Thursday, Jul 18, 2019
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Support for first-time home buyers

Dr. Hubert Minnis, prime minister of The Commonwealth of The Bahamas, recently announced in a televised address a $2.5 billion investment for West End, Grand Bahama and an incredible reduced cost on property offer for first-time home buyers.

These properties would have all utilities and owners would have access to duty-free building materials and a maximum of two years to complete the construction.

In addition, they can choose their plans and own preferred architects to design the homes.

This is excellent news. The government ought to be commended for this new, progressive approach to home ownership. It’s my hope that, in the future, more details in addition to rules and regulations will be published regarding the construction of these homes.

There should be more structures in this area, instead of providing a buyer with a plot with no direction to build a house. It goes without saying that the absence of direction could possibly be an open invitation of disastrous disorganization. It must be clear what the allowances are, in terms of guidelines on size and design.

Certainly the authorities can give them a choice of pleasing architectural drawings that can be considered, judging from what we see, sometimes the home built lacks design and ends up being an eyesore.

Conditions should also include no additions to the homes, so the homeowner needs to stick to the plans. Also no type of business should be allowed in these homes; so many times we see petty shops, churches, garages, daycare centers, and, lately, a surge of gaming houses smack in the middle of a neighborhood.

Bahamians can be very enterprising, and I trust the authorities have all of their “i’s” dotted and “t’s” crossed when it comes to selling this land and selling it to those who are truly in need of it. The main objective should be to stop those who flip properties and who have no intention of constructing a home.

With proper planning of landscaping and lighting, green areas and sidewalks shall accommodate and benefit children at play.

There are many successful private gated communities on New Providence and it would be intelligent of the government to seek them out and take steps to create a model community following considerate guidelines.

It’s indeed a great opportunity that should be available to all Bahamians with aspirations of further development on our Family Islands.

We have a vast acreage of Crown land that can be used for such a purpose in developing our country and not just benefit a few. This land should be open to all Bahamians with a viable plan to making a success out of it. Land should be granted to serious individuals who qualify to develop and make our Bahamas great.

In addition, thousands of acres of generation property, especially on the Family Islands, are mixed in centuries of paperwork and misunderstanding. The hope for these acres of family properties can only be fixed by Parliament, as it’s impossible to clear up any other way. These properties impede developments on these islands, as title and other legal impediments frustrate investors.

Bahamians dream of leaving a legacy for their families; we dream of an opportunity to build our dream homes. The issues that Bahamians and foreigners face with some properties make it nearly impossible to purchase, rent and invest in an easier manner.

It’s a dream, one of the fancy kinds, as it cannot be fulfilled under the current conditions. Just a dream.

With the offer of an inexpensive property and duty-free building materials to construct your first home, it will really be a dream come through for many young Bahamians.

Kudos, prime minster.

 

  • William Wong is a two-term president of the Bahamas Chamber of Commerce and Employers’ Confederation, and two-term president of the Bahamas Real Estate Association. William Wong is a partner at Darville-Wong Realty. E-mail: williamuwong@gmail.com.

 

 

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