The Platinum Potential

The Caribbean island destination of Barbados has become world famous as an exclusive celebrity hangout and as a five star beach paradise that attracts the biggest names in fashion, music, movies and business.

Simon Cowell, Martine McCutcheon, Leona Lewis and Coleen McLoughlin are reputed to have all recently holidayed on the island, whilst the likes of Jodie Kidd, Ian Woosnam, David Lloyd, Jasper Carrot, Virginia Wade, Cilla Black and Cliff Richard own homes in Barbados.

Because Barbados lies in the Caribbean it enjoys a fabulous climate, it is blessed with powder white sandy beaches and it's well known for being something of a party island year round; but between the months of May and August the island really comes to life as the Crop Over festival takes place with events rocking the island almost daily.  The festival is as popular with the locals as it is with the holidaymakers and celebrities, yet if you want to specifically celebrity spot, OK Magazine suggests you head for The Lone Star restaurant where Kylie has been spotted, whilst The Independent suggests that Calabaza has played host to Hugh Grant and that The Terrace at Villa Nova is "a favourite with rock legend Bryan Ferry."

However, the real place in Barbados to actually hang out with the stars and rub shoulders with the rich and famous is on the west coast where one very specific area of Barbados has had something of a pertinent name change in recent years because of the increasing exclusivity and wealth synonymous with this part of Barbados. The Gold Coast has become known as the Platinum Coast, and it is where reputedly up to 18 global billionaires own homes and where the global jet set like to buy real estate too!

Across the island real estate prices have been rising in line with demand and the increasing appeal, attraction and high end rating of Barbados, but nowhere are properties more in demand than on the Platinum Coast, making this one of the best areas for investment both in terms of rental yields achievable and advancing real estate prices.  Year on year prices rose an average of 20% in 2007 according to agents on the island, with the west coast enjoying the strongest gains.  Rental yields vary dramatically depending on the type of property, with front line, well-positioned and exclusive villa properties renting for the most money year round.

Cashing in on the seemingly insatiable demand for private rental accommodation in Barbados are the likes of David Lloyd, Jasper Carrot and Jodie Kidd who all let out their homes when they are not using them.  So if it's good enough for them, it's surely good enough for the rest of us!  According to Adrian Lillywhite, Managing Director of Windsor Worldwide International Property: "Barbados is an investment choice for those who prefer guaranteed levels of demand and certain returns over emerging market risks and potential rewards.  Whilst there is of course no such thing as a guaranteed investment, the Caribbean region's most exclusive islands such as Barbados, have been consistently returning strong levels of real estate market growth coupled with unquenchable tourism based demand in recent years.  As investment continues to pour into Barbados and it becomes better known as a celebrity destination of choice, so this is pushing up property prices, increasing demand and allowing investors to cash in on a wave of real estate related success."

As the Platinum Coast is the most sought after and exclusive area of Barbados, so it is naturally in high demand with investors seeking the surest and best returns.  For sale on the coast currently are 2 brand new villa properties set within a former plantation which boast breathtaking and awesome views of the coast and which are situated within walking distance of the Royal Westmoreland Golf Course.  Ideally located for maximum tourism rental interest, the villas comprise 4 bedrooms, 3 bathrooms, a swimming pool, decked terraces, private parking and secure gated entrances.  The small and exclusive development is called Mount Standfast Villas, and according to HiFX Mortgage Services, the fee-free overseas finance arm of FX brokers HiFX, fully FSA regulated mortgages are now available to foreign buyers of property in Barbados, making the asking price of the Mount Standfast Villas within reach for more people.