The President of the Ghana Real Estates Developer Association (GREDA), Mr. Patrick Ebo Bonful has revealed the plight of the real estate industry in Ghana and the extent of damage it has had on agents within the sector.
According to him, the real estate industry has been woefully affected by the coronavirus pandemic as most buyers have had to review their plans in the midst of the uncertainty.
“Sales of houses virtually dried up and also most of our workers had to be laid off as a result of that…and then came in also the lockdown which made things even worse. So the Covid has affected us in every way that you can think of”.
As with every other industry and sector globally, the coronavirus has irredeemably cast a long shadow of pessimism, with many corporate institutions scramming for cover. Most companies have shut down and others are on the brink of closure. Real estate developers, contractors, surveyors and supplies who are housed under the association have equally been affected by the pandemic.
Mr. Bonful speaking on the matter said,
“Most of our members have struggled or have had to go see their bankers to renegotiate and a lot of them are currently operating below thirty percent capacity just to see ourselves through. They’ve all been hit very hard… as you can imagine we the developers engage agents, surveyors, the contractors and sub-contractors in carrying out our objectives, so they’ve all been impacted and quite frankly we all hope things will get better quickly and can go back to normal as soon as possible.”
The pervading problem and challenges posed by the pandemic does impact little on the groundwork and productivity inherent in real estates as it largely involves physical activities of individuals such as contractors, surveyors etc. who are readily available. “Nothing has change, the pandemic hasn’t changed it, if we need to start the construction of houses the same thing will be done… it’s a pandemic and it has just brought our work to a standstill.”
Undoubtedly, the pandemic has forced most enterprises to re-strategize and innovate to stay at par with the “new normal”. In Speaking to Vaultz News, Mr. Banful highlighted certain key solutions stakeholders and agents alike are implementing in order to alleviate the plight of those affected and also how they are adapting to these changes. He said,
“Individually, I know most of our developers have reengaged their financiers and reengaged their prospective buyers and all, keeping them updated and relying more on social media to keep them informed on updates…with houses on the market… and we will deepen the social media marketing and sales efforts.”
“For instance, if somebody wants to buy a house, you have to use social media to send them a view of the property or of the location. If it’s a land, you have to send them a Google view of them, and then they can view it online and be able to see real-time view of the plots of land, houses or the estates. So that’s how we are adapting to the new normal so far,” he added.
Government has pitched in to bolster the economy by providing some rebates and stimulus packages to businesses to ameliorate their predicament and avert their closure, but the real estate industry is however yet to receive any of such. Mr. Bonful however said that due to the capital intensive nature of the sector, government’s intervention will best be appreciated by the implementation of certain policies.
“For any government to want to think that it can shore it up with stimulus then you are looking at billions, so the proposals we have sent, it will not put a burden on government’s balance sheet… at the end of the day if that is done, it will turn out to be a stimulus. It will be in the form of repackaging policies or introducing new policies that will create the environment and we as entrepreneurs we know how to make things work once the environment is created”.