The Nevis Island Administration (NIA), in keeping with its plan to grow the population of Nevis, launched a housing programme for returning university students at Lower Spring Hill Estate Thursday through the Nevis Housing and Land Development Corporation (NHLDC), in conjunction with the St. Christopher and Nevis Social Security Board.
“I do believe if Nevis is to progress and if we were to ensure that we have sustainable development here on the island, it is critical that we increase our population. Thus, this particular development seeks to ensure that persons who would have gone abroad to study, we are encouraging them to come back to Nevis, come back to build a family or to start a family, build communities…” Hon. Alexis Jeffers, Deputy Premier of Nevis and Minister responsible for Lands and Housing, said.
“We are introducing this programme with the hope that this particular strategy…would be achieved at some point in the near future… Nevis needs people but first and foremost we have to ensure that the persons we have here on the island we are able to keep them here, and that is why I do believe this launch this afternoon is one of those initiatives that would ensure that maybe five years from now, 10 years from now, we would realise our hopes and desires of…seeing some steady growth in our population,” he added. “With more people we do believe that we can achieve much more. The more people in the economy there is, more money that would be placed in the economy.”
The NIA secured a $15 million loan for housing to facilitate the project and to continue funding the affordable home programme also offered by the NHLDC.
Mr. Jeffers noted that the University Heights housing programme targets returning university students and four-year college students, and highlighted the requirements he believes serve as an incentive for the returning students five years after their return to Nevis.
“You can benefit from this innovative and bold step that we have taken by acquiring land at a concessionary rate of $1 and the lots that have been subdivided here are somewhere in the region of 8,000 square feet or more in some cases…,” he said.“In terms of the size of land, we are not selling land just as it is. It must be a package with a house. The houses that are being built here range from at least $320,000 up to as much as $350,000.”
The Land and Housing Minister, who is also Chairman of the Board of Directors at the NHLDC, explained that the process to home ownership for the returning students has been made easier than at commercial banks.
“We have made it far much easier for persons to access these homes in terms of what we have asked for as a down payment. We are saying also, the interest rate that you will pay on these mortgages is five percent. So essentially, this might be the lowest possible rate you will find anywhere on the island of Nevis. I believe most commercial banks are in the region of six percent and even up to nine percent in some cases… We are saying that the monthly payments would range [from] $1,500 to $1,800, over an approximate 25-year period…,” he said.“Those who can benefit we are asking them to utilise this particular facility and ensure that they are taking advantage, not only that, reciprocate by making the necessary contributions to the development of the island that we envisage that you can and I want to commend you in advance for doing so.”
The NHLDC is offering four different house designs for construction at University Heights.
- The Rose is a three-bedroom, two bathroom 11,070-square-foot house. The cost per unit is $320,000. The down payment is set at $12,000.
- The Rosette is a three-bedroom, two bath 1,230-square-foot house. The cost per unit is $330,000, and the down payment is set at $12,000.
- The White Rose is a three-bedroom, two bath 11,088-square-foot house. The cost per unit is $340,000, and the down payment is $15,000.
- The Red Rose is a four-bedroom, 2 bath 1350-square-foot house. The cost per unit is $350,000., and the down payment is $15,000.
Mr. Jeffers said the partnership and alliances that have been forged with the Social Security Board and the Nevis Cooperative Credit Union ensures that the corporation is able to structure a mortgage programme to suit the needs of the young men and young women who are seeking to get into their own homes.
Other remarks were delivered by Mr. Huey Sargeant who served as Master of Ceremonies; Mr. Vernel Powell, Deputy Director of the St. Christopher and Nevis Social Security Board; and Mr. Kevin Barrett, Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Education.