AFTER nearly four months of government-imposed lockdown restrictions, the Trinidad and Tobago Service Industries Coalition (TTCSI) urgently calls on the government to take action to reclassify the real estate sector as an essential service .
TTCSI and the Association of Real Estate Agents (AREA) chairman Mark Edghill said the real estate sector is critical to the country’s economic stability and allowing it to collapse will make the sector’s rebound much more difficult.
“While the real estate industry has been shut down and registered law-abiding professionals wait and beg to be allowed to reopen their businesses, the government continues to randomly open higher-risk businesses and services. What was considered an oversight now appears to be blatant contempt for the sector and its many formal and informal calls for reopening.
“AREA has provided evidence, guidelines and protocols proving that real estate services can be performed safely due to the extremely low risk of public exposure. “The sector is not only a major contributor to gross domestic product (GDP), it also has a positive impact on many downstream services, including the supply of materials, and generates a high demand for labor, driven by property sales, renovations and rentals.
Important for T & T’s GDP
Edghill said real estate activity as a percentage of contribution to GDP increased from 1.8% in 2015 to 2.4% in the second quarter of 2020.
Prime Minister Keith Rowley noted at a July 31 press conference that the Department of Finance was a strong supporter of reopening the real estate sector due to the substantial amount of revenue lost to the state due to its closure keep on going. ,” he said.
Edghill explained that last year AREA submitted detailed industry operating protocols to the Department of Health for review and approval.
“Officers have been trained to organize meetings and visits according to established protocols. Contact with all other parties is also limited and is often digital or electronic. The association closely regulates its members, ”lamented Edghill.
He added that AREA members have reported that the trauma of the pandemic has led members to seek to return home for fear of economic and social collapse.
“The new remote working options make it a viable option. There is also an ongoing interest in investing in your home for future vacations, retirement, or even to generate additional income where jobs have been lost or when a solid investment is needed for excess funds that do not earn much interest. in banking systems, ”Edghill added.