Government Can Lower Housing Costs – Earl Samuels
Earl Samuels, Assistant General Manager at Jamaica National Building Society (JNBS) is urging interest groups to lobby the government to remove the General Consumption Tax (GCT) on raw materials and for prospective homeowners to be given a tax break on the interest element of their mortgage payments.
The GCT removal would help developers to build more affordable houses, while the tax break on mortgage payments would make it easier to afford a mortgage, Mr. Samuels said.
He was participating in a panel discussion on ‘The State of the Jamaican Real Estate Market: Trends, Challenges and Future Prospects,’ at the Undercroft of The University of the West Indies (UWI), Mona, which was attended by realtors, lecturers, students and members of the public.
“The GCT, which adds 17½ per cent to the cost of raw materials and professional fees, should be removed for residential property,” he suggested. “This should be capped, by limiting this to houses not costing more than $12 million.”
To further enhance housing affordability, he told the more than 130 persons at the UWI event that, “the government should allow a tax break to prospective homeowners by permitting the interest rate element in the mortgage payment to be a tax free benefit.”
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