February 1, 2022
Affor­dable hou­sing. Not so low price
Housing solutions are not adequately addressing the low-income market
Featured image for "Affor­dable hou­sing. Not so low price"
February 1, 2022

Affor­dable hou­sing. Not so low price


Housing solutions are not adequately addressing the low-income market




Featured image for "Affor­dable hou­sing. Not so low price"

Status of affordable housing in Ghana. A significant share of Ghanaian households are living in crowded spaces

At first sight, household incomes have increased from GHS 2,502 to GHS 7,300 from 2006 to 2013 – a 290% increase over the period. Further more, average annual household cash expenditure on housing is less than the general affordability threshold of 30%, although it has grown from 9.5% in 2005 / 2006, to 11.3% in 2012 / 2013. 

The situation is, however, significantly different considering the size of households, since households who cannot afford extra space to meet the 2 persons per room occupancy requirement, crowd themselves in the limited available space.

  • Nearly 50% of all households occupy single rooms. 
  • Another 27% occupy two rooms. With an average household size of 4 persons, we see a significant and concerning level of overcrowding.
  • Approximately 20% of all households of 5 or more persons occupy single rooms.
  • In 2012 / 2013, 27% of households in urban areas were in rent-free arrangements.

In other words, many new household formations cannot afford their own shelter but have to continue to share living arrangements with family members. Within the Greater Accra Metropolitan Area in particular, streetism and homelessness is widespread. This poses both life quality, health and privacy concerns.

Finally, housing quality is observably, generally poor across the country. In rural areas, housing is commonly built with mud or organic materials, which are thermally suitable for the high tropical temperatures but cannot withstand the vagaries of weather. 

An estimated 20% of houses in rural areas are of low quality – and in urban areas, a significant share of the population lives in slums with limited access to basic services. In general, about 38% of Ghanaian households live in such conditions.

Housing circumstances of Ghanaian households point in the direction that not only is housing expensive but the housing delivery systems are not adequately addressing the demands of the low-income market. The need for the implementation of significant affordable homes programs is immediate.