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Business News of Saturday, 2 September 2017

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Set up fund to support real estate sector – Dr Orleans-Lindsay tells govt

The Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of JL Holdings, Dr James Orleans-Lindsay, has asked the government to set up a construction fund that will support the real estate market in the country.

He explained that unlike the construction bank which was privately owned and with a focus on construction, infrastructure and mortgage financing, a construction fund was needed to enable the real estate industry to thrive.

“We need a real estate or a construction fund where the government will put in seed money and grow it over a period to help address the housing deficit in the country,” Dr Orleans-Lindsay told the Daily Graphic at a forum at the weekend in Accra.

He said “although there is an increase in demand for estate properties in Ghana, the escalating cost of an estate house unit kills the interest of prospective home seekers largely because the industry has been dominated by the private sector, hence the need for government intervention.”

Default payment

He said more than 80 per cent of Ghanaians who purchased estate properties defaulted payment and this situation largely impacted negatively on the growth of the real estate market in Ghana.

“For us as industry players, when home buyers default in payments, it negatively affect our operations as well as the growth of the real estate market in Ghana. But sometimes, this is wholly not the fault of the buyers, it is basically because the systems in the country are not favourable,” he said.

Report from the Ghana Real Estate Development Association (GREDA) indicates that well over 50 per cent of Ghanaians live in substandard houses lacking basic amenities, with 2.7 million people living in single rooms.

Current the yearly demand for housing is hovering 1.7million, meaning 700,000 units of houses are needed annually to meet this demand. And the required investment needed to meet this annual demand is estimated at between US$51.8 billion and US$52.5 billion over a period of 10 years.

Real Estate Developers build about 2,500 -3,000 units a year, however, most of these houses are said to be very expensive as the least costs not less than US$35,000 (GH¢140, 000).

Acquiring accommodation in Ghana

Dr Orleans-Lindsay said acquiring accommodation in Ghana was more expensive than most countries across the world, the reason most Ghanaians were living in substandard homes.

To help address the situation, he indicated that the government must intervene in the real estate market and take a cautious approach to restructure inner cities in the country.

He said cities such as Adabraka, Asylum Down and Kokomlemle must be restructured into high rise buildings to accommodate more people in the cities rather than they travelling from long distances to work in the cities.

Dr Orleans-Lindsay said this when he took his turn on the Learn Evolve Apply Dominate (LEAD) series, a motivational talk-show designed to help inspire the youth in the country.

LEAD Series, however, is the brainchild of Jay Foley who is an entrepreneur and a radio programme host with Live FM.