Real estate sector gets major overhaul


By Joshua Worlasi AMLANU

The real estate industry is undergoing a significant transformation with the establishment of the Real Estate Agency Council.

The council, which commenced operations with the opening of its headquarters in Accra, aims to bring much-needed order, stability and professionalism to the sector.

Speaking at the inauguration ceremony, the Minister for Works and Housing, Kojo Oppong Nkrumah, stressed the vital role the real estate sector plays in driving economic development and improving living standards in the country. He acknowledged the challenges faced by stakeholders, including developers not delivering on promises and disputes over payments.

“Too many of our citizens are being subjected to pain and disappointment by developers who do not deliver what they promise, even years after taking your money,” Mr. Nkrumah said. “Too many of our business people are struggling with clients who are taking possession of properties on the one hand, and are playing games when it is time to making payment.”

The minister emphasised that a properly functioning real estate market is crucial for closing Ghana’s housing gap within the next decade and boosting the mortgage industry. “The commencement of operations of this organisation is key in our quest to reduce Ghana’s housing deficit,” he stated.

Mr. Nkrumah urged the council members and staff to maintain their focus and deliver excellence, assuring them that Ghanaians will notice and be proud of their efforts.

The Chief of Staff, Akosua Frema Osei-Opare, highlighted the significance of the real estate industry for living, investment, development and economic growth. However, she acknowledged the challenges stemming from the lack of regulation and the absence of professional standards, which have contributed to issues such as uncontrolled pricing, fraud and high-risk transactions.

“Recognising the need for comprehensive reforms, the government embarked on a journey to reshape the real estate landscape, guided by the principles of transparency, accountability and professionalism,” Ms. Osei-Opare said.

The Real Estate Agency Act 2020 (Act 1047) led to the establishment of the council, which will provide oversight and regulation, instilling confidence in investors, homeowners and other market participants.

One of the council’s primary responsibilities is licensing various professionals within the industry, including brokers, agents, developers, property and facilities managers, and real estate marketers. Additionally, it will issue transaction certificates for every real estate transaction requiring registration with the Lands Commission.

The government’s digitisation agenda will streamline the council’s processes through a cloud-based licensing and regulation system, expediting the licensing process and reducing delays.

Ms. Osei-Opare emphasised the importance of comprehensive market data, which the system will collect, serving as the foundation for informed decision-making and empowering Ghanaians with real estate information.

“The transaction database will capture vital information that can provide customers with invaluable insights into the market trends, rising dynamics and property values,” she said. “It will also facilitate better regulation and oversight, ultimately promoting market stability and efficiency.”

The availability of robust market data is expected to stimulate innovation, drive growth within the real estate industry, and enable developers to identify emerging trends and tailor their projects accordingly. Policy-makers can also craft informed regulations and interventions to address market inefficiencies and promote sustainable development.

The Real Estate Agency Council is intended to serve as a means through which the government drives economic development and growth in Ghana, especially in the real estate sector. Both Mr. Nkrumah and Ms. Osei-Opare expressed the government’s unwavering support for the council’s mandate and the transformation of the real estate landscape.

With the council’s oversight, the industry is poised to overcome challenges and seize opportunities for growth and innovation, fostering transparency, accountability and professionalism in the sector.

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