In the midst of a housing shortage, the American household is shrinking, but the share of larger new homes is growing.
Home building has barely kept pace with the number of new households — a household “consists of all the people who occupy a housing unit,” according to the U.S. Census — in the United States over the last eight years, and much of what is being built is aimed at the higher end of the market, according to a report released this week by the Harvard Joint Center for Housing Studies.
Housing construction bottomed out in 2011, with just 633,000 new units built in the U.S. It has improved since then, with 1.2 million new units built in 2018, but to find a year before the recession when fewer than 1.2 million homes were produced, you would have to look all the way back to 1982.
Aside from the general lag in construction, the report stressed that smaller, affordable new housing has been in especially short supply, as rising costs and regulatory restrictions have made building it less profitable.
A recent study by the Urban Land Institute, a research-driven think tank, reached similar conclusions, showing that creation of new “attainable housing” has dried up in recent decades, replaced by the construction of larger, more expensive homes. (The organization defines “attainable housing” as unsubsidized, for-sale housing affordable to households with incomes that fall between 80 and 120 percent of the median income in a given area.)
The gap between what is being built and what is needed is particularly evident if you compare the size of households in the country and the bedroom counts in new construction. While households with fewer members have been on the rise over the last 30 years — between 1987 and 2017, one-person households quintupled and two-person households tripled — the share of new one- and two-bedroom homes has been cut nearly in half.
Airbnb unveiled its new luxury arm, Airbnb Luxe, on Wednesday, which offers guests a stay at more than 2,000 swanky properties around the world. The properties have to pass strict evaluation processes over their design and function, with criteria including chef grade appliances, the use of high end furnishings and having spaces that can accommodate groups.
Airbnb Luxe offers eye-watering chateaux, villas, penthouses, estates and properties in metropolitan areas from South Africa to France to New Zealand. It comes after the company launched Aibnb Adventures which offers 200 “bucket list worthy” travel experiences hosted by “local experts”.
On the list are 50 Australian properties throughout Sydney, Byron Bay and Queensland. Airbnb also told Business Insider Australia in an email that properties in Melbourne will be online from September.
Here are some of the properties that made the cut:
Anything with the title ‘penthouse’ is bound to be a treat, and this property is no exception. It has a terrace that provides panorama views of the ocean that’ll have feeling like you’re right above the water itself. And did we mention a 24/7 concierge service?
The Kenya Government is set to launch affordable housing units in Starehe Constituency earlier next month. This has been revealed by Charles Hinga, the Principal Secretary of State Department for Housing and Urban Development.
“As the government, we are launching the affordable housing project in Starehe Constituency in July. This is the Park road project. The construction started in April and by September we intend to have it completed,” he said.
The PS said that in Starehe constituency, the government targets building 2000 housing units.
He said that the project will offer employment opportunities to the youth especially in the Jua Kali sector, who have been contracted to supply over 180,000 metal doors at a cost of 5 billion.He was speaking in Nairobi while launching a two-day summit dubbed “Affordable Housing Investment Summit.”Hinga emphasized the government’s commitment to achieving its agenda by 2022.
“Our target to offer 500,000 houses by 2022 is on track. The country’s housing deficit stands at 4.5 million. We have an ambitious plan to do 50 thousand houses in a year,” Hinga said.Recently, Africa has seen tremendous potential in terms of being a real estate hot spot with 40.6% of foreign investment directed towards the construction and hospitality sectors.
The two-day summit sought to initiate a meaningful dialogue around affordable housing through the dissemination of information with latest trends in the affordable housing sector, opportunities and assisting major stakeholders and developers in addressing administrative and financial challenges.
The government lauded the park road housing project terming it the pacesetter to other projects that it will launch soon.According to Andrew Chimphondah, CEO of Shelter Afrique, who spoke at the event, high urbanization rates is one of the key problems facing housing in Africa. Governments also lack policies to analyze developers and manage them.
He noted that that housing affordability problem is largely attributed to the land rate across the continent.
Chimphondah added that most financial lenders within the continent have a mortgage payment period of 2-5 years which cannot be afforded by the poor.“The land rate in most countries within the continent constitutes 40 per cent of the total house cost hence the price is out of reach for many within the continent,” he said
.He revealed that Shelter Afrique is teaming up with financial service providers across the continent to create sustainable housing financial trust where the repayment rate will be between 10-30 years.
This he said will be able to accommodate the poor. He said that the partnership is already piloting the program in Nigeria and Tanzania. This he said will help bring the cost of a three-bedroom house from Sh10 million to Sh1.5 million per unit.
Labour’s shadow housing secretary has blasted Theresa May’s record on housing, following her speech at the Housing 2019 conference today.
John Healey was delivering a keynote address immediately after Ms May’s surprise appearance at the event in which she said that her government had changed attitudes towards housing and created “a whole new approach for social housing”.
“I must say, I listened to the prime minister just a moment ago. You’re a kindly crowd. You gave such a sympathetic hearing to our end of days prime minister,” Mr Healey said.
“I found it a sad speech in many ways. So little to show for three years in Downing Street.
“During those three years in Downing Street we’ve seen rough sleeping rise. We’ve seen the number of families – and kids in particular – in temporary accommodation rise, now to 124,000.
“And we’ve seen – whatever she said about the importance of social housing – the level of new government-backed social rented homes built last year fall to 961.
“And when you reflect on those three years, her ministers launched 99 housing consultations. Just consider that – 99 housing consultations yet so little action, so little legislation to follow.
“And even today as prime minister, she was still only able to promise change in the future on building standards and on social housing.”
The Wentworth and Dearne MP claimed that Conservative party ideology is a key barrier to building more social housing, arguing that if the government had continued to deliver new social rented homes at the same rate as Labour had in its last year in office, there would now be more than 180,000 extra units.
Just 6,463 social rent homes were completed in 2017/18, the second lowest level after the previous year since World War II.
Asked in a Q&A following his speech about the housing sector’s call this week for £12.8bn of affordable housing funding a year, Mr Healey said he supported the report, but added: “Is it realistic? It’s rough cut calculations, but a valuable contribution to the debate.
“I don’t think the National Housing Federation itself could cope with a tenfold increase in housing budget next year.”
He also reiterated his support for party leader Jeremy Corbyn, adding that “unless we can persuade people to give us the chance to get into government we’re wasting our time”.
In Sao Paulo, house prices fell by 2.41% y-o-y in Q1 2019
Brazil’s housing market continues to struggle, despite improving economic conditions. In Sao Paulo, house prices fell by 2.41% during the year to Q1 2019, from annual declines of 1.89% in Q4 2018, 2.52% in Q3, 2.38% in Q2 and 1.11% in Q1. On a quarterly basis, house prices in Sao Paulo fell slightly by 0.72% in Q1 2019.
Brazil’s political turmoil
The crisis started in 2013 when the central bank raised key interest rates nine times to 11% in April 2014, causing a sharp economic slowdown.
In 2016, President Dilma Rousseff has been impeached, the speaker of the house has been jailed, five Cabinet ministers have been removed or allowed to step down because of allegations of corruption. Brazil’s new president, Michel Temer, is embroiled in a corruption scandal.
Worse, another massive bribery scandal, involving Brazilian construction giant Odebrecht, disrupted politics, not just in Brazil, but in more than half of the countries in Latin America, as well as in Angola and Mozambique in Africa. Odebrecht is behind the construction of venues for the 2014 World Cup, the 2016 Olympics, the metro systems in Caracas, and other huge infrastructure projects.
The crisis helped right-wing candidate and retired army officer Jair Bolsonaro sweep to victory during the October 2018 presidential election on a populist, anticorruption platform.
In Q1 2019, Brazil’s unemployment stood at 12.7%, up from 11.6% in the previous quarter but slightly down from 13.1% a year earlier, according to the government’s statistics agency IBGE.
Rents, rental yields: rental yields are moderate ranging from 3% to 6%
Rio apartments costs are around $4,370 per sq. m.
Brazil: typical city centre apartment buying price, monthly rent (120 sq. m)
Rate per month
Rio de Janeiro
Recent news. Brazil’s economy is estimated to have contracted by 0.68% in Q1 2019 from the previous quarter, based on preliminary figures released by the Central Bank of Brazil. On an annual basis, the economy grew by a meagre 0.23% in Q1 2019, down from expansions of 1.1% in Q4 2018 and 1.3% in Q3 2018. The economy is projected to expand by 1.5% this year, following growths of 1.3% in 2018 and 1% in 2017 and contractions of 3.5% annually in 2015 and 2016, according to government estimates.
Affordable housing costs, a lack of inventory and Wyoming’s tax structure are contributing to create a seller’s market for Cheyenne homes, according to members of the city’s real estate and lending industries.
Figures show that single family homes with an acre or more of land priced between $450,000 and $500,000 are selling after just a little more than a month on the market and for an average of 99.3 percent of the asking price. A single family home in town with a price tag of $350,000 to $400,000 is selling for just a little more than the asking price after being on the market for less than two months.
Buck Wilson, president of the Cheyenne Board of Realtors, said the prices for homes in Cheyenne make them very attractive to out-of-state buyers.
“I believe there’s some opportunities for them to still find affordable housing compared to what they’re seeing in Fort Collins or anywhere south …” he said. “When you have a median house price of a home in town of $246,000, that’s affordable. Those people in Colorado go ‘I want to buy one all day long.’”
Wilson, of No. 1 Properties, and Larry Gardner of ReMax both pointed to the lack of inventory in Cheyenne as one reason for the market conditions. In 2009, there were 750 active listings in Cheyenne’s market, a number that has dropped to 250.
Wyoming’s lack of state income taxes and its conservative political climate also make Cheyenne attractive to buyers, Gardner said.
“They don’t want anybody telling them what to do with their guns, with their property,” he said. “A lot of people are looking for properties that don’t have (homeowners associations) or covenants, which is very hard any more.”
Mike Williams, manager of Jonah Bank’s Cheyenne branch, said the city is not facing a housing bubble, but some action might have to be taken to keep housing affordable.
“People are really, legitimately looking for places to live and affordably,” said Williams. “I wouldn’t say, in my opinion, that we have a bubble, but we really do need to watch this growth rate and we’ve got to do something to keep this cost affordable to the working guy in town.”
Gardner said he believes new home construction will eventually catch up to demand, ultimately leading to lower prices.
Wilson agreed, saying he also expects higher mortgage rates to contribute to a slowdown eventually.
Styling itself “a good neighbour” in a region afflicted by a shortage of affordable housing, internet giant Google says it will invest $1bn for homes in the San Francisco Bay Area.
The announcement came on 18 June, the day before a demonstration was scheduled outside a shareholders’ meeting of parent company Alphabet.
Among other issues, campaigners are criticising Google for causing housing hardship as the influx of highly-paid tech workers pushes up rents and house prices.
Specifically, campaigners are angry over Google’s plan to build a huge new campus in San Jose on public land it plans to buy for $110m from the city council. This would reportedly bring in 28,000 more employees, fuelling the gentrification fire.
A report commissioned by one group found that families in San Jose would by hit by rent hikes of $816 each year as a result of the new campus, and that more than 5,000 affordable and 12,500 market-rate homes would be needed to stabilise housing costs.
Meanwhile, the $1bn promised is not all cash. $750m of the sum will be the value of land Google owns that it will rezone over the next 10 years from office-commercial to housing.
The rest, $250m, will go into an investment fund to incentivise developers to build at least 5,000 affordable homes.
The rezoning would see at least 15,000 new homes built at all income levels, Google said.
To show the significance of that number, it said 3,000 new homes were built in the South Bay area last year.
“We hope this plays a role in addressing the chronic shortage of affordable housing options for long-time middle and low income residents,” Google chief executive Sundar Pichai said.
Google said it will also give $50m in grants through Google.org to nonprofits tackling homelessness and displacement.
Pichai said: “As we work to build a more helpful Google, we know our responsibility to help starts at home. For us, that means being a good neighbour in the place where it all began over 20 years ago: the San Francisco Bay Area.”
One campaign group, Silicon Valley Rising, called the pledge a “big win” after two years of organising rallies, town hall talks and marches.
It tweeted: “This is a great step in the right direction. We look forward to working with Google to dig into the details and make sure the tech giant partners with diverse communities and takes the additional steps necessary to prevent more rent hikes and displacement as Google grows.”
Maile expressed this in an official letter to Mashaba, pertaining to unutilised Human Settlements Development Grant (HSDG) funds by the City.
In his ongoing battle with Johannesburg Mayor Herman Mashaba, Gauteng Human Settlements MEC Lebogang Maile has vowed to withhold funds allocated for the purposes of tackling the province’s massive housing backlog because “there is no political will by the DA-EFF governing coalition to utilise the funds for housing”.
Maile expressed this in an official letter to Mashaba, pertaining to unutilised Human Settlements Development Grant (HSDG) funds by the City.
The ongoing dispute between the pair was sparked by allegations of corruption in the Alexandra Renewal Project (ARP).
Maile has been linked to alleged corruption in the R1.3 billion renewal project – allegations which he has vehemently denied.
At the height of the first wave of protests in the Alex Shutdown, Mashaba pointed to Maile, among others, labelling them contributors to the lack of service delivery in Alexandra.
Maile retaliated by accusing Mashaba of deflecting from the shortcomings of his government.
In the latest instalment of their dispute, Maile brought the mayor’s wife into the fracas by posing a question in a tweet about her involvement in Phatsima properties, a subsidiary of Growthpoint properties, which does work for the city.
Maile took exception to Mashaba’s reference to “mental challenges” and responded by speaking out against the mayor’s use of a serious health issue as an insult.
Maile then followed up his Twitter responses to Mashaba in a formal letter distributed by his department.
In the letter, Maile explained that his department re-channelled “sizable funds,” through the HSDG “for purposes of tackling the massive housing backlog, mostly affecting poor and working-class communities in Johannesburg and surrounding areas.”
According to Maile, an audit was carried-out on budgeted human settlements projects to be implemented by the City of Johannesburg on behalf of Gauteng Provincial Government.
“MEC Maile is concerned that the City of Johannesburg hasn’t substantially spent funds given to them for human settlements to tackle the housing backlog [and] vows to withhold such funds, since there is no political will by the DA-EFF governing coalition to utilise such funds for housing,” read part of the letter.
The latest letter cites another letter written to Mashaba in which Maile highlighted the following unfulfilled and budgeted projects:
“During the past two financial years, namely, 2017/18 and 2018/19 respectively, the Department transferred a total amount of R181 832 675 to the COJ for the following projects, to which no units have been delivered.
Lufhereng: R73 449 998 for 506 houses
South Hills: R86 207 164 for 300 units
Lehae: R16 799 631 for 125 houses
Kliptown: R 5 375 882 for 40 houses.”
In addition to the above, MEC Maile also pointed out to the City:
“We would also like to bring to your attention that the Department has in the current financial year 2019/20, allocated a total amount of R 226 618 394 for the following projects;
South Hills: R22 469 705
Vlakfontein Lehae: R55 102 790
Lufhereng: R149 046 328.”
Maile went on to explain that he holds the view that the DA-EFF governing coalition in the City of Johannesburg has no intention to work with other spheres of government to improve service delivery and provide much-needed services geared towards improving the living conditions of the city’s people.
“Your office has repeatedly indicated that they will not sign any tripartite agreements, all these agreements were prepared and are still with your legal department, some since September last year (2018). We appreciate that the Riverside agreement was signed reflecting signs of good progress with such collaboration bearing fruits,” wrote Maile, quoting a part of previous correspondence to Mashaba’s office.
“In light of the continued failure by the City of Johannesburg, MEC Maile has indicated Government’s intention to withhold the Grant going forward and explore other avenues to deliver the housing projects. This is necessary since the City has no desire nor will to build housing units for low-income and poor communities,” added Maile.
To this effect, the department has reportedly approached the municipality and proposed collaboration through a tripartite agreement which would permit the department to manage, monitor and pay the developers directly, whilst the municipality assumes the responsibility for the installation of services.
Maile cautioned Mashaba and his team against the politicisation of service delivery.
“MEC Maile has committed to work with all Mayors in the province with the sole intention of bringing services to the people of Gauteng,” concluded the letter.
Mortgage rates fell in the first half of 2019, the opposite of what the experts had predicted at the beginning of the year. It is welcome news for home buyers, sellers and homeowners. NerdWallet has identified housing and mortgage trends to watch in the second half of 2019. Here are five of them:
Wanted: More homes for sale
More would-be buyers exist than homes for sale, giving sellers a stronger negotiating position. But, the balance of power is moving in the buyer’s direction. More homes are available for sale now, so buyers have greater choice. That said, Freddie Mac estimates that in 2017, 370,000 fewer homes were built than needed to satisfy demand resulting from population growth.
Home prices will keep going up
In the first four months of 2019, the year-over-year price increases for resold homes were less than 4%. A year ago, prices were more than 4.5% higher. “Home price appreciation will slow down — the days of easy price gains are coming to an end — but prices will continue to rise,” says Lawrence Yun, chief economist for the National Association of Realtors. Mortgage rates will remain low
Big lenders and the National Association of Realtors all predicted that mortgage rates would rise through 2019. Instead, mortgage rates have tumbled. The average APR for a 30-year fixed-rate mortgage fell to 4.09% by June 2019, according to NerdWallet.
The forecasters now predict that the 30-year fixed will remain steady through year’s end, not changing by more than a couple of tenths of a percentage point. Affordability continues to be a concern
Mark Boud, chief economist for Metrostudy, calls the national housing market “top-heavy.” Plenty of homes nationally are available for buyers who can afford to pay $800,000 or more. But buyers outnumber sellers of homes priced $400,000 or less. “We’re still very short of supply in this lower price range,” he says. More people could save by refinancing
Every time rates fall, there’s an increase in the number of homeowners who could save money by refinancing.
Black Knight, a technology provider for the mortgage industry, estimates that 5.9 million homeowners could cut 0.75% or more from their mortgage interest rate by refinancing. Even if you bought your home recently, it’s worth checking whether you should refinance.
Over three hundred residents/families of Victory Park Estate sitting on about thirty-three Hectares of land located in Osapa London along Lekki-Epe Expressway have raised the alarm over move by the Asset Management Corporation of Nigeria (AMCON to forcefully evict them from their properties.
Speaking with journalists on behalf of the residents in Lagos, Mr. Benjamin Atebe, a lawyer, urged the president to call all the authorities concerned to order.
He said authorities concerned have brought upon them untold hardship, anguish and pain due to a combination of corporate fraud, unbridled abuse of power, and deliberately orchestrated inhuman treatment.
He said, “We wish to state that categorically that the Asset Management Corporation of Nigeria (AMCON), some banks, the Awosedo family, and the Police are all culpable in this gross act of human rights abuse which has seen people being forcefully evicted from their homes using the instrument of government (the police), and faceless thugs.”
Read the statement below:
1. As far back as 2003 some of us bought into Victory Park Estate land to develop our houses after doing our due legal diligence and confirming at the Lagos State Land registry that the title to the land that is in the name of Knight Rook Limited was free from any encumbrance. The legal interpretation of this was that the title was good, no mortgage, pledge, charge etc that had been obtained against it by any financial institution or any other company.
From 2003 till about June 2017, the present homeowners in the estate continued to buy into the estate and also developed, living in the estate without molestation by anyone, either government or otherwise paying their Land Use Charge to Lagos State annually after having our various titles to our properties registered.
2. To our amazement in June 2017, we all woke up to see a publication that Knight Rook Limited, the owner of the global C of O over Victory Park Estate was in Receivership with other companies over a loan one of the companies Grant Properties Limited allegedly took from Sterling Bank, Skye bank now Polaris bank, Wema bank and FCMB and used Knight Rook Limited with its shares as security that the companies have defaulted in paying while the said loan, now an eligible bank assets was subsequently sold to AMCON in 2011 or 2012.
3. So it was AMCON that went to court to put the companies in Receivership.
4. We gathered that following the suit filed by AMCON, the shareholders of Knight Rook Limited as security for the facility, transferred their shares to the nominees of the banks and resigned their positions as directors in Knight Rook Limited relinquishing their right to continue to act as directors of Knight Rook Limited.
Interestingly, we discovered that the Awosedo’s family who owned the companies continued to act to the knowledge of the banks and they (the banks) never stopped them from acting despite not being directors of Knight Rook Limited anymore which according to them, a change in that direction was effected at the Corporate Affairs Commission in Abuja.
Despite the removal of the Awosedo’s from Knight Rook Limited, an agreement was entered by the banks with the other company of the Awosedo’s; Grant Properties Limited to market and sell all the land in Victory Park Estate and remit sales proceeds to the banks which to the knowledge or active collaboration by these banks, the Awosedo’s again defaulted without the bank doing anything and even AMCON after they purchased the asset.
This agreement between the banks and the Awosedo’s companies was made in 2006. So from 2006 until AMCON’s publication of putting the companies in receivership, members of the public were misled by the Awosedo’s, the banks and AMCON to believe that the Awosedos have a right to the land in Victory Park estate held in the name of Knight Rook Limited.
THIS IS HOW THINGS STAND PRESENTLY
With the receivership by AMCON of Knight Rook Limited and by virtue of assets of Knight Rook Limited, AMCON is now laying claim to all the land in Victory Park Estate whether already sold and developed years ago or not and have continued to harass innocent bonafide purchasers without notice of their interest.
They have filed several suits against the Awosedo’s companies in court where by some magic since the companies are in receivership, Knight Rook Limited admitted in court that it is indebted to AMCON and a consent judgment was made in that regard against Knight Rook Limited. These suits were filed by AMCON without joining any of the homeowners in any of the suits but have turned around to use the judgment in those suits to take over the properties of homeowners in the estate.
On our part, on being aware of the suits and the attempt of the Receiver Manager appointed by the court on behalf of AMCON, we have taken steps to go through due legal process to challenge the right of AMCON to interfere with our possession but unfortunately, for eighteen months, nothing has been done and AMCON and its RM have continued to make life unbearable for us as they are not only taking over unoccupied and undeveloped properties, but even the ones in occupation, people are being forced out by the use of thugs and police!
Just yesterday, (Wednesday 25th June, 2019) two families were forced out of their houses and their properties sealed by court officials acting on these judgments obtained against the Awosedo’s companies.
We have also written petition letters to the Presidency, the Inspector General of Police office, the Lagos State Commissioner of Police and even the board and management of AMCON, yet no respite.
We have heard, but refuse to believe that that the Inspector General of Police and the Presidency actually approved the actions of AMCON against us innocent law abiding people who never took any loan from any bank to buy property in Victory Park Estate and therefore defaulted in paying. Pursuant to the above, it leaves a sour taste in the moth to see that the Awosedos, the banks, and even AMCON officials who committed and orchestrated this shameful fraud on our economy and us are left to enjoy their loot whilst we suffer no reason. Members of the public will be shocked that out of pure frustration, a family within the estate has started making plans to relocate to another country within the next few days!
Finally, we are making a passionate appeal to President Muhammadu Buhari, the Vice President, Professor Yemi Osinbajo, the Inspector General of Police, and the leadership of AMCON to place premium on the current administration’s anti-corruption mantra and right these wrongs by calling AMCON to order.
It is a complete travesty of justice that ordinary Nigerians like us are treated like sub-humans and strangers in our own land and in a country governed by a democratically elected government.