Judging by the number of celebrities visiting Barbados recently the Caribbean island certainly has a buzz about it and now evidence is emerging that its real estate market is set to pick up in 2010.
Like many countries the island’s property market suffered during the global economic downturn. The first six months of 2009 were fairly quiet except for buyers with US$4 million or more to spend, according to international agents Cluttons.
The credit crunch though has created opportunities for buyers as sellers and developers become more realistic in their asking prices. Prices are falling and it is a ‘rare’ situation for the island, Cluttons says.
It is optimistic about 2010 with figures over the last quarter showing significant signs of improvement in property sales enquiries and actual transactions. The number of serious inquiries were up by 80% in December and this month compared with the same period last year.
Buyers are attracted by the potential to negotiate a discounted price with high expectations of rental and capital growth. This is based on the stability of the economy, currency exchange rates, location and the quality of properties that Barbados has to offer.
‘The Barbados property market, like everywhere else in the world, saw the number of transactions reduce in 2009, and the number of buyers looking for discounts increase. The economic downturn created a buyers’ market and it took a little while for owners and developers to accept it, with an initial stalemate between the buyers and vendors expectations,’ said Kieran Kelly from Cluttons Barbados.
‘We are now seeing more flexibility in vendor’s willingness to negotiate and as a result, more sales, most due to price reductions,’ he added.
Kelly feels sales within the next six months will increase considerably as buyers can achieve a discount on the purchase price and then look forward to capital appreciation as the market strengthens further. Those buying now will do well, as Barbados has an exciting future ahead.
‘Barbados is an extremely strong brand and clients want a safer market that can offer good potential on the upturn. If anything, this financial crisis has placed Barbados in a better position as competing and alternative destinations have faltered quite dramatically,’ explained Kelly.
Cliff Richard has a home on the island and visitors in recent weeks have included the Sugababes and director Michael Winner is frequent visitor. It is a myth that you need to be rich to buy property in Barbados, according to Kelly. ‘It is widely believed that property in Barbados is owned by only the rich and famous. Although there are many wealthy owners, over the years the market has spread and diversified with prices ranging from US$145,000 to US$40 million,’ he said.
The west coast of the island does has some of the highest property prices in the world but the south coast is seeing extreme expansion, development and growth due to fantastic beaches, amenities and lower prices, he added.