The government has revived the affordable housing scheme to deliver at least 200 housing units for public sector workers annually in a bid to address the country’s housing deficit.
Two pilot schemes have been created under the National Housing and Mortgage Fund (NHMF) to support workers to own houses.
The financing is either through the National Mortgage Scheme (NMS) or the Affordable Housing Real Estate Investment Trusts (REITs) Rent-to-own schemes.
Participating banks administering the NMS are the GCB Bank, Stanbic Bank and Republic Bank, which are offering mortgages at rates between 10 and 12 per cent.
The Minister of Finance, Mr Ken Ofori-Atta, said after a tour of some affordable housing sites at Kpone, near Tema, that the intervention would reduce mortgage rates by over 60 per cent, compared to the average market rate of 28 per cent, based on the building specification.
The houses under the two schemes are priced about GH¢90,000 for a one-bedroom house and GH¢140,000 for a standard two-bedroom.
The Affordable Housing REITs, on the other hand, is promoting the rent-to-own scheme, which will see occupants pay monthly rents with an option to own the home after a period of time, in line with goals to eliminate the burden of the two-year rent advance system.
That, Mr Ofori-Atta said, was designed to give low-income workers the opportunity to rent and eventually own homes.
Mr Ofori-Atta, together with the Minister of Works and Housing, Mr Samuel Atta Akyea, toured some affordable housing project sites at Kpone last Monday.
The tour took the ministers to the Tema Development Corporation’s (TDC’s) abandoned affordable housing enclave at Community 26 and the Adom City Estates at Community 25, a private sector-led initiative.
The TDC project, which commenced in 2006 to develop some 1,500 housing units, was abandoned due to funding challenges. But officials of TDC said the project had been revised last year to economise the land space to accommodate some 3,000 units.
Presently, about 160 units on 11 blocks on TDC facilities have been completed and already housing some public sector workers under the REITs scheme, while the Adom Estates also has some 200 semi-detached homes, out of the 1,500 units to be built, already completed.
Mr Ofori-Atta noted that the two-year pilot phase of the rent-to-own scheme was aimed at providing more decent homes for Ghanaians, with the starting price for houses pegged at GH¢140,000 and GH¢90,000 for standard two-bedroom and one-bedroom homes, respectively.
“The affordable REITs will become the off-taker of the property in development by both the TDC and Adom City to revive the affordable housing concept and complete many of the abandoned housing units across the county,” he said.
The Finance Minister said the government was excited about the challenge taken up by the Ghana Real Estate Development Association (GREDA) and Adom City Estates to build some 15,000 housing units, of which a pilot of 200 would be done annually.
For his part, Mr Atta Akyea said although the government had made several commitments to increase the housing stock and bridge the national housing deficit, funding became a major constraint owing to other equally priority projects which competed within the funding space.
He said whereas the government’s free senior high school policy, road projects, as well as the Planting for Food and Job programme, were all expensive ventures taking majority of the funding, thereby making it difficult to roll out housing schemes, people should not be made to live in hopelessly.
“It is for this reason that the government is using agencies such as the TDC and GREDA to drive the process of reducing the national housing deficit through the provision of adequate, safe, secure, quality and affordable homes,” he said.
He said similar projects would be undertaken in all districts across the country to accommodate the growing population and urbanisation.
The General Manager in charge of Operations at the TDC, Mr Samuel Asante, giving an overview of the project, said following the completion of the 11 blocks which housed some 160 units, work on an additional 22 blocks was underway and scheduled for completion by the end of the first quarter of next year.
The project, being developed at a cost of GH¢350 million, he said, had a clinic, a school and recreational areas for residents.
“The goal is to ensure that an additional 93 blocks are completed by 2023 to bring the total number of blocks to 150, which will house some 3,016 units of apartments,” he said.
The Deputy Chief Executive Officer of the Adom Group, Mr Joseph Opoku-Adjei, commended the government for the collaboration and expressed the hope that it would help alleviate the housing deficit in the country.
The President of GREDA, Mr Patrick Ebo Bonful, said the association would, in the ensuing days, sign an agreement with the government to deliver some 20,000 affordable housing units in the next 20 years.