The Barbados property market is warming up, even in low season
After six years of sluggish activity the Barbados luxury homes market is picking up according to Christian de Meillac, Knight Frank’s Head of Caribbean sales.
Christian has seen a marked increase in buyer enquiries and this is backed up by the number of online property viewings being generated via Knight Frank’s Global Property Search Website (see chart below). The number of online viewings increased 56.7% in the year to June 2014.
Christian comments: “The sun seems to be rising again in Barbados as the traditional selling season is extending into summer. Buyers are back and we are seeing regeneration in the market with more and more sales along the premium west coast from Bridgetown to Speightstown.
He adds: “With the positive signs coming from the UK economy, price discounts and a new impetus amongst buyers, we have seen a marked increase in sales and interestingly, this is continuing into the summer months – when things traditionally quiet down.
In terms of the nationalities buying, Christian comments: “UK buyers still lead the market accounting for around 70% of all prime sales, followed by Canadians but the presence of European buyers is also on the increase.
“Demand varies according to price,” according to Christian. “The sweet spot seems to be those properties located along the west coast and priced between US$1m and US$3m. Beachfront apartments and standalone villas are generating the most interest with a sea view and privacy the two key prerequisites.
“However, this has also been a year of record deals at the top end of the market, with two deals circa US$20m and one deal rumoured to be in excess of US$40m. A sign that things are looking up.
“When we compare our applicant numbers with a year ago, not only are more applicants registering their interest in a Barbados home but a greater proportion of them are buying.”
Christian believes the strong pound has been influential. “The more favourable exchange rate has certainly assisted British buyers, not only providing them with an effective discount on the property price but visits on the whole are less expensive. Cars, dining and golf are all more affordable and the UK government is considering reducing taxes on long haul flights to the island. This also encourages tourism, and in turn home owners can increase their rental income, again helping reduce the cost of the property.
“Despite the strengthening pound and the fact that Barbados is attracting more buyers and seeing more sales, locally property prices have not begun to increase. Buyers are well informed, taking their time and researching the market thoroughly. Vendors need to be patient and it is still the best priced properties that are attracting attention.”