INDUSTRY Real Estate

GHANA NEEDS BANK FOR HOUSING TO IMPROVE SECTOR – GREDA EXECUTIVE

The Executive Director of the Ghana Real Estate Developers Association (GREDA), Sammy Amegayibor has advocated for the reestablishment of a real estate bank to improve the sector.

Mr. Amegayibor said it was imperative due to the lack of access to affordable capital. He added that such an institution would help bridge the country’s housing gap. The defunct Bank for Housing and Construction (BHC), which was established in the early 1990s, provided funding at affordable rates for real estate projects. GREDA was then one of the main beneficiaries of the bank, ensuring that borrowing costs were minimized.

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The bank was however liquidated in 2000 due to a downward spiral in financial fortunes, depriving the real estate sector of accessible funds. Mr. Amegayibor highlighted the importance of reestablishing such an institution, adding that the real estate industry needs a combination of accessible funds as well as mortgages to thrive.

“The Bank for Housing and Construction (BHC) enabled GREDA members to borrow money at a very affordable rate to build houses,” he said. “Together with HFC, whose original mandate then was to provide mortgages for house hunters, they created an enabling environment for the housing sector. This is because HFC provided a ready market for developers while paying the lump sum on behalf of homeowners.

“Concurrently, developers would have the requisite funds to pay back the loans obtained from BHC while BHC would be reimbursed to ensure the cycle continues,” he said. Describing it as a “perfect scheme”, Mr. Amegayibor said its resuscitation could expand the country’s housing stock. He added that the housing deficit would be reduced as a result.

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Mr. Amegayibor also bemoaned the practice of awarding public housing contracts to multinational companies. He stated that it has yielded little dividends for the housing sector while having a negative effect on the country’s local currency and economy.

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“Awarding contracts to multinational companies is not the solution to Ghana’s housing deficit. On short term basis, it may add a few houses on the market. “However, housing is a long term investment and the current status quo is not sustainable for the sector. This is why we have to explore establishing housing facility institutions that can provide funding to developers to ensure more houses are built,” he said.

The Managing Director of property website, Lamudi Ghana, Akua Nyame-Mensah said: “The government needs to work closer with GREDA to ensure more affordable houses are built. A financial institution for housing may not be the ultimate solution to the country’s housing deficit but could prove crucial.

“The country’s land tenure system also needs to be better streamlined to facilitate the process towards more affordable housing.”

Source: Fidel Amoah, Content Manager Lamudi Ghana

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