Festive season in new homes

More than 120 families who purchased houses under a government-assisted mortgage scheme have spent their first Christmas and New Year in their own homes.


Mr. Tibbetts

The Government Gazetted Home Assisted Mortgage, which launched in late 2007, targets first-time Caymanian home buyers who earn enough to pay off a mortgage, but who do not have the down payment for a deposit.

Under the scheme, the government guarantees up to 35 per cent of the mortgage, allowing buyers to get financing through bank partners.

Since its launch, the GGHAM has helped 126 first-time buyers purchase their own homes.

The banks involved are Butterfield, Cayman National, Fidelity, First Caribbean, HSBC, Royal Bank of Canada and Scotiabank & Trust.

Other housing schemes have also led other home-owners to finally purchase their own houses.

Leader of Government Business Kurt Tibbetts, in the recent Strategic Policy Statement, said: ‘Despite the general affluence of our country, there is a segment of our population for whom home ownership would remain an elusive dream without the government’s support.’

On Little Cayman and Cayman Brac, the Sister Islands Affordable Housing Development Corporation has almost completed six houses on the Bluff. In the new year, it plans to develop more housing on the Bluff and the Tibbetts Turn site.

Mr. Tibbetts said: ‘The first batch certainly proved their mettle as they were relatively unscathed by the fury of Hurricane Paloma.’

Earlier in 2008, the National Housing Development Trust also launched the Build On Your Own Property scheme which caters to people who own their own land, but cannot afford to build a home on it.

The NHDT provides bridge financing, a range of house plans from which to choose, and a list of construction contractors.

So far, two homes have been built under this scheme, and two more are expected to begin shortly.

The NHDT currently has three sites, two in George Town and one in West Bay. Mr. Tibbetts said the NHDT had identified sites in each of the five districts in Grand Cayman on which to develop affordable housing.

The NHDT has received or is awaiting planning permission for sites in West Bay, Bodden Town, George Town and East End, and a site in North Side is in the process of being acquired.

Mr. Tibbetts said that once the new housing developments are completed, it will provide 240 new affordable single family homes on the island. He anticipated that the first of these new homes would be handed over to the new owners this year.

The government also has vested a 10.3-acre block of land off Boatswain’s Bay Road, near the lighthouse, in West Bay on which 50 homes are earmarked to be built.

In Bodden Town, 10 acres of crown land on Lake Destiny Drive, north of Bodden Town Road, has been vested for housing where 45 affordable homes can be built.