BREA: ‘Private islands, remote destinations helping set Bahamas real estate market on fire’

BREA: ‘Private islands, remote destinations helping set Bahamas real estate market on fire’
Christine Wallace-Whitfield, President of the Bahamas Real Estate Association (BREA)/Bahamas Headshots © 2018 Lyndah Wells

NASSAU, BAHAMAS — Months after much of the world’s economy shut or slowed down in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Bahamas real estate market is awakening with an explosion of new interest by people from around the world.

“They are seeking a place that is safe and secure, yet has all the advantages of a contemporary lifestyle in a stable, English-speaking location,” said Christine Wallace-Whitfield, President of the Bahamas Real Estate Association (BREA), one of the country’s largest professional organizations.

“There is nowhere that fits the bill better than The Bahamas – close to the U.S., politically stable government, a peaceful, independent nation with magnificent waters for boating, clean air for recreation and good health and all the amenities people from all walks of life expect in the most urban and sophisticated cities.”

According to Wallace-Whitfield, firms from around the country are reporting heightened interest in property in general with especially great interest in private islands, secure estates in gated communities and land with elevation.

“Waterfront is still a huge drawing card and always will be, but now we are hearing more requests for waterfront with elevation as people become increasingly aware of climate change and its impact on low-lying areas,” she said.

As long ago as 2017, a panel of experts organized by Forbes magazine voted The Bahamas the best place for a real estate investment “hands down.”

A significant part of the appeal – security, explains Wallace-Whitfield.

“As people spend more time sheltering-in-place, the place where they shelter becomes more important,” she said.

“Whether we are working from home or just staying at home, that place we call home becomes a central part of our lives. There is no question that the pandemic was a game-changer.”

According to Realtor.com, the pandemic also changed how people shop for real estate, driving more traffic to virtual tours and even the scheduling of online open houses. The time spent per visit on Realtor.com increased 14 percent in the first lockdown month between March and April, its CEO reported.

A hike in interest in real estate in general and Bahamian real estate in particular has the potential to be the catalyst for this nation’s massive economic recovery, said Wallace-Whitfield, who is serving her third term heading up the 700-plus member association.

“Real estate and development combined create the second pillar of the Bahamian economy and land is far less fickle than tourism so it is a positive for The Bahamas that we are experiencing growth in this area,” she noted.

“It is up to us to maximize the benefits of our unique position in the world. We need to be innovative and creative, understanding that just because we did things a certain way before does not mean we have to do them that way forever.”

Among ideas she hopes BREA will consider are economic citizenship that has been calculated to raise as much as $300 million, a reduction in the prime rate that will make borrowing more affordable for the middle class and first time homeowners, stamp tax exemption on certain categories of property or Family Island properties purchased by Bahamians and a graduated increase in real property tax on properties valued at more than $3 million.

 

5 comments

Economic citizenship?

No.

Notwithstanding citizenship should not be for sale, it is already available to permanent residents after 10 years. No economically progressive country gives citizenship just for the ability to buy a house. Not even America.

You should be ashamed of yourself for selling the Bahamas to foreigners for a fist full of dollars! The Bahamas should be for Bahamians. I don’t see how the Bahamian people in general benefit from this…or how being slaves to the rich foreigners who think that we cannot be more than maids and babysitter, build a sustainable Bahamian economy for that matter…

Never sell land it’s the only thing you have after it’s gone you are gone too, lease, rent never sell.

Of course the Bahamas is a great place look at all of the family islands that are still not touch miles and miles of land with beautiful hues and tranquility if bahamains realestate keep selling all the land to other foreign countries what’s left for bahamains as bahamains we can’t even get a peice of the crown land in a nice area for free they will not have it to us BY THE WAY EHERE IS THE REALESTATE COMPANY GETTING ALL THIS LAND FROM TO SELL?

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