Ghana emerges as an attractive real estate investment destination

For a country widely acknowledged to have moved from low-income to lover middle-income status according to World Bank classifications and with a reputation for economic and political stability, Ghana is slowly turning into the go-to destination for investors from all over the world, seeking a safe haven to put their investment dollars on the African continent. Ghana attracts the investor community with a 1.7 million housing deficit.

 

 
The skyline of Accra is changing. The city is becoming a hub of real estate construction activity. Old lorry parks are being abandoned for huge office blocks. Dilapidated colonial government bungalows are being torn down for beautiful residential estates. Real estate developers are rushing to buy huge tracts of land on the outskirts of Accra at bargain basement prices, to hold in their portfolios for future real estate development. Driving from Accra Central on Independence Avenue all the way to Tetteh Quarshie, one can see the huge billboards announcing all kinds of real estate projects currently under construction.
 
Even the beaches would not be spared in this mad rush to build and sell property. Suddenly, someone thought Labadi Beach could one day become something similar to the beaches of Waikiki Hawaii, Palm Beach, Florida or Rio de Janeiro. A new project is born by the name, appropriately, La Beach Towers. This 18-story apartment complex is being built in three phases. 
 
Airport City
 
It is the area of Accra called “Airport City” that truly reflects the amount of investment dollars, from both local and foreign sources, pouring into real estate development activity in Accra. The dizzying speed at which construction projects are taking off in this part of Accra is simply amazing. Marina Mall, a shopping mall and office complex owned by the Marina Group of Burkina Faso, was completed barely two years ago. Not long after, here comes South Africa’s RMB Westport, who has just completed their flagship mixed-use property named Icon House in the same Airport City. Next door is Nester Square, another mixed-use office tower and retail development, being built for Ernest Chemists by the same construction firm, DeSimone Ltd. A walking distance away is Atlantic Tower, a 13-story modern architectural office edifice, currently under construction by the Meridian Group. The newest hotel in town, the African Sun Hotel, has just been completed by Trassaco in this same enclave, and there is a lot of anticipation about its official opening this year. Other name brand international hotels are gunning for space in this same area because of its proximity to the Kotoka International Airport.
In the Oxford Street area of Osu on Kuku Hill, a 1.2 acre land is being turned into a 120 unit apartment complex called Chateau Towers. The project is being developed by Hollywood International Developers, their very first project in Ghana. Not to be outdone, the Central Business District of Accra itself is the hub of a lot of construction activity. 
It is obvious from the foregoing projects that the demand for office, hotel and retail space is extremely high in Ghana, just as demand for high-end residential real estate continues to be brisk. Accra Mall, A&C Mall, Marina Mall and Oxford Street Mall are not enough to satisfy the growing demand for retail space in a city with a population of 4.2 million. More malls and neighbourhood shopping centres are needed to satisfy the huge demand. More office space is needed for our growing economy. More warehouses are needed to store imports and exports as a result of the expansion of our ports and harbours. This is one sector literally begging for investors to come and explore.
Even though demand for middle-income and low-end residential real estate is extraordinarily high, supply in this sector is extraordinarily short because of the lack of construction financing. Consequently, it is in this area that foreign investor participation is most needed.
 
The government welcomes foreign investors

Sweltering under a housing deficit of 1.7 million housing units announced by the President, John Dramani Mahama, the government itself recognizes the need for a paradigm shift to arrest the situation. The government has arms wide open to welcome foreign investors into the housing sector. The huge concessions granted by government to the South Korean investor STX to build 200,000 houses, before the project collapsed under boardroom wrangling, is ample evidence of the open-door policy of government to attract foreign participation in this sector. This policy is given an acronym PPP (Public Private Partnership) and foreign companies like Brazilian Construtora OAS, Nairobi based Shelter Afrique and the Addoha Construction Company of Morocco are already taking advantage of this huge opportunity. President Mahama himself promised to seek advice from financiers and mortgage providers on how to deepen the mortgage market in Ghana in order to support housing delivery to the teeming population.
 
On the other hand, a new concept to tap into this huge opportunity created by the Ghana real estate market is being introduced into the country. It is called Fractionals. Fractional ownership is an old concept in the West, practiced mostly in the US, Canada and the UK. Unlike whole ownership, fractional ownership enables you to own a fraction of a property but still get the opportunity to enjoy all the benefits of whole ownership. This idea would help the thousands of Ghanaians living abroad who do not have a place of their own to stay when they come home for a visit. They would have a beautiful house or condo to spend their vacations anytime they are in Ghana. 


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