Housing subdivisions such as Pride Estates III and Ardastra Estates with over 100 homes currently under construction, are examples of the Government addressing its mandate to build affordable houses for low and middle-income Bahamians, Housing Minister the Hon. Kenneth Russell said.
“My mandate in this five-year period is to produce 3,000 service lots and homes,” Minister Russell said during a tour of the subdivisions.
Minister of the Environment the Hon. Earl Deveaux, Parliamentary Secretary in the Ministry of Housing Brensil Rolle, General Manager of the Bahamas Electricity Corporation Kevin Basden, Water and Sewerage Deputy General Manager Christopher Sherman and representatives from the BTC Bahamas and the Ministry of Housing also took part in the tour.
Pride Estates III is a 117-lot subdivision between Fire Trail Road and Blue Hill Heights with 66 homes currently being constructed. Ardastra Estates is a 65-lot subdivision near St. Alban’s Drive and Perpall Tract with about 40 homes under construction.
Regarding the production of affordable houses for Bahamians, Minister Russell said the Government is planning procedures for the selling of lots, which will remove “the personalities and the politics” out of building homes. Such a purchaser, he added, can then have their house built later on their own lot.
“We are putting in a policy now where they (potential homeowners) could come and in one fell-swoop get the land and the house at the same time,” Minister Russell added.
“We believe that removing the personalities, removing the politics out of deciding who gets a home will go well for The Bahamas because those who could afford it will buy and build and those who still can’t afford it, those who are the persons then in the long run, we will be looking at and trying to assist.”
Minister Russell said such families could be assisted in a number of ways, including multi-family dwellings and duplexes, which would cut the price of the lots in half.
Also, when the Government moves into the sale of land for homes, Minister Russell said it would allow first-time homeowners to purchase only one lot to build a house. That would assist in ensuring that the person who purchased the lot is the one responsible for that house.
“We will still do a regular inspection on the house to make sure that you are still getting the quality that you are paying for,” Minister Russell said. “We will still have the contractor to get the Ministry to do their inspection; so you would still have the doubling and tripling of inspections that we are doing now. The only difference is you (the purchaser) will be determining when you get a house, rather than the politician and the staff at the Ministry of Housing and the staff at the Mortgage Corporation.
“The decision now is eventually going to be put in the hands of the people; so that the people decide themselves when they would move forward, when they would buy their house and where they would buy their house because you would have a choice of various subdivisions. “
Minister Russell added that all of this information will be on the internet very soon, so that perspective buyers can see where land is available, its cost, house plans and necessary procedures.
“Everything will be on the internet so that a person who wants to build his own house, who wants to buy a lot, can just go on the internet, find the lot he is looking for, apply for it right there on the internet, then, in short order, an answer will come from the Ministry,” Minister Russell said.