J’cans urged to unlock wealth by registering land

SURVEYORS, bankers, regulators and stakeholders in the real estate sector have urged Jamaicans with unregistered land to apply for their titles and take advantage of the economic benefits of landownership.

Andre Gordon, land surveyor, said that data reveals that almost 350,000 or 40 per cent of all parcels of land in Jamaica are without registered titles. He said a rough estimate of the value of those properties would be in excess of J$200 billion or US$1.6 billion.

Currently, the parishes with the highest rates of unregistered land are Portland and St Elizabeth.

“If we put that, in context, it is almost 11 per cent of the Jamaican Gross Domestic Product (GDP), which is locked up in unusable assets,” Gordon said. “That’s almost 350,000 persons, who are being held back from using land in their possession for wealth generating activities.”

Gordon was speaking at the Realtors Association of Jamaica (RAJ), ‘Know Your Property Rights’ symposium, organised by the RAJ in partnership with JN Bank, at the Golf View Hotel in Mandeville. The symposium focused on the theme: “The impact of unregistered land on the real estate sector.”

Gordon further pointed out that there are many families in Jamaica who own large portions of unregistered land, but are struggling financially because their wealth is unlocked and, in a sense, they can’t use it.