Housing in Antigua & Barbuda: Home ownership vs Renting

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While those who received the keys to their new homes on Monday from Prime Minister Gaston Browne under the government’s flagship 500 homes in 500 days project are celebrating this week, others in the country may be facing issues with their living arrangements.
OBSERVER media canvased St John’s City on Wednesday to ask people how they felt about home ownership vs renting.
Peta Ann is a 21-year-old worker living at home with her parents. She fears she may never own her own home.
“I don’t own my own home, but I want to. If you don’t have a really high paying job, houses are very hard to build in Antigua when it comes to material and labour. A roof can cost you EC$50,000, I am 21. At the rate I am going, I may never own my own house. I will, but I am going to have to work really hard.”
“OI” is a retired woman who had to refinance her mortgage to help pay for her son’s university education.
“For now, I do. I went to the bank based on my son’s school fee but myself and my husband who is deceased built it but right now, it’s compromised. It’s hard when you go to the bank, it’s very costly. The interest is very high and that’s a challenge.”
“Tourist” is a born-Antiguan. He’s visiting from New York and says everything is “ridiculously expensive”.
“I want to believe that Antigua is only for the rich. Even the houses that they build for the poor that were recently constructed, those are highly expensive. When I look at a person who works in the supermarket, that family cannot afford those houses. I hope it changes. That’s why I don’t live here.” For him, renting while he was here was expensive.
Avon works on the Montserrat Ferry and says that interest rates at banks are too high.
“Yes, I do. It is hard to get money from the bank; the interest rates are too high and some of the contractors rip you off… big time!”
“Barbudan” says although her land is free, she does not work for enough money to construct a home.
“The government needs to put in place a means to get young people to say ‘okay I am working for this amount of money and while I am working for this, I can get a home’. She’s renting while living in Antigua for her current job.
“Black Prince”, retired, said he fought hard to convince the bank that he should own his own home.
“The banks themselves are not very helpful. At the time when I was trying to build my house, I did not get much help. They were asking for things that were not needed and they made you feel like you had to bring everything to the table and they didn’t. Of course, I stood up against it and I got my fair share.”
“Zigga” is a taxi driver who heavily relies on tourists for income. He does not have his own home and his children live with their mother.
“There’s no job there and the kind of money you a work for, it hard for you build a house because the mortgage is too much for you. All a that make a lot of Antiguan people don’t have no home. No money there and the cruise ships nah come in so that a wa e be. People nah make money so they can for pay for house.”
Auden is a mechanic who rents. He says that he does not want to find himself in a situation where the bank repossesses his home.
“I am not a homeowner. The lending institutions, even if you get the money it won’t be enough to complete the house and the payback is so stringent that you may just lose your house in the end.”

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