Real Estate Board seeking greater protection for home buyers

The Real Estate Board and Strata Commission are on a mission to have the law governing the use of purchasers' deposits amended as a way of ensuring that home investors enjoy greater protection. "Cabinet has approved the amendment and we have completed three drafts of the bill; the fourth is being worked on as we speak," said Sandra Watson, the board's chief executive officer. "It has to be approved by Cabinet before we can provide any other details. Primarily, it will ensure that developers are more accountable, especially regarding depositors' deposits," noted Watson.

The issue of inadequate investor protection came to national attention recently after the Real Estate Board and several home investors expressed concerns about the millions of dollars collected by the developers of the stalled Palmyra Resort and Spa scheme in Montego Bay, St James.

 Read more at http://jamaica-gleaner.com/gleaner/20120912/news/news2.html

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NHT urged to facilitate young professionals

The Prime Minister of Jamaica has instructed the National Housing Trust (NHT) to be more aggressive in providing affordable housing solutions for all contributors. Mrs. Simpson-Miller, in a recent meeting with the members of the NHT Board implored them to pay special attention to young professionals, many of whom she said were unable to afford some of the houses now being built by the Trust.

She also reminded Board members of the raft of NHT-related promises she made in her budget presentation earlier this year, saying that she was looking for all these promises to become reality within the specified timeframe.

Read more: http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/latestnews/PM-urges-NHT-to-facilitate-young-professionals--disabled

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Middle-income home availability, affordability stifles market

Chairman of the National Housing Trust (NHT), Easton Douglas, says there is not enough supply of housing in Jamaica in either the low- or middle-income categories to fill current demand. Real estate agents and dealers agree with him, one of whom has dubbed the lack of housing inventory a "housing crisis" driven by expensive land, while wondering if the capital city Kingston should start building up instead of out.

Read more at http://jamaica-gleaner.com/gleaner/20120715/business/business1.html

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Use NHT surplus to build homes

Prime Minister of Jamaica Portia Simpson Miller recently announced that mortgage rates within the three-five per cent range would be cut for three years to a range of one-three per cent. The NHT will also receive a two-year waiver from GCT and other taxes, the PM said. Realtor Andrew Issa who heads Coldwell Banker Jamaica says in order to increase market supply in response to excess demand, the savings projected from a two-year tax holiday granted to the National Housing Trust (NHT) should be reinvested into the development of homes capped at J$7 million in price.

Read more at http://jamaica-gleaner.com/gleaner/20120617/business/business2.html 

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NCB now offering 9.5% mortgage

National Commercial Bank (NCB) has re-entered the local mortgage market with a single-digit interest rate loan offering. The new facility, introduced earlier this week, features interest rates as low as 9.5 per cent and up to $200,000 cashback for qualified applicants who apply by August 31, 2012. The financial institution said qualified borrowers will have up to 30 years to repay their loans and access to financing of up to 90 per cent of the cost to purchase the house. Additionally, NCB said the facility can be combined with National Housing Trust (NHT) mortgage benefits.

Read more at http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/business/NCB-offers-9-5--mortgages_10766071

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Your home in Jamaica : Rent, Build or Buy?

Amost all adults are faced with the choice and challenge of making the decision to build, buy or rent their home. While renting your home may be unavoidable in the early years of adulthood, the time will come when a decision must be made on whether to continuue renting, or to make the leap to buy or build your dream home. Mortgage rates in Jamaica have been trending down and some lenders are now quoting single-digit rates. Both building and buying are now considerably more affordable options for the potential new homeowner, however the expenses of a homeowner also differ significantly from a tenant.

This article by the Jamaica Gleaner highlights the opinions of a few local real estate industry professionals on the rent, build or buy subject, and is a very good read for persons who are now faced with this decision

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Mortgage business in Jamaica trends upward

According to the National Land Agency (NLA), which registers all new transactions, Jamaican mortgage loan providers did marginally higher business in 2011 as compared to 2010. The 12,138 new mortgages registered in Jamaica in 2011 is 2.5% more than the 11,834 registered in 2010. In 2011 however, the Jamaican Government reduced the stamp duty charge on refinancing transactions to a nominal J$100, and so it is expected that a number of mortgagors would have switched their loans to companies with lower interest rates. The NLA is unable to say what proportion of 2011 mortgage transactions might have been refinanced properties.

In the last listing of assets dated September 2011 by the BOJ for Jamaica's building societies, the data shows a 3% improvement in mortgage loans year over year. JNBS continues to lead the sector with J$39.16 billion in residential loans, VMBS had J$26.33 billion in loans, a 5.7% reduction, and Scotia Jamaica Building Society recorded a 23% increase in its portfolio to J$9.7 billion. FirstCaribbean International Building Society grew its loans by 5% to J$8.11 billion.

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Jamaica missing out on timeshare market

President of the Jamaica Association of Villas and Apartments (JAVA), Vana Taylor, says  because of delay legislative delays, local villa and strata property owners are missing out on business in the timeshare market. Taylor says  a new and reliable income stream would open for small players in the tourism if property owners were allowed to sell accommodation in time-blocks, and room utilisation rates would grow above the current average of about 30 per cent occupancy throughout the year. JAVA has 400  apartment and villa owners as members, while the Strata Commission has 1,532 strata corporations on record across Jamaica. The timeshare law has been under discussion for over six years.

More at http://jamaica-gleaner.com/gleaner/20120115/business/business1.html

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WIHCON segments business model to include luxury home offering

West indies Home Contractors (WIHCON), has earned a reputation for constructing homes in Jamaica for buyers with modest budgets. The company introduced the first-ever housing development in Jamaica (Mona Heights) and is well known for its Portmore housing solutions. The company has now taken the decision to expand its portfolio to include luxury as well as budget homes.

The company recently formally segmented its business model to include WIHCON Select, which will offer up-market products like Somerset Homes, Sunflower Manor and Aqueduct Gates. WIHCON Homes, which will continue to bring new designs, technical capabilities and quality products to satisfy first-time buyers

The unveiling of Somerset Homes, in Graham Heights, Kingston, follows the successful introduction of WIHCON's two other up-market developments in Mona, Sunflower Manor and Aqueduct Gates.
 

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Low property tax compliance in Montego Bay

Mayor of Montego Bay, Jamaica, Charles Sinclair, revealed during  a recent Rotary Club of Montego Bay East's meeting, that only 45 per cent of landowners in St James are compliant with their property tax payments. Singleing out several residential communities, Sinclair said Porto Bello has a compliance rate of 14 per cent, noting that only 106 lots out of the 750 are being paid for. He listed the percentage compliance rates for Westgate Hills at 32; Ironshore, 28; Coral Gardens, 42; Spring Farm Estate, 43; and Torado Heights, 34.

The mayor urged landowners to commit themselves, as property taxes are used by the parish council to go towards the maintenance of the city's streetlights; collection of residential waste, and road repairs.
 

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