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Barbados continues to appreciate despite the economic downturn

Cluttons Barbados says the property market remains in a stage of growth and has been driven by a strong economy and well established tourism industry.  Barbados has fantastic amenities, golf courses, spas and restaurants with direct flights from major cities and of course the great climate and beaches!  In recent months Cluttons Barbados has seen a considerable upturn in the high end market and can only think that people are becoming less patient with the lifestyle in the UK. This has all led to a winning formula for British buyers.

In the recorded history of property on the island, property values have never declined. Unlike larger countries where property values have come under pressure from issues such as the financial downturn, Barbados property values have continued to show significant strength.  It should be noted that the middle market developer or homeowner is now a little more flexible and will entertain some negotiation, however the property market in Barbados is currently holding its own. 

Tim Morgan, managing director of Cluttons Barbados said: "History has shown that during harder financial times and even recessions, Barbados is affected for the shortest period only whilst people are uncertain and decide not to make a decision.  Then as people start to make sense of things and even become fed up, they tend to want to be in or buy a home in Barbados. "

Tim Morgan continued : "Not to add insult to injury or be disrespectful during this current global financial climate, Barbados has in the past always performed well as more established and international markets are in decline and then Barbados again benefits as these more international markets bounce back."

It is widely believed that property in Barbados is owned by the rich and famous. Although this is still the case, over the years the market has spread and diversified with prices ranging from US$400,000 to US$40,000,000.

The west coast has some of the highest property prices in the world and now the south coast is seeing extreme expansion, development and growth due to fantastic beaches, amenities and lower prices.

The "Platinum" or West Coast

The west coast of Barbados begins on the outskirts of Bridgetown (Capital of Barbados) in the south and extends northward to Harrisons in the parish of St. Lucy at the northern tip of the island.

With the Four Seasons luxury residences and hotel under construction at Pile Bay, close to Batt's Rock on the southern end of the west coast and the Portico condominiums very close by at Prospect St. James, this has shifted the critical mass of luxury property from the centrally located Holetown area where the Sandy Lane and Royal Westmoreland properties are located.   There are a number of other west coast luxury beachfront developments on this stretch of coast with prices ranging from US$1m – US$10m. 

Royal Westmoreland and Sandy Lane are currently the premier residential golf resorts on the west coast, with two more major golf developments currently well underway at Apes Hill and Banyan Tree. Barbados is very quickly becoming a major golf destination within the Caribbean and world. The Apes Hill development is located in an extremely beautiful part of the island that overlooks the west coast and in some parts, the east coast as well. One can purchase a one third acre plot of land for approximately US$500,000 and then have a villa designed and built for you. Banyan Tree has plans to build a five star resort that will encompass approximately 180 luxury villas starting at approximately US$3m each. Royal Westmoreland is an extremely well established prestigious golf resort with a host of wealthy and famous owners. The prices at Royal Westmoreland start at around US$520,000.

Heading northward along the west coast, there are numerous townhouse and condominium developments in the Mullins, St. Peter area, most of which are not directly on the beach but within easy walking distance to the beach starting around US$750,000.

Port St. Charles is a luxury residential marina development located just north of the historical Speightstown. One could purchase a resale villa directly on the beach for US$4m, however one bedroom apartments do start from around US$1m. The Barbados government has just announced a joint venture project with the Rosewood Hotel Group of the USA to build a five star hotel and villas project at the now defunct naval base at Harrisons Point at the northern end of the west coast. Looking further in the developer's field, Cluttons has a 240 acre parcel of ocean front land that forms a part of the Harrison's plantation for sale at US$50m.

There are a number of new projects breaking ground on the Platinum west coast including Beachlands,  a luxury US$200m development being planned by The Lewis Trust, who are also the owners of the River Island retail chain.  In addition, it has been reported that Bruce Ritchie and Nick Leslau have teamed up and purchased a beachfront site to build a multi million dollar high end luxury residential development.

The market is currently strong and exciting on the prestigious west coast of Barbados.

The South Coast

The south coast begins at Carlisle Bay in Bridgetown and heads in an easterly direction towards East point on the Atlantic east coast.

The south coast has seen tremendous growth within the last five years. There are a number of new developments under construction and the prices are lower than on the west coast, which suit the middle market and investment purchaser very well.

Higher end developments include The Palm Beach Condominiums which are spacious and offer very good value with quality finishes. These units are 2,200 square feet and larger and start at US$950,000. The Sapphire Beach Condominiums and White Sands Villas are two very good examples of new developments in the heart of the south coast. They both have direct beach access and start at US$700,000 for a one bedroom unit.

Prices on the south coast range from US$350,000 – US$2,000,000.
With real estate values declining in some of the world's more established and developed economies, many investors are seeking countries where property values are still climbing. Barbados offers very good property investment possibilities as the island is stable and growing and the south coast is still very much affordable.

The East Coast

The east coast is on the stunning Atlantic side of Barbados and there are clear indications that will soon be starting to see plans for hotels and property developments on this side of the island. Watch this space.

The rental market for villas and condominiums is expanding and generating a good rate of return for homeowners. A conservative net return of 8 – 15% is achievable through a good marketing strategy and solid property management programme. Full service luxury villas can be rented that include chefs, housekeepers, butlers and even a water sports boat drivers if required. Most rental customers become repeat clients so the market is renewing and growing, which is positive.   Flights to Barbados are cheaper than people think ranging from US$600 which is another fundamental reason why tourism across Barbados is growing.

Barbados continues to diversify with world class restaurants and a host of activities including sailing, golf, sports fishing, tennis, polo and surfing and visitor numbers continue to grow steadily. Everyone loves the island for its friendly people, laid back lifestyle and warm, Caribbean flavour. There are even home comforts in Barbados with supermarkets stocking Waitrose and Marks and Spencer products.  In fact Barbados is known as "Little England" as there are quite a few similarities and an obvious English influence.

The continuing appeal of Barbados comes down to a few major factors:

Supply & Demand
Barbados offers 430 square kilometres / 166 square miles of natural beauty. Barbados has a vast selection of luxury and investment homes and although the island is not overdeveloped it is limited in land capacity in comparison to most places in the world.  Barbados is simply stunning and provides every visitor and homeowner an apparelled experience.  Barbados is certainly a haven for luxury, enjoyment and relaxation.

Easy & Direct Access 
Direct flights via all major airlines arrive at Grantley Adams International Airport in Barbados at least once daily from most major airports in Europe and North America especially the UK, US and Canada.  Grantley Adams International Airport has recently undergone a US$150m upgrade and expansion.  Direct flights into Barbados make access very easy for travellers. 

Secure, Proven and Established Investment with Considerable Growth Potential
We are all seeing the decline of stock markets, currencies, bank / retirement savings and property values and as this happens there is a need for a stronger and proven investment and Barbados property offers just that with all the benefits of a great lifestyle.  Due to these trends it is said that there are only two things to invest in during a recession or depression Gold and Property in Barbados.

"Cash is King" and this has always benefited Barbados as the super rich enjoy this beautiful island – The West Coast of Barbados is well known for its celebrity and ultra wealthy visitors and homeowners such as Simon Cowell, Mick Jagger, Hugh Grant, David & Victoria Beckham, Wayne & Colleen Rooney, Princes William & Harry, The Blairs, Sir Cliff Richard, Jeremy Clarkson, Tom Cruise, Tiger Woods, Oprah Winfrey, George Clooney, Michael Schumacher, Amy Winehouse, The Rausing Family, Sir Philip Green, Michael Winner, David Frost, Madonna, Andrew Lloyd Webber, Lulu, Rihanna (born in Barbados), Sir Elton John, Richard Branson, Andrei Shevchenko, Sir Alex Ferguson, Roman Abramovich, Sting, Armani, The late Pavarotti……The list is simply endless as are the private jets lining the run ways…. Expedia voted Barbados as the number one destination in the world to spot a "celebrity".   

Tim Morgan, managing director, Cluttons Barbados said: "The reason we list only a tiny number of the better known names is not to sound like a tabloid but to indicate the support, investment and attraction we have as an island.  This is the reality of the market place in Barbados and it is growing and now, thankfully, the market has started to diversify and expand into the middle markets.  The security within our property market is that prices remain stable and grow as owners are not desperate to sell due to their wealth and the middle markets are able to secure rental income to offset the related costs as Barbados tourism is also still doing well."

Cluttons internal research has shown that people tend to review their own "lifestyle" or standard of living during harder financial times.  Maybe it's a time to stop for a moment and review everything.  Many of Cluttons clients say that the personal sacrifices and work loads are far more appealing when living in or looking forward to their next trip to Barbados.   In addition, a growing number of Cluttons clients are choosing Barbados as the perfect spot in the world to retire.  Barbados can offer everything to everyone – relaxation, luxury living, modern communication and technology, modern and established banking, offshore, legal and business systems, professionals and facilities, international fine dining and local Caribbean cuisine restaurants, modern amenities, fantastic golf, polo, horse racing; modern VIP cinemas, Cable TV (with English Football & Rugby), great bars for every age, stunning beaches, water sports and of course the all year round sunny climate which allows for great outside living.  Barbados is a very safe island with lovely people and an extremely low crime rate which is why Barbados is also so popular with families.