Tue | Oct 23, 2018

Housing boom planned - More than 8,000 starts promised for the next fiscal year

Published:Sunday | February 18, 2018 | 12:00 AMArthur Hall
In this September 2017 photo Prime Minister Andrew Holness (centre) is joined by (from left), Martin Miller, managing director, National Housing Trust (NHT); Cabinet member Dr Horace Chang; chairman of the NHT Dr Nigel Clarke and Member of Parliament for St Andrew South East, Julian Robinson, at the groundbreaking of one of the housing starts for the Trust last year.

The Government is projecting a massive increase in housing opportunities for Jamaicans in the next fiscal year, with its three major agencies projecting increased spending and more than 8,400 housing starts by March 31, 2019.

The main state agency, the National Housing Trust (NHT), is promising to deliver 4,734 housing completions and 6,369 housing starts to the market by the end of the fiscal year.

The NHT is also projecting more than 8,000 new loans while reviewing its process to shorten the development cycle as part of a plan to spend $31.6 billion, also by the end of the year.

In addition, the Trust has indicated that it will implement measures to incentivise developers to participate in the low-income housing segment and implement a framework for partnership with employers in targeted industries for the provision of housing and unique mortgages to their employees.

According to the NHT, it is already on target to achieve 5,500 housing starts for this fiscal year as part of its plan to deliver 16,356 new housing solutions in the medium term.

For its part, the Housing Agency of Jamaica (HAJ) is projecting that it will facilitate the start of construction of 1,866 housing solutions in the new fiscal year, with 319 to be delivered to its customers.

The HAJ says it will be expanding its capability to provide affordable housing through innovative designs to ensure it delivers service lots, housing starts and/or completed houses.

In the meantime, the Jamaica Mortgage Bank (JMB) says it will disburse just over $1.3 billion in the new fiscal year to facilitate the development of 180 units across the island.

The JMB has also planned to complete the sale of repossessed property, including 15 lots and other lands, while reducing its bad debt portfolio by closely monitoring the performance of new loans.

arthur.hall@gleanerjm.com