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Foreign buyers out numbering locals in new projects in the Bahamas

Some 50% of the buyers at the recently unveiled Balmoral project in western New Providence have been from Canada and although it is good for sales it means local people are missing out, according to developer Jason Kinsale.

He believes that Bahamian buyers may miss an opportunity to acquire affordable gated community properties in western New Providence through lack of confidence, with prices in the area only likely to go up.

Speaking as he unveiled a $269,000, two bed, two bath condo product targeted at the Bahamian young professionals market, Kinsale, told Tribune Business that his typical buyer had altered from one who put down a 10% deposit with mortgage financing to all cash purchasers as a result of the recession.

‘They're not scared. They know it's a good price and feel more confident. Whereas that 10% down buyer may be afraid they will lose their jobs, and are gripped by fear, but a year from now they may not be able to afford to get into The Balmoral, Sandyport or a community of their choice,’ he said.

‘They have to take a little bit of a risk. I think our Bahamian buyers have to take a little more risk, or they will get left behind. They may miss out. I think we've all come to the conclusion that prices in western New Providence are not going down. A modest increase of 2 to 3% cent, and that's another $10,000 that they've got to find. That's the reality of the environment we're in,’ he explained.

‘We don't have this infinite supply of product. Sandyport is close to being sold out, Nautica is sold out. There's not this endless supply,’ he added.

There is concern that Chinese buyers are poised to arrive en mass. Kinsale said that if just 100 Chinese acquired real estate options at the $2.6 billion Baha Mar project , a possible development, given the involvement of China State Construction and the China Import Export Bank, this would have a major impact on the Bahamas real estate market.

Revealing that the 18 unit $269,000 condo option will launch within the next 30 days,  Kinsale said: ‘I think they're going to fly. I think the young professional market has no choices here. It's for the investor as well, because the units will rent for approximately $2,200 a month. It's a nice investment package, because there's nothing available at that price in the west.

He added; ‘I think there's a pent up demand. Young professionals are just unable to purchase anything right now. If you look at young professionals they're doctors, lawyers, accountants, but they're not always making a lot of money. They have valuable training and education, but are not at the peak of their career yet; it takes a little while to get there’.

While the commercial banks had come under fire for being unwilling to lend, Kinsale said credit was still available to those who could qualify.

Read more about buying in the Bahamas in this month's edition of Property Wire Confidential