Sat | Aug 19, 2017

Improved benefits to NHT contributors take effect

Published:Thursday | July 6, 2017 | 7:00 AM

Some new National Housing Trust (NHT) loan applicants began benefiting from improvements in home grants and financing for NHT scheme solutions, effective July 1.

Special benefits for persons with disabilities, including reduced interest rates and a special grant to assist with retrofitting their houses, have also become effective.

The policy changes were announced by Prime Minister Andrew Holness during his 2017-2018 Budget Debate in March.

Leading the new policy changes is the NHT's offer of 100 per cent mortgage financing for all housing units it produces. This means that the Trust will lend qualified contributors the full amount required to buy NHT units, providing that they can afford the monthly loan payments.

Currently, NHT contributors with a disability, who are certified by the Jamaica Council for Persons with Disabilities, repay their loans at a rate of interest of two percentage points below that of the income group in which they fall. As of July 1, disabled individuals earning up to $30,000 weekly will borrow at a rate of zero per cent. The NHT will also provide a grant of $150,000 to NHT mortgagors with disabilities, or to mortgagors who reside with and care for a family member who is disabled, to retrofit or upgrade the dwellings to make them more suited for their needs.

 

LARGER HOME GRANT

 

Meanwhile, NHT has reported that its lowest-earning contributors can now access increased funding following improvements made to the Home Grant programme. Contributors earning below $12,000 weekly and who have been contributing for more than seven years, will be able to access up to $2.5 million for an NHT home grant, the NHT said in a release. "By combining their mortgage loan and the home grant amount, these contributors should be able to purchase a unit equivalent in value to an NHT studio. Previously, contributors could benefit from a maximum home grant of $1.5 million."

... Construction to start on 6,000 housing solutions islandwide

Earlier this year, the National Housing Trust (NHT) implemented policies which saw an increase in the loan limit for home-improvement loans to $2.5 million, up from $1.5 million. With this new policy, two qualified NHT contributors can co-apply and access up to $5 million for home improvements. In addition, the loan limit for a house-lot loan was increased to $2.5 million from the previous limit of $2 million.

The Trust's housing programme for the 2017-2018 financial year will see the NHT commence construction of almost 6,000 housing solutions across Jamaica. Ground has been broken for approximately 3,000 solutions to date. For the 2017-2018 financial year, the NHT plans to write approximately 8,500 new loans at a value of $17.5 billion.