PM Breaks Ground for NHT Developments in Westmoreland

Prime Minister the Most Hon. Andrew Holness on Friday (March 24) broke ground for the development of 112 serviced lots in Westmoreland.

To this end, the National Housing Trust (NHT) will develop 51 serviced lots at Yeast Plant in Frome at a cost of $127 million; and 61 serviced lots in Shrewsbury, at a cost of $119 million.

Speaking at the ground breaking ceremony in Shrewsbury, Prime Minister the Most. Hon. Andrew Holness said the demand for housing will increase.

“This is why the NHT has been given the simple charge to build more houses. It doesn’t make sense having this massive reserve piling up that everybody is salivating over and the demand is there for more houses,” Mr. Holness said.

He pointed out that on average, the Government builds between 6,000-7,000 housing solutions per year, with the NHT being responsible for approximately 50 per cent of the amount.

“The NHT is the main development housing institution in Jamaica. The question however becomes how do you use it? The role of the NHT really is to stimulate the housing market. That is its strategic role. We must however be mindful that one organization cannot fulfil the housing needs in Jamaica,” Prime Minister Holness said.

He pointed out that preliminary estimates show that the Government would conservatively need about 20,000 housing solutions per year to meet the demand for housing.

“The NHT in one year couldn’t remotely handle that amount. What we need to have is the private sector coming in to assist. The NHT…would now come in and support a housing market through the financing,” Prime Minister Holness said.

“This is very critical, especially since we often find that the financing of houses can be very expensive. In fact the interest rates that are applied to some of the housing development loans are way too high. When they put on their profit and go to market to sell, the price is very high and the mortgage people have to pay is way too high,’ he added.

Meanwhile, Mr. Holness said that a way has to be found to leverage the large reserve of the NHT and use it to encourage the private sector to partner in the development of housing.

“If we are really going to make an impact that is what we will have to do. That is the charge I have given to the NHT. Yes you have to build the houses, yes you have to stimulate it. That is your job. At the end of the day, we want every Jamaican to be proud of their identity,” he stated.

Article by: Garwin Davis
Photo from: www.jis.gov.jm

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