Prime Minister the Most Honourable Andrew Holness has announced a new set of policies aimed at making home ownership even more affordable for National Housing Trust (NHT) contributors. The policy changes were announced by the Prime Minister during his budget presentation on March 21, 2017. The measures included a Housing Microfinance Initiative for low income contributors, 100% financing for NHT scheme units, reduced interest rates for persons with disabilities and increases in the loan limits for Home Improvement and House Lot loans.
Majority of the measures are to take effect on July 1, 2017.
As at that date, the NHT will increase the loan limit for Home Improvement Loans to $2.5 million, up from $1.5 million. With this new policy, two qualified NHT contributors can co-apply and access up to $5 million for home improvements. In addition, the loan limit for a House Lot loan will also be increased to $2.5 million from the previous limit of $2 million. The NHT last increased its House Lot loan limits from $1.5 million to $2 million in July 2016.
The Prime Minister also announced that the NHT will be offering 100% financing for all the housing units it produces. This policy will also come into effect on July 1, 2017.
Among the measures announced by the Prime Minister, is an increased benefit to persons with disabilities. Currently, NHT contributors with a disability who are certified by the Jamaica Council for the Disabled, repay their loans at a rate of interest of two-percentage points below that of the income group in which they fall. As of July 1, individuals earning up to $30,000 weekly will borrow at a rate of 0%.
The NHT will also provide a grant of $150,000 to NHT mortgagors with disabilities or who reside with and care for a family member with disabilities to retrofit or upgrade the dwellings to make them more suited for their needs.
Housing Microfinance Initiative:
In an effort to create a mix of financing opportunities for low income earners, a Housing Microfinance Initiative is being set up. As of April 1, 2017, these contributors will be able to access credit of up to $850,000 per borrower to help meet their respective housing needs.
Funds will be made available for on-lending to current and new contributors to repair or improve their existing homes or build their own homes. The loans will be offered with tenure of between six months to five years for services such as titling, utilities installation, new incremental construction and also for completion of units which are at various stages of construction. Persons who are not current NHT contributors must become registered to take advantage of this initiative.
The Prime Minister also highlighted the housing programme for the 2017/2018 financial year that will see the NHT commence construction of almost 6,000 housing solutions across Jamaica and provides loans for mortgages at a cost of $28.6 billion. Approximately 1,700 will be completed during the year. It is estimated that these projects will generate employment for 3,800 persons. For the 2017/2018 financial year, the NHT plans to write approximately 8,000 new loans at a value of $17.5 billion.
Contact: Corporate Communications Dept