FHC launches 6% mortgage rate

Wednesday, April 24, 2019

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FIRST Heritage Co-operative Credit Union Limited (FHC) has rolled out a home loan solution that offers first-time house owners up to $6.5 million at an interest rate of 6 per cent annually.

The new loan offering, which is branded 'Match It', is targeted at house buyers looking to combine the maximum National Housing Trust (NHT) benefit of $6.5 million with an additional $6.5 million from the credit union for the purchase of houses valued at $13 million. Individuals seeking funds exceeding $6.5 million may utilise FHC's 'Match It Plus' feature.

In launching the new loan product, CEO of First Heritage Credit Union Roxann Linton noted that the credit union has consistently observed the difficulty faced over the years by first-time house buyers and believes that the new loan offer will provide easier access and greater mortgage opportunities.

“We continue to appreciate the services of the NHT, and have created a housing solution that can work in tandem with theirs, thereby developing a mutually beneficial relationship for all involved,” Linton said.

“Therefore, someone who approaches FHC with their maximum NHT benefit of $6.5m would then leave the credit union with another $6.5 million, allowing them to purchase a house for $13 million without being exposed to interest rates higher than 6 per cent. Similarly, if two people opted to join together their NHT contributions of $13 million, they will receive an additional $13 million from FHC, thereby allowing them to purchase a house for $26 million.

The limited time offer runs up to June 30, 2019 and is available for the purchase of houses on the Open Market.

First Heritage's new loan offer comes amidst a 'run' on the mortgage market by the commercial banks after the Government of Jamaica eased the tax burden on real estate transactions and increased mortgage benefits to NHT contributors.

In March, Scotiabank lowered its mortgage rate to 6.99 per cent from 7.49 per cent. Shortly after, VMBS responded with a $50-billion mortgage portfolio that would provide 100 per cent mortgage financing to microbusiness operators as well as Jamaicans employed on contract at an interest rate of 8.5 per cent.

JN Bank also promised potential homeowners 110 per cent financing for house purchases and related expenses, allowing qualified borrowers to eliminate the strain of making out-of-pocket payments when purchasing a property. In guaranteeing customers reduced processing time for loans, Sagicor Bank is offering “up to 100 per cent” mortgage financing, a three-month payment holiday and “a special rate”.

So far, FHC is the only credit union to have dedicated a pool of funds aimed at improving its offer to the mortgage market since the announcements by the Government.

“We know home-buying is a big step included in one's growth and development and we are ready to partner with our members to 'Match It'. So we invite our members as well as people who are not yet members of FHC to become members now and take advantage of this opportunity,” Linton concluded.

— Karena Bennett


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