NEW YORK, May 20, CMC – Foreigners seeking second homes are continuing to turn to Barbados as a stable place to invest their money, the New York Times has said
In an article published in the newspaper’s real estate section, the newspaper said one reason for the island’s attractiveness to buyers is the stimulus that the property market received during the last few years from government and private investment in new developments.
The paper highlighted investments in several upscale areas, including the luxury marina at Port St. Charles, on the island’s west coast, with facilities for residents to berth yachts as long as 75 metres (250 feet).
Money also has been channelled into luxury residences at Sugar Hill and exclusive golfing communities at Sandy Lane and Royal Westmoreland — “not to mention a variety of townhouse developments all over the island,” the Times said.
It said the government is considering whether to help finance a Four Seasons hotel project, “as bank lending remains tight.” The Freundel Stuart administration has approved lending to the project from its social security trust fund and secured financing by the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB).
Kieran Kelly, the chairman of Chesterton Barbados, a division of the British real estate company Chesterton Humberts, told the Times that buyers had long been attracted to the resilience of the island’s property market — especially compared with the price fluctuations seen in other parts of the Caribbean.
Even though prices in some parts of Barbados have fallen 10 per cent to 15 per cent since 2008, beachfront homes dropped only about 5 per cent on average, “and some have experienced no decline at all because of their prime locations,” Kelly was quoted as saying.
While there was no index or official price analysis of island sales, he, however, said, a beachfront home now costs from 26,750 to 6,420 US dollars per square metre (2,500 to 600 US dollars per square foot), while inland prices are 1,000 to 250 US dollars per square foot.
Although Barbados is officially on the metric system, real estate agents there still use square feet to measure area; top-end properties generally are valued in US dollars, the Times noted.
Kelly added that, in his view, the island was in the same category as the exclusive islands of St. Barts, Mustique, Anguilla, St. Lucia and Grenada, when it comes to real estate.
“Agents say that property prices on smaller Caribbean islands with less developed infrastructure have fallen 20 per cent to 25 per cent, or even more, since 2008,” the Times said.
It said Barbados, a former British colony of about 280,000, has long had strong appeal for British, American, Canadian and European buyers.
“The island’s western and southern coasts are known for their calm waters and long beaches, while the eastern coast is known for rougher waters and rugged cliffs,” the Times said.
“Although the island, at about 431 square kilometres, or 166 square miles, is small, it routinely attracts wealthy and well-known visitors, and its homeowners include Simon Cowell, Wayne and Coleen Rooney and Sir Andrew Lloyd Webber,” it added. “Rihanna, who is from Barbados, is often on the island.”
The paper said adding to the appeal of Barbados is the number of direct flights available from cities as diverse as New York; Charlotte, North Carolina; London; Frankfurt; and São Paulo, noting that the island is four and a half hours from New York and seven and a half from London. Many major cruise lines also have stops, it said.
Of all the properties on Barbados, the Times said few rival the Royal Westmoreland development, an exclusive five-star spa, golf, and beach resort on about 303 hectares, or 750 acres, in the west coast parish of St. James.
It said its centrepiece is a championship golf course designed by Robert Trent Jones Jr., “although it also boasts a number of pools, floodlit tennis courts, a spa, and a private beach club at Mullins Bay.”
The resort, the Times said, is selling a series of one-, two- and three-bedroom apartments, ranging from 429,000 to 925,000 US dollars and villas that top out at about 7,500 square feet for 5,950,000 dollars.
The paper said plots range from 15,000 square feet to 80,000 square feet, adding that because of their elevation, all include sea views.
“New building sites are being released continually at Royal Westmoreland, and villas can be designed to suit buyers’ tastes,” the Times said.