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Columns : Let's Talk Real Estate - James Sarles Last Updated: Feb 6, 2017 - 2:32:04 PM

Where are Property Prices going on Grand Bahama?
By James Sarles
Nov 16, 2007 - 9:07:25 AM

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It is said that when the US sneezes Grand Bahama gets a cold.   It is certainly true that on this small island only 68 miles from West Palm Beach we are greatly affected by our big neighbor to the west. When it comes to property prices the question is will our property prices be affected by all the bad news we hear on the nightly news about Real Estate or has Grand Bahama received its flu shot this year?

In case you don’t watch the US news you might not know that there is a mortgage crisis in the US.   Over the last few years banks have been lending money to bad credit risks or making sub prime loans.   Would you go into an Assue with someone who broke the last Assue they were involved in?    That person would be considered a bad risk and you would most likely not be sure that they would follow up on their commitment.   Well the US banks decided to lend lots of money to bad risks and guess what? These people lived up to their reputation and can’t pay their mortgages.   The scale of the losses that will hit Wall Street banks could approach half a trillion dollars as large numbers of sub-prime home loans go bad. That’s bad news for the US housing market as thousands of homes will soon be repossessed by the banks and sold for cheap prices at auction IF they can sell them.

The US sub-prime crisis is leading to a wave of foreclosures across the US that is having a devastating effect on the US housing market.

At the root of the problem is the breakdown of the new model of mortgage lending, when instead of giving mortgages directly to their customers, banks borrowed money from credit markets to fund a growing volume of mortgages.

Ok so now we are all convinced that the US is in a crisis but what will happen to our prices in the Bahamas and specifically on Grand Bahama Island

Well for one thing this state of affairs is causing the US dollar to get weaker and weaker against the Canadian Dollar, The Euro and The British Pound.   The good news is that Europeans, Brits and Canadians are flocking to the Bahamas to take advantage of the weak US dollar since the Bahamian Dollar is on par with the US dollar.   The influx of these foreigners looking to take advantage of the weak currency   makes property in the Bahamas for this group a bargain. More buyers for the Bahamas which means a more active market or strong property market. The net result is that prices will hold firm.

The Bahamas is still considered a great second home destination and people from all over the world are discovering that Grand Bahama Island is the perfect second home or retirement home in the sun. We still have a rare combination of tropical beauty, pristine waters, clean modern roads, reliable utilities, state of the art communications, a property tax free environment and close proximity to the United States.   In short Grand Bahama has it all which means it is still a desirable location and a great place to buy property

In The US they had a big Real Estate Boom with property appreciating up to 30% per year then the bubble burst and real estate took a tumble.   In the Bahamas we have had very slow steady growth and appreciation.   In the Aesop Fable the Tortise beats the hare in the race because slow and steady wins the race!

I feel that our slow steady growth will keep our real estate market prices strong and prove to be a good investment for Bahamians, Europeans and Americans because Real Estate has throughout history been a great investment and will continue to be a great investment.

Our market is slow with respect to liquidity or how fast property moves and there are many sellers who have had their property on the market for a long time which can get very frustrating because there are more homes than buyers but the sellers who have sold received good prices and have made a good solid profit on their investment. The statistics show that the property is appreciating on Grand Bahama and that compared to other markets in the Caribbean and the US our property is under valued and still GREAT value for buyers.   The future looks bright and there are many projects that will help sustain our real estate market including projects such as: Harcourt Developments re-development of the Royal Oasis and   their new condominium project Suffolk Court under construction, Morgan Stanley project at Barbary Beach coming on stream, Marriott Hotel getting ready to build, Arman Hotel in East End, Hutchisons expansion of the container Port and new condo projects, Associated Grocery’s new hub at Sea Air Business Centre and the list keeps growing. The Grand Bahama market has been very sleepy for years and even though world market conditions indicate a down turn in the real estate market our future looks bright.

So my advice to sellers is be patient and my advice to buyers is to buy now before prices rise.

Until next week.



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