property ownership

Investing in overseas property can be an attractive proposition for many investors. With property prices often lower in developing countries, the potential returns can be significant. Ghana in West Africa is one such country that has seen increasing interest from foreign buyers in recent years. However, there are important tax considerations that need to be taken into account when buying property in Ghana as a non-resident.

Overview of Property Ownership Laws in Ghana

The Ghanaian constitution allows foreigners to purchase land and property in the country. There are few restrictions in place, making it a relatively straightforward process. Some key things to note:

  • Foreigners can buy freehold land and property, allowing full ownership rights.
  • Leaseholds for up to 50 years are also available. This can be a more affordable option.
  • Foreigners can set up a company in Ghana and purchase property through that entity.
  • There is no limitation on the number of properties a foreigner can own.

All property transactions require a title deed as proof of ownership. Foreigners should use a lawyer when purchasing property in Ghana to ensure the transaction is properly executed.

Tax Considerations for Non-Residents

While owning property in Ghana is fairly open to foreigners, there are important taxes to factor in:

  • Stamp Duty Tax

This tax applies to all property purchases in Ghana, regardless of the citizenship status of the buyer. The stamp duty rate is 0.25% of the property value. This tax is paid directly to the Ghana Revenue Authority. The stamp duty is applied to the official purchase price recorded on the title deed.

  • Capital Gains Tax

When a foreign investor sells a property in Ghana, they are subject to capital gains tax. This is charged on the difference between the original purchase price and the sale price of the property. The current capital gains tax rate in Ghana is 15%.

Capital gains tax does not apply if a property is gifted rather than sold. However, the recipient inherits the original owner’s purchase price, so capital gains tax will apply when they eventually sell.

  • Rental Income Tax

Foreign owners who rent out property in Ghana are required to pay tax on the rental income. This is charged at a rate of 8% for residents and 15% for non-residents. Tax is charged on gross rental income.

Rental income tax payments need to be submitted quarterly before the 15th of the month after each quarter ends. Foreign owners usually appoint a property manager in Ghana to handle this taxation and remit payments on their behalf.

  • Corporate Tax

Foreign investors who purchase property through a company structure in Ghana will face corporate tax obligations. Companies pay tax at a rate of 25% on net profits. Again, quarterly payments apply.

There are allowable deductions that can reduce the taxable rental income for companies, including repairs, renovations, property management fees, and loan interest. Proper records need to be kept to prove these expenses.

  • Inheritance & Gift Tax

Ghana does not currently impose any inheritance or gift tax. This means foreign owners can transfer property to heirs or gift it without incurring any tax liability. If the property is sold later, capital gains tax will apply based on the original purchase price rather than any stepped-up basis.

  • Double Taxation Treaties

Ghana has double taxation agreements with several countries including Italy, France, South Africa, the UK, and Germany. This aims to prevent residents from being taxed twice on the same income in Ghana and their home country. The terms vary between different treaties.

If structured properly, this can help minimize the overall tax liability from Ghanaian property investments for foreign nationals. Professional tax advice should be sought to utilize double tax treaties effectively.

Hidden Costs & Fees to Factor In

Beyond the taxes outlined above, there are several other costs and fees involved:

  • Legal fees – Using a lawyer to facilitate the purchase will involve legal fees of around 1-2% of the property value.
  • Property registration – A fee of around 0.5% of the property value is charged by the Lands Commission.
  • Mortgage initiation – Foreign buyers taking a mortgage in Ghana can expect to pay around 1-2% of the loan value in initiation fees.
  • Property management – For rented properties, managers typically charge 10%+ of rental income as their fee.
  • Maintenance and utilities – These costs need to be paid by the owner or built into rental amounts.
  • Insurance – Property insurance is advisable, which comes at an annual cost.

Estimating all these additional expenses will help provide an accurate projection of the net rental yields and capital gains possible.

Ghana Property Purchase Process for Foreigners

The process for foreigners to buy property in Ghana is relatively straightforward but does require a lawyer’s assistance:

  1. Select property and negotiate price – A lawyer can help with due diligence and verifying ownership.
  2. Sign purchase agreement – This commits the buyer and seller to the sale. Typically a 10% deposit is paid.
  3. Legal and financial preparations – Lawyer drafts contracts, opens escrow account, gets tax clearance certificate.
  4. Sign title deed & pay balance – This transfers ownership. Water & electricity accounts also need transferring.
  5. Registration & stamp duty – The Lawyer registers the title deed with the Lands Commission and pays stamp duty tax.
  6. Apply for utilities – The new owner needs to set up water and electricity accounts in their name.
  7. Change property tax – Update records with the local municipality so property tax and bills go to the new owner.
  8. Insure property – Obtain a building insurance policy as the final step.

The whole process takes around 4-6 weeks from offer acceptance to completion. Using professionals simplifies it for foreign investors.

Popular Locations and Types of Property for Foreign Buyers

Certain areas of Ghana are particularly popular with overseas property buyers:


The capital city offers contemporary apartments in secure complexes with facilities like gyms, pools, and 24-hour security. These have strong rental demand from expats and diplomats. Areas like Cantonments and Airport Residential are prestigious and accessible.


Ghana’s second city has a more affordable real estate market. Houses and townhouses for sale are popular with investors who can rent them out to students attending the city’s universities.

Near Beaches

Seaside properties are highly desirable, especially along the Atlantic Ocean coastline near Ada and Bourkona. These areas are within easy reach of Accra but offer a tranquil environment.

Heritage Buildings

Old colonial buildings in Cape Coast, Elmina, and other historic towns are options for renovation into boutique hotels catering to Ghana’s tourism market.

In terms of property types, the clear focus for foreign investors is on residential real estate for rental income and capital gains. This includes;

  • Apartments – Modern, multi-level apartment blocks with shared facilities. Tend to be in Accra.
  • Townhouses – Mostly 3-4 bedrooms in gated communities on the outskirts of major cities.
  • Villas – Large detached homes in coastal resort areas. Have between 4-6 bedrooms.
  • Renovation projects – Old government, school, or plantation buildings suitable for renovation.

New build apartments currently offer the best rental yields but there are capital gains opportunities across most segments of Ghana’s property market.

Cost of Property Investment in Ghana

Property prices in Ghana are still relatively affordable compared to many overseas markets, although have been rising over the past decade. Some typical costs:

  • Apartments – From $50,000+ for a 2-bed; $150,000+ for a 3-bed in a prime area.
  • Townhouses – Ranges from around $100,000 for a simple 3-bed to $500,000+ for a luxury executive home.
  • Villas – Beachfront villas start at $200,000 with top-end properties above $1 million.
  • Building land – $30+ per square meter in urban areas. Outskirts of cities can be $10-15 per sqm.
  • Construction costs – $1,000-$1,500 per sqm for high-quality builds. Lower specs can be $500-800 per sqm.

While exact costs depend on location, size, specifications, and current market conditions, Ghana still represents value compared to markets like Europe and the USA. Financing is available from local banks for foreign buyers, typically covering up to 70% of the property value. Interest rates range from around 17% up to 27% depending on individual circumstances.

Ghana’s Real Estate Market Outlook

Recent years have seen promising growth in Ghana’s property market:

  • Growing economy – Ghana has one of Africa’s fastest-growing economies. GDP growth averaged over 7% from 2013-2019. This supports rising real estate prices.
  • Population growth – Ghana has around 31 million residents, growing at 2-3% annually. This is increasing housing demand across market segments.
  • Urbanization – Over 56% of Ghanaians already live in cities and this percentage keeps rising. Again, this spurs real estate development.
  • Investor interest – Ghana has attracted increasing foreign real estate investment, especially from Europe, USA, China and African neighbours.
  • Tourism potential – Ghana received over 1.1 million tourists in 2018. Expanding tourism sectors like eco-resorts will require property development.

Property prices in the major cities have been rising over 10% annually with strong demand and lagging supply. However, there are some risks to consider:

  • Currency volatility – The Ghanaian Cedi can fluctuate significantly against major currencies, impacting returns.
  • High interest rates – The cost of financing is expensive compared to many foreign markets.
  • Bureaucracy – Navigating government departments and processes can be slow.
  • Construction delays – Delivery timeframes often overrun, which can impact rental yields.
  • Slow title transfers – Registering deeds with the Lands Commission can involve lengthy delays.
  • High vacancy risks – Speculative buildings have led to oversupply in some segments like high-end apartments.

On balance, Ghana still offers exciting real estate investment opportunities. The key is conducting proper due diligence and using established local professionals to navigate the nuances involved.


Ghana presents an exciting opportunity for overseas property investors looking to tap into the country’s high growth real estate market. With few barriers to foreign ownership, attractive yields, and lower price points than comparable markets, Ghana has already seen a surge of foreign interest. However, navigating the legalities and taxes requires local expertise. Partnering with an established developer like VAAL Ghana helps mitigate the risks and leverages our experience operating in the market. The Harmonia Residences project provides a well-located entry point into Accra’s booming property scene under trusted local management. With the right professional support securing profitable property investment in Ghana is accessible even for foreign investors new to the market.

FAQs on Property Ownership in Ghana for Foreigners

What are the main benefits of investing in real estate in Ghana?

The main benefits are strong capital appreciation potential, attractive rental yields, and low property costs compared to most overseas markets. Ghana’s fast-growing economy, urbanization, and tourism sectors also bode well for future growth.

What taxes apply to foreign owners of property in Ghana?

The main taxes are stamp duty, capital gains tax on sales, and rental income tax. Some double-tax treaties exist to avoid dual taxation. No inheritance tax applies in Ghana.

What are the restrictions on foreign property ownership in Ghana?

There are very few restrictions. Foreigners can buy freehold interests, leaseholds are available for up to 50 years, and multiple properties can be owned. Purchase processes are the same for foreigners as for Ghanaians.

What essential costs should foreign buyers budget for?

Legal fees, property registration, mortgage initiation, property management, maintenance/utilities, insurance. Allow around 10-20% of the property’s value for these additional costs.

What options are available for financing a property purchase in Ghana?

Local banks will lend up to 70% of the property value to foreigners at interest rates of around 17-27% depending on personal finance status. Foreign banks may offer financing against overseas assets.

Is it advisable for foreigners to buy off-plan property in Ghana?

Buying off-plan through reputable local developers like VAAL Ghana carries a lower risk than buying independently. The developer’s project management experience is invaluable for foreign investors unfamiliar with Ghana’s real estate market.