Additional Benefits for NHT Contributors starting July 2017
As part of the government's efforts to improve the Jamaican real estate market by making property ownership easier for Jamaicans, Prime Minister, the Most Honourable Andrew Holness, had announced further policy changes that will benefit contributors to the the National Housing Trust (NHT).
These changes were made effective from July 17, 2017, just over a year after NHT mortgage interest rates were reduced in July 2016, and were publicized on July 14, 2017 at the Groundbreaking Ceremony for the Villages of Colbeck Castle Phases 1 & 2, in Old Harbour, St. Catherine.
We are widening the reach of the NHT, increasing the allocation to ensure that all Jamaicans have a housing solution Prime Minister, Andrew Holness
The changes are specific to the Open Market and 15+ Loans, as follows:
- All qualified NHT contributors can now apply for up to $5.5M for any kind of property on the open market.
The Open Market Loan is offered by the NHT to contributors who want to buy a house being sold on the open market, if the seller is not the NHT.
In the past, only persons involved the construction or purchase of new developments were able to borrow up to $5.5M with an Open Market Loan, if the relevant Practical Completion Certificate was dated September 1, 2015 or later.
- The maximum loan amount for the 15+ Home Owner’s Loans has increased to $2.5M, up from $1.5M.
The 15+ Loans are applicable qualified NHT contributors who are seeking funds to:
a) Improve or expand mortgaged properties; or
b) Purchase or construct a residential property once the beneficiary is no longer a home owner.
The government hopes that these set of changes will reduce the level of squatter communities in Jamaica by making the cost of building or buying a Jamaican property for sale more feasible than squatting.
You could have sympathy for squatting if the government wasn’t building, but now the government is building so the sympathy for squatting must decline Prime Minister, Andrew Holness
It remains to be seen if the government’s strategy will work since the primary reason for squatting is that people simply cannot afford to purchase their own home because of the significant costs involved. I believe that although we are moving in the right direction, the government will need to look at other initiatives to get rid of the high number of squatter settlements in the country.
Remember, to qualify for an NHT loan, you must meet a number of criteria including:
- Prove that you earn enough money to repay the loan; and
- Paid NHT contributions for at least 52 weeks with at least 13 of the contributions applicable for the last 26 weeks.
It’s doesn’t sound like much to some, but with many of our Jamaicans living hand-to-mouth these days, not paying any taxes and the country’s high-level of unemployment, I cannot see the situation changing soon. Still, I’m crossing my fingers.
The government will need to look at other initiatives to get rid of the high number of squatter settlements in the country