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Build More Affordable Houses In Jamaica – Earl Samuels

Kingston, Jamaica – Earl Samuels, Assistant General Manager of Jamaica National Building Society (JNBS), is urging developers to build more houses that middle income earners can afford.
The Jamaican economy has not grown much during the last decade; and, is unlikely to grow significantly in the near future, as the world economy emerges from the recession, he said. This has impacted negatively on the spending power of most Jamaicans.
“Housing affordability has become a challenge,” he stated. Mr. Samuels was updating members of the Incorporated Masterbuilders Association of Jamaica (IMAJ) on Tuesday, April 10, about the status of the real estate market; and the Jamaica National 9.4 per cent special mortgage rate.
“For you to stay in business, you will have to build units that are affordable,” he pointed out. “We see units from $6 million to $15 million as really where the affordable range is at this time.”
The JN Assistant General Manager, in charge of Finance and Mortgage Operations, urged the IMAJ members to work closely with organisations, such as JNBS, to increase housing opportunities for Jamaicans.
“We have a common cause for all Jamaicans… that of providing them with the best opportunity to own their own homes,” he said. “Against that background, I’m suggesting that we come together to explore ways in which we can achieve that.”
Pointing out the value of a collaborative approach, he said, “If you join forces, you can become more competitive.”
Mr. Samuels told the IMAJ members that the JNBS 9.4 per cent mortgage offer came with 90 per cent financing based on the lower of the purchase price or value of a residential property with a dwelling.
The Society will also provide borrowers with a $50,000 contribution towards the closing cost and provide one year of free membership in the Jamaica Automobile Association (JAA), a member of the JN Group.
He added that the Society has reorganised itself to improve its client service levels.
“We have trained and repositioned our sales team to become Mobile Mortgage Officers,” he said. “Today, we have a dynamic group of Agents who are prepared to meet clients on their own ground.”
Recognising the changing market environment, he indicated that two years ago the Society consolidated its mortgage operations into four regional centres, located in New Kingston, Mandeville, Ocho Rios and at Catherine Hall in Montego Bay.
He added that the Society has also improved its internal mortgage operations, to achieve total computerization of its mortgage evaluation process. This has resulted in faster turnaround times, better account management and improved decision-making.

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