Investing is a great way to build wealth incrementally for the future. There are several investment options one can consider, two of the more common are purchasing treasury bills (T-bills) and investing in real estate. What is the best investment option between the two: treasury bills or real estate?

When comparing investment opportunities and advantages, the time frame for holding the investments and the rate of return during that time should be considered. There are a lot of questions to ask before getting into investments in Ghana. Questions like, what is the safest, most cost-effective, profitable and low-risk investment to choose? Below, we give you an overview of what you need to know about investing in treasury bills and real estate.

Let us tackle some of the frequently asked questions about T-Bills.

What is a Treasury Bill (T-Bill)?

treasury bills investment ghana 001A treasury bill is a short-term debt obligation or an IOU security medium from the government to finance government spending as an alternative to taxation. When an investor purchases a treasury bill, interest payments are calculated to the amount when it matures. Interest rates are grouped into investment periods. These are:

  1. 91 day Treasury Bill
  2. 182 day Treasury Bill
  3. 1 year and 2-year Treasury Notes
  4. 3 and 5-year Bonds

In order to check how great or profitable a treasury bill is, we should examine how T-Bill prices are influenced. Mostly, T-Bills or the prices of bonds are influenced by macroeconomic conditions, monetary policies and the overall supply and demand of Treasuries.

This means that when you buy a treasury bill, you have no control over its price aggregation. However, the question to ask is, are treasury bills risk-free? Based on the definition, there is no way your money will be lost unless you’re in an unstable country which Ghana is not. You will get your money back when it matures. Another question, is it more profitable than real estate investments?

What is the Current Treasury Bill Rate in Ghana?

Period Discount Rates Annual Interest Rates
91 – Day 12.9343% 13.3666%
182 – Day 12.9906% 13.8930%

Date: Monday, January 15th, 2018 | Source: Bank of Ghana

How Much Interest can you earn from a treasury bill in Ghana?

treasury bill calculationThe Bank of Ghana regularly releases the rates but it helps if you can calculate this as well. To calculate the price, the number of days until maturity is used with the prevailing interest rate. The number of days until the bill matures is multiplied by the interest rate as a percentage. The result is divided by 360 and the resulting number is subtracted from 100.

 

Is it Good or Profitable to Invest in Treasury Bills?

Longer-term T-Bills normally have higher returns than short term ones. T-Bills purchased for a period of 2  to 5 years, therefore, stand to  yield more than 3 months to 9 months bills. To arrive at a better understanding, let us examine the pros and cons of T-Bills.

Pros:

  1. No risk of losing your investment (as long as the nation remains stable)
  2. Treasury bills are highly liquid. This means investors can keep funds in these instruments if they believe that they may have some need of cash within the next year.
  3. Treasury bills are less volatile compared to other investments (eg. stocks).
  4. T-Bill investors are more at peace since they don’t have to stress about constant price changes (as is likely with stocks and cryptocurrency) or market crashes.
  5. With an investment of about GHS 4,500 OR $1000 at the time of writing this post, T-bills are accessible to a lot of low-income investors and is an alternative for people who don’t have the capacity to go in for bigger investments.
  6. Offered interest rates vary from financial institution to financial institution and the advantage is to search for the bank with the high-interest rate but at a low risk of profits.
  7. They are very easy to buy and sell.

Cons:

  1. Lower returns compared to other investments such as real estate primarily because T-Bills are risk-free and one of the safest short-term investments available.
  2. The rates on T-Bills can be lower than most stock markets. (Possibly due to the relatively low risk.)
  3. The returns from Treasury bills are only seen when they mature. This makes them a less attractive income model for beginners and people with a low cash flow.
  4. Returns are not fixed and could be rolled over at a rate lower/higher than your principal. This is a result of interest rates being determined by auctions.
  5. Treasury bills are common and “unsophisticated” for some investors. They would rather invest in more exclusive assets than do what everyone is doing.

Real Estate Investments

real estate investments“Real estate investing, even on a very small scale, remains a tried and true means of building an individual’s cash flow and wealth”. That’s according to Robert Kiyosaki, and we couldn’t agree more. Real estate is the easiest investment model to understand because it is simple, straightforward and generally only involves exchanges between two parties: the property owner and the property seeker.

The value of real estate constantly appreciates and rarely ever declines.  The success of a real estate investment is guaranteed as long as the rental yield or sale continues, especially, before mortgages or any other debt is paid. This makes real estate an easier and more profitable asset to invest in than most other forms of investments.

Investors pump money into real estate with a clear goal: to make returns on the future appreciation of property. The most important thing is to make enough profit/returns to cover risks like loans and maintenance costs. (Related: Step by Step Guide to Investing in Real Estate)

4 Simple Ways to Invest in Real Estate

  1. Buying Basic Rental Property

    This is the oldest and most straightforward way to invest in real estate. It’s simply buying property and renting it out to make a profit. Landlords are responsible for maintaining the property, marketing it and dealing with any other responsibilities that may (and will) come up.

    A smart way investors can use this is to acquire property through a mortgage, rent it out and, with the proceeds, pay off the mortgage and continue to make a profit. Following this strategy, the first quarter of profit is unlikely to be as high as when the mortgage is finally paid off. The landlord usually charges only enough to cover the expenses until the mortgage is paid. The best part of rental property investment is when your mortgage has been duly paid and the only remaining cost to the investor is maintenance. This period is a generally passive income period as profits roll in and will remain so until the asset depreciates (usually due to neglect of maintenance) or is sold.

  2. Real Estate Investment Groups

    These groups function like mutual funds but for rental properties. These companies buy or develop properties such as condos, sell them to investors who then become a part of the investment group. An investor can own one or multiple units while the investment group manages the units, which involves finding tenants and handling maintenance.

    In exchange for this, the organisation/investment group receives part of the investors’ rent proceeds. Some traders buy properties with the intention of holding them for a short time, usually in less than four months, and sell them for profit. This is also called flipping. Flipping requires buying undervalued properties, upgrading (thus flipping) and selling them on hot markets.

  3. Real Estate Investment Trust (REIT)

    A Real Estate Investment Trust is a corporation or trust which uses investor money to buy and operate income-earning properties. REITs are bought and sold at major exchanges just like the stock market. REITs are unique in that, after paying 90 – 95% of profits in dividends and meeting certain requirements, they obtain an exemption from corporate taxes. The dividends can then be issued as cash payments just like stock shares. This makes it an attractive investment option for both local and international investors interested in Ghana’s real estate.

    HFC REIT is currently the only established REIT in Ghana. It is regulated by the Securities and Exchange Commission which, in 2012, announced plans to “establish the rules and regulations to develop the Real Estate Investment Trusts (REITs) industry to create a strong link between the capital market and the real-estate sector”. This hasn’t happened yet.

  4. Leverage

    Investing in real estate gives investors an advantage absent in the stock market. If you want to purchase a stock, you must pay the full amount of that stock to earn the stock value at the time you placed the order.

    The amount most banks give to stock exchange investors is much lower than what is given to real estate investors. In another way, banks trust real estate investors significantly more than many other forms of investments because of leverage. Most mortgages require a 25% down payment.

    And depending on your location and the kind of collateral you might have, mortgages can decrease to as low as 5%. This means, the property can be controlled and the equity it holds is equal to paying a fraction of the total value. Mortgages will be eventually paid at the total value of the house, but you control the property the minute papers are signed.

    This is very significant because the ability to make a profit is related to the sales ability of the current investor or the current owner before the mortgage is fully paid. Leverage is the main advantage of Real Estate Investment. Unlike with treasury bills where you don’t have much control over your stock if at all, the control is transferred to the stockbrokers (investors) immediately, they buy them.

Pros of Real Estate Investments:

  1. After-repair value may greatly exceed purchase price
  2. Longer tenant leases can yield a higher annual ROI
  3. Real estate maintains its resale value if the community is thriving and the home is well-maintained
  4. Property taxes are often lower than those for multi-family units and commercial real estate
  5. Possibly lower management costs, especially if responsible tenants take good care of the property
  6. Only one tenant can mean fewer demands
  7. Quicker to sell on short notice

Cons:

  1. Less diversified rental income cash flow compared to multi-family properties. If the one tenant moves out, you have no cash flow from the property until it is re-rented.
  2. Property costs may be higher due to homeowner association fees
  3. Potential renters may want more land and other amenities than available on the property
  4. Fix-up costs may be high and you may have to renovate the property before renting it out or selling it. The high cost may limit your access to additional credit.
  5. Uncontrolled circumstances such as natural and man-made disasters can shoot up repair costs or worse, completely destroy the property.

Conclusion:

We have examined the benefits and drawbacks of investing in treasury bills versus real estate.  Just to recap, the chances of losing money is very small with government bonds and securities like T-Bills while real estate on the other hand varies. Some of the risky aversions to real estate are natural disasters, fire and other uncontrolled events. The cost of these risks, however, can be absorbed by insurance so it’s not much of a problem.

At the end of the day, choosing the best investment model should be based on your current financial standing and life goals. The best advice is to be smart about your investment and make the right choice.

Which of these two investment tools (real estate and T-bills) do you use? Tell us in the comments below.


Ready to try either of these investment options? Kindly fill this survey so we assist you.

 

Treasury Bill Investment
OR
Real Estate Investment

 

 

Great, you selected Treasury Bills. Before you invest in T-Bills, the following must be noted.

T-Bills are issued by the Government through auctions. These bills are not opened to the general public but to major dealers like big Financial institutions. In 2016, Ghana named the top 15 banks to sell Treasury Bills. It is advisable to invest only in these banks.

The following is a Dropdownlist of Banks authorized by the Bank of Ghana to issue Bonds. Select one to know the branches around you.

Contact Apex Bank Ghana
www.arbapexbank.com
Address: No. 5 Gamel Abdul Nasser Ave, Accra, Ghana Hours: Open ⋅ Closes 5PM Phone: +233 30 277 1738

Contact Access Bank GhanaK
https://www.ghana.accessbankplc.com/contact-us
Access Bank (Ghana) Plc. Starlets’ 91 Road, Opposite Accra Sports Stadium, Osu. P. O. Box GP 353, Accra, Ghana. T: 233302661769, +233 (0)302 684858, +233 (0)302 661613, +233 (0)302 661813, +2332443359228

Contact Barclays Bank Ghana
https://www.gh.barclaysafrica.com/
Address: John Evans Atta Mills High St, Accra, Ghana Hours: Open ⋅ Closes 4:30PM Phone: +233 30 266 4901

Contact Ecobank Ghana
https://www.ecobank.com/gh/
To call toll free from Ghana, Short code 3225 (MTN, Airtel and Vodafone)
ecobankenquiries@ecobank.com +233 (0) 302 213999

Contact Fidelity Bank Ghana
https://www.fidelitybank.com.gh/
Ridge Towers – Ridge, 3rd Floor, Accra PMB 43, Cantonments, Ghana Accra Phone:233302214490, 233209532314

Contact CalBank Ghana
23 Independence Ave, P.O.BOX 14596 Accra Ghana. Phone:233302680062, 233302680062

Contact First Atlantic Bank Ghana
https://www.firstatlanticbank.com.gh/
Atlantic Place No1 Seventh Avenue, Ridge West. Accra Ghana. Phone:233302682203

Contact Ghana Commercial Bank Ghana
https://www.gcbbank.com.gh/
Head Office Accra Phone:233302672852

Contact Guaranty Trust Bank Ghana
https://www.gcbbank.com.gh/
Head Office Accra Phone:233302672852

Contact NIB Bank Ghana
https://www.nib-ghana.com/
Office Phone:233302661703

Contact Universal Merchant Bank Ghana

Home


Office Phone:233800100880

Contact Universal Merchant Bank Ghana

Home


Office Phone:233800100880

Contact Unibank Ghana
https://www.unibankghana.com/
Office Phone:233302216000

Contact Society Generale Ghana
http://www.societegenerale.com.gh/Home.aspx
Office Phone:233302202001

Contact Stanbic Bank Ghana
https://www.stanbicbank.com.gh/Ghana/
Office Phone:233302815789

Contact Standard Chartered Bank Ghana
https://www.sc.com/gh/
Office Phone:233302740100


You should select any of the above banks, pick up a form from any of their branches and start investing.

 

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