Jamaica advised to use housing as economic development strategy

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General Manager of the Jamaica Mortgage Bank Courtney Wynter (centre), engages (from left), District Assistant Governor, Jamaica South East, Noel Osbourne; and Rotary Club of Kingston East and Port Royal President, Michael Johnson.

KINGSTON, Jamaica, Friday July 17, 2015 – One of Jamaica’s leading mortgage bankers has suggested that the country could tap into housing developments as an effective way to grow the economy.

General Manager of the Jamaica Mortgage Bank (JMB) Courtney Wynter says the country is lagging on that opportunity.

“If you look at mortgages in Jamaica as a percentage of gross domestic product, compared to developed countries, I think that is a clear indicator that we are not using housing as a development strategy in Jamaica,” he said this week.

The mortgage executive said there was a huge gap between the demand and supply for low and middle income housing and pointed that out as another key indicator that the country was not taking advantage or housing to spur growth.

He suggested that the answer could be the use of residential mortgage-backed securities.

“The major issue for the government is liquidity. For example, the United States has systems like Fannie Mae (Federal National Mortgage Association) and Freddie Mac (Federal Home Loan Mortgage Company) that pump liquidity in the economy for housing. Jamaica can use residential mortgage-backed securities,” he explained.

The result would be more liquidity for housing developments across the island, which would translate into employment for more people and growth in the economy, Wynter said.

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