Officials break ground on East End affordable homes

Commerce Minister Joey Hew, National Housing Development Trust Chairman George Powell, ministers Roy McTaggart, Moses Kirkconnell, Dwayne Seymour, and Juliana O'Connor-Connolly, and East End MLA Arden McLean break ground on six new affordable houses in East End.

The National Housing Development Trust held a groundbreaking ceremony on Thursday for the construction of six new affordable homes in East End.

The homes will be built on a seven-acre plot of land behind East End Primary School, adjacent to 12 other affordable homes that were built some nine years ago, according to Housing Minister Dwayne Seymour.

The new homes will be similar in design but with more accommodating living space that will allow people to situate their living rooms and dining rooms as they please, said National Housing Development Trust General Manager Julio Ramos. The three-bedroom homes will cost $125,000 each, and the two-bedroom homes will be priced at $110,000 each.

There are six contractors for the six homes: R&S Construction, House Doctor Construction, Allen’s Construction, Top Notch Construction, Roy Campbell & Sons, and Cayman Global Construction Ltd.

Along with the homes, a recreational park will be built on the plot for the entire neighborhood, Mr. Ramos said.

This portion of government’s affordable housing initiative will cost about $600,000, Mr. Ramos said. The East End development follows 16 new homes that were finished in Bodden Town last month for about $2.5 million.

The East End homes should be finished in about three months, around the time when work will begin on eight more homes in West Bay at a cost of about $850,000, said National Housing Development Trust Chairman George Powell.

In addition, the trust is planning on buying land in North Side within the next month for about $350,000, and recently placed a deposit on a 24-acre, $2.8-million plot of land in George Town.

All told, the total investment for this phase of the Affordable Housing Initiative is $7.6 million, Mr. Powell said. The developments are funded from revenue from previous affordable home sales, Minister Seymour said.

Prospective buyers for the new homes must be Caymanian and first-time homeowners, and they cannot earn more than $36,000 per year for a single occupant and $50,400 for joint applicants.

Buyers who meet those criteria will be financially assessed by the National Housing Development Trust and referred to local banks for financing.

Minister Seymour said he was happy to be part of an initiative that helps Caymanians achieve the dream of home ownership. As someone who was formerly financially strained, he said this initiative is extremely important to him.

“About 20 years ago, I attempted to get one of these homes. Even with me and my wife at the time, we fell short $8,000 in us being able to qualify for one of these affordable homes,” he said. “Now I’m building them.”

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