As announced in an earlier post, I want to write on housing in Ghana. I believe it is important to my family, and likely to many more Ghanaians. And what better place to start than my own experiences.
Here is my housing career in Ghana:
I move to Ghana in April and into my mother-in-laws small house in Tema. Except for my husband (-to-be at the time) and myself, five other adults and three children and some chickens also shared a house of four small bedrooms, one toilet, one shower and kitchen.
We rent our own place, with the savings I brought from Sweden and a loan from my husbands employer, we can afford a four bedroom house (in anticipation of our wedding and the Swedish guests) that even has a small indoor pool! Without a filter, the pool is merely a big bathtub, we discover. We also discover we have a slightly different taste in home decor. In Ghana, the normal procedure is to pay a two or three year advance. We pay for two years.
The two years is up and our landlord want to switch from charging us in Ghana Cedis to US Dollars. In reality, that is a 50% increase in rent and we decide to move. I look at what feels like 100 houses with numerable agents and finally find a house after 3-4 months of looking constantly. I drive a hard bargain and get a three bedroom (minus “pool” plus bats) to a 20% increase from two years earlier. We pay for two years in Ghana Cedis.
After two years, the rent is up again. We have done some saving, checked up on mortgages and with two salaries we qualify for a loan to 13,5% (!) interest rate. We ask the landlady if the house we live in is for sale. It is not. Later, the Tema Development Cooperation values the house (in US Dollars) and it goes on the market for about twice our budget. Time to move again. This time every house both for rent and sale is on the market in US Dollars and we realize that with the budget that we have we cannot afford to stay in our neighborhood. As of now, I estimate that housing prices is up by 100% from my house searching in 2009/10.
What do we do? Where do we move? Should we continue renting or is it time to buy?
In the next parts of this blogging series I will touch on the different options for housing and their pros and cons.
Please add you comments below or on Twitter under the hashtag #GHhousing .