Land for less than $30KGovt to offer lots and duty-free construction to first-time home buyers
Expanding on the government’s “ambitious” housing program announced during his national address last month, Prime Minister Dr. Hubert Minnis said yesterday housing lots will be sold to first-time home buyers for under $30,000, a reduction of approximately 70 percent of the industry average.
“At this particular time we are looking at land reform,” Minnis told reporters after touring The Pointe on Bay Street. “There are many Bahamians who want to own homes.
“Unfortunately, today, the average home may cost anywhere from $180,000 and up.
“That is very cost prohibitive to the average Bahamian, and therefore we are introducing this program.
“We would hope that we have lots available right after the new budget [in] May/June.
“Those lots will be sold with all the infrastructure, amenities attached to it and be sold at a very, very low price. The only thing I can say is that there’d be – I don’t want to give the exact cost – but to give you a ballpark figure, I can say they will be definitely be less than $30,000.
“Now, the exact cost I won’t reveal, because you know the press ties you to that.
“So, if you can purchase a lot at that price and construct your home duty-free, and you remove all of the second payment and the possible corruption, etc. you would be able to construct your home at a very low price, because, remember, the average lot today may cost $100,000 or more.
“That’s automatically a $70,000 savings.”
It is unclear where these lots will be, what size they will be or how many lots would be available.
The housing lots will be supplied with utilities, but buyers will be responsible for building their homes, for which the government will provide duty-free concessionary rates, Minnis announced in January.
Yesterday, Minnis said the concessions should save home buyers another $60,000 to $80,000.
“When constructing your home you pay duty; we’re talking about 30 percent to 50 percent on various things,” the prime minister said. “So, that’s another $60,000 to $80,000 savings.
“… So, you’re talking about the average Bahamian being allowed to save at least a minimum of $120,000 when you remove those extra taxes, etc. Take the $120,000 and subtract that from what they would have paid, then I think it is a great opportunity for Bahamians to own their own homes.”
Addressing the nation last month, Minnis announced that upon purchase of a housing lot, the buyer will be given two years to build a home. He said the scheme will not only encourage new ownership and entrepreneurship, but it will also direct public funds away from ongoing repairs of “improperly built” homes.
The program will also be extended to residents on the Family Islands to “encourage ownership, second home ownership and entrepreneurship development of bed and breakfast properties”.
Minnis said yesterday he is excited about this prospect.
“I am more excited about such a program in the Family Islands, because you would allow Bahamians to buy properties for bed and breakfast facilities, at again, minimal cost,” he said.
“And using the same concept, they would own hotels within the Family Islands, and the eco-hotels are where we are going within the Family Islands. We don’t want to find ourselves, 15, 20 years from today where all the second homeowners are foreign nationals and then they are renting or leasing them out as a part of a hotel pool. If we don’t take charge of that now, 15, 20 years from today, Bahamians would be marginalized from the islands. So [in] recognizing that, we want to ensure that they are a part of it now moving forward.”