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Tiers of middle-income housing

Marlon Madden

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There have been a number of middle-income housing projects across the island over the past two years.
And at least two players in the industry agree that many Barbadians are still in the dark as to what is meant by the term middle-income housing.
“I think people throw around the term middle income and don’t know exactly what we mean,” said Andrew Mallalieu, managing director of Terra Caribbean.
“For us at Terra Caribbean, we look at middle-income properties – meaning anything, let’s say, from $450 000 up to about $850 000. These are housing solutions – complete house and land.
That is what we would consider a Barbadian middle-income home,” he explained.
In a separate interview, Ideal Homes Limited managing director Stanton Gittens said in Barbados most people were considered to be in the middle-income bracket compared to other countries, but there were different tiers.
Gittens also said it was about time industry players made affordable housing available to people at the various levels.
Not providing a price range of what he would consider to be the cost of a middle-income house, Gittens told BARBADOS BUSINESS AUTHORITY: “In the Barbados society everybody is middle-income, but it is what level of middle income. Because when you compare the rest of the Caribbean and South America, you see low income in those places. When you look at Barbados, we don’t see that because our ‘low income’ is still above those,” he said.
“We have different tiers and we have to start catering to the different tiers. So anything we do – and this housing borders on Government’s policies – . . . whatever you do, you must always do a package to encompass a middle income [spread] . . . ,” said Gittens.
The home builders further noted that the high cost associated with purchasing a property over the years was due to a number of factors, including the various stages that had to be finalized leading up to the purchase. Among them, they say, was the cost of putting in the infrastructure and “the several stages and several statutory bodies of the Government” involved.
Gittens added: “From the time you borrow the money from the bank, the interest never sleeps from there on . . . . And that makes it more expensive. The banks will tell you that.”