Today, we are here to take another step toward our vision to make affordable housing a reality for Bahamian families.
From day one, our goal has been to empower more Bahamians to pursue their dreams of homeownership.
Thank you to Ministers Keith Bell and Lisa Rahming for getting on with the work of our Blueprint for Change in making affordable housing a reality for Bahamians.
As we maintain our focus on reducing the cost of living and creating more opportunities for Bahamians, affordable opportunities for homeownership are an essential component of our blueprint for a fairer, more prosperous Bahamas.
For many families, owning their first home is often the first step toward building wealth. Homes become assets they can pass on to future generations, building equity that can provide the foundation for future ventures.
Unfortunately, homeownership has often been out of reach for many hardworking Bahamians. We must resolve to change this reality.
Every day, I see the challenges you face. I see how the burden of high expenses often gets in the way of your dreams of homeownership. While we talk about these issues as “national issues,” for you, they represent your personal, everyday struggle.
The government has a pivotal role to play in removing the barriers and securing opportunities for homeownership for as broad a cross-section of our population as possible.
Our rent-to-own project is a cornerstone of our mission. It’s about giving you a chance to own a home, even when traditional paths seem out of reach. The First Home Owners Stamp Exemption is another critical step.
By waiving VAT duties on conveyance and mortgage instruments, we’re directly reducing the costs for first-time homeowners.
We didn’t stop there. We’ve raised the exemption for stamp duty on homes up to $300k and offered VAT refunds on construction materials and services. These aren’t just policies; they’re direct investments in your future, in your ability to build and own a part of this beautiful nation.
But our commitment to affordable housing goes beyond direct homeownership. It extends to better facilitating the transfer of land between family members and loved ones.
Reducing VAT on property transfers and eliminating it on land transfers between joint tenants is about respecting your heritage and valuing the land passed down through generations.
We welcome the Central Bank of The Bahamas’ recent decision to ease guidelines for domestic banks and credit unions regarding residential mortgages. This move, reducing the minimum equity requirement and eliminating the mortgage indemnity insurance for lower down payments, is a significant step forward. It promises to lower the cost burden for many aspiring homeowners and expand credit access to additional qualified borrowers. This policy change, aligning with our government’s commitment to affordable housing, marks a pivotal moment in making the Bahamian dream of homeownership more attainable and financially manageable for our citizens.
I know that for a long time, these guidelines have been a major barrier for many otherwise hardworking and responsible Bahamians. It is my hope that in making this adjustment, we have opened the door to accessible mortgages for many suitable families.
Today, I am happy to see the work getting done, witnessing firsthand the progress we’re making in providing affordable homes for our people. This effort is not just about building houses; it’s about building futures and ensuring that more Bahamian families have a place to call their own, where they can build their memories. In just two years, we’ve achieved more in this arena than was done in the previous four, a clear indication of our commitment and resolve. This is about you, the Bahamian people, and your right to a secure future. Next month, we will welcome more new Bahamian homeowners, whom I look forward to meeting.
I understand the challenges, and I am here to face them with you. Our actions are focused on making your life easier and your dreams achievable. We are creating a country where every Bahamian can get ahead. Together, we’re building a future where every Bahamian has a fair shot at success and stability. Thank you for your trust as we continue to work for you and with you.