Housing affordability in Kumasi: “Towards improving housing delivery in the city”

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MAY, 2015
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Housing has come to be accepted on various platforms as one of the most essential elements in our lives. The need to provide adequate, decent and affordable housing has remained a top priority of every government. The problems related to housing are overwhelming and appears in all manner of complex descriptions. This problem is further heightened in the urban settings due to rapid urbanization. One critical element that cannot be overlooked is the issue of providing affordable housing to urban residents. Providing affordable housing to urban residents has become an obscure charge to many developing economies. There appears to be a misfit between what the prevailing urban housing market is offering and how much urban residents in can afford to pay for housing. In the light of this, the study set out to interrogate the prevailing housing affordability situation of Kumasi residents; to give a housing affordability measurement that gives a true reflection of the existing situation. Kumasi was selected for this study because it has such characteristics that easily reflect the urban housing situations of most cities in Ghana. The Cross-sectional research design was adopted for the study, since it offers the opportunity for several cases to be studied. Hence, allowing for the selection of households across the different socioeconomic and distinct housing areas in Kumasi. The data for this study was obtained from 155 households, sampled from four study areas (Abrepo-Kese, Ahodwo, Chirapatre Estate and Yennyawso), chosen from each of the four housing areas in Kumasi. It employed the use of household surveys, interviews and the review of documentations and reports. The findings from the study revealed that housing is not affordable in Kumasi due to the low levels of household incomes. The study also observed vast disparity between median monthly household incomes of the different socioeconomic groups in the city (GH₵ Abrepo – 475; GH₵ Ahodwo – 2,000). The study revealed that the extent of housing unaffordability burden is different across the various socio-economic groupings in the city; as a result various households are facing different levels of housing induced poverty. For instance, an average renter household will require an additional GH₵ 147.00 to be able to meet it monthly non-housing related needs after paying for it monthly expenditure on housing (which is GH₵ 120.00). Findings suggest that rental housing is unaffordable due to iv the high cost involved in the payments of basic facilities and services, especially in low income areas. The housing affordability indices showed that, at the prevailing incomes of households, homeownership is unaffordable and unattainable for most households in Kumasi. Consequently, some households will not be able to acquire their own house in their lifetime. In response to the major issues identified in the analyses, the study makes four recommendations tied to each of key findings to resolve the housing affordability situation and improve housing delivery in the city. First, there is the need to pursue strategies to resolve the supply deficient housing delivery system through an ardent pursuance of rental housing in Kumasi. Second, there is the need to improve the existing housing stock as an urgent response to housing deprivations in the city through effective urban upgrading and regeneration schemes. Third, there is the need for the government to encourage an allinclusive housing market. Fourth, there is the need for the government to design housing strategies which are group specific and have socio-economic relevance. Going forward, it has become imperative for the localization of housing interventions, and essential for housing policy to be tied to the overall framework of economic.
A Thesis submitted to the Department of Planning, Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology, Kumasi in partial Fulfilment of the requirements for the degree of Master of Philosophy (MPhil) in Planning