NIA pursues land acquisition to provide affordable housing for citizens and residents
NIA CHARLESTOWN NEVIS (August 03, 2022) – – The Nevis Island Administration (NIA) continues its efforts to make lands available to the people of Nevis for the purpose of housing and development.
At a recent press engagement Hon. Mark Brantley, Premier of Nevis, revealed that the NIA is in negotiations to acquire privately held lands to expand the housing stock on the island. He noted that despite the government launching several new housing projects over the past few years, the demand for housing continues to increase.
“We continue to be very proud at the housing revolution that is happening here on the island of Nevis. For the very first time in the history of our island we have housing developments happening simultaneously at Garners, Maddens, Nisbet Settlement, Prospect, Craddock Road, Hamilton and Rices; that is unprecedented. Yet when we go around and talk to constituents and residents here on the island of Nevis we hear the constant demand for more housing. Many of our young people are saying they are tired of paying rent…they prefer to pay a mortgage, and I agree with them. The difficulty has been that the demand has been vastly more than the supply…
“The Hon. Alexis Jeffers has very quietly, in my view, led a revolution in housing here and he has not only produced quality developments such as that in Maddens we see now popping up all across the island, but he has also been forward thinking, and this government has supported him in that endeavour. We are in the closing stages now in finalizing the acquisition of over 30 acres of land at Garners Estate where we are concluding negotiations with the owners. We have also acquired some six acres just below the cricket field in Brown Hill where we are hoping to launch a new housing development shortly as well.
“We are also in the final stages of some negotiations for some land for the expansion of the village of Barnes Ghaut, a commitment we would have made and a commitment that we are keeping.”
The NIA remains challenged with respect to the availability of land for housing and other purposes as the majority of land on Nevis is privately owned, unlike St. Kitts where most of the available land is Crown land. The Premier said notwithstanding the difficulties, his administration has not relented in its pursuit to secure land to build homes, which remains a crucial need among the populace.
“Oftentimes when the demand for government housing comes to the fore in Nevis we are forced to buy land from private individuals as we did in Craddock and in Hamilton. We are forced to purchase lands and then turn around and then use those lands to offer to our people in terms of lands for purchase and lands for development. It is a difficult process because our people sometimes when they hear that government is the buyer the [cost] gets very pricey, so we’ve had to deal with that and I would want our people to be patient to see that we are in fact trying our very best, but we have those limitations.
“So the government continues to make every effort to satisfy the increase in the demand for housing and I continue to encourage our people, those Nevisians and Kittitians who are here and also those non-nationals who live among us to invest. A home is perhaps for most of us the most significant investment that we would make. We encourage you, sometimes it might seem difficult but…let us invest, get a home, get a piece of land, get a piece of the rock so you can have something to leave for your children and grandchildren.”
He reminded that private lands also are available for purchase and that the government has made home construction more affordable by extending the concessions on taxes on building materials until the end of 2022. In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the NIA in July of 2020 implemented a fiscal incentive whereby first time home owners will get building materials free of Customs Duty and Service Charge, with only Value Added Tax (VAT) payable.
Additionally the NIA has made it convenient for non-nationals residing in Nevis to purchase homes by extending the waiver of the Alien Landholding License Fee until December 31, 2022.