JIS News

KINGSTON — Minister of Water and Housing, Hon Dr. Horace Chang, has reiterated the Government’s commitment to providing affordable opportunities for home ownership, particularly for low income earners.

He said the recently re-launched Secondary Mortgage Market (SMM) facility by the Jamaica Mortgage Bank (JMB) formed an important part of this commitment. The objective of the SMM is to provide liquidity support to mortgage granting institutions.

Under this facility, some 4,000 additional Jamaican families will be able to secure mortgages for their own home, Dr. Chang said.

The Housing Minister was speaking at the GSB Co-operative Credit Union’s annual general meeting, at the Knutsford Court Hotel in New Kingston, on Wednesday April 27.

He said the mission of providing affordable homes to Jamaicans could not be achieved without the input of the private sector.

“It is, therefore, imperative that we facilitate private sector partnerships, by providing the appropriate framework and environment for us to work together,” he noted.

Dr. Chang said the Government is proposing to facilitate the development of capital market financing through the SMM.

“The JMB is being utilised as the vehicle to mobilise and channel funding directly to mutual financing institutions, which require additional funding to expand their mortgage portfolios,” he stated.

In the meantime, the Minister noted that research has shown that the government needed at least $100 billion per annum to provide housing needs for Jamaicans. He said, at the same time, “we have indentified that the current financial framework allows for only about $30 billion in the private sector market”.

“It is therefore obvious that we will always have a shortfall, and the result of this is that the informal sector is supplying more housing starts than the formal sector – both government and private,” Dr. Chang said.  

He said what this leads to are very serious problems for society, as informal settlements of varying levels scatter across the land. He also argued that the outcome of many informal settlements is a fairly high level of lawlessness.

“To mitigate against these informal settlements, and to make home ownership easier and for the Government to achieve its mandate of ensuring that houses are accessible to our workers, the mortgage bank has re-launched the SMM facility with the objective of providing liquidity support to mortgage granting institutions such as GSB,” the Minister said.

He said this will not only provide significant benefits to individuals, but could revolutionise the entire mortgage system in Jamaica.

 

By BALFORD HENRY, JIS Reporter & Editor