Last year saw the lowest number of residential mortgage commitments in almost a decade, according to the latest data released by The Central Bank of The Bahamas.
There were 773 mortgage commitments in 2020 – 641 single dwelling and 132 duplex and row – valued at just more than $150 million, according to the bank’s Quarterly Statistical Digest for 2021.
The volume is a notable decrease from the nearly 1,000 commitments made in 2019.
The bulk of commitments were for existing single dwellings, at 328, with new construction amounting to 276.
There were 34 commercial mortgage commitments, 22 for new construction and 11 for existing structures, at a value of $25.9 million.
While the value of commercial mortgages was down in 2020 compared to the $28.2 million in 2019, the volume was higher than the 14 reported in 2019.
Average monthly loan repayments declined from $1,845 in 2019 to $1,571 last year for residential mortgages; and from $2,707 in 2019 to $2,612 in 2020.
The decline in mortgage commitments reflects the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on consumer spending, coupled with the tough lending stance commercial banks have taken due to the economic fallout.
Along this same vein, there was also a decline in credit card activity among domestic banks.
The number of credit cards issued under the $5,000 limit dropped from 62,406 in 2019 to 58,327 last year, the lowest in nearly a decade.
Total payments also dropped from $1.15 billion in 2019 to just over $800 million last year. The value of outstanding credit in the under $5,000 limit category dropped from $101 million to $92 million.