Ghana has a population of 24.2 million of whom just over half live in urban areas. After a long period of post independence political uncertainty, Ghana has settled down into a long period of steady growth. Its GDP per capita in 2009 was US$716, with a real GDP growth per annum of 4.7 per cent in 2010. Even while it was a “Highly Indebted Poor Country”, economic growth and inward remittances continued to rise. It is now classed as middle income. Its cities are growing rapidly; at 1.6 million and 1.2 million respectively, the cities of Accra and Kumasi are dominant, being five and four times as large as the next largest, Sekondi-Takoradi. In the latter, oil exploration and exploitation are likely to impose growth drivers which will affect housing very considerably in the near future.
Affordable formal housing is out of reach for many in Ghana. The Ghana Real Estate Developer Association (GREDA) has cited that the least expensive house, available on the periphery of Accra, costs between US$55,211 and US$67,633. Such housing is unaffordable to Ghanaians as mortgagees estimate the median Ghanaian household can afford much less, around US$14,000. Throughout urban areas, many Ghanaians live in informal, sub-standard housing that is overcrowded and lacks basic infrastructure of quality, such as water, electricity and waste management. The lack of affordable formal housing is attributed to rising land values, poor building regulations, a lack of housing finance as well as a reliance on foreign imports for the manufacturing of certain building materials, such as aluminium ingots and rolls for roofing sheet production, and clinker for cement manufacturing.