Sun | Jul 15, 2018

NHT refunds to top $5b again

Published:Sunday | January 14, 2018 | 12:00 AMAvia Collinder

The National Housing Trust (NHT) expects to disburse $5.3 billion in contribution refunds this year.

Under the agency's Contribution Refund Toward Deposit, or CRTD, facility, would-be homeowners may use their refundable NHT contributions towards home purchase, but only up to a maximum of 15 per cent of the value of the real estate.

Contributors therefore have the option of either leaving the funds with the trust or claim their refunds.

Annual refunds from the NHT have been trending above $5 billion for several years, according to data provided by the agency. Now, at least one bank is attempting to tap into the refund pool for business.

Sagicor Bank Jamaica has a new marketing push that encourages persons to claim their refunds and then bank the proceeds as savings towards home ownership.

"Home ownership is a dream for many and we know the challenges many potential home buyers face in acquiring the deposit and associated costs with purchasing a home; but with their NHT contributions they can start to build a savings fund dedicated to achieving their goal of owning an invaluable asset," said Marketing Manager Daidre Sloley-McKay.

Sagicor Bank offers residential mortgages, while the property arm of the Sagicor Group family of companies is engaged in real estate development.

"Jamaicans are traditionally hard working individuals who put aside monies to acquire what they want - it is a part of our culture. We know however that with life's many demands, it can put a damper on our savings, and put our dreams on hold due to the lack of financial resources," Sloley-McKay said.

NHT's CRTD facility was first introduced in 2003.

"Under this policy, the NHT allows contributors to access contributions not yet due, to assist with deposit and with legal fees up to 15 per cent of the purchase price of the property. This sum is available for scheme as well as open market purchases," the housing agency said.

It added that there is one-year hold on contributions. "In other words, contributors accessing the CRTD facility as at January 2018 will be able to access refunds up to December 2016," NHT said.

avia.collinder@gleanerjm.com