By Cecil Mensah
As part of the of the initiatives to develop a product that, will help Ghanaians have a tailor made solution to the challenges of home ownership, the management of Africa Support Network (ASN) Financial services Limited, has launched the Home Investment Fund (HIF) to assist every Ghanaian in the purchase of homes.
The HIF product is to assist Ghanaians do away with the problems of land litigation, family land disputes, the menace of landguards and the cumbersome process of land acquisition and its documentation which has made home ownership difficult over the years.
Speaking at the launch of HIF at the Greenfields site of ASN Construction Limited, a subsidiary of ASN Holdings Company in the Kpone Katamanso municipality of the Greater Accra region, Mr Prince Sarpong, the Group Chief Executive Officer of the company, said Ghana has a social housing problem and a deficit of about 1.7 million housing units.
According to him, this figure is projected to exist for ten years; spanning 2010 to 2020, the deficit is projected to increase after the period stated above, since the population is growing at a rate of 2.1 percent per annum as stated by the Ghana Statistical Service report of 2013.
He said the government’s inability to provide houses to commensurate with the growing population requires Public Partnership to help address the housing needs of the citizens.
With this looming crisis in the housing sector, ASN has set out to build one million houses within a ten -year period with 600 units already built at Adenta and Oyibi all suburbs in Accra.
“Our vision of one million houses in a ten -year period is to make homeownership a possibility through the Home Investment Fund which is an easy and affordable homeownership product”, he said
He added HIF offers potential homeowners the opportunity and privilege to make periodic investments over a period of one to five years towards the attainment of a minimum of 20 percent of the price of a building, while ASN Financial Services completes the payment process with an affordable mortgage facility.
He said the mortgage facility of the ASN is arguably the most affordable on the market at a rate between 15 to 20 percent per annum.
Our target markets are individuals, workers in private and public institutions as well as associations as the company is duly licensed by the Bank of Ghana.
He explained the ongoing Greenfields project has over two hundred semi-detached, two bedroom houses; two hundred detached three- bedroom affordable houses at different stages of completion are a testimony of the company’s effort to make homeownership a reality for all.
Throwing more light on the HIF, Mr Johannes Okutu, Managing Director of ASN Financial Services, said the terms “affordable homes, home financing and mortgage ’’ have become refrains that are usually sung to bait unsuspecting potential homeowners.
According to him, theses terms have become clichés with no smidgen of the true meaning of the word “affordability” and the capability of the homeowners to see through the period of the mortgage term is also a major problem in the sector.
The contract provided by some of these companies can at best be described as an act of extortion which results in most of these homeowners finally losing their buildings as a result of high interest rate.
He announced that the challenges of buying homes with a lump sum of money or part payment ,unfavourable interest rates and Dollar mortgages are about to end with the introduction of HIF.
He revealed that HIF offers potential homeowners the opportunity and the privilege of time to make a monthly contribution over a period of one to five years towards the attainment of 20 percent of the cost of building.