A recent survey conducted by Jumia House Ghana and Hacking Adulthood has revealed that 91 percent of Ghanaians are not property owners – either renting accommodation or living with their nuclear family.

The survey, which was conducted online, had a sample size of over 200 respondents with 89 percent seeking to change their current housing situation. The majority, forming 64 percent, are looking to own their own apartments and are willing to spend an average amount of GHc 826 per month, describing that amount as affordable.

According to the survey, the lowest amount respondents are willing to spend on a property per month is GHS 50 and the highest is GHS 10,000, proving the term affordability is relative.

In the United States, for instance, a property can be defined as affordable when 30 per cent or less of a household’s income is spent on housing. Ghana’s housing deficit as of July 2013 was estimated to be about 1.7 million houses, according to the Ministry of Water Resources, Works and Housing.

The 2010 Housing Census also indicates that almost a third of Ghanaians do not own a dwelling or pay rent of any kind. To meet this demand, there needs to be the construction of about 100,000 units annually but that is not being met as only about 40,000 housing units currently are being delivered per annum by the combined resources of the Ghana Real Estate Developers Association (GREDA).

Reasons for housing deficit Jumia noted that a major reason for the housing deficit is the country’s inability to provide enough affordable housing to meet the needs of the middle class even though certain institutions in the past like the Home Finance Company (HFC Bank) and the Social Security and National Insurance Trust (SSNIT) attempted to provide affordable housing. Defining affordable housing has been one issue several governments, both past and present, have to grapple with and clearly defining affordable housing is one way of solving this issue.

This survey forms one of Jumia House’s core mandates to research and provide adequate information on the housing sector in Ghana.

Reacting to the results of the survey, the Managing Director of Jumia House Ghana, Akua Nyame-Mensah said, “the survey, though not scientific or extensive provides us with a glimpse of people’s current housing situation.

It also gives us an idea of what they may want in terms of housing. We will continue to attempt to provide potential homeowners and renters an opportunity to describe their needs. Understanding demand will enable us to all make better decisions related to what should be built and how to define affordability.”