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General News of Tuesday, 6 May 2014

Source: citifmonline.com

We need affordable homes – Ghanaians cry out

A cross-section of Ghanaians are appealing to the government to intervene in issues relating to the housing sector to enable workers afford accommodation.

Some callers into the Citi Breakfast Show on Tuesday lamented over how they are fleeced by real estate developers.

This comes on the back of a new report by the Housing Data Center which suggests that the majority of Ghanaian workers may not be able to buy a house.

The report suggested that salaried workers who plan to buy a home but whose income fall below Ghc4, 000 may have to find a way to increase their salaries or switch to jobs that will boost their income.

Ghana, according to the Minister of Water Resources, Works and Housing, Alhaji Collins Dauda, has a social housing problem with a deficit of 1.7 million units.

He stated that spreading it over a 10-year period, a minimum of 170,000 housing units would have to be built annually.

Government is, therefore, partnering some private and international companies to help solve this deficit.

Although there are a number of real estate and mortgage companies in the country, many have argued that the houses they construct are not affordable and the prices are way above the pay grade of most Ghanaians.

A lot of Ghanaians have also complained about the stress they have to endure looking for an affordable apartment or house to rent or buy.

A caller into the show said: “When it comes to salary levels, I think the man really has to re-check because I work with one of these insurance companies and we don’t earn around Ghc2,000 and then again, when it comes to these real estate people, the materials they use, I doubt if they really import them.”

Another also stated that, “I am looking for a building to rent; just to rent, but the way I am suffering and all I could get was just one self-contain and it’s being priced at Ghc450. Can you imagine?”

“They asked me to do a down payment of 15 percent and the cost of property is $150,000. Now they are getting back to me and saying that they have to increase the price of the property due to the cost of materials. I know my payment is in dollars and so if you look at the dollar to the cedi rate and I am paying it in dollars, why should the inflation and the escalating of prices in materials affect the price? Now that they have increased the price of the property, I want my money back but how do I get my money back?” Asked another caller.

Meanwhile, the leader of the research team who came out with the report, Kelvin Kwaku Yeboah, in an interview on the Citi Breakfast Show explained the findings in the report.

According to him, “one bedroom facility is around Ghc120,000 and the monthly payment of that is about Ghc1,820. The qualifying income is around Ghc12,000 so if you earn below Ghc12,000, I’m telling you, you won’t be able to have access to a decent one bedroom facility".

He noted that the price requires an individual “to make a necessary contribution of not less than 20 percent of the cost of the facility and you can decide to make that contribution to the estate developer or to some of these mortgage firms".

He insisted that persons who earn below Ghc4,000 will find difficulty in accessing a one bedroom facility.

Regarding the salaries of civil servants, Mr. Yeboah mentioned that, public sector workers who earn less than Ghc1,000 “and are spending one third of that per the UN [United Nations] standard as your monthly payment for mortgage, and it’s about Ghc330.

Obviously, you can’t get any facility in Ghana that will enable you to be paying Ghc330 a month. You are just out of the bracket.”

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