Prime Minister says the NHT is redirecting resources to ensure more affordable housing for Jamaicans.
Prime Minister Andrew Holness says the National Housing Trust (NHT) is moving to support all strata of the housing market, particularly low-income earners, to ensure more Jamaicans benefit.
In this regard, the Prime Minister said that the government has created the income contingency policy, which focuses on directing NHT benefits and other government subsidies towards Jamaicans earning at the lowest level. This will make more houses available to citizens by way of the adjusted NHT loan policies and the New Social Housing Programme.
Speaking on Wednesday (July 12, 2023) at a New Social Housing Programme Handing Over Ceremony in Southwest Clarendon, Prime Minister Holness encouraged citizens to educate themselves on the policies and initiatives of the NHT. This will help them to be in a better position to qualify for housing benefits and become homeowners.
The Prime Minister said: “I want to encourage all Jamaicans, regardless of your circumstances, regardless of how you may feel that we may never be able to own a home, I want to encourage you to have faith, I want to encourage you to think positively. If you are really interested in acquiring a home, the first thing that you want to do is start to save. No matter how small it is, put aside something and then after that, make sure that you are a registered NHT contributor. Those are two important things because your government is structuring the NHT in such a way that there will be a benefit there for you to be able to own a home.”
The New Social Housing Programme, which is administered through the Ministry of Economic Growth and Job Creation, is a demonstration of how the government is bringing equity to the housing system.
“The market by itself is able to deliver middle to high-income houses, but the market by itself is not able to deliver middle to lower income to low-income housing. What the government is doing is going into the market and supporting the market, meaning the private developers and others to build houses that you can afford and to give you the subsidy, the support according to your income so that you can become a homeowner,” declared Prime Minister Holness.
The Prime Minister noted that the NHT has changed its structure to attract developers to build more affordable houses to support the needs of low to middle-income buyers.
The Prime Minister said: “You would have heard that as of the 1st of July, the NHT has increased its benefits to contributors. A single applicant can now get $7.5 million, which was increased from $6.5 million. However, we have added a twist to that. If you are going to buy a house and a house is priced at $12 million or less, then as a single applicant, you can get $8.5 million.”
As of July 1, the government increased the home improvement loans limit from 2.5 million to 3.5 million, the home grants from 2.5 million to 3.5 million for minimum wage earners, and increased grants for other categories, including the disabled community.
Since 2016, the NHT has been delivering an average of about 2,000 to 2,500 units per year. Since the Andrew Holness administration took office, as many as 6,000 units have been delivered in a year, drastically increasing the pace of delivering housing units.