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Ghana’s property market is a direct reflection of the state of the West African nation itself in that it is emerging, developing, has immense potential but is restricted by serious fundamental issues relating to issues such as poor land title registration transparency and lack of affordable home financing solutions locally.
The best approach to take with Ghana is to line up all the negatives, knock them down with proof that the government and additional external bodies and agencies are tackling these issues head on and then identify the amazing potential available in Ghana for property investors from 2007 onwards…in this way an investor can determine whether 2007 is the year for them to begin their due diligence in Ghana for long term capital appreciating investment opportunities.
Current Issues Facing Ghana’s Property Market
The current issues facing Ghana’s property market include the fact that those buying resale land and property often buy litigation rather than land title because there is no decent system in place for the registration of title deeds and transfers and because the conveyancing system lacks transparency.
In addition to this the level of tourism growth in Ghana is not sufficient for the tourism economy to become an attractive sector for foreign direct investment at the moment. Furthermore there are problems in the main cities with homelessness and even those with a desire to own their own homes and who have a decent salary with which to afford a home loan have limited and restricted access to mortgages in Ghana.
Efforts Underway to Improve the Real Estate Marketplace in Ghana
The current government in Ghana inherited the situation as detailed above but are 100% focused on changing these issues and developing a nation of middle income home owners. To that end they have started numerous programs and schemes such as a program to attract greater foreign direct investment. The government is also working in partnership with the likes of Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation and Development International Desjardins to develop regulatory reforms in the mortgage market and they have brought American based Broad Cove Partners Inc in which is an emerging market financial advisory firm and which is now developing a new USD 30 million long term property finance facility to assist with affordable housing and mortgage finance in Ghana.
In 2007 a new program to register every house on every street in Ghana will get underway to begin solving the land title issues and on the tourism side of things the Ghana Tourist Board has been active under the Acting Executive Director Martin Mireku. So far Mr. Mireku has brought Delta Airlines and North American Airlines to Ghana with multiple direct flights between Accra (the capital of Ghana) and the likes of New York every week and there is a strong campaign underway for these airlines and other international tourism representatives with interests in Ghana to promote the attractiveness and potential of the nation to the wider world.
A property investor looking at whether Ghana is a viable option for portfolio expansion purposes needs to understand that every issue that exists to restrict the attractiveness of the property market in Ghana is being addressed by the government or external agencies and that this proves their intense commitment to the improvement of their nation, the boosting of their economy, the raising of living standards of its people and the establishment of a sustainable source of foreign direct investment into the likes of tourism and real estate.
The Tourism Potential in Ghana
Tourism in Ghana currently contributes up to 8.5% of GDP and employs around 6.9% of the entire nation’s workforce; going forward it is predicted that the travel and tourism sector will grow by about 4.9 – 5% annually from 2007, but for the Ghanaian government that is not enough. In a bid to raise the profile of the country they have brought in international airlines as stated, they have also liberalised their aviation policy as a result and ongoing they are determined that this sector will boost the economy in a sustainable way over the long term.
An investor needs to understand that when tourism comes in earnest to Ghana there will be multiple layers of opportunity because it is a nation rich in natural wonders, delights and beauty from untouched and pristine beaches to an interior full of exotic and amazing wildlife in abundance, and there are just not the facilities for international travellers to experience and enjoy such delights safely and in comfort.
This represents huge investment opportunity…
Local Affordable Housing
The other area an investor can examine from 2007 onwards is the issue of the supply of affordable housing to Ghanaians. In recent years there has been a trend of rural to urban flow of migration and the trouble with this flow is that it has been strong and is sustained and there is just not enough housing to accommodate all those arriving and looking for work. As a result there is a homelessness problem developing in some of the more densely populated areas of the country and those with property assets available to let have been exploiting those requiring housing and demanding up to 3 years rent in advance.
In a bid to solve this problem the government has announced incentives for constructors to build affordable local housing starting in 2007 – and for the next five years as part of the National Housing Programme 20,000 new homes will be built in Ghana annually. Naturally enough investment in this sector is still required and those with a social conscience who want to actively participate in something that will return them a profit whilst benefiting a nation restricted by poverty should look at how they can get involved.
In conclusion, while there are true emerging market problems affecting the property market and the investment potential from real estate in Ghana at the moment, everything is being done that can be done to positively address and solve these problems. The most important factor to keep in mind therefore is that Ghana knows it has potential and is doing all it can to achieve this potential…and an investor seeking massive opportunity, low start up costs and huge long term potential for growth could well find that 2007 is the year for them to explore Ghana.
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