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Business News Wed, 19 Sep 2007

Housing companies asked to make houses affordable

Accra, Sept 19, GNA- Mrs. Stephanie Baeta-Ansah, Former Managing Director, Home Finance Company (HFC), on Wednesday cautioned housing finance companies against pegging prices of their houses beyond the reach of majority of the people.

She said until majority of Ghanaians were able to own houses it was unrealistic for such companies to put up luxurious buildings that could only be afforded by the rich few in society.

Mrs. Baeta-Ansah was speaking at the 2007 Annual General Meeting (AGM) and Conference of the African Union for Housing Finance (AUHF), in Accra.

He told the participants that the cost of houses put up by the companies in recent times was out of the reach of the majority of people.

Mrs. Baeta-Ansah said "Moreover the building space in Accra was choked and there is the need for people to focus outside the city in building their homes."

She told members of the association that they were far from solving the housing problem in Ghana, hence the need to find solutions that would help people of the lower income group also own homes. "When HFC started in 1990 the focus was to help the majority of Ghanaians own houses through mortgage financing due to the low income of majority of workers and it is my prayer that this would be achieved soon," Mrs. Baeta-Ansah said.

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She advised Ghanaians to cultivate the habit of savings, 'through whatever form, be it land or other properties" so that it could be used later to finance homes.

The AUHF, an association of 27 mortgage banks, building societies, housing corporations and other organisations involved in the mobilisation of funds for shelter and housing in 15 African countries, honoured Mrs. Baeta-Ansah her for her pioneering role n housing finance in Ghana.

Mr. Van Lare Dosoo, Deputy Governor, Bank of Ghana called for specialized innovative schemes that would enable people in low-income category to also have access to house.

He said banks alone through the primary mortgage market could not meet the huge demand for houses.

Mr Dosoo called for the development of deep secondary mortgage markets as well a capital markets to facilitate long term savings towards the financing of long-term investments such as in housing. The Central Bank, he said, remained committed to widespread financial sector reforms aimed at deepening the financial system, removing deficiencies, improving the monetary policy operations framework to ensure stable exchange rates, low interest rates, and low inflation as well a promoting competitiveness.

About 150 delegates and resource persons from about 15 countries in Africa and five outside the continent were attending the Conference, on the theme: "The Future of Sustainable Housing Finance System towards Affordable Housing and Infrastructure." The HFC Bank and International Finance Corporation (IFC) among other collaborators were sponsoring the one-week programme, which had its first three days being used for training. 19 Sept 07

Source: GNA
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