Water Resources, Works and Housing Minister, Samuel Atta Akyea, has advocated that Ghana’s current housing crisis should be left in the hands of government, which can counteract the country’s supply and demand.
In an interview with Joy FM yesterday, he said that the hundreds of empty luxury apartments in town had superseded what people can afford.
“To get people in these homes, prices must come down”, he proposed.
“Landlords say pay five years up front because they know you can’t go anywhere,” he said.
“But then they realise that instead, people will move to where houses are more affordable with reasonable rent charges”, he indicated.
For homeowners who would rather buy than rent, he explained that they must change their mindset when it comes to the materials used to construct a home.
“It is also the appetite of the average Ghanaian to believe that if I’m putting up a house it is a symbol of power and wealth. They want to have a three-story home, marble floors…it’s not all about the most expensive materials,” adding that more modest preferences would drive down costs significantly.
Atta Akyea also acknowledged that real estate developers were aware of rising rent/mortgage expenses.
But he said, they needed to take care of themselves as well.
“At a minimum, they (real estate developers) must collect at least 20% of what they spent to design, construct and build a home”, he said.
He believed that the solution lies in providing more housing.
He therefore recommended that government should influence the mortgage regime “to empower the average person to be more consistent and realistic” when it comes to more affordable housing.
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.
Last year, the Water Resources, Works and Housing Ministry unveiled the government’s affordable housing project, a planned to develop 11,000 units with the first phase of 1,500 to be completed in Prampram.
Story: Kofi OWUSU TAWIAH
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