Former BMC chair blasts Ferreira on housing program
Former Chairman of the Bahamas Mortgage Corporation (BMC) Alex Storr yesterday emphatically denied “nonsensical, erroneous, and baseless accusations” made by Housing Minister Romauld Ferreira regarding inflated prices for homes under the government’s Access to Affordable Homes Programme.
On Monday, Ferreira told reporters that his ministry has found that under the previous administration, homes were being sold for much more than they were actually valued.
He noted that in some instances, houses valued at $140,000/$150,000 were being sold for $170,000/$180,000.
In a statement addressing the matter, Storr said, “Although BMC was not responsible for pricing, we along with every banking institution in the country financed the purchases.
“I have every confidence in the professionals at the Ministry of Housing who were responsible for the pricing.
“As everyone knows, lending institutions will not lend you a dime more than a house is worth, and this was never an issue with any of the commercial banks. Their survival depends on this.
“As a matter of fact, many of these houses were actually undervalued as many times infrastructure cost, actual land value, and other incidentals were not considered in the final price.
“Rather than making nonsensical, erroneous, and baseless accusations, I humbly suggest the AWOL minister get a handle on his ministry and tackle pertinent issues within, such as the houses in Queen’s Park Subdivision that lay vacant after being completed more than a year ago, his failure to comment publicly on the firing of several experienced executives at BMC, or the millions of dollars in revenue shortfall BMC will be facing because of the shift in the government’s housing policy.
“In my opinion, the last issue will severely hamper their ability to service their upcoming due bonds without help from an already overburdened treasury and will most likely mean more government borrowing to add to the billions we already owe.”
The government has already sold out 20 lots in two subdivisions within its Access to Affordable Homes Programme, according to Ferreira.
The program began with a shaky start last year after 85 percent of the people seeking to purchase lots failed to qualify due to their financial constraints.
Service-ready lots are being offered for as low as $15,000.
The government is anticipating having more than 100 of these properties available over the course of this fiscal year, with more than 300 ultimately offered to Bahamians.
Storr insisted yesterday that as the government approaches the eve of its second anniversary in office, “they should try to correct the abysmal course they are on by shifting from a policy that includes making untrue, negative allegations about the last administration and blaming the PLP for their very own failures, and shift to one that delivers real relief to the Bahamian people as their policies thus far have only created grief and hardship”.