Real estate is arguably one of the oldest and multi-faceted industries.
What Then is Real Estate?
Real estate is a real property that consists of lands and improvements, which encapsulate buildings, structures, fixtures, roads, and utility systems. Real estate owners have property rights above and below the land. Owners in the real estate industry have rights to improvements and natural resources inclusive of plants, animals, water, minerals, etc.
What About a Real Estate Business?
A real estate business is a business entity that deals with the management, buying, selling, and investment of real estate properties.
The real estate industry has multiple touchpoints which are unique in their purpose. The different categories of real estate include;
The definition of land is not only limited to the earth’s surface. But land technically includes what is beneath and above the earth’s surface. Land is fundamental in real estate. Lands are developed into different property types in the real estate industry. The location of land coupled with its use determines the value it brings to the owner. However, most lands are acquired with a long-term strategic plan of developing or selling them.
Residential real estate focuses on housing that comes in different types to suit individuals, families, or a group of people. Residential real estate is very common and popular in Ghana. There are many facets to the residential estate sector. These are single-family houses, condominiums, Cooperatives (Co-op), Townhomes, Duplex, Triplex, Fourplex, Mobile homes, and other types of living arrangements.
Commercial real estate refers to lands and buildings used for business purposes. These include medical centers, shopping malls, office buildings, hotels, movie theaters, parking lots, garages, and many others.
Industrial real estate assumes the nature of commercial real estate property. However, it focuses on industrial activities such as factories, mechanical productions, research and development, construction, transportation, logistics, and warehousing.
The Real Estate Market in Ghana
Ghana Statistical Service (GSS) revealed in the 2021 Population and Housing Census (PHC) an estimate of 30.8 million people in Ghana. The housing deficit has a standing of 1.7 million units projected to hit 2 million units by the end of 2021. Interestingly, Ghana Statistical Service (GSS) pinpointed that 20 percent of the 10.7 million structures listed were kiosks and wooden structures. Again, it highlighted that one out of every five structures listed is not fully completed. Therefore, there is a need for 170,000 housing units annually to bridge the housing deficit in the country.
The Centre for Affordable Housing (CAHF) numbers indicated that 42.1% of Ghanaians own their dwelling unit while 29.7% live rent-free. Again, most Ghanaians prefer to build and own their houses incrementally.
The Accra Resilience Strategy report (2019), under “The 100 Resilient Cities”, pioneered by The Rockefeller Foundation, examined the housing deficit in Ghana. The report revealed a housing deficit of 300,000 housing units in Accra. Despite a boom in construction, privatization, and redevelopment of state-owned land of about 300 acres (about 120 hectares) from the 1990s, Accra is still struggling with a housing shortage.
There are two housing systems in Ghana (the formal and informal). The informal housing sector comprises individuals using their hard-earned money to build their properties. It is predominant in Ghana due to the financial constraints in building a house. For the informal sector, they focus on piecemeal development and incremental development. The most popular projects that emanate from the informal housing sector are the single room self-contained and chamber and hall type of residential properties.
The formal sector includes government, GREDA, and other real estate developers who build on the ticket of social housing or for profit.
Ghana Real Estate Developers Association( GREDA) has helped address the housing deficit. Since the inception of GREDA in October 1988, thousands of housing units were built in the urban and suburban areas in Accra and Kumasi.
The government initiatives through innovative policy reforms, partnerships, and tax incentives create a conducive environment to solving the housing deficit in the country.
In 2020, the president commissioned 204 affordable housing units. The project situated in Tema, a pilot initiative of the National Mortgage and Housing Finance (NMHF), comprises one and two standard and expandable unit bedrooms for public sector workers.
In 2019, the government in partnership with the UN Office for Project Services (UNOPS), announced the construction of 100,000 affordable housing units. The projected was estimated to cost around $5 billion. The government under the agreement will provide the land, and UNOPS will take care of the remaining resources(logistics) needed for the project.
The $200m Saglemi Affordable Housing development in Prampram is expected to add 5000 housing units to the housing stock.
The abolishment of the 5% value-added tax on sales in the real estate market helped the real estate professionals in the industry.
These are some of the initiatives the government is engineering to help tackle the housing deficit in Ghana.
Ghana Investment Promotion Centre (hereafter, GIPC) in 2019 has established the residential real estate market to be the most dominated and patronized with over 85,000 transactions yearly valuing around US$1.7billion for the past decade. The commercial property market is the second-largest, and the least is the industrial market.
Northcourt’s Ghana Real Estate Market Report 2021 emphasized the concentration of developers operating in the mid to high-end segment in the real estate market. The expansion in the mid and high segments of the residential real estate sector was due to foreign investors looking for profitable opportunities in the real estate market. They include Grit, a REIT, and GREA, a German corporate finance and investment management firm. In addition, non-resident Ghanaians have been instrumental in expanding the residential real estate market.
With a pandemic-ridden economy, the real estate industry is undergoing a recovery phase. 2021 – H1 Ghana Property Market Snapshot by Broll Ghana stressed how sales transactions declined drastically in the real estate market because potential investors held onto their funds due to the financial crisis and general uncertainties.
However, the real estate industry has experienced a new dimension of growth where innovation and technology have been cardinal. That is not to say some sectors like the commercial and residential haven’t suffered. These sectors have had their fair share of challenges and are marching towards recovery. We have seen the industrial sector of the real estate industry grow, particularly demand for warehouses, distribution centers, and data centers.
How Eden Heights is Addressing the Housing Gap
Eden Heights boasts of a fully serviced luxurious project situated in West Accra, Ghana. The gated community pioneered by West Hills Ridge Limited and its partners has over 1,200 houses with different property types at an affordable price. The master-planned gated community is 7 minutes from West Hills and 35 minutes drive away from Tetteh Quashie, Accra.
The elegant gated development comes with different residential property types, such as penthouses and 2- and-3-bedroom apartments. These apartments can be customized to suit the demand of homebuyers. The master-planned project is distinguished from other gated communities with magnificent amenities and recreational facilities such as a gym, ultra-modern sports centers, shopping centers, swimming pool, on-site management, serene environment, ample parking space, and many others.
Lastly, Eden Heights have a top-notch facility management team that ensures the proper functioning of the community. Some of their services include security services(24hrs), janitorial services, equipment management, and waste management.
The team also deplore the best practices and methods to create the perfect environment.
Reasons You Should Invest in Real Estate
The real estate market is promising and lucrative. There are several approaches to being part of the industry. One can dabble in the real estate industry through direct or indirect ownership. Direct ownership gets the buyer involved in the daily operations and management of the property. The indirect ownership approach leverages professionals for the daily operations and management of the property.
In Ghana, there is an imminent introduction of publicly traded real estate investment trusts (REITs). “REIT” means a real estate investment trust company that is incorporated as a public company under the Companies Act 1963 (Act 179). The company is mandated to invest in real estate that generates recurrent income (rental and interest) from operating, owning, or financing income-producing real estate and real estate-related investments.
The capital markets regulator, the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), has taken the initiative by publishing a draft guideline on amendments to regulations in 2018 that will enable the introduction of listed REITs on the Ghana Stock market. The avenue will help other investors to invest in REITs soon.
Depending on the two approaches in investing in real estate, it offers enormous benefits for the owners. These include;
- Real Estate appreciates in Value
Real estate appreciates based on property improvements and property location. It applies to residential, commercial, and industrial real estate properties. For instance, acquiring a residential property in Eden Heights commands value appreciation due to its well-developed neighborhood and perfect location.
- Real Estate is a source of income (Rent or cash-flows)
Rents and cash-flows are generated by owners from their residential and commercial property. These agreed fees can be adjusted through demand and increased through inflation. Usually, property owners take out their cost of operation and retain the remaining as income. Property owners who aim at a constant cash flow must secure a good location to get tenants easily. For instance, you can purchase any residential property and rent it out for monthly or yearly cash-flows whiles waiting for it to appreciate before you sell it off. In some cases, royalties are paid to parties due to their rights to the land. For example, in Ghana, royalties are paid for discoveries or structures built on the lands.
- Real Estate is a long-term security
Real estate is considered a long-term investment and asset. Likewise, with time, real estate appreciates. Therefore, those who diverse their resources as part of their long-term strategy can resort to real estate. In most cases, real estate can be used as a retirement plan. One can earn equity from their home by holding onto it for some time. After, one can sell it off and use the profit for their retirement.
- Real Estate helps you build capital
One of the surest ways to build wealth or capital over time is to consider investing in real estate. The ability to invest wisely in the right properties allows you to boost your capital when the property is sold. Others can resort to investing in different sectors of the real estate industry. Diversification can earn one value appreciation with time.
Real Estate will always be in demand depending on the particular type of real estate under focus.
In the residential sector, the demand will depend on the location. Invariably, location directly influences the price. However, people will always need a place to live.
In the commercial real estate sector primarily focusing on hospitality, retail, and office space, the demand for real estate will be influenced by location, political stability, strong economy, demand by the professional service sector, and many others. Even though the pandemic impacted hospitality and office sectors the most, the least affected is the retail sector. These sectors are still recovering and gaining back their feet in the real estate industry.
According to Northcourt’s Ghana Real Estate Market Report 2021, the industrial sector of real estate is driven by the cocoa and oil industries. Over the years, this sector growth was affected by poor logistic and warehousing infrastructure. The industrial hub in Ghana is located in Tema, Accra, Tarkodi, and Kumasi. Tema industrial area is large and developed compared to the rest. Some industrial parks include the Free Zone Enclave, Dawa Industrial Park, and Appolonia City.
Despite the industrial real estate sector challenges in terms of growth and development, the government is accelerating the development of efficient infrastructures management systems, digitization of procedures to aid transactions and keep proper records. Government policy pioneering the construction of a factory in every district can contribute immensely to the industrial sector in some years to come.
The real estate industry is driven and determined by many factors. However, a holistic approach in understanding the fundamental determinants is crucial in making an informed decision.