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Owners of high end property rentals to expats ‘hurting’

VERNE BURNETT Monday, April 10 2017

Terrence Boswell Inniss, President of the Trinidad Building and Loan Association (TBLA) says this country will survive the current recession, adding that he has seen downturns going back to shortly after independence and remains optimistic about the future.

He was speaking to journalists following the association’s 126th Annual General Meeting at the Radisson Hotel, Wrightson Road, Port of Spain, last Thursday. The association declared that it ended the year with a profit of $1,877,782, a 21 percent increase from the $1,504,368 recorded in 2015. The association paid out dividends of five percent for the year. Its mortgage portfolio increased by 18 percent to $59 million and it recorded new loans of $12.1 million.

Inniss said that people who invested in high end property to rent to expatriate workers are hurting.

He said there was a time when property values were going “through the roof ” and people were renting houses for US$10,000 a month and they were getting those rates.

He said landlords with high end properties in places such as Westmoorings and Maraval were able to get a year’s rent in advance.

He added that even apartments in those areas were heavily in demand and were being rented for U$ $5,000 a month fully furnished. However, he said those prices were no longer available.

“That market has practically dried up, as a result of which a lot of people have been left holding the bag.” However, he said that the market in which people buy houses in which to live is still fairly strong. “The market has continued to grow, the number of young people trying to get a property for themselves and stop renting.” He said one just had to look at the waiting list at the Housing Development Corporation (HDC) where people were lined up waiting for affordable housing. He said “it was a bit unfortunate that the oil boom had brought the prices of houses outside the reach of the average man with even some young professionals being unable to afford” to buy a house.

He said this was where the association was able to help by providing saving plans for young people, citing its home downpayment plan where a young person began by contributing money for a downpayment on a house. He said savers in these plans received dividends and the plan paid dividends of five percent last year, which he said was a good return. He said housing is always important to people and there is a demand for housing and loans for housing.



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