Letter of the Day| Real estate robbery
THE EDITOR, Sir:
Recently, my husband and I sought to purchase our first home. We had read about a new housing development in St Catherine, and so, we went excitedly to view the model unit.
To say the least, we were dispirited and disillusioned when we realised that as two young professionals, childless and loan-free, we would not have been able to afford one of the very simple two-bedroom detached units.
The National Housing Trust, based on its existing policies and our status of eligibility, would not have granted us the total amount for which the house was being sold - $13.8 million. Consequently, we would have had to borrow over $4 million from another financial institution to offset the shortfall.
Thereafter, we would have been required to pay more than $70,000 for our monthly mortgage. When other non-negotiable expenses - food, utilities and travelling - were approximated and added to the latter charge, we realised, too, that we would have been penniless every day after owning a home! The reality was frightening!
We considered purchasing a more low-priced house - one from $8-9 million - but we also found that our mortgage would have exceeded $50,000, and the additional monthly expenses would have made our daily living a constant struggle.
In the end, our disappointment changed to anger. Imagine, two childless and debt-free professionals cannot afford a simple structure to call their own!
Certainly, I may sound like a fox cursing the unattainable grapes, but I became all the more angry when I considered the exorbitant charge for houses that hold no grandeur.
Tell me, who really determines the value of these houses and on what basis? I doubt the charges for the units are commensurate with the construction cost, the material quality of the structures and the lot sizes.
SPACE IS LIMITED
I can tell that the houses - the ones in this particular development and the others springing up in residential schemes around the island - are not the sturdiest. From my experience, a knock on their pre-fabricated walls usually yields a very hollow sound. What frailty! Perhaps I may land my husband outside if I, during our usual frolic, were to push him too hard against the wall. Our bed, too, might plunge through the wall in the event of a major thrust!
Moreover, the rooms are ridiculously small; and the allotted land space is limited and can barely, if at all, accommodate the lateral expansion projected by realtors. Of course, if you would rather have no yard space and wish to step directly into the roadway upon exiting your house, then expand away!
Remember, too, that upward expansion is usually discouraged in these housing developments, and I surmise this is so because the existing structures are too feeble to withstand any overhead pressure.
Let us be reasonable. Yes, I understand that we need to profit from our investments, but can we make these homes more affordable, considering their material, build and design?
Shawna Kay Williams-Pinnock
Old Harbour, St Catherine