The Turks and Caicos Islands real estate industry is “back with a bang”, as home sales rocketed a reported 70 percent over the past year.
And it’s not that homes on the 45,000-population island are much cheaper than in Bermuda: the average condo price in the TCI was $750,000 and average house price was about $950,000, reported the Turks & Caicos Sun.
Asked about the contributing factors for the robust sales, Kathryn Brown, President of the TCI Real Estate Association, told the TCI Sun newspaper that from all indications the lull in sales experience over the past three and half years had bottomed out and confidence was beginning to return to the market.
The drop in prices over the last several years also contributed to the sales boom, said Nina Siegenthaler, vice president and sales executive of Sotheby’s International Realty in Grace Bay, Providenciales.
She said TCI condo sales year-to-date from January to September 2011 was about $25 million compared to $40 million for the same period in 2012.
House sales accounted for $25 million in 2011, while for this year they climbed to $33 million. And last year, land sales accounted $17 million, while for the same period this year they had jumped to $37 million.
“So, the total market went from a $69 million market last year to $116 million in the same period this year, showing an increase of $47 million,” Ms Siegenthaler told the Sun.
She added that the number of sales above $3 million has also improved dramatically over the past 18 months.
“Demographic follows our tourism — demographic which is majority US — we put it at 70 to 75, with the balance 30 percent coming from Canada and Europe,” she said.
Ms Brown said that while the sales prices were rocketing, new listings were down, which she said was good for the market since the shorter the listings for sales the higher prices can become.
“Our single family dwelling sales from year-to-date — from last October — are up 54 percent, listings are down five percent; condominium sales are up 36 percent and new listings are down five percent; town homes, like the Golf Course — that sort of place — sales are up 11 percent and new listings are down 33 percent; land sales are up 61 percent and new listings are down 14 percent,” she told the Sun.
Ms Siegenthaler said the market had also seen big price reductions over the last several years from the peak of the market, which has afforded a more favourable environment for purchasing.
“We have also seen a boost in confidence in the TCI market and the industry as well as the rental programme on the island (of Providenciales),” Siegenthaler told the Sun.
Ms Brown pointed out that among the advantages she felt the TCI had over its regional neighbours in terms of real estate. These included The minimum flight time from major US cities and Canada; its low density physical infrastructural planning; no traffic jams; fabulous and tranquil beaches; low crime rate; and the use of US money in the TCI.
Bermuda has some of the same advantages, though crime is a growing concern, and is much closer to the US East Coast and Canada.
Ms Siegenthaler said that the TCI ranked higher than many other destinations in the high-end market.
The Sun said the TCI real estate market remained a valuable contributor to the national economy, as according to Ms Siegenthaler, last year, stamp duty alone accounted for about $7.7 million.
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