Carlton Earl Samuels, chief development financing officer, at The Jamaica National Group, says there are great opportunities for investment in western Jamaica, particularly in the parish of St James.
He made the comment while addressing realtors and other stakeholders at the Realtors’ Association of Jamaica Symposium, mounted in partnership with JN Bank at the Montego Bay Convention Centre, Rose Hall, St James on the weekend (April 26).
Commending the raft of initiatives implemented by government to stimulate the real estate sector, Mr Samuels, a former National Housing Trust (NHT) executive, disclosed that JN Bank is itself investing in the supply of property in the parish, with some four developments currently being financed by the bank.
However, he acknowledged that crime remains a problem for investors in St James, with concerned developers seeking to establish gated communities.
“What we have learned in recent times, is that more persons in St James, because of the crime, are moving to gated communities,” the Montego Bay native observed.
“During my earlier years, everyone wanted to live in Coral Gardens and Iron Shore. Yes, they are still appealing; however, perhaps because of the crime rate, they are moving to gated communities.”
“Any developer who brings a gated community to this area, I can assure you that as long as your price is reasonable, it will be taken up like hot bread,” he advised.
Mr Samuels’ comments were supported by Mayor of Montego Bay, Homer Davis, who said that Montego Bay was the fastest growing city in the English-speaking Caribbean. He said the city represents prime real estate and has been experiencing growing investment.
He encouraged persons seeking to become property owners to invest.
“I must use this opportunity to challenge Jamaicans to make the bold step towards owning a home. This could be the single largest most and far-reaching investment you can make,” he encouraged citizens.
While commending the government for lowering property transaction costs, Mr Samuels said JN Bank is prepared to support persons who want to purchase homes, whether in St James or any part of the country. JN Bank, which recently launched its 110 per cent mortgage product, offers financing to persons, who may not have the upfront funds to cover mortgage-related expenses, such as the deposit and closing costs, says it’s prepared for the demand in mortgages. “I am sure the developers are aware that sellers, who normally insist on this high deposit because they have to meet all the upfront charges, [that] this will no longer be necessary; therefore, this will be creating even more opportunity for prospective persons to come into the[real estate]
market,” Mr Samuels affirmed.