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Prime Minister of Jamaica Andrew Holness speaking in the Lower House of Parliament in Kingston, Jamaica. (File photo)

National Housing Trust to reduce interest rates for Jamaicans

Prime Minister of Jamaica Andrew Holness speaking in the Lower House of Parliament in Kingston, Jamaica. (File photo)

The National Housing Trust (NHT) in Jamaica will reduce its interest rates for new and existing mortgagors effective, April 1, 2020.

The Head office of the National Housing Trust in New Kingston.

Prime Minister of Jamaica, Andrew Holness, in his contribution to the Budget Debate in the House of Parliament today, March 19, said there will be a one per cent reduction for some 8,000 new mortgagers annually and a 0.5 per cent reduction for approximately 100,000 existing mortgagors.

“With persons increasingly living and working beyond the age of 65 years, this improvement will allow increased accessibility to housing-related funding for these persons.”

Prime Minister of Jamaica, Andrew Holness

Based on the reductions, the new rates will be zero per cent for new and existing minimum wage earners (those making up to $15,000.99 weekly); zero and 0.5 per cent for new and existing loans respectively for earners between $15,001 and $42,000.99 weekly; two and 2.5 per cent  for new and existing loans respectively for earners making between $30,001 to $42,000.99 and four per cent and 4.5 per cent for new and existing loans respectively for earners making $42,001 and more weekly.

Holness said “the interest rate discounts currently offered to special groups, such as mortgagors aged 55 years and over, the disabled as well as public sector workers will continue. The interest rate discounts for the disabled will effective April 1, 2020 also be extended to include the parents of disabled children.”

A National Housing Trust development in Jamaica.

Additionally, the Prime Minister said the NHT will expand its Intergenerational Mortgage Programme to other eligible applicants for other loan products as beginning April 1. This will include open market purchases and construction loans, Holness said adding that funding under the programme will be capped at the existing loan limit.

What’s more, he said individuals over 65 years old and older, who are unable to access housing benefits benefits, will be able to do so voluntarily, as currently obtains. They will be designated “voluntary contributors” under the NHT Act and therefore be able to access these benefitswith tenures extending up to age 70.

“With persons increasingly living and working beyond the age of 65 years, this improvement will allow increased accessibility to housing-related funding for these persons,” Holness said.

Further, effective immediately, mortgagors who are laid off due to the COVID-19 virus, can apply for a moratorium on all loan payments of three months in the first instance.