By NATARIO MCKENZIE
Tribune Business Reporter
ENVIRONMENT Minister Romauld Ferreira has again hit out at housing developer Arawak Homes, asserting during his budget communication the company had “overpriced” homes in the Ardastra Gardens Subdivision by as much as $60,000.
Arawak Homes president Franon Wilson, however, strongly denied those claims yesterday telling Tribune Business: “Our response simply is that the honourable minister is wrong on a number of fronts, period.”
Mr Ferreira said during his 2019/2020 budget communication on Tuesday evening: “By way of a memorandum of understanding, Arawak Homes constructed homes in the Ardastra Gardens Phase III subdivision. The government paid for all for the infrastructure in this area and gave them the land for free. The developer or design builder Arawak Homes Ltd was to improve the value of the land by constructing low cost housing.”
“After getting free land and infrastructure the homes were sold to the public on average for $160,807 per house. No matter that they got the land and infrastructure for free, that’s the water and light, they sold it to their fellow Bahamians for $160,807.00 on average. We had the approved value of the land, that is the value of the homes on the land appraised. The result was that they were appraised on average at $103,650 per home. That means that on average the homes were overpriced by $57,157.00 or 35.5 percent. These were the types of sweet heart deals we met in place. Why should Bahamians be forced to buy an overpriced home from a favoured few?.”
Mr Ferreira had suggested previously that under the former Christie administration, Bahamians were in many cases being overcharged between $20,000 to $40,000. He had also noted that due to the inflated price of single-family homes, the Minnis administration decided to discontinue offering turnkey homes, but instead install the necessary infrastructure on undeveloped land to produce residential serviced lots.