Sun | Jan 19, 2020

Charles: Gov’t commits to addressing threats to housing sector

Published:Wednesday | December 11, 2019 | 12:30 AM
Charles
Charles

Minister without Portfolio in the Ministry of Economic Growth and Job Creation, Senator Pearnel Charles junior, has said the Government is committed to addressing potential threats to the housing sector.

Addressing the Realtors Association of Jamaica (RAJ) International Conference and Expo 2019, which was held at the Hilton Rose Hall Resort and Spa in Montego Bay, St James, on December 5, Senator Charles junior said several legislative and policy measures are being implemented to provide an enabling environment for investors in the housing sector.

“Earlier this year, the new housing policy implementation plan was tabled in the Houses of Parliament. It seeks to provide [a] very clear pathway for building our way out of current housing issues, and also address the key areas, such as ensuring that when we build we are building houses that are more affordable, acknowledging the need for social housing, building with the contemplation that we have to erase squatting, and providing a comprehensive governance framework,” the minister said.

He added that the ministry is in the advanced stages of a squatter survey, “and we are utilising geospatial mapping and other mechanisms to assist in the development of the key frameworks for the policy and legislation to benefit you (realtors),” he told the audience.

LEGISLATION PLANS

Charles also told the realtors that the Government was also taking steps to amend some legislation that govern the sector, highlighting that the Real Estate and Developers Act, which recently went to Cabinet, “will also be amended to, among other things, ensure that the real estate developers and dealers are held to the right standard, and so there is need for accountability in the operations”.

He argued that this accountability will not only offer greater protection to investors and purchasers, but it will also protect the real estate professionals and the sector, and, ultimately, increase confidence in the island’s real estate market.

For his part, managing director of Barnett Limited, Mark Kerr-Jarrett, said increased home ownership could aid in improving the island’s gross domestic product.

He also lauded the Government for taking seriously the “stability and wealth creation for the average Jamaican”.

The conference showcased the Jamaican, Caribbean and Latin American real estate markets, and attracted more than 100 exhibitors and 1,000 participants, including realtors, developers, investors, financiers, fund managers, members of the public and other real estate professionals.

The conference was held from December 5 to December 8.