GREDA calls for real estate bank to improve housing sector

Houses2The Executive Director of the Ghana Real Estate Developers Association (GREDA) Mr Sammy Amegayibor, has advocated the reestablishment of a real estate bank to improve the sector.

Mr Amegayibor said the bank is imperative due to the lack of access to affordable capital, adding that such an institution would help bridge the housing deficit.

A statement issued by Mr Fidel Amoah, the Content Manager of Lamudi Ghana, an online real estate market, said that the defunct Bank for Housing and Construction (BHC), which was established in the early 1990s, provided funding at affordable rates for real estate projects and GREDA was then one of the main beneficiaries of the bank.

It noted that the Bank was however, liquidated in 2000 due to a downward spiral in financial fortunes, depriving the real estate sector of accessible funds.

The Executive Director of GREDA highlighted the importance of re-establishing such an institution, adding that the real estate industry needs a combination of accessible funds as well as mortgages to thrive.

“The Bank for Housing and Construction enabled GREDA members to borrow money at a very affordable rate to build houses,” he stressed.

“Together with HFC, whose original mandate then was to provide mortgages for house hunters, they created an enabling environment for the housing sector. This is because HFC provided a ready market for developers while paying the lump sum on behalf of homeowners. Concurrently, developers would have the requisite funds to pay back the loans obtained from BHC while BHC would be reimbursed to ensure the cycle continues,” he said.

Describing it as a “perfect scheme”, Mr Amegayibor said its resuscitation could expand the country’s housing stock and reduce the housing deficit.

Mr Amegayibor spoke against the practice of awarding public housing contracts to multinational companies and stated that it has yielded little dividends for the housing sector, while having a negative effect on the country’s local currency and economy.

“Awarding contracts to multinational companies is not the solution to Ghana’s housing deficit. On short term basiss, it may add a few houses on the market. However, housing is a long term investment and the current status quo is not sustainable for the sector. This is why we have to explore establishing housing facility institutions that can provide funding to developers to ensure more houses are built,” he said.

The Managing Director of Lamudi Ghana, Akua Nyame-Mensah said that a financial institution for housing “may not be the ultimate solution to the country’s housing deficit but could prove crucial.”

She added that government needs to work closer with GREDA to ensure more affordable houses are built and to better streamline the country’s land tenure system to facilitate the process towards more affordable housing.

Launched in 2013, Lamudi is a global property portal focusing exclusively on emerging markets. The fast-growing platform is currently available in 34 countries in Asia, the Middle East, Africa and Latin America, with more than 800,000 real estate listings across its global network.

Source: GNA

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