Real Estate Expert Brands Govt Lot Offer ‘Exciting’
By YOURI KEMP
Tribune Business Reporter
A REAL estate expert supports the government’s plans to develop the Western portion of New Providence as an affordable upscale subdivision for young Bahamians.
Matt Sweeting, pictured, chief executive officer and real estate expert at 1oak Bahamas, told Tribune Business yesterday the government’s plan is an “exciting initiative”, and that people should not be on the fence about it.
He said: “I understand to a degree people are going to be a bit trepidatious about the government’s ability to execute on this... considering that the government does not have any track record of doing something like this.”
Prime Minister Dr Hubert Minnis has proposed the government will develop 83 acres for an upscale subdivision of 150 homes between the northern boundary of Sanford Drive, Prospect Ridge on the west and John F. Kennedy Drive on the south.
The lots, which will have a market value of $150,000, will be sold to Bahamians who fit the government’s demographic and will be priced at a maximum of $50,000.
Mr Sweeting said: “The government is going to do an upscale community and it is going to have walking trails, a community centre and a pool. Something that is unseen from governments.
“On the flipside the location of the property is ideal and this is why I’m endorsing it. It’s next to luxury communities like Skyline Drive, like the Balmoral, like West Grove and near to the US ambassador’s residence, ideally located just off of JFK Drive and close to the beach too.”
Responding to concerns that people already living in these upscale areas don’t particularly want to be next to families who are of a lower income bracket, Mr Sweeting acknowledged this is a concern .
“I think the government’s restriction of the two-year build out and the cost of construction in that area, and then making it a requirement for application for someone to show proof of ability to purchase is going to eliminate that concern to a degree,” he said.
“The Prime Minister has also spoken about some restrictive covenants that will disallow people to do work on the property and he specifically mentioned in his announcement that there will be no mechanic work on the property. So I think these two factors are going to considerably affect the level of buyer even though the lot price is considerably low.”
There are also concerns the initiative has little chance of taking off as most people between 18 and 45 don’t have $50,000 sitting in a bank account, let alone a credit facility of $300,000 that the Prime Minister has estimated is required to qualify.
“The whole picture needs to be taken into consideration,” said Mr Sweeting.
“What this community now does is give someone who wants to raise their family in a great community, or they may be a prospective or budding real estate investor, but the land costs are prohibitive. This now gives that someone the ability to do that. I’m calling it a springboard into either development or a great community to living and raising your family.”
The Prime Minister has not said if the government will hire a realtor to manage the sale and distribution of the lots, or if the government will do it themselves through a yet to be identified government agency.
Mr Sweeting said that in order to support this initiative he is willing to offer free consultations on how to go about getting a lot being offered in this government initiative.
“I think people should jump on board,” he said.