The arrangement between the General Pension Fund APS and Banco di Caribe to provide future homeowners at Oryx Residences with a mortgage (see related story) is obviously good news. After all, where else can one get 100 per cent financing at 6 per cent interest.
Construction of 62 units is scheduled for completion at the end of this month and approved buyers should get their keys six to eight weeks after that. With reportedly attractive prices, the project should help alleviate the acute shortage of affordable housing at least somewhat.
The question is whether more can’t be done in that sense and in the process promote homeownership, which is an important factor in social stability. If banks were able to offer similar, favourable conditions for mortgages to everyone, this could also stimulate movement in the real estate sector and boost local spending a bit.
A so-called mortgage guarantee fund is one way to accomplish such, but there might be other feasible options too. It would behove government to have consultations with financial institutions on the islands to see what is possible.
Perhaps some of the millions in the Dutch-sponsored Trust Fund managed by the World Bank can be used to this end as economic revitalisation tool, along with Small Business Recovery Project and other initiatives. There is no doubt that owning homes helps give people stronger roots and tends to make them care more about their surroundings and the community they are part of.