More access to housing come July
Prime Minister Andrew Holness has announced a raft of measures he says will increase housing supply while allowing more Jamaicans to buy houses come July.
The first step the Government is taking is to increase the amount of money contributors to the National Housing Trust (NHT) can borrow at their current salaries.
Workers who earn up to $12,000 per week or less will be able to access interest free loans from the NHT, instead of just those who earn up to $7,500 per week.
These individuals will now be able to borrow up to about $4.89 million from the NHT.
Contributors now earning between $12,001 and $20,000 per week will be eligible for a two per cent mortgage interest rate, down from four per cent; and persons now earning between 20,001 and $30,000 weekly will be eligible for loans at four per cent, down from six per cent.
Those contributors who earn above $30,000 weekly will continue to pay at the highest interest rate of six per cent.
Holness said it would benefit more than 70 per cent of NHT contributors and this means that now was the perfect time for Jamaicans to buy homes.
In the meantime, the NHT’s Home Grants programme is to be adjusted so that contributors who earn a maximum of $10,000 weekly can apply for a grant of up to $3.6 million instead of the previous $1.2 million.
These funds can then be used to finance the purchase of a unit or to construct units.
Holness said the NHT proposes to increase the loan limit from $1.5 million to $2 million for House Lot loans.
Prime Minister Holness also announced that over the next three years, the NHT will partner with private and public sector entities to develop over 10,000 housing solutions for contributors.
Seven hundred of these are to be built in the Caymanas area of St Catherine over a four year period.
One billion Jamaican dollars has been reserved for housing solutions and community development projects for tourism workers.
Meanwhile, Holness has promised that the Bernard Lodge and Green Pond housing projects which have been long delayed will be completed and houses delivered this year.