Tue | Sep 26, 2017

NHT 'gift' needs closer examination

Published:Friday | November 13, 2015 | 11:00 AM

THE EDITOR, Sir:

It's Christmas and also election season. So, good tidings and gifts to all! The government has announced several initiatives in the last couple of weeks, which have resulted in media frenzy and goosebumps for the populous.

The latest treat is the increase in the National Housing Trust (NHT) loan ceiling by $1 million and the reduction of the interest rate by one per cent. The last increase in the loan limit was given in May 2010. This latest increase is expected to provide impetus to the construction sector, specifically for low-to mid-income housing. The loan increase is only available to first-time buyers of new housing projects or new buildings.

The last increase was available to all first-time buyers for all house purchases. Therefore, it is fair to assume that the cash availability to support this increase is not there. The effort must be lauded, but it still doesn't address the niggling problem. We have not experienced economic growth at that level, i.e., 22 per cent. Therefore, the economy will not allow for enough members of the society to benefit from this increase.

While the headlines are attractive and sensational, the practical application of this benefit will once again be limited to the chosen few. Discerning voters should acknowledge this and not be swayed by it.

Focus should remain on getting our economy growing so that a greater share of the populous can access these kinds of benefits.

KD