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Making Home Ownership a Reality through Financially Sound Decisions with your partners at the National Housing Trust

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Making Home Ownership a Reality through Financially Sound Decisions

 

Introduction

The road to homeownership is an exciting journey. It can give you a sense of personal satisfaction to have a home of your own to share and enjoy with family and friends. However, for many Jamaicans the thought of buying a house doesn’t just feel far away, but nearly impossible. With so many new developments and houses on the market and the high costs associated with home ownership, many Jamaicans are daunted and even demotivated. Like any major decision, one need to exercise careful considerations as home ownership should ideally be one such priority. After all, it is by far one of the biggest financial decisions one has to make in their lifetime. The key to making homeownership a reality is to ensure that you have a sound financial plan and a feasible budget to set aside money that will be needed for expenses such as making the deposit and other fees including closing costs, stamp duties, lawyer fees etc. It can be a very costly venture but with sound and early financial intervention, it is achievable. At the end of the day, it all comes down to saving and planning.

 

History – Why We Exist

The National Housing Trust (NHT) was established in 1976 through an amendment to the National Insurance Act of 1976. We were entrusted with the mission of increasing and enhancing the stock of available housing in Jamaica as well as providing financial assistance to the most needy of our contributors who wish to build, to buy or to repair their homes. The NHT also has a mandate to generate funding for the housing construction sector and to promote improved building systems and greater efficiency within the industry. We are a statutory body, primarily funded by deductions from Employers and the Self-Employed as well as from Employees and Voluntary Contributors.

 

 

Getting you Home

The Trust aims to ensure that all contributors are able to access financing for home ownership, regardless of their income. One may ask, “How has the NHT done this, especially for low income earners?” Well, the NHT continues to make adjustments to its policies, thereby increasing contributors’ ability to access home loans. Recent policy changes involve increasing the NHT’s loan limit for all contributors.  As a result, contributors can now access up to 6.5 million dollars towards the purchase of their home. Interest rates for new and also existing mortgages have also been lowered. In addition, the NHT has adjusted the income bands to which interests are applied.

These adjustments took effect on May 1, 2019, but were backdated to include all loans as of April 1, 2019. Through these attractive loan options, the NHT has allowed Jamaicans the flexibility of acquiring loans to build, buy, repair or improve their homes.

So, do you want to get started on your home ownership journey? Well, here’s more to help you towards achieving this life goal.

Here are five (5) easy steps to guide you on your home ownership journey, through NHT financing.

 

  1. Who is eligible for a NHT loan?
  • NHT contributors
    • Must have been a contributor for at least 52 weeks, of which 13 of those payments must have been within the 26 weeks before the date of application.
  • Persons between the ages of 18-65years
  • Earn a qualifying salary
    • So then you may ask, “What is a qualifying salary?” Well, a qualifying salary is one which ranges from $7,500 more per week (minimum wage and above).
  • Have paid up all outstanding contributions and interests (applicable to self-employed and voluntary contributors)

 

  1. So, next you will need to know what documents you are required to take in for securing the loan. The documents you will need are as follows:
  • A valid identification card; driver’s license, national voters registration card, passport
  • Proof of birth (birth certificate)
  • TRN card
  • NIS card
  • 1 current passport-sized photograph
  • Marriage or Divorce Certificate (where applicable)
  • Certificate of Contributions Memo (self-employed persons)
  • Gross Income verification letter and two last pay-slips from present employer (employed persons)
  • Property title
  • Property Tax payment certificate
  • Surveyor’s ID Report (no more than 1 year old) which identifies the boundaries of the premises
  • Valuation Report which is an assessment of the property you wish to purchase to determine it’s real value.

 

  1. How can the NHT help you to finance your home?
  • The National Housing Trust has given the following home-financing options:
    • NHT offers loans of up to $6.5 million ($13 million if you co-apply )
    • 100% financing for NHT schemes
    • Home Grants of up to $2.5 million (for persons earning below $15,000)
    • Joint Financing

This applies to persons who wish to purchase house on the open market. Contributors are allowed to access loans jointly from NHT and other financial institutions, namely NCB, VMBS, Scotia, Sagicor Bank Jamaica, First Global Bank Limited, CIBC First Caribbean International Bank and Jamaica National Commercial Bank.

  • Micro-Finance (though credit unions)

Individuals can access up to $1.5 million to assist with any home related expenses. These funds are accessible through your credit unit and are in addition to other NHT loan benefits.

  1. You may now be wondering about the interest rates which may be applied to NHT mortgages. Well, we are happy to share with you that the NHT has cut interest rates by 1% to ensure that low-income earners are able to access mortgages and own a home. The new interest rates are as follows:

 

Interest Rates (Effective April 1, 2019 onwards)


Weekly Income Band


Interest Rates for New Applicants


 


Regular


Public Sector Workers


New Mortgagors

55 years and older


Persons with Disabilities


$15,000.99


0%


0%


0%


0%


$15,001-$30,000.99


1%


0%


0%


0%


$30,001-$42,000.99


3%


2%


1%


1%


$42,001- and above


5%


4%


3%


3%

 

 

This concludes our guide for helping you become a home owner. We hope that you have found this information to be very valuable and useful. Please contact us or visit our website and social media pages for additional information. We look forward to hearing from you our contributors.

Contact:
Corporate Communications & Marketing Dept.
National Housing Trust
4 Park Blvd
Kingston 5
Phone: 876-968-6967

Profile of Writer

Mr. Dwayne Berbick is an experienced and driven communicator. He serves as the NHT’s Corporate & Public Affairs Manager and has responsibility for the company’s communications strategy, digital marketing initiatives as well as stakeholder and media relations.

NB: Northern Caribbean University (NCU) final year student and NHT intern Andrine Paul also contributed to this post.


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