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Holiday properties: International clients drive demand to a high in the Caribbean

The Caribbean is one of the world’s most exclusive second home markets, combining the benefits of an exclusive lifestyle with a rich array of cultural treasures and leisure pursuits. For many years now, the island region has enjoyed a reputation as the paradise backdrop for countless Hollywood blockbusters, as well as an el dorado and retreat for High Net Worth Individuals (HNWIs), high-profile celebrities and European aristocrats. Clients from the USA and Canada make up the majority of the buyer base in the Caribbean, due to the direct flight links and short, convenient distances. “With the desire to travel to distant destinations having built up in the past few years, we will see an increased demand from prospective buyers from Europe and Asia in the near future,” says Anthony Hitt, President and CEO Engel & Völkers Americas.

Bahamas: High prices for upmarket residences and private islands

Located just off the coast of Florida, the Bahamas is one of the world’s most desirable destinations. Its year-round tropical climate make the island region especially desirable among affluent families and entrepreneurs. The investor-friendly climate makes the market particularly interesting for buyers abroad. With its rich and turbulent history as a pirate stronghold, and the backdrop for various Hollywood classics, the Bahamas has a special fascination for international clientele. “The island region is a global pioneer when it comes to digital banking and is one of the few places in the world where legislation accommodates the requirements of the crypto industry. Reflecting this, FTX, the second largest crypto exchange in the world, has relocated its headquarters to the Bahamas. This boosts the appeal of the island region, which is being considered as a primary residence for increasing numbers of owner-occupiers and capital investors alike,” reveals Colin Lightbourn, License Partner of Engel & Völkers in the Bahamas. The highest prices are currently being registered on the island of New Providence, where magnificent beachfront estates in communities such as Lyford Cay, Ocean Club Estates, and Albany are selling at a pace like never before. Premier beachfront properties sold in these private communities, all with their own marina, golf course, and clubhouse facilities, range from 20 to 30 million US dollars (approx. 18.77 million to 28.15 million euros). On Paradise Island, which lies just off Nassau and is linked to the capital via two bridges, villas within the private community of the legendary “Ocean Club” are selling between 2 to 3 million US dollars (approx. 1.88 to 2.82 million euros).

Cayman Islands: Safe haven for real estate investments

In the western Caribbean, South of Cuba, lie the Cayman Islands, which enjoy international renown. They consist of three islands: Cayman Brac, Grand Cayman, and Little Cayman. Buyers are attracted by the discretion afforded to the archipelago and its tax-neutral position and safety. At present, most clients come from the USA (70 percent) and Canada (30 percent). These clients generally have net assets in excess of 20 million US dollars (approx. 19.12 million euros). “Nature lovers and water sports enthusiasts who are eager to explore will certainly be in their element in Grand Cayman, as will cosmopolitan types who enjoy gourmet dining and understated luxury. The properties are diverse, ranging from traditional country estates to elegant newly built villas, and ultra-modern designer oceanfront condos,” says Heidi Kiss, License Partner of Engel & Völkers in the Cayman Islands. In the prime location of Crystal Harbour, a residential area near Grand Cayman’s sought-after Seven Mile Beach, villas with expansive grounds and premium interiors changed hands in 2021 for as much as 15 million US dollars (approx. 14.08 million euros). In George Town, the island’s capital known for its financial and banking sector, buyers opt primarily for turnkey condos in residential complexes that offer an in-house concierge service and fine dining amenities. Properties of this calibre sold in 2021 for top prices of 21,528 US dollars per square metre (approx. 20,203 euros).

Turks and Caicos: Exclusive beachfront havens of tranquillity in top demand

The Turks and Caicos Islands are one of the Caribbean’s hotspots, attracting a host of celebrities and business personalities with its white sand beaches and wide range of spa and water sports offerings. The British overseas territory lies southeast of the Bahamas and is made up of around 40 islands in total. “Investors are particularly interested in newly constructed properties in exclusive residential complexes that combine the benefits of maximum privacy with all the amenities of a resort community,” says Chuck Misick, Engel & Völkers License Partner in the Turks and Caicos Islands, adding: “Clients looking for a second home for themselves and their family in the Turks and Caicos tend to gravitate towards prestigious oceanfront properties with premium amenities and plenty of opportunities to retreat. Buyers are extremely keen to have an expansive garden with a pool and prefer properties with a home gym and private spa area.” Luxury residences on world-famous Grace Bay on Providenciales are especially desirable. The island is known internationally as “Provo” and regarded as the commercial centre of the Turks and Caicos. In this area, exclusive beachfront villas commanded prices of up to 19.5 million US dollars (approx. 18.3 million euros) last year. For premium apartments, prices per square metre can reach as much as 10,857 US dollars (approx. 10,188 euros). High prices on the main island are seeing increasing numbers of buyers turning their attention to North or South Caicos.

Outlook: Growth trend set to continue  

Due to the volatile stock markets, real estate continues to be a safe haven for investment, and HNWIs are increasingly turning their attention once again to investments in holiday properties in the Caribbean, either for owner-occupation or for rental. “The boom on the Caribbean’s premium market continues unabated, still driven by the consistently strong demand from international clients,” says Anthony Hitt. The real estate experts at Engel & Völkers are registering increased interest from wealthy prospective buyers based in Europe and Asia, who are now setting their sights on the Lesser Antilles in particular. Engel & Völkers opened a new real estate shop on St. Martin in April 2022, with a view to tapping into the potential of the region and expanding its market presence to include the ultra-luxury destinations of St. Martin and St. Barth.

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