Mortgage companies to take over open market loans for NHT
Mortgage lenders will now lend on behalf of the NHT while the trustwill pay them the difference in interest.

THE National Housing Trust (NHT) is indicating that the recent disclosure by the Government that private lenders will disburse funds on behalf of the trust relates to open market loans only.

The clarification came from senior general manager, Construction and Development Division of the NHT, Donald Moore.

The NHT has a range of housing solutions including loans for property purchases made on the open market and loans for its own scheme developments.

In his recent budget presentation, Prime Minister Andrew Holness said that the NHT will have about $200 billion more for home construction, arising from a recent agreement between the trust and private mortgage lenders for the deposit takers to lend the NHT approved amounts.

Private mortgage lenders had loaned $300 billion in 2021.

The NHT, meanwhile, loaned $24.1 billion to 6,924 borrowers between April 2021 and December 2021.

PM Holness, who has portfolio responsibility for the NHT, said the new framework would entail arrangements with Bank of Jamaica (BOJ)-regulated partner mortgage lending institutions to fund full mortgage disbursements, up to $6.5 million, to NHT contributors.

The disbursement, including the NHT's portion, will be fully financed by the partner institution, it was outlined.

The PM explained, “The NHT will then pay directly to the institution the difference between the interest rate charged by the institution and the interest rate charged by the trust. This will relieve the NHT of the cash required to fund the principal amount of the mortgage upfront, as this will be funded by the partner institution.”

In a somewhat similar arrangement, in 2019, the Housing Agency of Jamaica (HAJ) exited from the traditional mortgage financing market, after selling its portfolio to a private mortgage lender.

HAJ indicates that the move allowed the agency to reinvest its resources into enhancing the human capacity of its technical services department.

In a comment on Monday, March 22, a spokesperson said, “HAJ has been able to focus on starting over 3,000 units since the agency ceased managing mortgages in 2019.”

It was added, “And even with the impact of COVID-19, the agency was still able to maximise on accomplishing its goals by refocusing its resources, despite the many impediments which arose.”

HAJ commented: “This recent adjustment to NHT's financing framework is a positive move that will allow for the increased provision of housing solutions. This will contribute to the current Administration's thrust of providing 70,000 needed housing units to Jamaicans without impacting NHT's current customer base.”

Governor General Sir Patrick Allen, in his Throne Speech on February 10, said the NHT was on course to write more than 8,000 loans by the end of the financial year.

He noted that the NHT currently had 12,019 housing solutions under construction, in addition to 24,580 housing solutions in planning across the island.

A new partnership withmortgage lenders will free upfunding for housing construction,says Prime Minister AndrewHolness.
BY AVIA USTANNY COLLINDER Senior business reporter collindera@jamaicaobserver.com

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