Real estate remains resilient despite COVID

Real estate remains resilient despite COVID

Monday, December 14, 2020

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PETAL James, chief of branches at JN Bank, is confident that despite the onslaught of the global pandemic on many industries, investments in the housing sector in Jamaica have remained buoyant and resilient.

James made the pronouncement recently as she addressed the annual general meeting of the Realtors Association of Jamaica (RAJ) at Karl Hendrickson Auditorium, Jamaica College, in St Andrew.

According to James, despite COVID-19 and its impact on Jamaica, 2020 has been advantageous for property owners and stakeholders in the housing industry because it has emphasised the power of real estate investment.

“Investments in the sector have been resilient and reliable for many owners as properties continue to hold their value and have even increased in worth, despite the climate. And, while some levelling off has been predicted, prices are not expected to decline,” said James.

She pointed out that the market is pregnant with several opportunities that should begin to emerge in mid- to late 2021, as new developments get under way and as the travel industry picks up steam.

“This, twinned with Airbnb's IPO listing [initial public offer listing], the share economy is set to rise again — and Jamaicans could see a re-emergence of short-term rentals soon,” argued James.

The JN Bank executive further encouraged stakeholders in the industry to use the downtime provided by the global pandemic to strengthen and reposition their organisations.

“Use this period as one for strengthening your organisations by focusing on the other critical aspects of your business to ensure its buoyancy and growth so that you'll be in an even better position post-COVID,” said James

“Similar to many other industries and sectors, it's timely for you to look at how you can further digitalise your operations to improve efficiency and convenience to your clients,” James added as she argued that it's also a good time for realtors and business owners to explore ways of sustainably financing the growth of their operations.

In the meantime, Minister of Housing, Urban Renewal, Environment and Climate Change Pearnel Charles Jr said the Government continues to work to reshape and improve efficiencies in the housing sector in Jamaica.

“The Government is focused on advancing a housing policy that should ensure that every Jamaican has access to safe, legal and affordable housing solutions — and that means developing housing that will be sustainable. It also means that we want persons to have the opportunity, access and support to buy homes and to afford their homes,” declared Charles.

He said this means that the Government will need to fast-track proposed changes to the Rent Restriction Act.

Charles said that since September 3 relevant stakeholders in the industry have been meeting to refine and fine-tune the amendments, and a draft should be before the Cabinet within the next two to three months.

The minister said the amended Act will address issues including security deposit, recovery of possession and notice to quit.

He added that the goal is to also create a better and a more judicious balance between the landlord and the tenant.

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