Wed | Sep 19, 2018

Growth & Jobs | Real estate players urged to capitalise on market upswing

Published:Tuesday | November 7, 2017 | 12:00 AM
Minister without portfolio in the Ministry of Economic Growth and Job Creation Daryl Vaz (right) and real estate players get together for a group photo his address during the opening ceremony of the Realtors Association of Jamaica (RAJ) Real Estate Expo on October 17 at The Jamaica Pegasus hotel in New Kingston. From left are Kevin Sears, National Association of Realtors vice-president of government affairs; Andrew James, chairman of the Events, Entertainment and Fundraising Committee at the RAJ; Edwin Wint, president of the Realtors Association of Jamaica; and Petal James, acting head of mortgage sales, JN Bank. The expo was held under the theme ‘Real Estate – Your Best Investment’.

The third Real Estate Expo, mounted by members of the Real Estate Association of Jamaica at The Jamaica Pegasus hotel on October 17, highlighted the demand for housing, under the theme 'Real Estate - Your Best Investment'.

Edwin Wint, president of the association, said the organisation was proud to be a key player in moving the country forward to meet its sustainable development goals.

"The real estate industry is one of the driving forces for economic growth in our country," he declared.

"We are proud to be one of the key players, as together, we strive to achieve this objective, as well as to contribute to meeting our nation's sustainable development goals."

Daryl Vaz, minister without portfolio in the Ministry of Economic Growth and Job Creation, guest speaker, urged players to explore options that would address the market demand in housing for the middle-income and young professionals in urban centres.

The minister pointed out that "the availability of land, particularly urban land, for housing, is not expanding. However, the demand for housing in urban centres is increasing. The term 'affordable housing' in Jamaica has often meant very modest structures on a small plot of land in a development located many kilometres outside of the city and far from business centres".




He said that the administration was in support of an increase in density, which should assist in addressing this challenge.

"I can say very clearly that in discussion with my prime minister, recently, he is for an increase in density at this time," Vaz disclosed.

At the same time, Vaz dismissed arguments that increasing density would negatively affect water supply and the sewage infrastructure as any such demand would be adequately met, based on plans to upgrade sewer mains and water supply systems, as well as other infrastructure elements.

He maintained that the review in density would include current urban-renewal trends and development to facilitate an increase in housing stock, enhancement of public safety, providing wider options for housing solutions, as well as increased efficiency in the use of urban lands, reduce commuting costs, and protect environmentally sensitive areas.

The minister also drew attention to the fact that the sector has been growing rapidly and has made significant contributions to the country's gross domestic product (GDP), referencing data from the Statistical Institute of Jamaica, which indicate that the sector contributed $134.2 million to GDP in 2012, with this figure climbing to $161.9 million in 2016, and the projection of a further increase to $166.6 million by the end of 2017.

... No time to rest, says JN exec

Petal James, acting head of mortgage sales at JN Bank, a main sponsor of last month's third Real Estate Expo, has urged players in the real estate market to be proactive in going after current business opportunities.

"This is not the time to rest on our laurels, but, instead, to be bullish," she said, noting that the market was on an upswing.

"JN Bank is prepared to partner with members of the Realtors Association of Jamaica, to tap into these opportunities," she added.

"As a trusted financial institution, we not only focus on the bottom line. We also seek to satisfy our members and clients' needs by offering attractive mortgage interest rates."

Participants in the expo displayed their products and services, and also benefited from timely presentations about contract law; and others titled 'Know your Rights - Tenants & Landlords'; 'Land Valuation' and 'Mapping the Path to Homeownership'.