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105 NHT properties hunting buyers - Locations unattractive, money tight, say realtors
published: Sunday | July 22, 2007

Susan Gordon, Business Reporter

Realtor Valrie Levy of Valrie Levy and Associates warns that the NHT might well be facing a fight from owners of the confiscated real estate. - File

In a real-estate market which is still booming, according to some realtors, the National Housing Trust (NHT) has over 100 unsold properties on its private treaty listing, some as farback as two years.

While real-estate experts say property buyers are not averse to acquisitions via private treaty listings, the location, condition of the property and to a great extent circumstances behind the sale, play a big part in how quickly they are snapped up.

The lack of sale of the NHT crop is also seen as a reflection of the state of the economy.

Located in kingston

Less than 15 per cent of these properties are located in the depressed areas of Kingston, while the bulk are strung across rural parishes.

Most of the real estate, consisting of a few lots and mainly two and three-bedroom houses based on photographic impression provided by the mortgage agency, appear to be incomplete or dilapidated.

Up to press time, Sunday Business was unable to secure comment from NHT on the values of the listings or the size of the unrealised mortgages they represent.

Last September, the trust’s impaired loans portfolio for properties in arrears for 90 days and more stood at $533.49 million on 9,053 loans.

Some properties are taken off for varying reasons and then re-posted, NHT said. This means some properties might have resided on the list even longer than their current posting dates suggest.

Sunday Business counted 65 of the 105 properties on the lists as being there for more than nine months.

Special offering

Another 18 per cent of the properties have been there since 2005, while over 40 per cent were posted during 2006, including 12 that were posted during the period when the trust had a special offering of its mortgage incentive in the form of a discount and waivers of debt-management fees for the period October to December 2006.

This was in an attempt to reduce its impaired loan portfolio.

A property is placed on private-treaty listing for auction after mortgage payments are more than 60 or 90 days in arrears.

The housing and mortgage agency’s intent is to recover the amount loaned to the defaulting owner.

Speaking with real-estate experts regarding the length of timeit takes to sell such real estate, Assistant Vice-President of Victoria Mutual Building Society, Gavin Lowe, said these types of properties are not generally hard to sell, except where they are in bad locations or where the owners are going through a divorce.

“It’s not a turn-off because the potential buyers think they are going to get a deal. But if you have it on the list for a year, you are going to try to get the best possible price for it,” he told Sunday Business.

Realtor Valerie Levy from Valerie Levy and Associates theorised that if the properties are under NHT’s listing, the original owners were not servicing the debt, but might be reluctant to lose their investment.

“It sounds like an unfriendly take-over,” she said, hinting that NHT could be facing a number of owners resisting the sale of these properties.

Levy also said the demand for properties is not high in the rural areas where most of the current listings seem to point.

Neither does the average person have the money to buy a property and fix it up just for an investment.

Those who do, she said, hope to get a good rental from it. But the bulk of that demand remains in Kingston.

“It tells you something is wrong with the economy. People are suffering,” said the realtor.

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