Government mortgage program restarts this month

A government program to help first-time home buyers will restart this month after a three-year hiatus. 

The Government Guaranteed Home Assisted Mortgage program backs first-time Caymanian home buyers by guaranteeing 35 percent of the deposit, allowing buyers to borrow up to the full cost of the home without making a deposit. 

Premier Alden McLaughlin, speaking to the Chamber of Commerce last week, said, “We are working with local banks that have agreed to earmark $50 million to $60 million for GGHAM mortgages. I thank the banks for working with government to assist first-time Caymanian homeowners.” 

Julio Ramos, general manager of the National Housing Development Trust, said the final agreement’s details are being worked out now with six banks. He said he expects the National Housing Development Trust, which administers the program, to begin offering the mortgage assistance this month. 

The Government Guaranteed Home Assisted Mortgage program is separate from the Trust’s traditional affordable housing program, Mr. Ramos said. The mortgage assistance is to help people and couples making less than $75,000 a year, who have the income to qualify for a mortgage but may not have the savings to make a down payment. The program allows qualified people to use the program to buy homes on all three islands. 

Mr. Ramos said the original program, which ran from 2007 to 2012, helped 327 people buy homes. “We are working on extending the program,” he said, “and providing others the opportunity for home ownership.” 

The first five years of the government-backed mortgage program were heralded as a success at the time as banks initially pledged $5 million each for mortgages through the program, but added more funds as Caymanians made successful applications. 

The agreement with the banks, negotiated under the previous government, expired in November 2012. The new agreement, based on similar terms as the original, should be signed this month and the Housing Trust will again be able to take new applicants for the mortgage assistance. 

Premier McLaughlin
Premier McLaughlin