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March Madness 2019

Government mortgage scheme to restart

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After a near seven-year hiatus Government’s Guaranteed Housing Assisted Mortgage scheme is back.

The government-backed loan scheme aims to help people who can’t afford the deposit and fees associated with buying a home.
Nick-named “GGHAM” the scheme, which falls under the National Housing Development Trust already has applicants in line to take advantage of incentives open to first time Caymanian home owners.
Housing Minister Hon. Kurt Tibbetts announced the reboot on Wednesday (November 17) while speaking on Government Information Services (GIS).

“The idea of the programme is to assist individuals,” says NHDT General Manager Julio Ramos, pointing out that applicants are showing interest.
“Thirty individuals now who have continued followed up with the trust. We have individuals who follow-up on a weekly basis, some every two weeks. They say they are waiting,” Mr Ramos says.

Five banks have agreed to join GGHAM and Mr Ramos says there’s a new increased threshold of $250, 000.

“We are mindful that cost have increased and 250 will still put them within the threshold of qualifying for these mortgages,” he says.

Mr Ramos says GGHAM was successful in the past delivering 325 mortgages to first time homeowners., but he admits there were defaulters. However Mr Ramos says safeguards are in place.

“We do our follow ups and we outline to them you entered into an arrangement and you need to make good on your end, the last thing you need is to lose a property,” he says.

The general manager also defended the timing of the restart of the programme so close to elections, saying the negotiations with the banks took some time.

“We need to ensure the agreement satisfies all parties, so in terms of timeless yes its long-delayed, but its a process that is being rolled out properly,” Mr Ramos says.

Under the scheme government guarantees $5 million to each of the participating banks to assist first time homeowners in qualifying for mortgages.

About the author

Reshma Ragoonath

Reshma Ragoonath

Reshma Ragoonath is a Trinidadian journalist with 18 years media experience with a strong background in print with her most recent stint at The Cayman Reporter. She has a BA in Mass Communications, as well as, an Associate degree in Journalism and Public Relations.

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