Positive outlook for overseas buyers in the Caribbean and Central American
Property sectors in the Caribbean and Central America are set to grow in 2015 with the quality of life, good value for money and stability attracting more people to these regions, it is claimed.
According to an analysis by 7th Heaven Properties the Caribbean region has reinforced its appeal to property buyers and investors, particularly in the face of social, economic and political volatility in other regions.
‘Many investment locations such as the Turks and Caicos, the Bahamas and the Cayman Islands experienced strong growth last year and we expect 2015 to be the year that the Caribbean real estate market as a whole turns a corner,’ said Walter Zephirin, managing director of London based 7th Heaven Properties.
‘A growth in enquiries from prospective buyers indicates a renewed confidence in the region and sales levels on many islands are returning to pre-crisis levels,’ he explained.
He pointed out that locations across the Caribbean and Central America are benefiting from an upturn in the US, Canada and the UK, resulting in an increase in visitor arrivals, tourist spend and property sales.
‘A growing pipeline of new projects, significant infrastructure investments and a thawing in relations between the USA and Cuba are also expected to provide an additional boost to the region,’ he added.
The firm believes that a positive economic outlook for the Caribbean and Central America region, with GDP forecast to grow 5.8% in Panama and 4.8% in the Dominican Republic in 2015, will attract property investors.
There has been a series of announcements relating to new luxury residential developments in multiple locations, including Antigua, Costa Rica, Honduras and Panama and of government programmes to incentivise property buyers, including Citizenship by Investment in Antigua and Barbuda, Grenada and St Kitts and Nevis as well as retirement programmes in Belize and Panama.
On top of this there has been an increase in direct flights to destinations including Costa Rica, the Bahamas, the Dominican Republic and St Lucia improving access for tourists and property buyers as well as recent and on-going investments in private jet terminals and airport upgrades.
Royal Westmoreland, a gated community and golf estate on the west coast of Barbados has just launched a fractional ownership option in response to feedback from regular rental guests who said they simply don’t have the holiday time to commit to full ownership.
Kim Goddard, head of sales at Royal Westmoreland, said that the fractional ownership program allows for purchasers to own just the time they intend to stay at the resort. The property is held freehold/deeded in a third party trust in the Isle of Man, governed under UK commonwealth property law, and ownership shares in the villas are fully transferable, and sellable.
‘We often find that potential purchasers might have the means to buy full ownership but are constrained by the amount of holiday time they have to utilise their home at this point in time. So for them this is a savvy way of buying a home that is aligned to their expected usage, controlling their expectations when arriving for their annual holiday whilst allowing them to benefit from capital uplift in the property value when looking at justifying a full ownership purchase,’ explained Goddard.
Owners who are unable to visit the resort during the time period purchased are able to exchange their weeks through an internal exchange programme to allow the storing and movement of time that provides the benefit of year-round access to multiple size residences on resort