Ferreira: Govt. homes sold by former administration were overpriced

Ferreira: Govt. homes sold by former administration were overpriced
Minister of the Environment and Housing Romauld Ferreira. (FILE PHOTO)

Former BMC chairman refutes claim

NASSAU, BAHAMAS – Government homes under the former Christie administration were being sold for tens of thousands of dollars more than they were worth, according to Minister of Housing Romauld Ferreira, who told Eyewitness News on Tuesday that Bahamians were not getting value for money.

“What we found was the houses were being sold for much, much more than they were being valued,” Ferreira said.

“So if you really think about it, the Bahamian citizens were getting a raw deal. In other words, houses valued at $140, $150 thousand were being sold  for $170 – $180 thousand. Does that benefit the people?  It begs the question. Whoever is to benefit from that the most is crying the most from the loss of that benefit.”

When contacted yesterday, former Bahamas Mortgage Corporation (BMC) Chairman Alex Storr said while BMC did not price the homes, he doubts the homes were overpriced as it would be extremely difficult, because of the market, to sell homes for more than their value.

“It’s pretty hard to sell a house above value because of the real estate market and the things that are set in place” he said.

“Not every house went through BMC, [some] people went through commercial banks,” Storr explained.

“The bank would do an evaluation and would only give money in line with what the house is worth. So to sell it for $20 thousand or $30 more is hard.”

The government launched its service lots initiative in July of last year.

Unlike the previous administration’s housing initiative, which sold already constructed homes, this new initiative will see service lot owners construct their own homes.

Ferreira said shoddy workmanship carried out by contractors is the chief reason the government is offering the lots to Bahamians as opposed to offering them property with houses already constructed.

Responding to criticisms that Bahamians cannot afford to buy a lot and build a home, the housing minister said it’s not true, as most of the service lots have already been sold.

The service lots that are being sold for around $20,000.