Howard Johnson Realty making use of realty sales bump in the Diaspora

Senior staff reporter

Wednesday, June 26, 2019

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One of the main objectives of the recently concluded 8th Biennial Jamaica Diaspora Conference in downtown Kingston was to examine global trends and events in Jamaica's Diaspora host countries.

The idea is to identify these inherent issues, challenges, and opportunities which will significantly impact the Diaspora in the future, and to examine how best to approach them.

One group which was certainly prepared to make best use of this promising opportunity was the Howard Johnson Realty (HJR) Limited team, which was in full action and riding the incredible growth in the Jamaican real estate market, at the conference which was held under the theme, 'Jamaica and the Diaspora: Building Pathways for Sustainable Development', and lasted June 16 – 20 at Jamaica Conference Centre.

The firm's principal, Howard Johnson Jr, used the opportunity to encourage the Diaspora to become more involved in the local real estate market.

He noted that the elevated level of activity being seen in the construction industry was a sure sign of the “health, growth, and increasing the value of Jamaica's real estate industry”.

“Over the last few years there has been a massive boom in the construction of residential and commercial properties, even large commercial facilities like hotels and business centres,” Johnson noted.

Realtors and industry organisations, such as the Realtors Association of Jamaica, have predicted that 2019 is poised to be the best year yet for the growing Jamaican industry, as demand for both housing and commercial space continues to be driven by increased confidence in a strengthened and stable economy, with greater access to financing with lowered rates, increased National Housing Trust (NHT) benefits, and reduced transaction costs, including the Government's decision to replace the four per cent stamp duty with a flat rate of $5000.

To support these points, Johnson recalled a recent 'Mortgage Day' event hosted by his firm which allowed people working in the Liguanea area of Kingston to come by, discuss the process of home ownership, get pre-approved for JN Bank's 110 per cent mortgage financing, and view properties. The success of the event far surpassed his expectations.

“While we were expecting to get leads from the event, the level of interest was beyond what even we could have predicted. Even as we prepared to wrap up the event, we still had people coming by, expressing interest, some of which actually resulted in offers being made on properties,” Johnson admitted.

“The demographics of the attendees varied, as we were able to serve and assist attendees at varying income levels. The HJR team was pleased to serve and look forward to the next Mortgage Day,” he stated.

Howard Johnson Realty Limited will also be participating in JN Bank's Diaspora event, “Community Connection”, which will be held on Sunday, June 30, at the Lauderhill Performing Arts Centre in Fort Lauderdale, Florida.

The conference also endorsed the draft National Diaspora Policy for presentation to Cabinet, as well as a report on the outcomes from the Jamaica 55 Diaspora Conference. It was examined global trends and established specific actionable outcomes, including matters which the diaspora would wish to endorse for implementation after the conference.

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