Sun | Jul 21, 2019

Real estate contributes to job creation – Charles

Published:Thursday | June 27, 2019 | 12:14 AM
Petal James (centre), head of Mobile Banking at JN Bank, and Andrew James (left), president of the Realtors Association of Jamaica (RAJ), listen keenly as Pearnel Charles Jr (right), minister with responsibility for water, housing and infrastructure, make a point, during the RAJ’s annual general meeting held recently at the Mona Visitors’ Lodge in St Andrew.
Petal James (centre), head of Mobile Banking at JN Bank, and Andrew James (left), president of the Realtors Association of Jamaica (RAJ), listen keenly as Pearnel Charles Jr (right), minister with responsibility for water, housing and infrastructure, make a point, during the RAJ’s annual general meeting held recently at the Mona Visitors’ Lodge in St Andrew.

Pearnel Charles Jr, minister with responsibility for water, housing and infrastructure, has said the construction and housing sector in Jamaica continues to show significant signs of growth.

This, he stated, is based on the sector’s significant inflows to the gross domestic product (GDP) and its contribution to job creation.

“Based on data from STATIN (the Statistical Institute of Jamaica), we know that the economy has created approximately 29,000 jobs in the quarter ending January 2019 and that the real estate industry, which is a vast and varied sector, has contributed to the largest increase in employment,” Charles informed.

The housing minister, who was addressing members of the Realtors Association of Jamaica (RAJ) during their recent annual general meeting, held at the Mona Visitors’ Lodge in St Andrew, said Government is predicting even further growth for the Jamaican economy.

He noted that the positive outlook has been spurred by the performance of several industries, chief among them being the construction and housing industry, which achieved 3.5 per cent year-on-year growth.

Figures from the Planning Institute of Jamaica also indicated that the building construction sector was driven by housing starts, up by 54 per cent; and housing completions, up by 171 per cent, reflecting a 17.2 per cent increase in the total value of mortgages by the National Housing Trust.

“Adding to that, data also showed an increase of 36 per cent in the number of licensed real estate practitioners in Jamaica,” he informed. “I believe that this demonstrates that we are doing something to create an environment in which people see this sector as being viable and the real estate profession as attractive.”

Charles further said that in 2016 the number of real estate dealers operating in Jamaica jumped from 346 to 368. “Additionally, there is a range of professions directly and indirectly linked to the industry, which are also benefiting from the improved performance of the sector,” he related.

The minister urged the members of the RAJ to continue to work with the Government to ensure the ongoing success of the real estate industry.

“We must do whatever is necessary to continue to ensure that we allow the real estate industry and other business activities which fall under that sector to thrive and drive our local economy,” he said. “For us to achieve these ambitious goals that we have set for our country, it means that as a government, we need to collaborate, we have to set the pitch.”

Charles noted that it was the Government’s responsibility to support and engender the environment, which will allow businesses to grow and develop.

Meanwhile, Petal James, head, Mobile Banking, JN Bank, said the boost in the housing market is a positive, not only for the country’s economy, but for the social development of homebuyers.

“Homeownership provides security and independence and is an important tool for empowerment. It raises self-confidence, uplifts people, and provides a new lease on life,” she said.

She also noted that the recent changes in the market will result in an increase in demand from first-time homebuyers.