Dedicated project sites have been identified by the National Housing Corporation (NHC) to supplement the Rent-to-Own Programme, since its launch at Airlie Heights last year.????

That is according to Project Coordinator at the NHC, Roger Ward, who revealed that additional homes were being constructed in a number of areas to add to the Rent-to-Own pool.??

"Rent-to-Own can be used in any area where the Corporation provides affordable housing … We are currently constructing 20 hardwood houses at Constant in St. George.?? Additionally, we have started some houses at River Crescent in St. Philip and Lancaster Phase 1 will also be targeting the Rent-to-Own, as well as Parish Land in St. Philip," he explained.

Mr. Ward pointed out that since the programme got under way with 16 duplex units at Airlie Heights in St. Michael, there had been no defaulting by tenants. "This includes persons who would have previously applied to the Corporation and did not get a positive response. In addition, new persons hearing about the programme for the first time, have been responding.?? The challenge to the NHC is to respond to those who now seek our assistance with this programme," he said.

Although they were still persons who are interested in buying property, the Project Coordinator noted that approximately 50 per cent of those who applied to the Corporation are not in a position to purchase a house.??

Rent-to-Own, Mr. Ward explained, appealed to persons of all age groups. However, he said the programme would be more attractive to persons 40 years and under.?? "This is for the obvious reason that after the Rent-to-Own process, the mortgage process still has to kick in," he observed.

According to him, some 60 per cent of the persons who applied to the NHC earned less than $2600 per month and found it challenging to buy property. The Rent- to-Own programme will give those persons an opportunity to become home owners, the official stated.??

"Payments are calculated in such a way that a portion being paid goes toward the eventual purchase of the unit.?? For the first seven years, individuals pay the NHC directly, based on 30 per cent of their salary, similarly to how the commercial banks operate. Out of that, 70 per cent is accumulated towards the purchase of the unit, and the other 30 per cent is used to keep the house insured and effect any minor repairs," he revealed.

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