Jamaica: NHT cuts interest rates in response; announces measures to assist mortgagors

Jamaica: NHT cuts interest rates in response; announces measures to assist mortgagors

(PRESS RELEASE) – The National Housing Trust (NHT) is to reduce interest rates for all mortgagors effective April 1, 2020. The NHT has also put provisions in place to assist mortgagors in arrears. The measures are expected to assist more Jamaicans in becoming homeowners with comfortable loan repayment arrangements.

These and other adjustments to the NHT’s loan policy were announced by Prime Minister Hon. Andrew Holness in his contribution to the National Budget Debate on Thursday March 19.

Interest rate cuts and new borrowing arrangements

In keeping with market trends of declining interest rates, the NHT is to reduce interest rates by 1% for all new mortgagors effective April 1, 2020. The adjustment in the interest rates on new mortgages means more contributors can now access NHT loans at 0%.

Existing mortgagors will also see reductions in their interest rates by 0.5%.

Effective April 1, the rates for new mortgagors are as follows:

Public sector workers will continue to enjoy a 1% reduction in their applicable interest rate. Persons with Disabilities will also continue to benefit from a 2% reduction in their applicable rate. The NHT has however extended this facility, to parents of children who are disabled.

Effective April 01, 2020 as well, contributors up to age 70 years may now access housing benefits from the Trust, subject to conditions. Previously, the NHT ceased lending arrangements to individuals at the age of 65.

Special Relief for Mortgagors

The NHT wishes to remind all mortgagors whose incomes have been affected, especially as a result of COVID-19, that they may apply for special assistance to include a break in payment (moratorium), among others. In addition, for the next six months (April –Sept. 2020) all late fees will be suspended for accounts with arrears less than 90 days.

All mortgagors with loan accounts in arrears (90 days or more) as at Feb. 29, 2020, where there is no sales contract in place, may benefit from relief to include rescheduling their mortgagors or reducing interest rates. Come April 1, such individuals will be asked to complete and submit a “Special Assistance Request Form” by Sept. 30, 2020 with the relevant supporting documentation/information. Applications submitted by April 30, 2020 will receive 100% waiver on all unpaid late fee penalty. Applications submitted by May 31, 2020 will receive 50% waiver on all unpaid late fee penalty.

Peril Insurance Coverage for Matured Loans

Effective September 1, 2020 mortgagors will have the option of continuing peril insurance coverage with the NHT after settlement. These individuals will have the option to pay the full annual payment in advance or on a quarterly basis. The measure will come into effect with the new insuring period (September 2020).

The NHT will share more on these and other measures in the days ahead.



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