Ultra luxurious condos
Wealthy buyers opting for turnkey properties
Ultra luxurious condos
Wealthy buyers opting for turnkey properties
The global economy might have stalled, but wealthy buyers on the hunt for a second home are still prepared to shell out money for well-appointed Bahamian condos … if the price is right.
Although the islands’ condo market is not firing on all cylinders, recent months have shown steady improvements, say realtors.
“The condominium market at Caves Heights, on the western side of New Providence this year is showing a 300 per cent increase in sales volume over last year,” says Christopher Herrod, the developer behind the private ocean-view community comprised of 86 elegant condominium residences situated a stone’s throw away from upscale retailers and restaurants.
Caves Heights’ condominiums range from 1,900 to 4,200 sq ft, all with ocean views. The development has two pools, a 24-hour lit tennis court, fitness centre, covered parking bays and 24-hour security–all within a secure gated community less than 10 minutes away from the airport, but outside the fly-by zone.
Buyers pay anywhere from $600,000 to $2.4 million to own a unit in the luxury development.
Herrod says pricing is showing signs of going up. At higher price points, buyers require little, if any, mortgage financing. These buyers are shrewd, skeptical and have done their research.
Real estate experts cite a laundry list of reasons why buyers are opting to purchase high-end units in The Bahamas: unique location, attractive pricing, 24-hour security, relatively low maintenance and a range of amenities.
The Bahamas offers permanent resident status to owners who purchase real estate worth $500,000 or more. That means non-Bahamians can set up corporations, trusts and other tax-efficient structures to better manage and preserve their wealth.
“The Bahamas offers a tax efficient, mature, stable, economically secure environment and will continue to benefit from its political and economic models while neighbouring countries feel the pinch of tremendous budget deficits being passed to individuals through increased taxes,” says Herrod.
He notes that the nationality of his buyers include Swedish, German, French, British, South American, Russian, Canadian, American and Bahamian.
“Fifty per cent of buyers are buying to own the properties as second homes, 40 per cent as year-round homes, while 10 per cent are offering the properties for rental returns, achieving around five to six per cent [return on investment], per year [in] income before capital appreciation,” says Herrod.
That five or six per cent “is a lot better” than having money in the bank gaining one per cent or less in interest, says John Christie, VP of marketing at H G Christie Ltd–the oldest real estate service in The Bahamas.
With a recession stalking Europe’s weakening economy at press time, Christie believes foreigners aren’t purchasing second homes strictly for sentimental reasons. “Europeans are buying because of what’s happening in the market. Their taxes are going way up. Europeans can actually emigrate here, get their permanent residency and not pay any taxes in their own country.”
A fully licensed real estate broker who has served as a director of the Bahamas Real Estate Association, Christie has been active in the local real estate market since 1993.
“During the past decade the American second-home vacation buyers dominated the market. Now, given the state of their economy, they don’t necessarily need a second home. Interest has waned,” Christie explains.
“Europeans, South Americans and Canadians are actually saving money by buying here. It’s a financial incentive for them. It’s not just a vacation home.”
H G Christie Ltd offers luxury homes and condos, vacation homes, beachfront properties, development properties and private islands.
The condos they show start around 2,200 sq ft and feature top of the line finishes and amenities including granite counter tops, vaulted ceilings, travertine tiles, pools, tennis courts and beautiful views. Depending on the price point, some condos provide access to marinas, beaches, spas and world-class golfing.
“It’s a good time to buy,” says Christie. “Some developers are offering incentives. There are some people who need to sell. You can probably find a good deal out there if you’re looking for one.”
Ask Jason McCarroll, owner/broker at Seaview Properties and he’ll tell you the hottest condominiums on the market right now would be Columbus Cove near Love Beach on the northwest shore of the island.
Residents there enjoy unobstructed ocean views and private beach access. Units start at $325,000 and work up to $800,000.
“They do a phenomenal job of giving value for money,” says McCarroll. “Those are the ones that are probably selling the best in this market.”
Amenities include swimming pools, outdoor sun decks with lounges, clubhouse with indoor sauna, fitness and yoga areas, 24-hour gated-security, tropical landscaping and water feature, outdoor and indoor entertainment facilities and property management services on selected suites. The property offers one-, two- or three-bedroom suites.
“The beautiful thing about owning a condo is that it literally lends itself so well to foreigners wanting to buy. The property and pools are maintained by an association,” says McCarroll. “Condos are generally located in a gated community. You can be here for three or four months then lock it up and go away when the weather is right in your home base.”
McCarroll finds that often people buy condos for their personal use and discover the rental return is good.
Owners rent their properties out if they have an offer and, if they don’t, they’ll come and use them, says McCarroll.
“I did very well in the first quarter of this year. I had two quiet quarters and I feel and see the market picking up right now,” says McCarroll. “People are scared and there’s no question that the world economy is upside down, so buyers are certainly nervous.”
Mario Carey, whose real estate firm carries his name, believes the high end of the luxury condo market (from low $700,000 to $2.5 million) continues to hold its own.
Mario Carey Realty has dubbed itself the “condo king.” The firm’s primary focus is waterfront condos and gated communities. Among its many offerings are three penthouses in Ocean Club Estates.
Prices there range from $7.5 million up to $10 million and include full access to the One&Only Ocean Club facilities and the world famous Atlantis resort and casino.
The firm also has a $6.9 million penthouse for sale at The Reef Atlantis, which offers buyers all the comforts of home in spacious, well-appointed studios, luxurious suites and spectacular penthouses featuring private balconies with breathtaking water, harbour or terrace views.
“Things are selling but buyers are extremely aggressive,” says Carey. “Sellers are having to come off of their prices. We are seeing prices drop significantly, around 30 per cent and, in some cases, a little more than that.”
Caves Heights, tel 327-8867, e-mail email@example.com or visit www.cavesheights.com
Damianos Sotheby’s International Realty, tel 322-2305 or 362-4211, e-mail info.Bahamas@SothebysRealty.com or visit SIRbahamas.com
ERA Dupuch Real Estate, tel 393-1811,e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org visit www.erabahamas.com
H G Christie Ltd, tel 322-1041,e-mail Sales@HGChristie.comor visit www.HGChristie.com
Mario Carey Realty, tel 677-8255, e-mail email@example.com visit www.mariocareyrealty.com
Palm Cay, tel 324-5132, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org or visit www.palmcay.com
Seaview Properties, tel 327-1566, e-mail email@example.com or visit www.seaviewproperties.bs
The Reef Atlantis, tel 363-6838, visit www.OwnTheReef.com
Information in editorial and listings is subject to change at any time.