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Shopping for affordable housing? Have a plan!

BY DENNISE WILLIAMS
Contributor

Wednesday, December 06, 2017

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In 2018 plans, aquiring a house is a big deal for many people and some may be daunted by the prices of new developments that can actually start at US$135,000 and upward for a one-bedroom apartment.

So the question of affordable housing becomes a big deal for people on a budget.

Now in our reality, 'affordable housing' is in the $10 million range and real estate sales manager, Janelle Brown, discusses how you can still find affordable housing in the Corporate Area. We want to consider whether it is realistic for someone to really set their budget at $10 million.

Brown explains, “Realistically, the rule of thumb is that no more than 1/3 of your salary (some say no more than ) should go towards your mortgage payment. And that's because you still have a myriad of other expenses that you'll continue to incur when the mortgage kicks in – there's the expense for food, utilities (the ever-foreboding light bill being at the forefront), school fees and supplies if you have children, car expenses, clothes and the list goes on.”

Therefore, it is usually the case where a couple, or friends, will have to combine their salary to actually afford to buy a $10-million house. And that means that one or both of the people house shopping need at least $300,000 per month in take-home pay.

Brown continues, “So while a combined salary of $300,000 might seem like a lot, if we go with the equation of 1/3 of that it would work out to mortgage of $100,000 per month. What would that mean in terms of the actual value of the house that was purchased? Well, using a simple equation of $10,000 in mortgage for every $1 million borrowed, then that would equate to a mortgage on the purchase of a property valued at $10 million.”

Now for many of us, we really want a house in the 'Golden Triangle' of the Kingston 6 and 8 communities. To this, Brown notes, “In the Kingston and St Andrew area, that would be a dream, but dreams do come true. Sometimes you're able to come across a 'fixer upper' that you can get for that price and then over the medium term, while paying the mortgage, you can bring your purchase to the house you want it to be. Let's be mindful, however, that the 'fixer upper' will likely be an apartment rather than house.”

Moving outward, Brown notes that there is more scope to buy a house with land rather than an apartment. “Outside of the KSA metropolis, you will find some available homes in that price range. Two years ago, the WIHCON Jacarana homes off the Old Harbour main road had an asking price of $6 million at the time of construction in 2014/2015. Of course, those prices are now closer to the $10 million price and possibly even more as people have added on to the properties and made them larger.”

Brown continues, “If you go east of Kingston, heading just outside of Harbour View, you may find some options as well — and those options will include the new development by WIHCON, the Seascape which will offer one- and two-bedroom apartments and two-bedroom townhouses and the one-bedroom will be in the $10 million price range.”

There is some hope for people who are determined to stretch their budget.

“There's another spin to add to this. If you save significantly and consistently, create a second source of income, hold that bonus rather than spend it or decide to downgrade your vehicle, you can create additional funds to put towards the purchase of your house so that if you, say, amass $3 million over a period of five years, you can purchase something in the $13 million range but still only pay a mortgage of $10 million. So, for those of us with plans to purchase but have limited income, the time is now to get in the move!”

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