More homeowners prefer to build their own houses than purchase properties from real estate developers – prompting Patrick Ebo Bonful, President of the Ghana Real Estate Developer Association (GREDA), to caution his members to change their modus operandi lest a collapse of the sector takes place.
Data from GREDA shows that out of every 10 homes built recently, six were built by homeowners themselves while the other four were provided by real estate developers – which was not the case upon establishment of the association.
“GREDA, through its members, has in the immediate past decade delivered more residential houses to the Ghanaian real estate market than at any other time before now. Interestingly, however, at the same time residential housing construction by private individuals for their personal use has skyrocketed to a ratio of 60 percent to 40 percent in favour of private individuals,” Mr. Ebo Bonful said at the GREDA Annual CEOs Breakfast Meeting Exhibition.
For him, this development can only be reversed if members of the association join efforts to construct homes for low-income earners. “The above scenario poses a great challenge to our members in general and our association in particular. To remain relevant, we need to do more to reduce the national housing deficit.
“To help reduce the national housing deficit, we need to do more in the area of sustainable, adequate, affordable mass residential housing; and if we are to succeed in that direction, then we will also need to be innovative in the design and technology-mix of our housing construction delivery,” he said.
GREDA has therefore urged its members dotted across the country to use local building material: which will guarantee quality, reduce cost of operation and develop the local economy. The move will also help bring down the price of houses, which is likely to increase patronage.
The association is however calling on government to help in this direction by providing litigation-free land banks, which would go a long way in supporting its efforts to reduce the nation’s housing deficit – pegged at 2 million housing units by the Ministry of Works and Housing.
GREDA is currently pushing for a response from the president on a housing proposal it presented in November last year. The proposal outlines the association’s ability to construct 20,000 adequate affordable housing units per annum for the next 20 years.
“Having painted this novel picture, I must be quick to add that this cannot happen without the direct intervention on various issues by central government; some of which issues are legislation-related, and political will as well. For this reason, GREDA submitted a comprehensive proposal to President Nana Addo Dankwa Akuffo-Addo in November 2019, for which we are waiting to receive a response,” Mr. Ebo Bonful intimated.
In the proposal, GREDA is seeking urgent government intervention in three crucial areas including a Review of the Home Mortgage Finance Act 2008, Act 770; Review of Lands Commission Act 2008, Land Title Registration Law 1986 (PNDCL 152) and Land Title Registration Regulation 1986, L.I. 1241; and the creation of government land banks – an innovative one-stop solution and cost-effective way of creating litigation-free land banks across the length and breadth of Ghana.
He went on to the further caution members to employ modern technology in order to stay relevant. “We are living in interesting times for our industry, wherein what used to work for construction technology or methods, real estate construction and infrastructure financing, real estate design and sales no longer works. That in itself is not a bad thing; it just means that times have changed and we in the industry must change along with the times.”