Asia-Pacific housing stakeholders’ call to ‘build forward better’ continues at World Urban Forum, Poland

Key findings from the newly published Asia-Pacific Forum report will be brought to the global conversations on housing and shelter amid the impacts of climate change, and COVID-19 during the 11th World Urban Forum on June 26-30, 2022, at Katowice, Poland.
“Building forward better through inclusive housing means that each one of us, especially the most vulnerable families we serve through housing solutions, has a voice in the process and a role to play in increasing access to a decent place to live,” said Luis Noda, Habitat for Humanity’s Asia-Pacific vice president and one of the speakers at the Asia-Pacific Housing Forum. “This core belief guides Habitat for Humanity as we lend our voices on WUF11 discussions on building resilience to a broad range of shocks and threats through an innovative and inclusive approach, thus working toward a sustainable and green future for our global community.”

WUF11’s overall theme will be focusing on overcoming the multiple urban crises while transforming our cities for a better urban future.

In alignment with WUF11 thematic objectives, the participants from the Asia-Pacific forum also focused on the shared responsibility and individual roles of the government, civil society, the private sector, academia, and the donor community in achieving appropriate housing for everyone. Forming partnerships and encouraging social participation and innovation that allow for a sustainable response to the housing problem are critical in strengthening resilience against other factors that compound the housing challenges of the region–the effects of climate change, inadequate national housing policies and programs, limited access to technologies, and lack of empowered communities.

As Asia-Pacific continues to feel the long-term impact of COVID-19–UN estimates that 200 million people might be forced into extreme poverty by 2030 and the region is one of the most highly affected areas–the housing sector remains critical to the region’s economic, social, and environmental recovery.

Other WUF11 themes resonate with other critical issues that surfaced during the APHF, such as effective responses to the housing challenge can also drive urban development and should be equally concerned with the environment. Greening the housing value chain can help reduce costs and impacts in the short and long term. Thus, it requires a shift to sustainable methods on material production, design/manufacturing, usage, recycling, among others; and should be supported by access to information and technologies, capacity building, and resources.
More than 900 housing stakeholders, including the public, private, and civil society sectors, from 53 locations have participated at the eighth Asia-Pacific Housing Forum held last December 7-9, 2021. The discussions above are summarized in the final report available at the APHF website, www.aphousingforum.org.

About Habitat for Humanity

Driven by the vision that everyone needs a decent place to live, Habitat for Humanity found its earliest inspirations as a grassroots movement on an interracial community farm in U.S.A. Since its founding in 1976, the housing organization has grown to become a leading global nonprofit working in more than 70 countries. In the Asia-Pacific region since 1983, Habitat for Humanity has supported millions of people to build or improve a place they can call home. Through financial support, volunteering or adding a voice to support affordable housing, everyone can help families achieve the strength, stability and self-reliance they need to build better lives for themselves. To learn more, donate or volunteer, visit habitat.org/asiapacific.

Hong Kong – Housing Authority endeavours to allocate public housing flats

Housing Authority endeavours to allocate public housing flats

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The following is issued on behalf of the Hong Kong Housing Authority:



     In response to media enquiries on vacant flats in completed public rental housing (PRH) estates of the Hong Kong Housing Authority (HA), a spokesman for the Housing Department issued the following statement today (May 30):



     The number of vacant flats in PRH estates varies daily depending on circumstances. Domestic flats are recovered from time to time in PRH estates. They will be used for allocation to meet various purposes in accordance with the annual allocation plan, such as to PRH applicants on the waiting list, for rehousing use for redevelopment projects and various types of transfer exercises, including transfer of overcrowded households. During the period from recovery to successful allocation, temporary vacancy may occur due to various reasons, for example, renovation works or refurbishment being in progress, awaiting replies from applicants under offer, pending re-allocation of refused offers to other applicants, pooling flats for transfer schemes’ allocation or being reserved for internal transfer of households on social, medical or compassionate grounds.



     The above situation is normal in the allocation process and hence the number of vacant flats varies every day. The HA will adhere to the principle of optimising public housing resources and allocate lettable rental flats to various categories of applicants as soon as possible.



     For flats that are less popular with the applicants and have been vacant for some time, the Housing Department will make use of the Express Flat Allocation Scheme (EFAS) to invite eligible applicants, who have been on the waiting list for one year or more, to select flats in accordance with their priority. EFAS is launched around the middle of each year, having regard to the housing resources available. In addition to assisting PRH applicants to move into PRH flats earlier, EFAS also helps let the less popular PRH flats to optimise the public housing resources.



     Moreover, pockets of narrow spaces are found in domestic blocks of some PRH estates completed in earlier years. Most of them have been used as storerooms and vacant bays in the estates. The Housing Department has been keeping in view the usage of these storerooms and vacant bays and exploring various ways for better utilisation of these spaces, including converting them to PRH flats or other non-domestic use, subject to the compliance with related laws and regulations, technical feasibility, environmental constraints, lease restrictions and obtaining approvals, etc.



     Through enhanced provisions of natural lighting and ventilation, the Housing Department has in recent years successfully identified suitable storerooms/vacant bays for conversion to about 130 public housing flats. Amongst them, about 110 have already had the conversion works completed, while the remaining 20 or so are expected to be completed in the second quarter of this year.

HOUSING SCHEME FOR TRANSGENDERS IN THE COUNTRY




The Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment has formulated a scheme “SMILE – Support for Marginalized Individuals for Livelihood and Enterprise”, which includes sub scheme -‘Comprehensive Rehabilitation for Welfare of Transgender Persons’. One of the components of the sub-scheme is setting up of Garima Grehs (Shelter Home for Transgender Persons) with the aim of setting up of atleast one Garima Greh in each State.


Ministry has also initiated 12 pilot shelter homes namely Garima Greh: for Transgender Persons and provided financial assistance to community based organizations (CBOs) for setting up of these shelter homes. These pilot shelter homes are located in States of Maharashtra, Gujarat, Delhi, West Bengal, Rajasthan, Bihar, Chhattisgarh, Tamil Nadu and Odisha. Ministry provides financial support to these CBOs directly.


This information was given by Minister of State for Social Justice and Empowerment, Shri. A. Narayanaswamy in a written reply in the Rajya Sabha today.




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Affordable housing has created huge market potentials for prefabricated buildings

Affordable housing has created huge market potentials for prefabricated and green buildings.

Recently, frequent implementation of affordable housing support policies has created huge market potentials for prefabricated and green buildings. Market analysis pointed out that PC component manufacturers in the prefabricated construction supply chain will be key beneficiaries from these new policies.

As the most preferred brand in the prefabricated construction industry for three consecutive years, Broad Homes (02163.HK) will likely benefit from the recent policy catalysts. To highlight, the Company operates in both to-B and to-C business under its dual mode business model, which gives the Company potential to grasp onto a larger market share in this industry uptrend.

First and second tier cities are actively responding to affordable housing policies.

According to market data, since the beginning of December 2021, the Prefabricated Building Index (931020) rose nearly 10%, driven by discussions during the Politburo meeting in December to further promote construction of affordable housing. Similar discussions also took place during the Central Economic Work Conference, indicating growing interest from high-level officials.

In the past year, affordable housing support policies have been frequently issued. The Politburo meeting mentioned the promotion of affordable housing construction for the first time in April and again in December. In addition, in July, the Politburo discussed the need to accelerate rental housing development and implemented supporting policies surrounding land usage and taxation. During the Central Economic Work Conference in December, discussions surrounding the need to “accelerate the development of the long-term rental housing market, promote the construction of indemnificatory housing, support the commercial housing market and better meet reasonable housing needs of buyers” are highlighted. Huachuang Securities pointed out that both the Politburo meeting and the Central Economic Work Conference have prioritized affordable housing before commercial housing, reiterating high-level officials’ focus on affordable housing.

In terms of specific development goals, the Ministry of Housing and Urban-Rural Development issued the “Notice on the Monitoring and Evaluation of the Development of Affordable Rental Housing in 2021” in November 2021. The notice monitoring and evaluation of the development of affordable rental housing in 2021 in November. The notice outlined that during the “14th Five-Year Plan” period, the supply of affordable rental housing will be largely increased, and the proportion of new affordable rental housing to total new housing supply is targeted to reach 30% or more.

Meanwhile, key first and second tier cities have responded actively to recent policies and announced relevant targets for affordable housing construction during the “14th Five-Year Plan” period. Among them, Beijing, Shanghai, Shenzhen set targets of over 45% for new affordable housing to total new housing supply.

The affordable housing industry is one of the most important application areas for prefabricated buildings. Therefore, the acceleration and expansion of the affordable housing market will generate growing demand for prefabricated buildings.

According to Huachuang Securities’ estimates, the annual new construction area of 123 million sqm corresponds to RMB 446.3 billion in affordable housing related investments, indicating huge volume growth in the affordable housing sector. Considering part of the growth will be hindered by the impact of fluctuations in real estate regulations, the proportion of prefabricated buildings to new construction buildings will continue to increase, benefiting industry leaders in the prefabricated construction sector.

Prefabricated buildings is the most optimal method of construction under the “dual carbon” targets

Prefabricated building refers to the use of modern manufacturing, transportation, installation and scientific management of production in replacement of traditional production where manufacturing process is more scattered, offers lower quality and efficiency, and requires intensive human labor. The key characteristics of prefabricated construction is standardization of architectural designs, industrialization of component production, mechanization of construction, and scientific organization and management. These include residential buildings produced through prefabricated construction methods.

There are two reasons to support why prefabricated buildings best fit affordable housing demands.

Firstly, prefabricated construction method significantly shortens the construction period. Time-saving is the key advantage of prefabricated buildings because early delivery corresponds to earlier collection of rent. According to Everbright Securities’ estimates, assuming rental price of affordable housing is RMB40 per sqm per month, saving 9 months of construction period would correspond to a total cost savings of RMB360 per sqm.

Secondly, prefabricated buildings help reduce environmental burden throughout the construction process. Different from traditional construction methods, prefabricated construction reduces manual operation and on-site wet construction, and incorporates digitally integrated technologies to support the modernization, intelligence, and other green construction characteristics. Prefabricated buildings also best fit the low-carbon building criteria for affordable housing. The “dual carbon” target acts as an important requirement for construction projects and helps guide the industry towards adopting more green methods of construction.

Founded in 2006, Broad Homes is the largest manufacturer of PC components and PC production equipment in China. In November 2010, Broad Homes was listed on the HKEX and is also the first company to IPO in the prefabricated construction sector.

According to Broad Homes’ 2021 Interim Results, the Company’s PC component revenue increased 12.4% YoY to RMB1.138 billion; PC production equipment business increased 306.6% YoY to RMB221 million. The increase in revenue is driven by market expansion and growing demand of PC components.

As the pioneer and leader of China’s construction industrialization, Broad Homes adheres to green development. Guided by the “14th Five-Year Plan” and 2035 targets, the Company aims to continuously improve the quality and efficiency of industrialized production, better serve the need for green and low-carbon development in rural areas, and explore innovative ways to promote the construction of affordable housing.

Broad Home’s innovative prefabricated product development maximizes time value saved from early delivery.

It is worth noting that, in addition to the PC component business on the to-B end, Broad Homes also launched products on the to-C end in the second half of 2021.The three products from the to-C business are highly standardized and fully assembled buildings, including PC high-rise buildings, B-Homes(fully assembled, low-rise/multi-story buildings), and BOX modules.

These products are characterized by their short construction period. It is reported that the multi-story, fully-assembled B-Homes’ main body can be completed in 8 days and delivered with fine decoration within 100 days. This breakthrough in quality and efficiency truly allows the productization of buildings.

Broad Homes noted that the Company has accumulated years of experience through their B-Home business and will bring positive synergy to the new BOX Module product. The amount of new contracts from BOX Module shows that the product is already gaining market traction with the price of fully-prefabricated buildings being lower than cast-in-place buildings. With many projects in the pipeline, the Company will continue to explore innovate application areas for prefabricated buildings.






Topic: Press release summary

Sectors: Real Estate, Construct, Engineering


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Sustainable, People-centered Solutions for Affordable Housing to Take Center Stage at Eighth Asia-Pacific Housing Forum

The Asia-Pacific Housing Forum taking place from December 7 to 9 highlights the urgent need to build sustainable, inclusive, and affordable housing, in a region where millions of people live in extreme poverty below the threshold of US$1.90 a day and where communities continue to grapple with the health and economic impact of COVID-19.
Even before the pandemic, there were 1.6 billion people in need of adequate shelter. The global health crisis has put a spotlight on the critical importance of having a home to stay safe and healthy. However, it remains that vulnerable populations, those unable to cope amid the pandemic, are the ones most impacted by the economic shocks, the threat of natural and manmade disasters, and the negative effects of climate change.

“The Asia-Pacific Housing Forum’s main theme of ‘building forward better through inclusive housing’ means that each one of us, especially the most vulnerable families we serve through housing solutions, has a voice in the process and a role to play in increasing access to a decent place to live,” said Luis Noda, Habitat for Humanity’s Asia-Pacific vice president. “We must center our actions on the needs of the people to truly build in a greener, safer, more resilient way.”

The virtual conference will be attended by various stakeholders and actors across the housing ecosystem and serves as a platform for the exchange and sharing of, experiences, technologies, innovations, and solutions.

The forum’s four tracks are Build resilient cities and communities; Innovative housing solutions and technologies; Advance sustainability in the housing sector; and Finance affordable housing. Economic growth, and climate change adaptation remain cross-cutting themes through the tracks.

The resilient cities and communities track looks at how governments and sectoral stakeholders can work together towards a more sustainable urban future. The track on innovative housing solutions and technologies explores the various ways we can achieve affordable housing through innovation and technology.

The track on sustainability in the housing sector looks at the different approaches to advance and harmonize the environmental, social, cultural, and economic dimensions of housing to ensure equitable cities and communities. The last track –finance affordable housing — will focus on the financing instruments of different actors in both public and private sectors that fund affordable housing.

Recently, Habitat for Humanity released a report titled “A Ladder Up: The construction sector’s role in creating jobs and rebuilding emerging market economies” authored by economists at the Universities of Pennsylvania, Southern California, and Washington. The report states that every $1 million in construction output creates an average of 97 jobs across the countries studied, with 165 jobs per $1 million in the Philippines, and 182 jobs per $1 million in India. These findings are relevant for low- and middle-income countries deciding on areas to prioritize as they work to build back economies weakened by the pandemic.

Thailand, being a fast emerging economy, investing in residential construction may represent a potential win because of possible large number of jobs it can create locally. From 2018 to 2019, the poverty rate in Thailand dropped to 6.2%, according to the World Bank. However, in 2020, the poverty rate increased to 8.8% due to the impact of COVID-19.

The Asia-Pacific Housing Forum is organized by Habitat for Humanity, in collaboration with the European Union-funded SWITCH-Asia Sustainable Consumption and Production Facility.
Register for the virtual Asia-Pacific Housing Forum from December 7 to 9 at aphousingforum.org/registration/.

About Habitat for Humanity

Driven by the vision that everyone needs a decent place to live, Habitat for Humanity found its earliest inspirations as a grassroots movement on an interracial community farm in U.S.A. Since its founding in 1976, the housing organization has grown to become a leading global nonprofit working in more than 70 countries. In the Asia-Pacific region since 1983, Habitat for Humanity has supported millions of people to build or improve a place they can call home. Through financial support, volunteering or adding a voice to support affordable housing, everyone can help families achieve the strength, stability and self-reliance they need to build better lives for themselves. To learn more, donate or volunteer, visit habitat.org/asiapacific.

About EU SWITCH-Asia Programme

Launched in 2007, the SWITCH-Asia programme is the largest European Union-funded programme promoting Sustainable Consumption and Production (SCP) supporting 24 countries in Asia and Central Asia. The programme has funded around 130 projects, supporting over 500 Asian and European non-for-profit partners, about 100 private sector associations and 80.000 Asian MSMEs. The SCP Facility, one of SWITCH-Asia Components, aims at strengthening the implementation of SCP policies at the national level, facilitating the coordination of all components of the programme through information sharing. In addition, it carries out analyses on the results of the pilot projects and supports dialogue with stakeholders.