Minister of Housing welcomes government’s move to increase country’s housing stock

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Minister Maria Browne with homes at one of the government’s project in the background.

Minister of Housing, Land and Urban Renewal, the Hon. Maria Browne has welcomed Cabinet’s decision to set aside several 1 to 10-acre parcels of crown land for small contractors willing to finance, construct and sell homes.

The Minister said that this move by the Gaston Browne administration is a bold move designed to meet the housing needs of the country and it will also ensure that any person who qualifies to own a home is given the opportunity to achieve this dream.

On Wednesday, Cabinet ratified a decision made last week to set aside several 1 to 10-acre parcels of crown land for small contractors willing to finance, construct and sell homes. The vacant lands will sell at $3.00 per square foot to the small contractors, who will be compelled to submit their development plans to the Development Control Authority for approval prior to the commencement of construction.

Minister Browne pointed out that there is a very strong demand for housing in Antigua and Barbuda with over seven thousand applications received by the Central Housing and Planning Authority CHAPA and National Housing for homes and lands to construct homes.  “With the continuously rising demand for climate resilient homes, it is important for private contractors to be given equal opportunity to access the market.  Under this new arrangement, we will extend the same concessions to the small contractors that are being offered to National Housing in the construction of the new homes.  I believe that this method will lead to the empowerment of many Antiguans and Barbudan,” the Minister said.

The Minister stated that contractors who take up government’s offer will be granted waivers to import building supplies, capital equipment and fixtures and will also have certain taxes waived.

 

Commenting on Opposition Leader, Harold Lovell’s claim that the programme is a get rich quick scheme by the government for its friends, Minister Browne said that the records will show that the Gaston Browne Administration in four years, since coming into office, would have constructed more affordable homes for Antiguans and Barbudans than the Opposition United Progressive Party would have constructed in the ten years it was in power.  “We have demonstrated that we are about empowering our people and we will continue to devise programmes that will ensure that the greatest number of Antiguans and Barbudans own their own homes,” she said.

 

“I am of the view that initiatives such as these create special opportunities for contractors and possibly young entrepreneurs to be placed at a greater advantage in keeping their building cost down; thereby making their prices more competitive.

 

The new programme is being managed by the Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Housing Land and Urban Renewal located in the Department of Agriculture on Queen Elizabeth Highway.  Formal Business proposals are being accepted.

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16 COMMENTS

  1. nice to know they are making more land available for housing, but there houses, a poor single mother cannot afford there price off a salary of 1800.00, in Dominica the government give single mother and other the houses for a $1.00 plus they insure them, why can the poor get any house too, yet we are the power of the Caribbean. must be in our dreams.

  2. I never heard or seen one thing this woman has done. She never made
    A speech, doesn’t have a platform… she is housing Minister just collecting a
    Check so her And her husband can retire with their forever pension.

    • Obviously you do not keep up with the news or watch Parliament. I believe “her and her husband” don’t need to resort to “collecting a check” in order to retire. Her husband made enough money BEFORE coming to politics.

      • I seem to recall that South Mall had serious financial issues during UPP time and an APUA office was moved over there so the rent from same would help avoid receivership? My memory is saying the rags to flourishing began after the ’14 elections.

        • Your memory is strange since the decision to make that move accrued during the UPP tenure. I also recall the then minister of APUA. Wilmoth Daniel publicly threatening to end the contract, since he argued it benefited someone who did not support the UPP admin. Not a word from you, I gather you were enjoying the muck

      • If they have so much money why is she in government? There are are lot of qualified Antiguans who have more to contribute to the country and need the money more than her. Greed never ends with this government. Wonder how much government lands they and their family own.
        The poor people in Antigua need housing and cannot afford the houses being built. Why not build two bedroom houses that they can afford with enough land that they can add to later.
        Not even civil servants can afford these houses.

  3. I am 53 years old and I had made three applications to CHAPA 30 years ago to purchase a piece of land. For today, I have not been successful. Every month, I will check with CHAPA about my applications and I am constantly told that NO lands are available in my area which is where I have requested. I have a 30 year old cousin that I have contributed in her upbringing. She went to CHAPA in 2014 and submitted an application for piece of land in our area. Little to I know she got the land, so I went to Housing and asked them how come they can find land available for her and not me. They give me all kind of round about about getting letter from Parliamentary Representative. Then I saw a gentleman I know, one of CHAPA staff, and I told him my situation. He told me that there are several available lands in my area but the lady (red headed) who handle that area don’t love to sell Antiguans lands.

    • Not sure why the land must be in a specific area since you are shooting yourself in the foot. There are lands available in the Piccadilly, Newfield, Freetown, Glanvilles, Lindsays, and Jennings area (check CHAPA website) . Let me suggest you call CHAPA (462-016) and ask to speak to the person who heads that body Mark Richards

  4. Why Cabinet do not push to finish those darn houses in the pipelines.There are houses in Denfield Estate and other areas incomplete.Coming out with all big talks and ideas and going no where.A bunch of incompetent buffoons.I do not care the color of the Party in Administration.I tell it like it is,regardless.In my opinion Gaston Browne is the Minister of Finance and the Minister of Lands.It is all emanating from his house,both Ministries.We the people should not endorse this.

  5. @BLACK-MAN, I am in total agreement with your statement. I am tired of how the state of Antigua and Barbuda has been governing.
    Government need to make lands available for native Antiguans to purchase. It is not everyone that can afford those expensive homes that the government is building and now hearing a contractor/contractors may want to do the same. About seventy percent of the populations in Antigua and Barbuda are earning between $300 to $500 weekly. They can afford to purchase a piece of government land with that earnings by making monthly payments but NOT one of those housing homes.

    • Boss you have some strange figures (300 to 500). Seems to me you are focused on the lowest, rather than the average.The houses government offering starts at about 180K (which includes land) for a 2 bedroom. To Qualify for a loan (30 years at 6% for this amount, you will need to be making about 2400 a month (the banks would want it to consume no more than 40% of your income). Other than partnering with someone (best option), there is the option of a second job. You also have the option of renting out a room. Fact is those houses are actually valued at at least 360K and when you consider the cost to get them done privately (without the tax concessions). You can ignore an opportunity if you wish but the better move is to place yourself in a position to take advantage of it. Opportunities like this don’t last forever.

    • Someone help me out here please.. It says the Basic Eligibility Requirements: Applicants must be or have been employed in the government service for a minimum of five (5) years so I take it even if I am an antiguan and I have never worked a government job..I cant get a chapa house?

  6. BLACK-MAN

    Do you honestly believe that Harold Lovell and His NO party can do a better job ? Let Us have a real talk. Let me know the slate of the UPP to contest the next General Election…

    HAROLD LOVELL
    JAMAL PRINGLE
    DRIFTWOOD
    GLADYS POTTER
    D.GISEL ISAAC
    DAMANI TABOR
    CARL JOSEPH
    CHARLESOWRTH TABOR
    Just to name a few …Do you honestly believe that Any Antiguan/Barbudan will vote for the above names mentioned ????
    You are a BIG BIG Joke.I would advise you to stop your postings.

  7. The List continues..

    ALGERNON SERPENT WATTS
    CLEON ATHILL
    DANE KNIGHT
    KEM STAR
    PAUL QUINN
    FRANZ DEFRIETAS
    CHESTER HUGHES
    RICHARD LEWIS

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