Mon | Sep 25, 2017

Holness announces NHT 'goodies'

Published:Wednesday | March 22, 2017 | 3:14 AM
Prime Minister Andrew Holness arrives at Gordon House with his wife and Member of Parliament Juliet Holness for his contribution to the 2017-2018 Budget Debate yesterday.
Prime Minister Andrew Holness making his contribution to the 2017-2018 Budget Debate in Parliament yesterday.
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Although saying they are not just ‘goodies’, Prime Minister Andrew Holness kept to tradition yesterday and, like other heads of government before him during Budget Debates, reeled out a list of new benefits for contributors of the cash-rich National Housing Trust (NHT).

They include:

- A Housing Microfinance Initiative to start on April 1, and which is targeted at the vulnerable segment of the population. The Housing Microfinance Initiative will provide unsecured credit to meet the demand of low-income households. It will allow people to repair or improve their existing homes or build their own homes.

- Starting April 1, the NHT will provide funds to other institutions for on-lending to current and new contributors to meet specific needs such as titling, infrastructure (upgrade or new), utilities installation, construction preliminaries (for example, valuation report, surveyor’s ID report, quantity surveyor’s report, housing design, approved building plan), completion (of different stages – whether of a building or section of a building; or to install fixtures, fittings and finishes) and new construction (incremental). A maximum of $850,000 per borrower will be provided with loan tenure of between six months to five years.

- For the 2017-18 financial year, the NHT plans to write more than 8,000 new loans at a value of $17.8 billion. A significant portion of the solutions to be delivered by the NHT will be aligned to the affordability levels of persons earning minimum wage to $12,000 weekly.

NEW POLICIES FOR JULY 1

- Loans to purchase land (house lot loans) will be increased to $2.5 million, from the previous limit of $2 million.

- The NHT will improve its benefits to persons with disabilities. Grants will go to NHT mortgagors with disabilities or who reside with, and care for, a family member with disabilities. The grant is to be used to retrofit/upgrade the dwelling to make it suitable to serve their needs.

- A special incentive will to be made to eligible contributors who wish to purchase scheme units. Subject to affordability, the NHT will offer 100 per cent financing for all the housing solutions it produces.

- NHT’s home improvement loan at $1.5 million for each contributor is to be increased. Each eligible contributor can access up to $2.5 million, and $5 million jointly.

- The NHT will implement policies to ensure that any individual contributing for seven years or more who meets the NHT eligibility requirements is able to access funding to allow him or her to purchase, at minimum, a studio unit.