Protection of homeowners still a priority for FNM govt
With mortgage delinquencies sitting above an estimated $600 million, the Free National Movement (FNM) intends to review legislation that would facilitate the protection of homeowners with respect to foreclosures.
In the Speech from the Throne read yesterday by Governor General Dame Marguerite Pindling, the new government plans to address the mortgage crisis facing many Bahamians through legislative reforms and the promotion of home-ownership programs.
As part of its 2017 manifesto, the FNM pledged to enact legislation to provide for a “rent-to-own” program to facilitate home ownership.
The speech pointed to the FNM’s intent to continue the development of new government housing subdivisions to address unmet demands for affordable housing.
Under the former Christie administration, a similar promise was made to construct 1,300 homes over the span of five years.
During its 2007 to 2012 term, the FNM launched a $75 million government initiated housing program to assist Bahamians with home ownership and reduced first time homeowners’ stamp tax exemption to $500,000.
Government housing programs have been a goal set by both the former Ingraham and Christie administrations, each receiving a share of criticism on the matter.
The FNM reaffirmed some of its former pledges, one of them being a commitment to regulate the long-term, unauthorized occupation of Crown land.
In addition, the speech stated that the FNM would make available Crown land to qualified Bahamians at concessionary rates.
The speech further revealed that the FNM would launch a program of real property tax discounts and rebates for pensioners 65 years or over who qualify.
The speech also stated that the FNM would encourage and empower absentee landlords to redevelop their ancestral lands and abandoned buildings.