should be looked into by making the process easy and less cumbersome.

He, however, pointed out that the Act is in the constitution has been able to control and check the activities of land grabbers across the nation.
Culled from: The Vanguard

Financial Institution Selling Off Properties

As a result of the impact of effect of recession on the nation’s economy, financial institutions, especially commercial banks have begun to sell their idle landed property in major urban centers to cushion the liquidity shortage in the sector. Some of these institutions with excess branch networks are also offloading property used as branches across 35 States and the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja, including cash centres.

Last year, some of the banks including Guaranty Trust Bank Plc, Skye Bank Plc, First City Monument Bank Limited, Zenith Bank Plc, United Bank for Africa Plc, First Bank of Nigeria Limited, Stanbic IBTC and Fidelity Bank Plc had hired estate surveyors and valuers to dispose of some properties used as collateral by customers.

In the past few weeks, the banks have offered thousands of square feet in Lagos, Abuja, Port Harcourt, Kaduna, Kano, Owerri, Ibadan, Enugu and other major cities through estate surveyors to prospective buyers in the real estate market.

Mr. Kunle Alonge , the Senior Partner of Nelson Thorpe Alonge, a firm of estate surveyors and valuers, said “the impact of technology is leading to reduction in the requirement of  branch network and smaller banking spaces. In time past, most banks invested heavily in real estate but the model is now changing, which has now led to the need to dispose excess property. “The move will help in liquidity creation, it is actual wasteful for traditional banks to sit down and start managing their real estate business”.

The Lagos State Chairman of the Nigerian Institution of Estate Surveyors and valuers (NIESV), Mr. Olurogba Orimalade who shared his views, stated that E-commerce has played a significant role in the new development.

He said that banks are reducing their assets due to the growth of technology, “lots of transactions are now being done online within the confines of their room instead of the usual practice of doing financial transactions in the banks.

He however noted the challenges that these banks would face in disposing these facilities due to the specialized design structure,  suggesting that the banks temporary converts such properties to co-working space. “The owners of such properties should consider income generating options such as virtual offices or the co-work share arrangements.

“The money being generated through this source can in worst case scenarios pay the property taxes and the maintenance of the building whilst waiting for a better time to sell such assets,” Lagos NIESV said.

Mr. Sola Fatoki, an estate surveyor who confirmed that banks are selling their properties, said, “These properties may be those that they considered no longer useful for their operations. Once sold, it can generate more funds for their operations than being idle”.

Commenting about the fears on the possibility of attracting market value this period of economic recession, Fatoki noted that “the possibility of getting adequate commercial value for them is subjective in view of the recession. Generally, the property market is down and in lull due to the recession and this will affect the sale of the properties”.
Culled from: The Guardian


LASG Partners with Singapore to Tackle Housing Deficit in the State

The Lagos State Government is partnering with the Singapore Government in public housing development in its bid to bridge the housing deficit in the state which stood at three million. The Lagos state commissioner of Housing, Prince Gbolahan Lawal last week met with officials from the Singapore Government, led by Dr. Koh Poh Koon, Senior Minister of Trade and Industry, Ministry of National Development, to deliberate and effectively design possible areas of collaboration.

According to Koon, Singapore could partner with Lagos in the area of public housing development as the nation had comparative advantage in that area. He said there was no way any government who wanted to invest in Nigeria would not think of Lagos as a choice destination because of its burgeoning population which a wise investor could capitalize on. He also added that despite the fact the housing model between Lagos and Singapore were different, they could learn from each other and benefit symbiotically.

In his address to the delegation, the commissioner said that Lagos would want to partner with the Singapore’s Housing Development Board for capacity building and exchange programme that would be beneficial to the two countries.

He also expressed optimism on possible housing improvement, saying that Singapore is building a more friendly eco-housing system with natural heating and solar power system which the state could tap from.

Lawal also said the state government would also want to partner Singapore in its home ownership scheme, stating that in Singapore, about 85 percent of the populace lives in public houses, owned mostly by the residents.

Another area of possible partnership as outlined by the commissioner was in the area of prefabricated house building technology, stressing that “Lagos can partner to provide land partial funding through strategic agreements while Singapore provides major funding and technology for large scale housing of 30-50 storey building using prefabricated technology that can accelerate mass housing development.”

Prince Lawal further said he would like to see Lagos and Singapore partner in the area of building would be a visit to the urban development research institute, stating that a visit the institute would help in learning and further develop a working relationship that would facilitate smooth technology transfer.

He said Singapore was probably the best place to learn from on how to develop and run public housing scheme in the world because “they have the best and make it work more than any other place.”
Culled from: PM news

Akwa Ibom State Government demands list of surveyors

Akwa Ibom State Government has called on the State chapter of Nigerian Institution of Surveyors (NIS) to submit list of all licensed members to it, this is as a result of several lawsuits induced by activities of quacks in the State.The State’s Commissioner of Housing and Special duties, Prince, Enobong Uwah, made the call when officials of the institute led by its chairman, Clement Akpan visited him in his office.

Uwah, who also doubles as the Chairman, Uyo Capital City Development Authority [UCCDA], noted that, having the list of all licensed surveyors in the state would help check incidences of unnecessary infringement on government lands by quacks. According to him, there are so many litigations pending in the courts as results of the unwholesome activities of these middlemen.

In his attempt to further explain reasons for the numerous suits against the state he stated that “when a surveyors is commissioned by a developer to survey a piece of land, he goes there and knowing fully well that the land belongs to the state government he goes ahead to survey it for a fee and issues a certificate of deposit. And if the UCCDA declines approval on the basis that the land belongs to the government, the next thing is that the developer will take the authority to court. We have a lot of cases still pending in courts as result of these”.

Earlier, the State chairman of NIS has highlighted the dangers of illegal surveys to designs, construction and legal possessory rights. He stated that NIS has requested the UCCDA, the courts and planners to demand for tender survey plans and the associated certificates of deposit. The certificate of survey plan deposited with the Office of the State Surveyor General (OSSG), he said would indicate that the survey was done in accordance with the prevailing laws.

Meanwhile, a senior lecturer in the Department of Geography and Regional Planning, University of Uyo, Dr Abiola Ofem has called for the immediate implementation of the 1992 indigenous town planning laws in the Akwa Ibom state.

Ofem, who is a member of the Nigerian Institute of Town Planners (NITP), said, once such is done, it would help correct the imperfections in the 1946 colonial laws which are still in operation in the state.

He regretted that most states of the federation including Akwa Ibom are yet to buy into the indigenous town planning laws decree 88 of 1992 which considered the totality of the socio-economic needs of the Nigerian people. He attributed the reluctance to implement the national laws to lack of political will, adding that, the constitution of the federal Republic of Nigeria clearly states that the function of land implementation is domiciled with the local government areas.

Ofem also laid emphasis on the fact that the local planning authority [LPA] should be with the local government and not the state.
Culled from: The Guardian

Lagos State to Commence Reconstruction of Airport Road


The Lagos State Governor, Akinwunmi Ambode disclosed that Oshodi-Ikeja International Airport road reconstruction will begin in September. This statement was made at the 3rd Quarterly Town Hall Meeting at Badore area of Lagos, Southwest Nigeria. He also added that the road would be developed into a 10-lane road befitting an international road.

Ambode also disclosed that the planned construction of 181 roads across LGs/LCDAs of the State would commence in September, while also noting that the construction of the roads had been delayed because of the exchange rate, saying that by the time the projects were advertised in January 2017, the exchange rate was N490 to a dollar.

The goal of the government is to build the road at a lower cost which explained the delay at the time. Currently, the exchange rate was now around N350 to a dollar so the contract for the roads would be re-advertised in two or three week time.

“By the next two to three weeks, I will reopen the advert to get a new cost and all things been equal the job would start on the roads by end of September,” he said.

The governor also assured residents that the State Public Works would seize the period of the break of the rainy season to fix all potholes across the State in order to improve drive time for motorists.

As part of the initiatives to enhance commuting within the State, the governor said new modern bus terminals would be constructed commencing from this quarter in Marina, Ajah, Ojota, Agege, Iju Ishaga and Iyana Ipaja, while as part of the integrated transport system, a Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) would be constructed to connect Badore Jetty to Ajah.

Governor Ambode added that the Badore Road would be expanded at its entrance from Ajah Roundabout, while plans are afoot to construct Oke-Ira Nla Road as an alternative to totally eliminate traffic along the axis.

Responding to complaints by a resident of the axis, Mrs Abiodun Dina on the activities of dredgers who are found of spoiling the road and parking indiscriminately on the road thereby subjecting people to avoidable Traffic snarl, Governor Ambode said in as much as government was not interested in shutting down businesses but he would have to sanction their activities if the dredgers fail to comply with rules of engagement.

The town hall meeting had in attendance the Majority Leader of the House of Representatives, Femi Gbajabiamila, Oba of Lagos, Rilwan Akiolu I, members of the State Executive Council, members of the House of Assembly, top government functionaries, party chieftains, traditional rulers, among others.
Culled from: Realestatehub

LASG pays N8 billion as compensation to property owners

Special Adviser to Governor Akinwunmi Ambode on Urban Development, Mrs. Yetunde Onabule, disclosed that the government has paid about N8billion compensation, to individuals and groups whose properties were affected by key projects and development in the state in the last one-year through its Land Bureau Unit.

This revelation was made at a One-Day seminar on, “Urban Tinkers Campus-The City We Need”. She also refuted the allegation that government forcefully evicted people without taking into consideration their welfare. According to her, compensation were paid promptly by the government on any land acquired by the government for public interest with presentation of all necessary documents by affected persons, group or organisation.

The special adviser listed the affected areas to include; the Abule-Egba link bridge, Oko Baba Sawmill relocation, Isale Igangan regeneration project, Olorunsogo Market, Mosafejo community and the Epe Phase I road expansion, among others.She also said that the government would consistently advocate for the titling of all lands in the state and urged the people to obtain governor’s consent on subsequent transactions and also regularize and register their titles with appropriate authority.

Reacting to the live-able index number, which the state was ranked, the Governor, Mr. Akinwunmi Ambode, represented by the Secretary to the State Government, Mr. Tunji Bello said the state government is delighted to be one of the 74 Urban Thinkers Campuses worldwide. He said the development confers on the state the privileged of being one of the global centers providing a platform for stakeholders in sustainable urbanization to exchange ideas, forge partnerships and develop solution to the challenges of urbanization in contemporary modern cities

“As a mega and fast development city, Lagos State is strategically positioned to play a leading role in propelling development on the continent. Not only is Lagos the economic capital of Nigeria, it is the fifth largest economy and fastest growing city in Africa with population of over 22million people. The huge economic opportunity available in Lagos State makes it a major destination for prosperity seekers which translates into thousands of people migrating into the state on daily basis”, he said.

The state’s commissioner for Physical Planning and Urban Development, Anifowoshe Abiola lamented that the major challenge facing Lagos is the massive influx of people into the state. “This trend combined with the fact that one –third of the world’s population reside in slums, emphasizes the urgent need for high quality urban design and planning with effective implementation”.
Culled from: The Guardian

Rwanda concludes agreement for new Bugesera Airport

With the backing of the African Legal Support Facility, the Government of Rwanda has taken a concrete step toward becoming a transportation hub for the East African region with the signing of a concession agreement for the construction and operation of Bugesera International Airport.

Kigali is being positioned to become a nerve centre for business, travel, and shipping in the sub-region. The agreement was signed on behalf of the government of Rwanda by the minister of infrastructure, James Musoni and Manuel Mota, chief executive officer of Monta-Engil, on behalf of the developer and the engineering, procurement, and construction (EPC) contractor respectively.

Worth approximately $700 million, the Bugesera Airport project is designed to be executed across four phases. The first phase will involve approximately 27 months of construction – at an estimated cost of $400 million – and is expected to be completed by 2019, at which point the airport will be able to accommodate 1.8 million passengers annually.

The development of Bugesera Airport is aligned with Rwanda’s Vision 2020 – an ambitious strategy which aims to transform Rwanda into a knowledge-based, middle-income country by the end of the decade – as well as the country’s economic development and poverty reduction strategy (EDPRS).

As such, the project is designed and is being implemented with the aim of generating socio-economic development in Bugesera, Kigali, and other parts of the Eastern Province. The airport will further sustain the development of the aviation sector by backstopping the growth of RwandAir with new facilities and training opportunities. The project is expected to provide approximately 2,000 jobs for local residents.

The ALSF provided assistance to the government of Rwanda in the development of the project, notably the provision of legal advisers who supported the government in its negotiations between project partners in the concession agreement for the construction and development of the airport. The coordination of legal efforts was instrumental in ensuring the signing, first of a project development agreement and joint-venture agreement between the Rwandan government and investor, and subsequently of the concession agreement.

The Bugesera airport is designed to ease the air traffic load currently being experienced at Kigali International Airport which is the nearest to Kigali’s central business district in Kanombe, 10km east.

In 2009 the Rwandan government employed TPS, a British engineering firm, to design and carry out a feasibility study to develop a new airport in Nyamata village in Bugesera, 40km south of Kigali.

The Bugesera Airport is designed to handle one million passengers and 150 million tonnes of cargo annually during its first phase from 2015 to 2025. Subsequent phases will follow with higher passenger and cargo capacities.

Under its second phase, Bugesera will incorporate building a second runway to approximate the capacity of the largest world airports.
Culled from: Bizcommunity

Hyprop ‘should keep investors in the loop’

Blue chip shopping centre owner Hyprop Investments needs to reassure investors about its European and African strategies given the pressure the domestic portfolio faces.

Over the past few years, the company has expanded into Ghana, Zambia and Nigeria in Africa through joint ventures. It has also bought assets in the southern European countries of Serbia, Montenegro, Macedonia and most recently, Bulgaria as a part of the joint venture Hystead. But fund managers have been critical of a lack of disclosure about these offshore strategies.

“Hyprop has decided to dilute its South African portfolio, one of the highest quality portfolios in the sector, with investments in some peripheral economies.

“Their disclosure on offshore structures is lacking. Their offshore investments seem highly geared, so if there is an improvement or deterioration in these markets, it will have an amplified effect on valuation,” said Evan Robins, listed property manager of Old Mutual Investment group’s macro solutions.

In SA, Hyprop, which is one of the larger real estate stocks on the JSE with a market capitalisation of R29.47bn, has been challenged with filling space left by department store group Stuttafords, which is shutting down after 159 years. Stuttafords occupied 11,000m2 of gross lettable space at three of Hyprop’s shopping malls; Mall of Rosebank, Clearwater Mall and Canal Walk.

Hyprop CEO Pieter Prinsloo said it could take up to six months to negotiate leases for the Stuttafords vacancies.

A flat-lining South African economy has prompted property companies to invest in eastern Europe where interest rates were low, said Zayd Sulaiman, a portfolio manager at Catalyst Fund Managers.

“They have been managing their capital well, but we as investors need more on their east European strategy,” he said.

Hyprop recently invested in a centre in Sofia, Bulgaria, but some analysts are concerned it may have overpaid for the asset given the lack of detail that has been released about the deal.

Gaining full insight of The Mall acquisition by Hystead in Sofia was difficult, as the yield at which the deal has been done has not been disclosed. The price was towards the higher price bracket for the region, but not having the full particulars hampers the ability to judge the deal, said Garreth Elston of Golden Section Capital.
Source: Business Day

Firefighters Extinguish Blaze in Dubai Residential Skyscraper

Firefighters have extinguished a blaze that swept through one of the world’s tallest residential buildings in Dubai early on Friday, forcing occupants to flee their homes as burning debris showered down the sides of the 79-storey tower.

Dubai’s civil defence authorities said firefighting squads put out the blaze by around 4.00am (0000 GMT) and were cooling the t337 met tall Torch tower.

The tower was evacuated and no injuries were reported, authorities said.

Flames shot up the sides of the building in the city’s upscale Marina district in the second blaze at the structure since 2015.

Firefighters and police sealed off surrounding streets, which were partially covered by dust and debris.

By 4.00am, the exterior of the building showed no sign of fire as residents and onlookers stood around staring up at the building, according to a Reuters witness.

“We were sleeping and we woke up to the fire alarm and people screaming. We ran down the stairs and it took us about 10 minutes to reach the 50th floor,” a resident who gave his name as George, said. “The fire was very strong at that time, about 1am. Then it started calming down over the next two hours. It started on the 67th floor, that’s what we were told,” he added.

Another resident, whose name was Mohammed and lives on the 12th floor, said the top part caught fire first and then lower levels followed as debris fell.

The government said it is working on providing shelter for the ones affected by the fire.

Residents and eyewitnesses have been posting images and photos of the 79-story skyscraper on fire on social media.

Hundreds of people were evacuated in 2015 from the same building when a massive fire swept through the tower.

Dubai is one of seven emirates that make up the United Arab Emirates (UAE), a Gulf Arab trade and investment hub.

Co-Working Office Space Demand in Hong Kong Rising

According to JLL’s latest Hong Kong Monthly Market Monitor report, returning office stock arising from expiring leases led to a net withdrawal of 16,000 sq. ft in the Grade A office market in June 2017. Yet despite the contraction of the occupier market, the leasing activity remained robust, led by demand from co-working and serviced office operators seeking out expansion opportunities.

The last few months has seen an unprecedented amount of take-up from the co-working sector with both new entrants and traditional occupiers. “In a market where net demand growth has been thin, the arrival of co-working space operators represents a welcome source of new demand for the leasing market,” says Paul Yien, Regional Director of HK Markets at JLL.

Last year, JLL helped WeWork secure a flagship location along Jaffe Road in Causeway, leasing 93,000 sq. ft over nine floors at Tower 535. Since then, the market has seen a number of other operators, including some of the city’s incumbent serviced office operators establishing and announcing plans to set up new locations in the city. Regus, for example, has reportedly just pre-committed 26,800 sq. ft at Lee Garden Three in Causeway Bay. Naked Hub, a Shanghai-based operator, has planned to expand in Hong Kong and has leased sixteen floors with 55,000 sq. ft at EIB Centre (will be renamed to Bonham Circus) in Sheung Wan.

The growing popularity of co-working offices in Hong Kong is not only being driven by start-ups but also increasingly by larger corporate occupiers looking to better utilize their real estate within the city; taking advantage of the greater flexibility, convenience and savings that can be provided by operators.

“As most Grade A offices in Central may be beyond the reach of the business models adopted by co-working space operators, the impact of these new market entrants will be felt more in Grade B offices and office markets outside of Central. Landlords may also consider bringing in co-sharing office operators into their portfolios to help broaden their tenant base,” Denis Ma, Head of Research at JLL, points out.

Beyond co-working space operators, PRC banking and finance firms continued to be the key drivers of leasing activity in Central, accounting for about 46% of all new lettings in terms of floor area. China RE Asset Management relocated and expanded in-house by 11,200 sq. ft at Three Exchange Square while a Mainland China investment company leased 10,800 sq. ft at 181 Queen’s Road Central.
Culled from:  World property Journal

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