Wealthy buyers returning to the Caribbean market
Wealthy British buyers who are feeling more confident about the economic outlook are returning to the luxury real estate market in the Caribbean, with Barbados proving popular again.
Indeed, the luxury Royal Westmoreland resort in Barbados, which is popular with British footballers and celebrities, has reported the best sales period in more than 10 years, with $60 million of villa sales largely going to British buyers.
The firm says that overall the appetite for overseas property is returning and Barbados is regarded as an appealing place to have a second home with $30 million of new villas now being built and another $30 million of homes in the next six to nine months.
‘This is the busiest period for me in 11 years at Royal Westmoreland. Everything we are building is for somebody who has purchased the property so we are not building anything speculative. We have seen a substantial turnaround from the previous five years,’ said Royal Westmoreland construction director Ian Putley.
According to his colleague, sales Director Kim Goddard, Most of the sales are to British buyers who are feeling more confident about the economy back home and in the product that is Barbados. ‘They want a sure bet when it comes to making their lifestyle choice for a second home. This means built amenities, established vibrant community and lower risk on protecting resale values,’ she explained.
The Royal resort, which is itself up for sale currently, with a price tag of $75 million, has expanded onto new land purchased in 2006 which covers 250 hectares and has planning permission for another golf course and hotel. The new collection of 31 lots are on a high ridge with views over the golf course and the southern stretch of the sought after west coast.
Famous owners of homes at Royal Westmoreland include former cricketers Andrew Flintoff, Michael Vaughan and Ian Botham, golfers Ian Woosnam and Lee Westwood, boxer Joe Calzaghe and footballers Wayne Rooney, Andy Cole, Rio Ferdinand and Stuart Pearce.
It is the only completed gated community in Barbados with a golf course and a beach club, and is a short drive inland from the Platinum Coast known for its white sandy beaches, chic restaurants and laid back beach bars.
Wealth intelligence firm Wealth-X has just brought out a report saying that there is increased demand for homes in the Caribbean. It points out that while Caribbean luxury real estate values remain 10% to 15% below their 2009 highs, prime property sales increased by more than 10% in 2014.
According to Wealth-X president David Freidman, the firm’s latest research shows that resurgent luxury real estate markets in the Caribbean, and specifically Barbados are in a good position to take advantage of long term growth trends in global ultra high net worth buyer demand for real estate.
The report suggests that wealthy investors from China and Russia in particular are looking to buy in the Caribbean. They are looking to buy luxury real estate as second homes in economically and politically stable locations.
The report also says that government incentive programmes and new buyers are fuelling interest in the region as a prime residential resort destination. Several Caribbean nations have begun offering programmes to incentivise investing in property.
Barbados, for example, introduced a special entry and residence permit in 2014 that allows foreign nationals who invest US$2 million into property to establish residency. There are also tax advantages.