Housing and Urban Development Minister Randall Mitchell yesterday called on homeowners to honour their financial commitment and pay their mortgage and rent, saying the Housing Development Corporation (HDC) needs the revenue to construct other developments.
Mitchell said, “In the same way that we have a responsibility, I want you, new home owners, to realise that you also have a responsibility. Your responsibility is to honour your financial commitments. Pay your mortgage and your monthly rent on time.”
Speaking at HDC’s key handover ceremony held at Omardeen’s School of Accountancy auditorium on Cipero Street, San Fernando, Mitchell distributed keys to homeowners from various parts of south and central Trinidad.
By 2020, Mitchell said, government intends to complete construction of 5,000 units at an estimated cost of $2.5 billion. “And we will complete it with the little assistance that we will get from Central Government, but mainly from the proceeds from our mortgage conversions of lease-to-own and rent-to-own.”
Only on Friday, there was a media tour of five of seven housing development projects under construction along the East West Corridor. Yesterday, the Minister reiterated that 350 quality units would be delivered before the end of the year.
“In all, across the country, we have 23 housing developments in our portfolio that are right now under construction that would add approximately 5,000 units to our Housing stock. And, as I have said, time and time again, we intend to complete all 5,000 by 2020.”
On the issue of squatter regularisation, Mitchell said the ministry worked over the past year on upgrading and improving the living conditions of those certificate of comfort holders who were living on State lands prior to 1998.
“We are now able to offer over 4,000 certificate of comfort holders, that is, we are now able to offer 4,000 families marketable deeds of lease and statutory leases in areas such as Jacob Hill, Wallerfield; Glenroy, Princes Town; La Paille, Caroni; KP Lands, Valencia.” Mitchell said the affordable mortgage programme administered through the TT Mortgage Finance Company was adjusted to encourage greater access and greater affordability to people seeking financing for their home and land purchases.
For those who wish to access the two per cent financing regime, the qualifying monthly income increased from $10,000 to $14,000 and the property value from $850,000 to $1million.
“In terms of the five percent facility, the lower limit of $10,001 has been moved to $14,001 with a higher limit of $30,000. This would allow for the purchase or construction of properties up to $1.5 million on the open market as well as HDC properties.”