Housing fair attracts potential buyers

The real estate industry may be seeing a gradual take-off after a period of sluggish performance, if the turnout at the recently-held Ghana Home Loans Housing Fair is anything to go by.

The fair, which is a biennial event, brings together real estate developers and prospective home buyers.

Organised and hosted by Ghana Home Loans, this fair witnessed the participation of more than 30 exhibitors offering houses at different locations and price points.

The massive patronage of the fair saw exhibitors actively engaging and presenting various house types and designs to potential buyers.

In the midst of the economic challenges currently facing the country, developers seemed to have been busy with innovative designs and packages to meet the pockets of buyers.

Exhibitors displayed various house types ranging from 2-3 bedroom houses, semi-detached or detached — selling from GH¢200,000 to GH¢360,000.

Bernard Kafui Ahiable, Sales and Business Development Manager of UT Properties, noted that the real estate industry has had to deal with unfavourable policies over the past years.

“The introduction of a 5% VAT on houses purchased, the foreign exchange dynamics, high interest rates and the limited mortgage offerings by just a handful of financial institutions meant that a lot more potential buyers could not qualify to purchase a decent home.”

He however praised Ghana Real Estate Developers Association (GREDA) for actively engaging government to review most the policies that are unfriendly to the industry.

Asked how developers are responding to the current needs of the market, Mr. Ahiable revealed that many developers have come up with innovative designs/more varied house types, and are quickly embracing new construction models so as to lower the price threshold for buyers.

“UT Properties has unveiled a new design for 2/3-bedroom terrace houses that has become the toast of middle-income earners, because of the price points and extended payment plan,” he said.

The last two years have seen a poor performance by the real estate sector. Most commercial and residential projects have gone beyond their expected completion dates — with developers frequently adjusting their prices to the displeasure of potential clients.

Home prices have risen sharply in recent times and remain highly inaccessible for most Ghanaians.

With a huge housing deficit, the issues and definitions of affordable housing still remain elusive.

Developers’ definition of affordability is still largely out of reach for many.

To access homes that are relatively low-priced, home buyers have to settle for homes outside the periphery of the city and brace themselves for high commuting cost.

Observations from the housing fair’s massive patronage gave an indication that the dream of homeownership is not lost to potential buyers.

“With more innovative approaches and models, coupled with financial packages from financial institutions, the industry could see a rapid turnaround,” Mr. Ahiable noted.