Housing Finance in Sierra Leone


This profile is also available in French here.

To download a pdf version of the full 2023 Sierra Leone country profile, click here.

In 2021, the Republic of Sierra Leone (Sierra Leone) had a projected total population of 8,141,343 and an estimated urban population of 3,531,063 (43% of the population), with a 3.1% annual growth rate in urban population. Freetown is the country’s capital and biggest city, as well as its primary urban and commercial center. The development of buildings on the slopes is a recent and concerning occurrence. This has resulted in widespread deforestation and the development of dwellings on wet areas and forest reserves.

The economy is expected to increase 3.2% in 2021 after contracting 2% in 2020, boosted by greater mining and agriculture exports and the return of iron ore production. Fuel and food price hikes lowered 2022 growth projections from 5.9% to 3.6%. Higher import costs and currency rate depreciation pushed 2022 inflation from 12% to 22.1% (end-of-period). Sierra Leone’s inflation is sensitive to global food and fuel costs, and inflationary pressures have risen since mid-2021. This was due to increasing agricultural investments and government assistance for SMEs via the Sierra Leone Microcredit Scheme (MUNAFA Fund) and the Bank of Sierra Leone’s Le500 billion (US$40 million) special credit facility.

Total bank assets and deposits rose 20.8% and 23.2% in 2021. Nonperforming loans rose 2.5 percentage points to 15.2% of total loans. Most significant financial soundness indicators stayed above required criteria during the first quarter of 2022. Growth in monetary aggregates slowed, suggesting a fall in currency in circulation and bank reserves.

In 2021, the mortgage interest rate in Sierra Leone was 21%. A regular 50 kg bag of cement costs SLL 120,000 (US$ 8.29) in local currency.The average monthly rental fee for a freshly constructed home by a professional developer or contractor is US$1727.

Despite the government’s strong commitment to enhancing energy capacity, investments and private sector involvement in the industry have been minimal. Obtaining cost-effective risk financing has been cited as a significant obstacle, particularly for renewable energy. The nation’s legislative framework is open to the admission and establishment of foreign investment. After paying their taxes, foreign investors are permitted to transfer cash (earnings) from overseas, including dividends paid to a parent business established outside Sierra Leone. The repatriation of earnings is a further advantage for international investors.

Find out more information on the housing finance sector of Sierra Leone, including key stakeholders, important policies and housing affordability:

Each year, CAHF publishes its Housing Finance in Africa Yearbook. The profile above is from the 2023 edition, which has up-to-date profiles for 55 African countries3

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