Published:Friday | January 19, 2024 | 12:08 AM
Real estate development plans appeared to have slowed in 2023, based on the number and scope of the approved projects. In total, the Real Estate Board of Jamaica approved 92 residential and commercial developments encompassing 3,296 units, nearly…
Real estate development plans appeared to have slowed in 2023, based on the number and scope of the approved projects.
In total, the Real Estate Board of Jamaica approved 92 residential and commercial developments encompassing 3,296 units, nearly half of which were in St Andrew. That’s down from 98 approved developments designed to deliver 5,135 units in 2022, reflecting a decline of around 36 per cent in the volume of units.
The data suggests less activity, but Real Estate Board approvals don’t always track with the period of project implementation, industry sources noted. For example, the numbers don’t account for past approved projects that may have been implemented in the current year.
However, the decline comes amid what President of the Developers Association Dayton Wood described last month as an overhang in the market, whereby a build-up of new units for sale seemed to be causing a slowdown in new construction. Jamaica Mortgage Bank CEO Courtney Wynter also noted around the same time that the bank, which finances construction projects, was starting to see indications of a softening of the housing market.
In 2023, the Real Estate Board approved 44 projects offering 868 units for St Andrew. Usually the board collapses the data for Kingston and St Andrew – which are separate parishes that are administered as one municipality under the KSAMC – but this time, the board reported on Kingston separately, noting that one project was approved for the development of 119 units. That appears to be a reference to the K2 apartment complex being developed in east Kingston by Sherbourne Limited, a company controlled by the Lake family. Construction began in December.
The parish of St Ann was second in line-up for approvals, having got the green light from the Real Estate Board for 16 projects, featuring 875 units.
For that parish, which sits on the north coast, otherwise referred to as the tourism corridor, President of the Incorporated Masterbuilders Association of Jamaica, Lenworth Kelly, said the market was likely fuelled by “good demand in the resort areas of the north coast”.
That location, he said, is particularly attractive to Jamaicans in the diaspora, plus there is a shortage of units in the NHT price range, due to historical demand that’s compounded by new and expanded hotels and attractions, he added. State agency National Housing Trust is one of the largest providers of housing and caters mainly to the middle to lower-income tiers of the market.
St James followed behind St Ann in the number of projects approved, amounting to seven with 794 units. Manchester had two projects approved with 822 units; St Catherine had six, offering 429 units; and Hanover had three approved comprising 420 units.