Few Bodden Town affordable homes occupied

Seventeen of the 20 affordable homes built by the National Housing Development Trust in Bodden Town remain unoccupied as of this week, Trust officials confirmed. 

Julio Ramos, general manager of the Housing Trust, said three families have moved in and two other families have been approved to occupy homes and are scheduled to move in next week. Eleven are awaiting a bank decision on mortgages, and another four applications are pending final documentation. The homes were completed in August 2013. 

An additional 14 homes had been planned for the site as the second phase of the project. However, George Powell, National Housing Development Trust chairman, said he was not sure if these houses would be built at the Bodden Town site unless the Housing Trust determined there was a demand from buyers in that area. Instead, the Trust may turn its attention to George Town.  

“We certainly will be focusing on George Town, which I think has a greater demand,” Mr. Powell said. 

Mr. Ramos said that as of November 2014, a total of 16 people had been allocated housing at the site off Sitwell Road.  

He said all the homes were “turnkey ready for the prospective applicants.” 

“There have been some applicants that were successful with their respective banks, and arrangements have been and are currently being made to have these individuals transition to their new affordable houses,” he said. 

Mr. Ramos added that the National Housing Development Trust is now focusing on “allocating the vacant houses to prospective applicants under the Affordable Housing Criteria that will then be referred to the banking institutions to obtain financing to purchase the affordable house.” 

Mr. Powell said the process of occupying the houses is taking longer than expected because home buyers were applying for their pensions to use as downpayments and are also applying to government for stamp duty waivers.  

He added, “Moving forward, I think we will reverse the process and have people qualify for a mortgage before we build the homes so that homes would not sit there empty for a long time. This would certainly be a better deal for the consumer. Basically, if you get the 10 percent [mortgage downpayment from] pension funds and stamp duty waived, people can walk into the homes.” 

Under the proposed new approach, Mr. Powell said, home buyers would be shown a set of house plans to choose from and then would start the process of applying to use their pension and stamp duty waiver as mortgage downpayment, and by the time the application process was completed, the house would be built and ready to be occupied. 

An article in the Cayman Compass on Dec. 17, 2014, quoted some interested buyers of the Bodden Town homes, who were among 200 applicants, as saying the amount of red tape and bureaucracy involved in buying the houses had made them practically give up. 

Among the 20 homes at the site, six have two bedrooms and cost $105,000 each, and 14 are three-bedroom homes selling for $120,000 each.  

The Housing Trust is in the process of conducting a survey to identify housing needs in the various districts, Mr. Ramos said. 

The Trust’s affordable housing scheme is for people who are unable to afford to rent or buy on the open market. First-time home owners who earn $30,000 or less, or a couple earning $45,000 or less per year, can apply to the Housing Trust for a home. If approved by the board, applicants must apply to a bank for a traditional mortgage.  

Bodden-Town-Affordable-Homes

The affordable homes were completed in August 2013.
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  1. 14 additional homes were planned, as the second phase of the project for Bodden Town. But according to Mr Powell he was not sure that these approved homes would be built unless there was a greater demand in that area. Why would the NHDT be turning their attention to George Town instead. Thouse were our projects.
    In Bodden Town, are we again robbing Peter to pay Paul with the Bodden Town project?
    My suggestion is that persons must realize that everybody cannot live in the City, and persons should also be encouraged to seek accommodation in other areas of the Island. I sincerely hope our Bodden Town representatives are keeping a close watch on this as the people are.
    This district needs more people and more business. Take a drive through; and all you can see is old people not even children, and definitely every one is in bed by seven PM 0′ clock.

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  2. he was not sure if these houses would be built at the Bodden Town site unless the Housing Trust determined there was a demand from buyers in that area.’

    OK, so let me get this straight, there’s not enough demand for affordable homes in Bodden Town ? the last I heard was that there’s a really long waiting list. Is it that people are not qualifying or that there’s just not enough people that are interested ? If you want a home and you getting it for a great price what’s the difference if it in Bodden Town or GT, I would think it would cost a lot more if they were in GT anyway.

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  3. Yes that is true, the last time I heard there was a long waiting list too.
    I believe many people are in the position to qualify, however many applicants wants to live in George Town, they are not interested in relocating from the rent if they cannot walk, tricycle, or bicycle it to work.
    However it is the responsibility of the NHDT not to be flip flop over this. Why should they want to take the Bodden Town projects to George Town?
    I agree that it should be necessary that persons applying and have their name listed, should be given the green light from NHDT to go ahead an make application to a bank and get qualified before entering into a contract with them to own. However, I also believe that what is for Bodden Town stays in Bodden Town.

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  4. This is the most political thing I ever heard about. Sound like we want these homes to go to the chosen few , or have it to be able to say look at what I did for the poor people of George town . Maybe the Cayman Compass could do a independent survey of the people of Bodden Town and George town to see who need and can afford these homes, then we will learn about this .

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