By YOURI KEMP
Tribune Business Reporter
The Bahamas Real Estate Association's (BREA) president yesterday backed the Prime Minister's drive to offer cut-price land to first-time buyers in western New Providence.
Christine Wallace-Whitfield told Tribune Business that she “hopes that it comes to fruition”, and that “all persons applying for an opportunity to purchase land in this community do get their proper title deeds and are able to enjoy what is promised to them.
"I hope that government has consulted the real estate community to make sure the proper valuations were done to justify the pricing. I also hope that our young professionals do get a chance at owning Bahamian land as it is important," she added.
"I am sure that when it is all done the community and association fees were well thought-out, including the Heads of Agreement and covenants, and that there is full transparency throughout this process as community association fees vary in amounts with the different communities in The Bahamas, and especially Nassau.”
The Prime Minister, speaking in Abaco last Friday, said the Government will offer lots valued at $150,000 for about $50,000 to young professionals. He said the community will have a swimming pool and a community centre, but did not give details such as where it will be located, nor when the lots will be available for purchase.
“The land will be upscale and the overall value of the land – probably 90 by 100 – we’ll put in all the infrastructure, community centre, etc. The lands in the west are usually about ($120,000 to $150,000); most are about $150,000," Dr Minnis added.
"We would sell it to the young professionals for about $50,000 or less because it’s really their land. Crown Land is really the people’s land. It’s not individuals; it’s the people's, and we just want to ensure that the people receive their land.
“They would purchase the property at about $50,000. The property with all the infrastructure would be worth $150,000, which means they would automatically qualify for a mortgage and have their homes built without that great outlay that’s prohibiting most young people from building today.”
Elbert Thompson, a former BREA director, said: “This is great news for Bahamians looking to own a piece of the rock that have had a difficulty qualifying for properties. When you consider the average wages of most people, and you see the prices of vacant lots and houses, it does pose a challenge for many people to become home owners.
“I hope that the process to purchase these properties will be done fairly and efficiently. As the community will have amenities, I trust there is a plan in place to ensure everything will be properly maintained and budgeted if there are homeowner maintenance fees. Acquiring the property is the first step, but maintaining the property will be key to preserving value."