What’s Ahead for Caribbean Real Estate in 2023?
By Joe Pike, Special Contributor to CJI
Since the onset of the pandemic, the Caribbean has been one of the hottest real estate markets in the world.
But does the future hold for the market after nearly three years of massive activity?
Several top Caribbean real estate experts recently shared critical insight on the region’s real estate market heading into the new year.
Here’s what they had to say.
Myles Newell, principal at Waypoint Resort Real Estate, said 2023 success in the real estate market in the Caribbean comes downs to two factors: location and accommodation type.
“I think the real estate outlook for 2023 will vary based upon location and the type of property that you are selling,” said Newell. “For example, we are projecting higher sales projections in 2023 over 2022 with the two St. Regis Branded Real Estate projects we are selling in Los Cabos, Mexico and Cap Cana, Dominican Republic.
“Both destinations have had record tourism years in 2022 and are projected to have a very strong 2023,” said Newell. “This typically means a steady stream of potential buyers in our projects. We are also selling only high-end luxury properties at both of these resorts ranging from one million to over $20 million.”
He said interest fluctuations have not been a part of the buying decision and that trend will continue next year.
“We have historically seen this buyer is more resilient to market fluctuations and currently 100 percent of our buyers at both projects are all cash so interest fluctuations are not part of the buying decision,” said Newell.
Mc Claude N. Emmanuel, CEO of St. Lucia’s Citizenship by Investment Unit, said continued inflation in St. Lucia heading into next year means a positive outlook for the real estate market in St. Lucia.
“With regards to the real estate market there are plans for a few public sector driven developments, geared towards first time home owners as well as those in areas prone to disasters such as land slippage,” said Emmanuel. “We can expect the continued inflation in the price of real estate as Saint Lucia continues to be in demand from locals and foreigners alike.”
For Turks and Caicos, brokers are banking on a continuing influx of New Yorkers moving to the islands, a trend that has picked up immensely since the pandemic.
“After a very solid 2022, we are expecting 2023 to be an excellent year driven by new developments and select luxury condo and villa inventory,” said Joe Zahm, president and broker at Turks & Caicos Sotheby’s International Realty.
In September, the Corcoran Group, which is headquartered in New York City, announced it was expanding its presence in the Caribbean with its first affiliate brokerage in Turks and Caicos. This marks the launch of Corcoran’s fifth Caribbean affiliate in just over two years.
Grace Bay Resorts reported that 20 percent of buyers for its new residential resort, Rock House, are from the New York area. At Grace Bay Club, another Grace Bay Resorts residential resort, this figure is about 25 percent.
On the travel side, Grace Bay Resorts has always welcomed nearly 40 percent of its customers from the Northeast, half of which come from the New York area. About 20 percent of Turks & Caicos Sotheby’s International Realty’s buyers come from New York.
“A combination of new luxury condominium projects – such as the Grace Bay Resorts, and South Bank’s ARC, should help carry the day for a dynamic 2023,” said Zahm.
Paula La Touche, a broker with Century 21 Grenada, said Grenada’s international buyers continue to expand and 2023 will be no different.
“We are seeing more requests for condos from international buyers,” she said. “The projections are that we will see an increase in new condo projects and limited availability for limited beachfront properties which is in high demand. Continued interest in North Americans moving to Grenada to enjoy the peace and tranquility of the country.”
Cathyann Alexander-Pierre, senior specialist for Grenada’s Investment Promotion Agency, pointed to specific accommodations on the island that are expected to draw interested from buyers.
“Presently, boutiques and a small amount of condos and second homes [are hot],” she said. “With the new development we will have more resort condos, fractional ownership and second homes.”
And the Bahamas’ outlook is looking solid as well.
“The Bahamas possibly saw its hottest real estate market ever over the past two years,” said Timothy Smith, partner and agent for Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate/MCR Bahamas. “We saw the market shift from a buyers market to a sellers market as we faced a shortage of inventory in the luxury market.
“Going into 2023 we will get an indication of any movement in the market, as we are entering our busy season starting in January,” he continued. “I do not anticipate any major slow downs of incoming buyers, but I do foresee some pricing corrections this year for sellers, as well as more availability of inventory in the market. The Bahamas market is a very unique one, and I imagine we will see another strong year with lots of activity.”
Many Jamaican brokers agree that its the buzz surrounding its many resort development projects that is garnering interest amongst buyers for 2023 and beyond.
“Jamaica has always been one of the hottest destinations in the English speaking Caribbean and continues to be a heavyweight,” said Kaili McDonnough Scott, a broker with ColdWell Banker Jamaica Realty. “We have had an influx of high profile visitors lately and most recently, ‘Burna Boy,’ who said publically that he would like to buy a property on the island.”
In fact, within the next three years, Jamaica will be welcoming new, over-the-water bungalows as part of the destination’s first Unico Hotels property. Edmund Bartlett, Jamaica’s minister of tourism, said Unico Hotels will represent the third and final hotel to be announced as part of a massive destination resort project in St. James Parish.
The other two hotels will be a Hard Rock Casino & Resort and a Ritz-Carlton Hotel Company property. The Hard Rock was the first of the three to be announced earlier this year, while Jamaica’s return of the Ritz-Carlton brand was announced at the recent Caribbean Marketplace conference in San Juan Puerto Rico.
“We are expecting a steady year ahead because real estate has proven time and again that it is one of the best investments one can make,” said Scott.
Oriana Juvelier, vice President and broker for Puerto Rico Sotheby’s International Realty, said the pandemic’s influence will continue to drive the Caribbean real estate market in 2023 in Puerto Rico.
“It accelerated everything that was already in motion on island by 10,” she said. “Inventory that had been on the market one-plus years sold immediately and at asking- changing the supply to price ratio dramatically,” she said.
“We have now settled down to normal market conditions, and our prices have increased 45 percent since 2019,’ she continued. “Very healthy long term market now. This says that we have cemented our next decade of market growth, and Puerto Rico is here to stay.”