Ghana’s real estate sector had mixed results last year. The depreciation of the cedi in the first quarter posed the biggest challenge for the industry. From the third quarter however, things took a more positive turn, with the cedi exchanging for 3.8 to a dollar by the end of 2015.
With the new year in full swing, Lamudi highlights five real estate trends to expect in 2016.
Real estate law to be enacted
The former Deputy Minister of Housing, Johnny Osei Kofi, revealed in November 2014 at Lamudi’s real estate conference that the government had drafted a real estate bill to streamline the sector. He said the bill would go before the parliament to be enacted into law. The bill includes the establishment of a real estate institution to ensure professionalism in the sector, spouses’ rights, among other things.
Operationalizing the housing policy
The National Housing Policy was announced early last year after decades of planning. The policy is intended to serve as a roadmap towards an improved housing sector. It mainly caters toward the social housing market which has been underserved for a long while now. The highlight of the policy is a shift in focus from homeownership to affordable rental. The Ministry of Housing indicated that they would be engaging stakeholder discussions to find innovative ways of operationalizing the policy.
Completion of Borteyman housing project
With a deficit of 170,000 units, Ghana’s housing market stands to benefit a great deal from the government’s housing project. In 2013, the Ministry in charge of housing announced that the Borteyman housing project had been transferred to the Social Security and National Insurance Trust (SSNIT) for completion. The Director-General of SSNIT, Ernest Thompson revealed in November 2014 that works on the project were 80 percent complete. The project features a total of 1,537 apartments.
Online property search increase
Online property search has gained traction in recent years and the trend is set to continue. With a growing number of individuals on the Internet and platforms like Lamudi serving the needs of property hunters, it is expected that there will be increased demand for properties online. Mobile Internet is also playing an important role, with the reduction in data prices and faster Internet meaning more people now have access to the web on a mobile device. Lamudi’s data indicates that over 30 percent of property online property searches were conducted on mobile devices in April 2015. This represents an increase from December 2014's 18 percent.
Property price hike
It may seem like the biggest hitch to the real estate sector but prices are highly likely to escalate. The industry is still in the sellers’ market phase, meaning property owners would have a bigger say into how much property hunters should pay. The country’s periodic first quarter struggles with the foreign exchange market also mean prices are likely to soar automatically after exchange rates are factored. For property hunters, the time to invest would be now to avoid paying higher prices in the coming months.