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Housing slows a bit but mortgage values hold firm

Published:Thursday | September 3, 2015 | 8:31 AM

The construction sector saw a general slowdown in the June quarter, matched by a decline in the number of new mortgages issued, the Planning Institute of Jamaica (PIOJ) is reporting.

But while the number of mortgages issued declined, their value staged a recovery year on year, climbing 10.8 per cent to $8.27 billion.

In a late release of data following its quarterly report on the economy, the PIOJ indicated that the number of mortgages issued in the June quarter fell by 27.5 per cent to 2,046 loans.

Housing starts plunged by 56.1 per cent year over year to 298 units, but this was offset by housing completions which rose 32.1 per cent over June 2014 to 560 units.

Simultaneously, sale of cement also improved by 22.5 per cent to 222,873 tonnes, hinting at some stockpiling in light of the slowdown in housing starts. Cement sales are used as a measure of construction activity.

PIOJ housing data were collated from agencies, including the National Housing Trust (NHT) and the Housing Agency of Jamaica, as well as private-sector developers that operate under an interim financing agreement with the NHT.

Mortgage data are sourced from life insurance companies, credit unions and local building societies.