JIS News

Approximately 10,239 titles have been issued under Operation PRIDE, since its inception in 1995.
This was disclosed by Permanent Secretary, in the Ministry of Water and Housing, Genefa Hibbert at the Jamaica Mortgage Bank (JMB) housing development seminar, which was held today (December 2), at the Terra Nova All Suites Hotel in Kingston. Citing some of the successes of Operation PRIDE, she informed that the programme had provided 13,010 planned solutions, and regularized over 113 informal settlements islandwide.
Speaking on behalf of Minister of Water and Housing, Donald Buchanan, Mrs. Hibbert told the gathering that from the group of PRIDE title owners, contributions of some $2 billion had been made against a total expenditure of $6.7 billion or 30 per cent of outlay. Some 32 PRIDE projects have been completed islandwide.
She pointed out that the magnitude of the island’s housing need was such, that it required the united efforts of the government at different levels, the private sector and the community, highlighting a number of such initiatives and collaborations that have been taken over the last 15 years to address housing needs in Jamaica, each achieving varying levels of success.
One such approach, she noted, was the Ministry’s joint venture programme, where “the developer brings to the table, technical expertise, leverage financing and in some instances, land for the development”.
“The ministry offers easy access to land suitable for development, reduction in timeline of the approval process, quicker access to titles and tax incentive,” she pointed out.
For the purchasers, the benefit is primarily significant savings, which is estimated to be 13 per cent of the cost of home ownership, due to waivers in transfer taxes, stamp duties and registration fees.
“There are also indirect benefits, as having more providers increase competition in the market and this has resulted in an improved housing product,” Mrs. Hibbert said.
The joint venture project has, to date, completed 21 projects valued at $4.69 billion, providing homes for 4,353 families. There are currently 17 such projects under construction, totaling 4,784 solutions and valued at $8.1 billion. Of this, nine, which are valued at $5.7 billion, will be completed this year for the benefit of some 2,699 middle to low-income families.
On the National Housing Trust (NHT), the Permanent Secretary said since its inception in 1976, the Trust has funded or developed some 173 housing schemes with 47 schemes in St.Catherine, accounting for the largest number of developments.
For its part, the JMB focuses its activity on the middle of the housing market, where the cost of the solutions range from $3.5 million to $10 million. Since 1992, the Bank has funded more than 75 housing schemes at a capital cost in excess of $12 billion. There are projects currently in the pipeline amounting to $3 billion.
Mrs. Hibbert explained, that although the majority of the Ministry’s projects had targeted the middle-income family, “the programme is not limited in its scope in terms of our partners or its target group.
We have undertaken partnerships for the purpose of regularizing squatter communities in the low income to middle and upper income groups, and have partnered with Non-governmental Organisations (NGOs), other government agencies as well as local and international investors”.
She said that in charting the way forward, the Ministry has embarked on the development of a comprehensive national housing policy, which would streamline the sector and ensure that the input of all the stakeholders complemented each other, thereby guaranteeing the most efficient utilization of resources.
The Ministry’s calculations indicate that 13,260 new housing units, will be required annually between 2001 and 2025, to satisfy the projected demand for housing.
The JMB housing seminar was held under the theme: ‘Key Issues in Planning and Implementing A Successful and Profitable Housing Development’.

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