First Mortgage Corp financials for decade

By Fay Simmons

Tribune Business Reporter


A Cabinet minister yesterday pledged to reveal the first Bahamas Mortgage Corporation audited financial statements for a decade by this September after the agency issued more than $5m worth of mortgages during the past two years.

JoBeth Coleby-Davis, minister of transport and housing, said during her 2023-2024 Budget debate contribution that the Corporation has issued more than 300 mortgages to Bahamian homeowners since 2021.

She added: “Since coming to office in 2021, Bahamas Mortgage Corporation has issued over 300 mortgages in excess of $5m. However, like many financial institutions, the corporation continues to experience fluctuating levels of mortgage delinquency.

“I wish to also advise the honourable House that, for the first time in more than 10 years, this administration will be tabling an audit report on the Bahamas Mortgage Corporation. The report will be tabled by September 2023.”

Mrs Coleby-Davis explained that six homes have been selected for a rent-to-own initiative, and the committee overseeing it is currently in the final stages of reviewing applications.

She said: “Through partnership with the Bahamas Mortgage Corporation, six homes on the island of Abaco have been identified for the launch of ‘A place to call home’, a rent-to-own initiative. The Rent-to-Own advisory committee is in the final stages of vetting applications and preparing the necessary paperwork for the qualified and approved applicants.

“Significant efforts have been made to ensure that the necessary checks and balances are in place to guarantee sustainability and fairness with this initiative.” The minister added that the Renaissance at Carmichael development will have a handing over ceremony within the coming weeks, and one of the homes has been retrofitted for a disabled child.

She said: “Despite setbacks with the global supply chain, construction of homes at Renaissance is progressing and in high conformance to building code standards. It is important to note that this housing project at Renaissance was started more than 15 years ago, with millions of dollars spent over the years.

“I am pleased to advise that a handover ceremony is scheduled within the coming weeks. In a first for the Department of Housing, one of the homes is being specially fitted for a family with a child with disabilities.”

Mrs Coleby-Davis said more than $3.5m has been allocated for the rent-to-own programme in the upcoming fiscal year, and the first-time homeowners initiative has been extended and now includes tax and duty exemptions for duplexes and triplexes once each unit is occupied by an owner. This model will be beneficial to families that wish to pool resources and build a multi-unit complex, with each contributor owning and residing in a unit.

Mrs Coleby-Davis said that persons building homes in the Family Islands can import building materials duty-free, while private companies building five or more homes valued at less than $300,000 can also receive the same concessions. She added that the Ocean Hole Subdivision in Eleuthera will be opened in the next budget year.

“With this Budget, the Family Island Encouragement Act is being extended. Persons building homes throughout our islands can import building materials duty-free. Private sector contractors who are building at least five homes for prices of less than $300,000 can obtain a Customs duty exemption on the building materials for the homes,” Mrs Coleby-Davis said.

“Plans for the Budget period include the opening of Ocean Hole Subdivision in Rock Sound, Eleuthera, and the presentation of keys to qualified and deserving homeowners.”


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