National Housing Trust

National Housing Trust Headquarter
Pic: Randolph Brown


In 1976 the Jamaican Government created the National Housing Trust Act for the Jamaican People. This act showed that the government was listening to the people. They were ready and willing to meet the demands of the people. The people were crying out for help. They needed to improve their living conditions. They needed affordable housing and knew “Better Must Come.” The NHT Act program gave people hope. It was an opportunity to improve their lives with National Housing Trust Jamaica Home Grant Program. Persons, with the desire of owning their home now viewed home ownership now as a real possibility. This policy was designed to offer a more streamline pathway to home ownership.


How does the NHT get there Funding


Contribution to the system comes from wage earners, many companies as well as self-employed people. Additional financial assistance was offered in the form of grants to low income wage earners from the government. The manner in which the NHT achieve their funding was very creative. The idea of affordable homes and low interest rate made possible through contribution is great. This housing trust program offer loans to contributors at low interest rate and in certain cases, interest free loans. This method of funding loans may not be scientific but it’s certainly practical. Once you have a plan then it’s much easier to buy into the system and start making your monthly contribution.

During the prequalification process an applicant who’s a contributor, their information with the NHT is already in the system. Now lending funds and offering financial grants to low income wage earners, for affordable housing became more streamline. These potential buyers will have already been in the system for more than one year. Their weekly contributions have demonstrated their high level of discipline and commitment to buying a home. Person’s only needs to buy into the system then contribute for future use.


Applying For a Loan


To apply for a National Housing Trust Fund loan, you must first be 18 through 65 years old. Also, you must be a contribution for at least one year. After making contribution for one year and meeting that requirement, you can then apply for the loan. The application process can take another year. The applicant will be required to submit updated documents and come into the office for an interview. While the loan is being process, your weekly contribution must continue with no lateness. Before your application is approve, you should have made 52 weekly payments of which 13 should have been in the last 26 weeks. Once approve for the loan, the monies you have been contributing will be used towards your deposit on the property.


If this is your first time contacting the office of NHT for a loan, your wait time is two years. This period includes making monthly contribution payments of 3% of your monthly income.  Part of getting approval, buyers must show reasons why they should be offered this loan. The simple explanation that I have always desire to own a home is just not good enough. After all, if you are chosen, you would be one of the lucky ones to have access to an interest free loan or a discounted rate.


Interest Free Loans


One criteria requires that to get an interest free loan, your earnings can only total up to JMD $12,000 per week, which is about USD $94 in 10/2017)


Currency Converter. This JMD $12,000 minimum was an increase from JMD $7,500 or USD $54

With this interest free loan, the qualified applicants are now eligible for a loan of JMD $4.89 million or USD $38,032 from the NHT to purchase their home.


The housing loan system and getting approval for a grant were designed to serve the neediest persons base on their economical standards. Additional opportunities that exist gauge earning between JMD $12,001 – JMD $20,000 each week. Persons who fall in this category are eligible for loan with 2% mortgage interest rate.  While others earning between JMD $20,001 – JMD $30,000 would be eligible for loans with four percent interest rate.


Home Grant Program


The NHT Home Grant program is available in the amount of JMD $1.2 million to persons earning a maximum of JMD $12,000 weekly. There is a JMD $2 million grant for a single person towards the purchase of a property lot as well.


Travelling to Work


The Jamaican Government continues to explore their options and finding new location to build new housing schemes. The National Housing Trust query shows the level of interest it’s attracting from Jamaicans in the country as well as abroad. The program initially was about building affordable housing, since then providing a better quality of life is just as important. Equally important to the program is try and reduce the travel time in getting to work. This resulted in the NHT having a presence in each Parish. The NHT goal today is to build affordable Housing across the Island.


In a recent interview, Prime Minister Andrew Holness said, “We are building housing solution… to accommodate the people who already live there and to encourage people who work there to own homes.” The idea is to build communities where people can have easier access to necessities to improve living conditions.


One such community described was the Ruthven Towers development in St. Andrews. This project which is under construction carries a price tag of JMD $4.1 billion for 106 one-bedroom, 56 two bedroom and 12 three bedroom. These constructions would be equivalent with NHT 2015 target of building 9,000 new affordable housing across Jamaica. The government continuously enhances the NHT policy to fit the needs of the people and the steady pace of inflation.


Home Improvement


The NHT provide loans for home improvement in addition to loans to purchase a property. Effective with the new policy July 1st 2016, persons meeting the income requirement can still enjoy the reduced interest rate. Persons with existing loans, applying for a home improvement loan 15 years later, would be qualify to receiving the new interest rate. However, the interest rate on the first loan does not change. Existing homeowner will be subjected to the new applicant status unless you had a pass loan with NHT.


Disability Grants and Financing


Prime Minister Andrew Holness announced his 2017 – 2018 budgets in March. His budget includes changes to NHT funding policy. One change includes 100 percent mortgage financing available to all housing units it produce. To qualify to receive the full amount, applicant must meet the income requirement and be able to afford the monthly loan payments. Other added benefits for NHT funding geared towards persons with disability.


Their disabilities must be certified by Jamaica Council for Persons with Disabilities. NHT offers persons with disability an interest rate of 2% less than the rest of the people in their income category. Plus, the weekly earnings for persons with disability to borrow at a rate of zero percent has increased to JMD $30,000. In addition, the NHT provides a JMD $150,000 grant for persons with disability. Family members taking care of a disable family and looking to retrofit the house for easier access can apply for grants.


Grant for Larger Homes


The grant funds available to the lowest income earners have been increased. This followed the funding increased to the Home Grant program. The increased funding means if you have been a contributor for more than seven years, you now have access to grant of up to JMD $2.5 million. According to the NHT in a release statement, “By combining their mortgage loan and the home grant amount, these contributors should be able to purchase a unit equivalent in value to an NHT studio.”


Under the new NHT policy guidelines, qualified applicant can increase their borrowing powers. This is possible by co-borrow with another applicant that is also a qualified contributor. Both applicants together will make available access to funding up to JMD $5 million for home improvements. Also, the limit to purchase a property lot increased from JMD $2 million to JMD $2.5 million.


The National Housing Trust program and policy continues to bridge the gap to meet the needs of the people. The 2017 – 2018 budget targets and expectations are to see the completion of almost 6,000 Homes Island wide.

While persons in a better financial position would not like the waiting period it’s definitely more attractive to people in a lower income bracket Call Centre at 1-800-CALL-NHTl


National Housing Trust


Online Chat with NHT, to clarify some of AJE concerns:

Date: Oct 26, 2017 (00:21:31)
Chat transcription:
11:31 AM Customer Care: Thank you for contacting Customer Care. How may I help you?                                                                                                      11:31 AM Customer Care: Good Morning, I am Tiwanna. I will be assisting you today.
11:32 AM Maxie DaCosta: Hi my question is, after contributing to the system for one year & I apply for the loan. How is the money used that I contributed.
11:33 AM Customer Care: It will be my pleasure to assist you with your query.                                                                                                                            11:34 AM Customer Care: After contributing for 52 weeks you will be eligible to access a loan from the NHT. 11:34 AM Customer Care: You can use your contributions to assist you with your deposit.
11:36 AM Maxie DaCosta: Thanks I got that, but I am not sure I understand. Are you saying, if and after getting approved after two years, doe the contribution go towards me buying the house.
11:38 AM Customer Care: The amount that you contribute is not what we use to lend you to purchase a property the amount that you will be eligible to receive depends on your income and age.
11:39 AM Maxie DaCosta: great, so what happen to the amount that I will have contributed over 52 weeks + more.
11:40 AM Customer Care: You can use that amount to assist you with your deposit on the property.
11:41 AM Maxie DaCosta: Oh Got it Tiwanna. How about if I contribute for 52 weeks then for what ever reason I am no longer qualify. How does that work?
11:43 AM Customer Care: You would need to be contributing for least 52 weekly contributions of which 13 must have been made in the last 26 weeks just before the date of your application.                                                                                                                                                                                    11:43 AM Customer Care: If you are no longer contributing then you not be able to access the loan at that time.
11:45 AM Maxie DaCosta: Yes, but my circumstances may have change. Say I lose work or now I am making way too much. What will happen to the monies I already put in.
11:45 AM Customer Care: Those monies will still be here until you start earning another income to contribute.
11:48 AM Maxie DaCosta: Ok so once I start earning and made 13 contribution in 26 weeks I become eligible again. How about the other senario, I guess if I making above the limit that money will just be use as a deposit towards a regular loan.
11:49 AM Maxie DaCosta: Regular interest no discount
11:49 AM Customer Care: The NHT offers a maximum loan of up to $5.5 million subject to affordability if you are purchasing a home. To purchase land it is up to the maximum of $2.5 million. You would then be required to identify the property. The vendor will request a deposit of at least 5 percent or the percentage that they require. We have a checklist available on our website of the documents to submit. Here is the link: .Once you have all the documents as it relates to the purchase of the property then you will contact us for an interview date.
11:50 AM Customer Care: The interest rate depends on your weekly income.
11:50 AM Maxie DaCosta: Tiwanna, you have answered all my concerns. Thanks a lot
11:51 AM Customer Care: You are welcome , it was a pleasure assisting you.
11:51 AM Maxie DaCosta: Have a great day


Refund of Contribution


With the growth of this program, the National Housing Trust Jamaica Refund policy is in place to protect contributors. If there is a need to get a refund after contributing to the system, there are certain conditions that may apply. Visit NHT