IN an effort to improve the occupancy rate of house lots and to make housing more affordable, the Central Housing and Planning Authority (CH&PA) has announced a “50 per cent off” Republic promotion, which also commemorates Guyana’s 50th Republic Anniversary.
The initiative is synonymous to the one which was conducted during 2016, when Guyana celebrated its 50th Independence Anniversary.
Minister within the Ministry of Communities with responsibility for Housing, Annette Ferguson, said the promotion is in keeping with the authority’s effort to make housing affordable for a wider cross section of Guyanese.
“Offer is applicable to applications for the period October 1, 2019 to February 29, 2020…the offer applies only to those who were allocated land for residential purposes in housing schemes that were established or regularised by CH&PA,” said Minister Ferguson during a press briefing, on Friday.
The duration of the promotion is three months, starting from March 1, 2020 and ending on May 26, 2020. It applies to successful applicants inclusive of those allocated a plot of land, between October 1, 2019 and February 29, 2020, costing $2.5M or less. In order to qualify for the promotion, allottees would have already had to pay at least 50 per cent of the cost of the land between October 1, 2019 and February 29, 2020.
Having reflected on its achievements throughout the years and following consideration and extensive consultation with the board of CH&PA, the authority agreed to celebrate those achievements with the launching of this initiative.
For a number of years, the agency has been trying to address the issue of low occupancy rate in housing schemes throughout the country, but despite its “best efforts,” there have been “very low” returns.
In that regard, Minister Ferguson said the initiative is another attempt at “opening the door” for applicants to eventually build their “dream house,” in a short space of time.
“This means that we will absolve the burden, thus allowing you to finally realise your life’s dream…the money you will save from this discount can be used in commencing the construction process,” said the minister, noting that about 1,000 homeowners will benefit from this initiative.
Contrary to the notion that this exercise will result in increased revenue for the authority, the minister said the authority has structured the promotion to allow allottees to complete payment in a timely manner, enabling them to quickly lay claim to ownership of land by securing their certificate of title.
“I wish to urge our valued partners to take full advantage of this generous offer…we know that previously persons were unable to occupy those lands as a result of the lack of basic infrastructure being in place, but with infrastructure we anticipate persons will take full responsibility in commencing construction,” said Minister Ferguson.
CEO of CH&PA, Lelon Saul, said the promotion will cost the authority $90 million in subsidies, and it was already subsidising the cost of house lots by about 90 per cent. He said it costs the authority about $3.5 million to develop house lots and they are sold for as low as $100,000, in some cases.
“We are fulfilling our mandate to provide housing for this country…we are putting people in communities and with this promotion we will have greater occupancy and we will build sustainable communities,” said Saul.
Over the past few months, lands were distributed in Prospect, Mon Repos, LBI, Annandale, Lusignan, Bladen Hall and Experiment, among other places.
It was recently reported that, the CH&PA, in its quest to meet the high housing demand in the country, will be providing approximately 1,600 housing solutions to Guyanese for 2020.
Of that number, approximately 400 house lots, totalling 70 acres, will be allocated to the Joint Services – the Guyana Defence Force, the Guyana Police Force, the Guyana Fire Service and the Guyana Prison Service.
Saul had said an additional 1,200 housing solutions, comprising both house lots and built units, will be developed, and allocated to applicants during 2020. It was noted that between 2015 and 2019, a total of 6,541 house lots were allocated to citizens across the country, in addition to 444 built units in Regions Three, Four, Five and 10 – amounting to approximately 7,000 in total. The built units included duplexes, upper elevated two-bedroom houses, single flat two and three-bedroom houses.
Back in 2017, some $43M was allocated by the CH&PA to have a total of 72 houses erected for the squatters. The 20 houses, valued at $36M, form part of Phase One of a two-phase project.