“Ghana’s demand for housing is tremendously high, some 1.7 million units are needed,” reveals Joseph Aidoo, Managing Director of real estate developer Devtraco.
With the company having spent the past 23 years developing thousands of middle income and affordable housing for Ghanaian citizens, Aidoo is following in his father’s footsteps after joining the family business on completion of his master’s degree.
The business has grown to a 500-strong workforce with assets of $70 million, making it one of the most prominent real estate operators in the country, especially in the Greater-Accra Region where it is currently working on several highly ambitious projects.
From building homes to buy and rent to providing estate management services and sales of serviced plots, close collaboration with clients has facilitated the rise of Devtraco to official Superbrand status.
City of Hope
Not only is Devtraco providing a mix of essential affordable housing and higher end properties, but also an extremely sound investment proposition. On average, Devtraco houses and apartments appreciate a massive 20 percent each year. The average annual rental yield is between eight and 10 percent, allowing investors to make a decent return within just a few years.
Its current flagship project in Greater-Accra is the City of Hope, as Aidoo explains: “This is a $120 million, 1,500 home development and we have built 1,100 since the project commenced in 2009 – we anticipate it will be completed by 2018.
“We have already built a police station, a fire station and we will also be building a 6,000 square metre mall as well as a school and recreational areas. That we are able to leave a positive legacy behind for the community is critical in order to achieve a sustainable community. You can’t have a sustainable community without these amenities so it’s important to provide facilities for our clients and homebuyers.”
Just three kilometres away from the City of Hope lies a 1,800 acre site which Devtraco is planning to transform into another residential and commercial community hub.
Many Devtraco developments sell out in almost no time, with would-be homeowners having to apply to purchase a property. Once successful, there are two financing options – either self-financing by paying in instalments during the construction process, or arrangements with mortgage providers. Devtraco has partnered with Ghana Home Loans, Home Finance Company, Fidelity Bank and Stanbic Bank to help customers find an affordable means of paying for their property.
In 2012, Devtraco attained Superbrand status in Ghana’s inaugural Superbrands Awards.
It remains the only real estate developer in Ghana to hold such a title, and sits alongside thousands of reputable household names from around the world. Superbrands was established in 1994 and is now established in 88 countries around the world, making it an important recognition for Devtraco and a valuable marketing tool.
“Being named a Super Brand means a huge amount to Devtraco,” Aidoo says. “We went about receiving it simply by serving and listening to our clients – it’s a big deal and another testament to our commitment to our clients and homebuyers.”
Aidoo also explains how establishing a reputation for excellence has aided Devtraco’s recruitment process, which has successfully brought hundreds of permanent and part time staff on board. “Because we have managed to set ourselves apart, we have found that human resource has come to us, which has helped us a lot,” he adds.
An important factor in being able to deliver cost-effective homes for working Ghanaians is the ability for Devtraco’s own costs to be kept in check.
Through work with several partners and trials of many different products, new construction technology is being used to keep housing as affordable as possible. For example, the company is looking at new pre-cast concrete solutions which could be in place by next year.
Aidoo has an ambitious vision for the next decade. In fact, it is a drive towards the same goal established when the company formed 23 years ago – to become the number one real estate company in Ghana.
He concludes: “In the next 10 years I want us to truly establish ourselves and become the number one provider of middle income-affordable housing in Ghana and the sub region. We want to work with more partners/suppliers who excel in their fields and will continue to choose carefully the best possible companies to do business with."