Business News of Saturday, 2 January 2016
Source: Daily Guide
Real estate developers in Ghana have joined hands with professionals to sanitize the real estate industry in order to spur growth and adherence to international standards.
This came to light when the newly created Ghana Real Estate Professionals Association (GREPA) organised a cocktail meeting to interact with members and associates and also brainstorm on how to strengthen the real estate industry in Ghana.
GREPA is made up of real estate agents, marketers, lawyers and other associates.
The association recently signed a bilateral agreement with National Association of Realtors (NAR) Illinois, USA.
Addressing the meeting, Sammy Amegayibor, the Secretary to the Executive Council of the Ghana Real Estate Developers Association (GREDA), noted that collaboration between GREDA and GREPA would revolutionize the real estate industry which is currently experiencing a decline.
Mr. Amegayibor, who is also the acting as the Executive Director of GREDA, said although statistics were not readily available, the indicators showed a drastic decline in the sector.
He said the high interest rates, currency inflation and depreciation of cedi against major currencies, coupled with an additional five percent Value Added Tax (VAT) on cost of houses, have increased operational cost.
This increase in cost has led to the reduction of the number of people who qualify for mortgages and reduced the purchasing power of prospective buyers.
To this end, developers are unable to service loans used to build homes.
“For this reason production has also reduced. I can confidently say that the industry has seen a decline. Don’t be deceived by the skyscrapers coming up because it is for a small section of the populace,” he added.
Mr. Amegayibor was optimistic GREDA and GREPA could collaborate to push government to take the right steps to improve the housing sector in the country. Lawyer Kofi Asmah cautioned real estate agents against taking commissions from both property owners and buyers.
“It is unethical and show of dishonesty and conflict of interest,” he stressed.
He also advised realtors to always ensure some form of written agreements in all transaction since “all real estate transaction is a legal activity.”
He said the penchant of using informal agreements to avoid extra costs from lawyers, bureaucracy and complications is a disincentive for the industry.
The First Vice Chairman of GREPA, Herbert Lawson assured the general public and investor community of adherence to professional standards to build public and investor confidence.
He said GREPA would collaborate with GREDA, government and all stakeholders to ensure a conducive business environment.