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Govt must step in to make housing affordable—GREDA

Houses in Ghana will continue to be expensive until government implements pragmatic interventions to support the real estate sector.

That’s the assertion of the Executive Secretary of the Ghana Real Estate Developers Association (GREDA), Sammy Amegayibor.

Expressing his disappointment with government’s lack of support on the Citi Breakfast Show on Tuesday (April 17, 2018), Mr. Amegayibor said affordable housing can be achieved only if government resolve land acquisition issues and provide affordable funds for developers.

“The frustration with basic infrastructure provision, access to affordable credit and effective land acquisition are some of the basic challenges hindering the provision of affordable housing. If we don’t get the fundamentals right, we’ll continue talking about affordable housing and we’ll not get anywhere.”

According to Mr. Amegayibor, affordable housing will only be achievable if governments provides the needed support.

“Under the current circumstances the private sector will struggle to lower the cost of housing if government fails to put in the needed pragmatic interventions. There needs to be that political will from government to play its role in helping the private sector provide affordable housing.”

Govt ditches Bank for Housing plan

Government this month dealt a huge blow to the acquisition of affordable housing by ditching the idea of establishing a Housing Bank which was aimed at reducing the high cost of mortgage in the country.

Works and Housing Minister, Samuel Atta Akyea who disclosed this to Citi Business News however said the new plan is to allow the existing banks access to relatively cheaper funds to offer mortgages at affordable rates.

The Minister also explained that per its new plan, the government will make available, pension funds to existing banks who will subsequently offer mortgages to prospective home owners at competitive rates.

He made the disclosure on the sidelines of the launch of a new African Construction Trends report by Deloitte.

“We spoke about a possibility of having a bank for Housing and Construction but on hindsight we are of the humble view that every money that we get from the pension fund, we better give it to the already established banks by way of competitive bidding and then they could charge their administrative fees,” he stated.

Mr. Atta Akyea, upon assuming office, mentioned among others, the need to create a Housing and Construction bank to address the needs of prospective home owners.

This means that the bank would have offered rates which will be relatively lower compared to what the other commercial banks would be offering.

The move also follows the continuous rise in the housing deficit in Ghana estimated at 1.7 million units.

The figure, according to some experts, could escalate to 2 million by 2019.

Mr. Atta Akyea also believes the new model is effective as it will save the country the burden of the heavy capital investment in establishing a fully-fledged bank.

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