Buying real estate in Ghana as a foreigner?

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Buying property in Ghana as a foreigner: a full guide

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buying property foreigner Ghana

Everything you need to know is included in our Ghana Property Pack

Ghana, with its lush natural beauty, rich cultural traditions, and hospitable people, draws in many foreign investors looking for real estate investment opportunities.

However, it can be difficult to navigate the complexities of buying property in a foreign country, particularly when it comes to the legal framework and regulations.

That's why this guide is here to help! We'll explain how the property market works in Ghana in an accessible and straightforward manner, covering all the information you need to know.

Also, for a more in-depth analysis, you can check our property pack for Ghana.

Can you purchase and own a property in Ghana as a foreigner?

When it comes to buying real estate in Ghana, foreigners do have certain opportunities but also face some restrictions, especially concerning land ownership.

It's important to understand these nuances if you're considering such an investment.

Firstly, as a foreigner, you can indeed buy property in Ghana, but land ownership is a bit more complex. In Ghana, there are different types of land, including government-owned, customary/stool land, and private land.

As a foreigner, you're primarily allowed to lease land for a period, typically up to 50 years for non-Ghanaians. This lease can be renewed upon expiration, but outright ownership of the land is generally not possible for foreigners.

The rights of foreigners in terms of real estate are somewhat different from those of the locals. Ghanaians can own land outright and have more flexibility in terms of the duration of land leases, which can be up to 99 years.

So, while you can own the property (like a house or a building) on the leased land, the land itself will not be yours permanently.

There aren't specific rules that vary according to the country you're from. The regulations for foreign land ownership in Ghana are generally uniform regardless of your nationality.

However, it's always wise to check for any bilateral agreements between Ghana and your home country that might offer certain exceptions or privileges.

Regarding residency, you don't need to be a resident of Ghana to purchase property there. Many foreigners buy real estate in Ghana while living abroad.

However, having a local contact or representative can be very helpful in navigating the process and dealing with legal and administrative tasks.

In terms of visas and permits, buying property in Ghana doesn't typically require a specific visa or permit. Owning property can be beneficial if you decide to apply for residency or a longer-term visa in the future, as it demonstrates your commitment to staying in the country.

You don't usually need a specific authorization from a governmental institution to purchase property, but it's crucial to ensure that all the paperwork and legal processes are correctly handled.

This includes ensuring that the seller has the rightful ownership of the property and that all the necessary land checks have been done.

There's no standardized minimum investment required for foreigners to buy real estate in Ghana. The investment will depend on the property's location, size, and type.

Prices in urban areas, especially in cities like Accra, can be quite high compared to rural areas.

Can you become a resident in Ghana by buying and owning a property?

Ghana does not have a specific investment or real estate purchase program that directly leads to residency or citizenship.

Unlike some other countries that offer "golden visas" or similar residency-by-investment programs, Ghana's approach to residency and citizenship is more traditional and does not directly tie these statuses to property investment.

However, owning property in Ghana can be a part of your overall profile if you're applying for residency. Owning property demonstrates your commitment to the country and can be a positive factor in your application. But it's important to understand that it's just one part of a broader set of criteria.

For residency, typically, you would need to go through the standard immigration procedures. This usually involves having a valid reason for staying in the country, such as employment, family ties, or long-term business activities. You would need to provide various documents, including proof of financial stability, a clean criminal record, and possibly a medical check-up, among other requirements.

The process can be detailed and might require the assistance of a legal professional, especially to navigate the specifics of Ghanaian immigration law.

The length of the residency granted can vary. It could be temporary, renewable every few years, or lead to permanent residency if you meet certain criteria over time.

The path from residency to citizenship in Ghana is typically a separate process and would require you to live in the country for a significant period, usually several years, and meet other legal and cultural integration requirements.

As for how many people have used property ownership as a stepping stone towards residency, there's no specific statistic I can provide. It's not a formal scheme, so such data wouldn't be readily available or tracked in the same way as a structured investment residency program.

Regarding the minimum investment, since there's no direct investment for residency programs, there's no set amount of money you'd need to invest in property to qualify.

The value of your investment in real estate would be more about demonstrating your ties and commitment to Ghana rather than meeting a specific financial threshold.

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buying property foreigner Ghana

Market data

You can find fresh and updated data in our pack of documents related to the real estate market in Ghana.

By examining the the the GDP per capita indicator, we can see that Ghanaian people have become 7.4% richer over the last 5 years.

As people's wealth grows, the demand for real estate could rise, resulting in potential price increases down the road.

Looking at the data reported by Numbeo, we can see that residential properties in Ghana offer yields between 19.3% and 22.0%.

These exceptional rental yields indicate a strong demand for rental properties, suggesting a stable and thriving rental market for foreign investors.

To know more, you can also read our dedicated article: is it a good time to buy a property in Ghana?

Daily life of an expat

Life as an expat in Ghana can be quite good depending on what you're looking for.

Ghana is a very diverse and vibrant country with a wide range of experiences available for expats. The people are friendly and welcoming, the food is delicious, and the cost of living is relatively low. Ghana also offers a great opportunity to experience the culture and explore the history of the country.

The climate in Ghana is generally warm and sunny, and the country is home to some of the most stunning beaches in the world. The country also has a wide range of activities to enjoy, from hiking and mountain biking to exploring the wildlife and national parks. Expats in Ghana can also enjoy a variety of sports, from football to basketball.

The healthcare system in Ghana is also good, and expats will find that the healthcare providers are knowledgeable and experienced. The education system is also good, and expats will find plenty of opportunities to learn and grow.

Overall, life as an expat in Ghana can be a very rewarding experience. The country offers a great opportunity to experience the culture and explore the history, while also providing a wide range of activities and experiences to enjoy. With its friendly people, delicious food, and low cost of living, Ghana is an excellent choice for expats looking for an exciting new home.

What are the best places to purchase a property in Ghana?

This table summarizes some of the best places to buy a property in Ghana.

City / Region Population Average Price per sqm (GHS) Strengths
Accra ≈ 2.3 million 6,000 - 12,000 Capital city, economic center, vibrant marketplaces, cultural diversity
Kumasi ≈ 2 million 4,000 - 8,000 Cultural capital, historic sites, Ashanti traditions, educational institutions
Takoradi ≈ 350,000 4,000 - 8,000 Oil and gas industry, seaport, beachfront location
Sekondi-Takoradi ≈ 500,000 4,000 - 8,000 Twin city to Takoradi, economic and industrial hub, maritime activities
Tamale ≈ 360,000 3,000 - 6,000 Northern regional capital, cultural diversity, bustling markets
Ho ≈ 180,000 3,000 - 6,000 Regional capital, scenic landscapes, traditional festivals
Cape Coast ≈ 170,000 3,000 - 6,000 Historical sites, coastal beauty, cultural heritage

Do you need a lawyer to buy a property in Ghana?

When purchasing a property in Ghana, engaging a local lawyer can be essential to navigate the legal requirements and ensure a successful transaction.

One important document they can assist with is the Sale and Purchase Agreement, a legally binding contract between the buyer and seller that outlines the terms and conditions of the sale.

The Ghanaian lawyer can also help with conducting a Property Title Search to verify the property's ownership status and identify any potential legal issues or encumbrances.

Furthermore, they can guide you through the process of obtaining necessary permits and approvals, such as approval from the local Lands Commission or relevant authorities.

They will ensure that all applicable taxes and fees, such as the Property Transfer Tax and Stamp Duty, are paid correctly and in compliance with Ghanaian laws and regulations.

What are the risks when buying real estate in Ghana?

We've got an article dedicated to the risks associated with purchasing property in Ghana.

When buying a property in Ghana, there are some risks that are not common in other countries.

One of these risks is the possibility of being scammed. Ghana has a high rate of fraud and scams, so buyers should take extra caution when dealing with property purchases.

Another risk is that of title disputes. Title disputes can arise when a property is sold without the proper documentation or when the title is not properly transferred. This can lead to costly legal battles and could result in the buyer losing their investment.

A third risk is the possibility of buying a property that is subject to government seizure. The government of Ghana can seize property for unpaid taxes or other reasons, so buyers should be aware of this risk before investing.

Finally, there is the risk of environmental contamination. Ghana has a number of environmental issues, including water and air pollution. Buyers should research the environmental conditions of the area before investing in a property.

real estate Ghana

Everything you need to know is included in our Ghana Property Pack

What are the documents needed for a real estate transaction in Ghana?

When buying a property in Ghana, the following documents are typically required:

1. Title Deed – This is a document that grants ownership of the property and is issued by the Lands Commission.

2. Survey Plan – This is a map of the property showing its boundaries.

3. Certificate of Occupancy – This is a document which grants the owner of the property the right to occupy it.

4. Building Permit – This is a document which grants the owner of the property the right to build on the property.

5. Power of Attorney – This is a document which gives another person the authority to act on behalf of the buyer in the transaction.

6. Purchase Agreement – This is a document which outlines the terms of the sale.

7. Property Tax Receipt – This is a document which shows that the property taxes have been paid.

8. Value Added Tax Receipt – This is a document which shows that the value-added tax has been paid.

We review each of these documents and tell you how to use them in our property pack for Ghana.

What strategies should you employ for successful negotiations with Ghanaians?

Here are some recommendations for negotiating effectively with locals when buying property in Ghana:

  • Understand the concept of "time": Ghanaians typically have a more relaxed attitude towards time. Be patient and avoid rushing negotiations or expecting prompt responses.

  • Embrace greetings: Greetings are highly valued in Ghanaian culture. Begin each meeting with a warm handshake and a polite greeting. Learn a few local greetings like "Akwaaba" (Welcome) to make a positive impression.

  • Respect hierarchical relationships: Ghanaian society places importance on respect for authority and age. Show deference to elders and individuals in positions of influence. Use appropriate titles when addressing people.

  • Establish personal connections: Building rapport and trust is crucial. Spend time getting to know the person you are negotiating with and engage in small talk before delving into business matters.

  • Show interest in local culture: Demonstrate genuine curiosity about Ghanaian culture, traditions, and history. This will help foster a positive relationship and create a more conducive negotiation environment.

  • Be mindful of non-verbal communication: Non-verbal cues, such as maintaining eye contact and nodding, are essential for effective communication in Ghana. Displaying attentiveness and active listening will enhance your negotiation efforts.

  • Negotiate with patience: Ghanaian negotiations often involve multiple rounds and a slower pace. Avoid rushing or applying aggressive tactics. Maintain a respectful and patient approach throughout the process.

  • Consider the concept of "sankofa": Sankofa represents learning from the past to inform the present and future. Understand the historical context of the property and its significance to the community, as it may impact negotiations.

  • Offer hospitality: Inviting your negotiation counterpart for a meal or engaging in social activities can help strengthen relationships and create a more favorable negotiation atmosphere.

  • Seek local guidance: Consider hiring a local intermediary or consultant who understands the cultural nuances and can provide valuable insights during the negotiation process.

Can foreigners obtain a bank loan in Ghana?

In theory, foreigners are generally allowed to obtain property loans in Ghana, subject to certain conditions and requirements, although it remains a less common practice.

Getting a property loan in Ghana as a foreigner may have different conditions and requirements. Generally, you'll need a valid residence permit, along with important documents like proof of income and identity. Additionally, you'll need to meet the criteria set by the lending institutions in the country.

Foreigners might try their chance for mortgages with banks such as Standard Chartered Bank Ghana, Ecobank Ghana, and Barclays Bank Ghana in Ghana.

It's important to note that mortgage rates in Ghana for a 20-year term range from 22% to 26%, posing significant challenges for borrowers to access funds. Foreigners should consider exploring alternative financing options.

What are the taxes related to a property transaction in Ghana?

Here is a breakdown of taxes related to a property transaction in Ghana.

Tax Description Calculation Who pays
Value Added Tax (VAT) Tax on commercial real estate buildings such as hostels, motels and hotels 5% of the sale price determined by the parties or the real property value, whichever is higher Seller
Capital Gains Tax Tax on the profit from the sale of the property 15% on the net capital gain (the difference between sale price and acquisition cost) Seller
Rental Income Tax Tax on rental income generated from the property 8% of rental value for residential properties and 15% for non-residential properties Owner
Property Tax Annual tax on the property's value Between 0.5% and 3% of the property’s assessed value, depending on the area of the property Owner
Property Transfer Tax A tax levied on the transfer of property or real estate transactions Usually from 5% to 10% of the property value or sale price Buyer
Stamp Duty A tax imposed on property transfers and other legal documents Between 0.25% to 1% of the property's value Buyer

For a deeper dive into the calculation, refer to:
- the Eden Heights's website
- the Ghana Revenue Authority's website
- the Ghana Revenue Authority's website

What fees are involved in a property transaction in Ghana?

Below is a simple breakdown of fees for a property transaction in Ghana.

Fee Description Calculation Who pays
Land Registration Fee Fee paid to register the land title and ownership with the Land Registry Between 0.25% and 5% depending on the land price Buyer
Legal Fees Fees paid to a lawyer or solicitor for legal representation and documentation related to the property transfer Varies between GHS 2,000 and GHS 5,000 Buyer
Real Estate Agent Commission Fees paid to the real estate agent for their services in facilitating the property sale Ranging from 5% to 10% of the property's market value or purchase price Seller or Buyer

Buying real estate in Ghana can be risky

An increasing number of foreign investors are showing interest in Ghana. However, 90% of them will make mistakes. Avoid the pitfalls with our comprehensive guide.

buying property foreigner Ghana