Urbanization in Ghana reflects current global trends. At present, four billion people (54% of the world’s population) live in urban centres. Currently, Ghana’s urban population stands at 58 % and is expected to increase to over 70 % by 2050. This has made housing one of the critical developmental challenges facing the country. The housing deficit is estimated to be in excess of 2 million housing units, with an estimated 60% of Ghana’s urban population requiring the support of government to access housing, while 35 percent cannot access housing, even with government support.
Speaking at the Business 24 Real Estate Conference, the Minister, Hon. Asenso Boakye, has indicated that, the development of the housing sector is an important instrument for economic development. Looking at the enormous impact it has on employment generation (both skilled and unskilled labour), and its contribution to the manufacturing industry in the production of building materials and furnishings, as well as the provision of both construction and mortgage financing, Therefore, there is a need for a deeper collaboration between the government and the private sector to create the needed opportunities to make it possible for the majority of our population to have access to decent, safe, secure, quality, and affordable housing.
According to him, for housing to be deemed affordable, the cost should not exceed 30% of a household’s income, be it for purchase, mortgage, rental, or rent-to-own, although recent policies allow for 40 percent of income to service third-party commitments.
The reality is that governments have struggled to provide housing at a cost affordable to the low-to-middle income population, and this can be attributed to our inability to supply housing that meets the generally low-income levels of the majority of the population. This certainly requires putting in place sustainable policies and programs aimed at ensuring that the issue of affordable housing no longer becomes a myth, but a possibility.
Also, achieving affordable housing, requires innovation and a workable framework, which places emphasis on the entire ecosystem when it comes to the delivery of affordable housing. There is the need to look at our own circumstances and ask what it takes to achieve housing affordability for those whose means are limited. For example, land cannot be acquired from the open market in the main cities of the country, on the traditional 100 ft x 80 ft per plot basis for the purpose of affordable housing and hope to result in a degree of affordability.
To achieve the affordable housing that we all crave for and further create the needed opportunity for the majority of the county’s urban population, the government, acting through the Ministry of Works and Housing, and other stakeholders, have developed a framework to drive a new affordable housing program.
Finally, the Minister stated that, "this framework intends to use an appropriate mix of public and private sector investments that meets the needs and financial capacity of the average Ghanaian. Accordingly, the Ministry has identified each of the components or cost drivers that contribute to the cost of an affordable housing unit and has mapped out specific strategies targeted at each of these components with the sole objective of making housing affordable for the large section of the Ghanaian population. "
Source: Reuben Affum-Ankamah (Real Estate Times Africa)