NAHS calls for home ownership subsidy

•    Greater percentage of houses being built within the city remain inaccessible to the average Ghanaian.

• Greater percentage of houses being built within the city remain inaccessible to the average Ghanaian.

Nationwide Affordable Housing Scheme (NAHS) has urged government and private sector employers to provide housing subsidies to Ghanaian employees to ease off the burden of high housing costs.

A consortium of real estate developers, independent contractors, project finance institutions and suppliers of building inputs, NAHS is programmed to offer quality and affordable home opportunities to Ghanaians within the low to medium income levels.

Speaking ahead of the 2015 Nationwide Affordable Housing and Property Investment Conference, Kennedy Darkey, Country Director of KYC Nations, a pro development organisation with vested interests in affordable housing and property investment, bemoaned the complete absence of a housing subsidy in a country with a record low GDP amidst a ‘dollarised’ property market in which a standard two bedroom house prices from US$50,000.00.

Ghana’s housing deficit is fast approaching the two million mark. This means we need to build a minimum of 550 houses a day for the next 10 years in order to meet current demands.

However, a greater percentage of the houses being developed within the city remain inaccessible to the average Ghanaian due to huge income gaps.

He said mortgage finance options have had mixed reactions over the past years due to a weak currency market and the high cost of borrowing, and stated that, to buy a two-bedroom house at US$50,000 and pay in 15 years, one must earn a minimum salary of US$ 1600.

“Straightaway over 90 per cent of the Ghanaian salaried workforce is disqualified. This is very alarming and demands an urgent intervention if we must not create a nation of slum dwellers,” he said.

Mr. Darkey urged government to design policy and legislative instruments that mandate all major employers including government and multinationals to provide a home ownership subsidy to their employees.

“State, academic and research institutions must be resourced to develop safer and cheaper housing materials and methods,” he advised.

He said a failed land tenure system has had negative impact on housing costs over the years as several estate developers incur multiple costs by paying two, three or more families for the same piece of land, stating that, “this multiple expense is always passed on to the prospective home owner.”

Mr. Darkey, therefore, entreated the government and state agencies to lead the way in developing land banks by acquiring and developing fully serviced residential plots to be handed over to estate developers who would be contracted to develop affordable housing units within fairly regulated price limits.

In order to engage key stakeholder inputs and help home seekers identify and explore affordable housing opportunities, a conference will be held tomorrow at the EPA Conference Hall, Amasaman in the Greater Accra Region from 12 pm to 4 p.m.

By Times Reporter

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