A 2010 Population and Housing report revealed that Ghana needs at least 100,000 housing units annually to meet the country’s rapid acceleration in population.
But the reality is, affordable housing in the country is scarce, says architect at Intalectz Grupe, Freeman Agbomanyi, and he’s concerned that the lack of reasonably-priced infrastructure could become a crisis in coming years.
On the Super Morning Show Tuesday, Agbomanyi recalled sharing a 4×4 meter room with his mother, father and eight siblings. He slept on piles of maize that acquired most of the room since his mother (who sold the good) had nowhere else to store them. To study, he resorted to cramping in the room’s terrace, about the size of a bathtub.
“The ideal situation would be to have a study room, living room, guest room, bathroom and bedroom,” said Agbomanyi. “But all of the activities we would have done in these rooms were happening in a single room.”
It’s what propelled him to study design, a skill he now uses to build decent-sized homes for families at affordable rates.
Earlier this year the Water Resources, Works and Housing Ministry unveiled the Government’s Affordable Housing Project, a plan to develop 11,000 units with the first phase of 1,500 to be completed in Prampram.
Dr. Kwaku Agyemang-Mensah (in red), Minister for Water Resources, Works and Housing tours the affordable housing project site at Prampram in the Greater Accra Region. Source: Government of Ghana
Dr. Kwaku Agyemang-Mensah, the sector Minister, said that the project would target Ghanaians who couldn’t purchase homes, would create jobs and integrate modern elements of technology through use of solar power.
But Senior Minister Yaw Osafo-Marfo says that while some improvements have been made, more needs to be done.
“It is the responsibility of government to protect the consumer,” said Osafo-Marfo. “Government must pay attention to ensure that infrastructure is made available, and made available continuously at an affordable price.”
Sammy Amegayibor, Managing Director at Keda Development Co. Limited agrees. On Tuesday, he told Joy FM’s Daniel Dadzie that extreme interest rates have made it almost impossible for consumers to build on property they buy.
He explained that typically when a new homeowner buys land, they must first hire a developer who must borrow money from a bank to begin building. To borrow money, banks apply a 28%-32% interest rate. Then, the homeowner must pay another 32% interest rate to be applied to the actual development of the home.
“People may think that developers are deliberately taking advantages of people who go through these things. But developers are very mindful and take into account these challenges,” Amegayibor said.
Renting is not any cheaper. In parts of town like East Legon and Airport Residential, the price of rent can reach up to $18,000 per year, which landlords typically request for all up front.
Freeman insists it is easier – and better – to buy than to rent or build.
“It is easier to buy because you are doing cost-sharing between a wide range of people,” he said. “If you have to buy land, neighbours have to spend money on road networks. Buying is just more cost effective.”
It all balls down to money, he added.
“Financing is an issue,” Amegayibor commented. “Government intervention must be pursued before the housing crisis can be achieved.”