Barbados Back on Property Investment Form?


Knight Frank bring good tidings of great joy. Barbados’ property market it seems, is back on silken sand form, with the country recording one of its biggest beachfront sales ever: Four Winds, a property on the fabled Platinum Coast with a guide price of $40 million, sold to a British buyer. One factor is that UK sellers are now in a position to accept lower offers from British buyers, knowing that they will recoup any discounts when converting their amount back from the dollar.

The culture in Barbados is very different to many regions of the world with the local population on the whole of an upbeat disposition. Indeed, when real estate prices started to fall post-recession, there was a collective view that a natural short-term correction would not harm the market in the longer term. This appears to be true to form with an array of rumours and speculation regarding large-scale property investments in the region, including the revival of the stalled Four Seasons project at Clearwater Bay, St Michael. Minister of Tourism, Richard Sealy said the legal issues that are holding back the project are likely to be untangled by the end of this year.

The market’s heyday pre-recession was fuelled, in part, by the strength of the pound against the dollar, pre-2008 which was at a 10-year high of around $2. Today, though, sterling is much weaker, following the UK’s EU exit vote. Indeed, the pound is around 40% per cent lower than 2007 at $1.21, making property more expensive for British buyers, who traditionally make up 70% of the island’s prime purchasers.

That said, Brits are beginning to return, attracted by the discounted market, as too are a new investor streams with a growing presence of international buyers in the region. Knight Frank reports a 500% increase in Chinese investment in the Caribbean in the decade prior to 2012.

Selecting the right sector of the Barbados market is key. Local agents, Terra Caribbean report that there are some parts of the island still enjoying “strong demand”, such as the beachfront land in the Carlisle Bay area. The east coast is also particular sought-after by both local and foreign buyers.

In line with the likes of Spain and Portugal, the authorities are also using special entry permits and potential full citizenship as a means of attracting investors. When you also factor in the natural recovery in real estate performance, the potential to gain full citizenship when investing in the region can only be a further inducement.

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