to the recent International Monetary Fund Mission: Inflation
has accelerated, real estate prices are rising, capacity constraints
have become evident (but) the mission agrees that record
high energy prices present the country with a window of opportunity
to achieve high living standards for current and future
Everywhere there is talk of a growth path, so we must all
be able to structure a path to own a house. Right! However,
even welfare housing depends on a floor and a ceiling (minimum
and maximum) of income, necessary to qualify the applicant.
The hard cold fact is that you must have some money saved
up, and you must have income in excess of what you spend.
Beware of any scheme that seems too easy. Popular plans seek
to use your petty savings to leverage their own business growth.
The consumer must learn to ask relevant questions, and not
be misled by the advertisements and scant facts in the brochures.
Some plans on the market require you to save with them for
12 months, after which you will get a mortgage loan, provided
that you then qualify. What you must be informed about is
what rate of return you will receive on your savings from
month to month. The question to ask is whether you can save
elsewhere, for a better rate of return.
There are other plans that require you to purchase shares
in the organisation, and then after youve accumulated
a certain sum, they will entertain your mortgage application.
Again you should be informed about what rate of return your
savings can earn.
In all cases, understand whether your savings guarantee a
return, and know what scale of return is available at other
In general, you get the better returns from the more established
lending institutions, which have an established capital base
and a reputation in the market.
If a lending establishment is subsidised by government or
charitable intervention, you may get a better deal there,
as opposed to what is available from the commercial lenders.
It is useful to note that the power of the dream is a phenomenon
that the psychologists have yet to understand.
Remember what the IMF said, only last month. They say things
in T&T are getting harder, but the opportunity window
is open for all of us to share in the wealth, grow and prosper
towards better living standards.