Southworth Development LLC has joined the investors who see value in the island of Abaco.  a recent announcement in local news was made recently.  see the ZNS video on youtube:

In other news, the sipsip is that the buyer for Treasure Cay walked away, so nothing will be changing there.  Shame, the hotel and commercial areas really need a major facelift and a nice 20-30 room boutique hotel on that beach would be a wonderful addition to the Island.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ci3GlzuYFbw

Happy Holiday, Happy Christmas, Happy Hanukah, Happy…  well you know what I mean.

Heres to making a better effort to write updates move regularly in 2015.

Over the past 6 years, Great Guana Cay seems to have been hit harder by the receding recession than the other settlements and cays of Abaco.  Hope Town and Elbow Cay have definitely seen a strong improvement in the housing and real estate sector.  Tourism on Elbow Cay is vibrant with activity through the slow period right now.  Marsh Harbour is till struggling, but was not hit too badly.

One of the reasons for Guana Cays current situation can be attributed to Baker’s Bay – I am not bashing the community, I think it is wonderfully executed Ultra Luxury destination.  No the problem was rampant speculation was made by people buying property outside and unrelated to Bakers Bay, elsewhere on Guana Cay.  Beachfront and interior lots were being sold at twice the prices of a few years previous.  In short there was a massive bubble on the micro market of Guana Cay.  The bubble was partly due to the world at the time, real estate speculation was out of control in Las Vegas, Miami, and other touristic destinations, the mentality fed the machine and the perceived influence of Baker’s Bay added to it.  Well, bubble popped and Baker’s Bay is here and seeing great market acceptance but it has no effect on real estate values outside of the gates.  Plain and Simple.

So where does that leave things now – Guana Cay is now ripe for a significant upward correction.  In my view the pendulum swung too far down and will see a good swing back up.  Point being, Guana Cay is the place to invest in right now.  There are some spectacular opportunities on the cay.  A few Beachfront homes that if they were located on Elbow Cay they would have sold 5 times over.  On top of the expected recovery in the market in Guana Cay as a natural correction, there are some things in the wings which when they come to fruition will great enhance the cay.  More visitors, more home owners and more capacity will simple enable a critical mass which I believe will bring the island out of hibernation.

Below are some of the best bang for buck homes and lots on Guana Cay.  call or send me an email if you want more information on them.

Huge Waterfront Home At drastically reduced pricing, $899,000:

http://www.hgchristie.com/properties/abaco/house/12387/dolphin-beach-estates/

$899

Beachfront Home for $599,000, unheard of.  And Charming too:

http://www.hgchristie.com/properties/abaco/house/19335/shorecrest-ii/

shroecerest

Rainbow Parrot, Beachfront, close to Nippers, This one would rent for 25 weeks a year almost guaranteed, $495,000

http://www.hgchristie.com/properties/abaco/house/21161/guana-cay/

parrot

Charming recently renovated sea view cottage $249,000:

http://www.hgchristie.com/properties/abaco/house/AS12139/just-renovated-charming-out-island-cottage/

$249k

Beachfront Lot for $295,000, these beachfront lots traded at $600,000 in 2007.  It can only go back up from here:

http://www.hgchristie.com/properties/abaco/vacant-land/20476/beach-lot-p4-guana-cay/

beach

And lastly, a settlement home for less than $100k.  Excellent rental potential.

http://www.hgchristie.com/properties/abaco/house/AS12292/quaint-fixer-upper-on-guana-cay-has-some-commercial-potential/

IMG_1292

And interior home sites can be found at prices starting at $55,000.  Guana is poised for growth, take advantage of it.

HG Christie has finally launched a new website portal that allows you to view listings by area and see their exact location and pricing.  It is kind of interesting and somewhat eye opening, if for instance one zooms into Marsh Harbour or Treasure Cay and views how many properties are currently for sale in a specific area.  There are few little kinks to work out but overall a great tool.  Check it out here:

http://hgchristiebahamasrealestate.bs

 

All I can say it is has been an extremely busy 2014 so far in the real estate business. I have not been able to make myself sit down and write up an update to this blog. Every week, Every day has been non-stop trying to keep up with the demand. Demand for appraisal work and for sales work and often juggling both can be tricky. Both disciplines have specific time frames to work with. Buyers and sellers want immediate responses and while clients looking for appraisals are always on a limited time budget.

ABACO - WINDING BAY PLUS 49

Above: Incredible New Price on a harbour front 1.8 acre parcel in Little Harbour.  $200k for a beautiful piece of paradise.  It has beach, deep water for a dock, and 40′ elevations, it has it all except that pesky electricity supply.

Speaking of Appraisal work – there has definitely been an uptick in appraisals services volume which indicates that a) credit is become more available and mortgages are become easier to obtain and b) consumers of real estate and loans are expressing more confidence in the economy. Typically you would not borrow money if your financial future was looking poor right? I will mention that the commercial banks in the Bahamas have severely clamped down on appraisal standards and lending requirements here.   In the past a simple cost/replacement calculation would have sufficed to justify a value estimate however now every local bank is requiring that at least 2 comparable sales are included in the analysis and used to justify the final number reported. In some ways this is a good thing for our market, it is a maturation of the lending and mortgage business here partly as a result of the implementation of the Bahamas MLS. On the other hand it means value estimates are generally lower than they were in the past and less subject to the ‘interpretation’ of the appraiser. In any event higher reporting standards will benefit everyone in the long run.

How is the Abaco Real Estate market doing these days?

Well I’ve pulled up some sales activity numbers from the MLS which give a pretty good snap shot of the past year. Everyone is aware that the South Florida real estate market saw a strong bounce back and return to positive appreciation about 2 years back (2012). We expected it to happen in the Bahamas last year however while 2013 saw a little improvement, appreciation was stagnant. 2014 appears to be seeing a similar flat line in property values but that is a good thing, certainly better than a declining market. Steady markets are good, they are reliable, predictable and safe. Excessive appreciation is often a bad thing leading to a correction as we have all seen about 5 years back.

The past year of Abaco Real estate sales volume shows a huge uptick this year:

Abaco sales sep13-aug14 copy

You can see at the end of 2013 there was a steady transaction rate of 2-6 which is reflective of the whole of 2013 and typical or 2012 also. You will notice that as of February, there was a marked improvement in sales volume. You will also note the modest increase in sales of properties over $1M.

Interesting to note – In a previous post I wrote about the busiest month of the year for sales activity, and April is typically one of the best for real estate both in the Bahamas and in the United States. But for some reason this past year, April saw a huge drop. I will have to look into what happened in April this year.

Additionally, August is typically one of the slowest months of the year for sales, but this year is looks like it is one of best of the year.

All in all, I have strong confidence that the market in Abaco is back on track and we will see some good but steady growth this coming year.

That confidence is supported by several factors at play that will return Abaco and the Cays back to a strong yet sustainable growth level.

Treasure Cay is supposed to have a new managing partner coming on to take over and rejuvenate the community. The area sorely needs some new energy to revitalize and upgrade. It is a shame because the community has such tremendous potential but is being held back in my opinion.

Winding Bay, The Abaco Club is set to have new management and ownership coming October. The Abaco Club has been struggling to realize its full potential for the past couple of years and property owners have seen the value of their investment erode away substantially. With the pending take over by Southworth, out of New England the area should see a substantial upgrade and corresponding improvement in property value. I have confidence they will be the right fit and benefit all of Abaco.

The new Marsh Harbour International Airport (MHH) has been operational for some time now and is an immense benefit to the island and offers a clean, efficient and air conditioned space for travelling to and fro. Now we just need direct service from Atlanta by Delta or even perhaps direct service to New York. It is a beautiful building and gone of the days of sloshing through mud to get to your car or taxi.

The Hope Town Inn & Marina has been open for over a year and they have seen tremendous approval by the market. The marina is always very busy, and the rooms are on constant turnover. The property is attractive, convenient and becoming a staple of the Hope Town scene.

Great Guana Cay maybe seeing some big things coming on stream soon, but more to come on that later.

Unfortunately Green Turtle Cay is still struggling a little in terms of visitors, but this is proving to be a positive aspect for the second home owner market. Folks are finding the quiet and peace away from the busy tourist action the ideal spot for a quaint second home. The old New Plymouth Inn is ready for new life and would be a wonderful retirement project for the right person. It has lots of history and character and would be a ton of fun to return to it’s glory days.

Lastly, my 2 cents – A house painted white seems to have serious trouble selling in the Bahamas. I suppose it is the only colour to paint a house in certain parts of Greece but it does not seem to work here. Anecdotally, there are several bargain homes on the market in Abaco that have been sitting for a good long while and I attribute it to the colour of the house – white. Similarly unpainted cedar siding seems to be equally difficult to sell.

Happy back to school and International Literacy Month, And Coastal Cleanup Month!

http://www.hgchristie.com/blog/regatta-time-in-abaco-2014-race-recap-with-dwayne-wallas/

Regatta Abaco 2014

Well written Dave.

Fun Times In Hope Town this Saturday

And support the Junior Sailors.

Check them out if you are interested in Abaco Island what it is like to vacation or live here.  Truly Paradise and I would live no other place in the world.  Enjoy!

http://youtu.be/HPuXlQ-cO-s

http://youtu.be/qiruGflSq1Y

http://youtu.be/rY23RF16EiU

http://youtu.be/mpmL-p3tL2E

http://youtu.be/Mz22sXnWEJQ

 

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^^ Above, Beautiful Eastern Shores is an inconic neighborhood of Abaco and offers a unique prospect to waterfront at the front door and back door.  Watch the sunrise on one side and set on the other.  check out this listing here: http://www.hgchristie.com/properties/abaco/house/AS12220/immaculately-restored-waterfront-eastern-shores-home-with-2-docks–pool/

So how are things looking for 2014 in the real estate market in the Bahamas.  Looking at the news from the news from the US there are mixed messages, new builds are up, sales of existing homes is steady with potential decline in the near future.  The economy seems to be a roller coaster.  Who knows?  Europe seems to have dug out of the hole and showing strong improvement especially in the largest cities.  It is hard to extrapolate what is happening there to what is happening here.

Compared to my post back in 2012 when i started this blog, things here are leaps and bounds better.  Prices holding steady, sales volumes slowly creeping up.  And all around every agent and broker I talk to, the inquiries, calls, walk-ins, tire-kickers are at much higher levels than last year and sky high over the doldrum years ff 2010, 2011, 2012.  This general improvement is reflected in hotel bookings, boat rental booking and vacation home bookings for this year which I have gleaned from various stakeholders here in Abaco.  A general overall improvement in the economy bodes well for real estate.

The elephant in the room is the current sitting government who while seeming to have good intentions are not making the best decisions for the country, in my humble opinion.  the massive dredging exercise in Bimini will forever change the way of life there, perhaps for the worse.  It will definitely wreak havoc on the marine environment.  The looming disaster of VAT or at least increased taxes in some form will not be beneficial either, but we shall see.

The snapshot of the Bahamas Real estate Market right now – there are currently 2,148 active property listings on the Bahamas MLS.  Last year sales volume reported to the BMLS was 362 for 2013.  that equates to 30 sales per month which leads to the prognosis of a 71 (5.9 years) month supply of real estate listings.  Compared to the US national average 5.2 months supply of home inventory, this does not paint a very pretty picture for a seller, but an excellent one for a buyer.  Indeed many real estate professionals have been investing heavily in real estate.  The healthy balance in the US is considered to be 6 months by experts.

(As a side note, of the 2,148 listings, 1042 are homes, condos, duplexes, while 994 are for undeveloped land)

Further to that, for the 2014 year to date, May 15 there have been 130 sales reported to the BMLS, which extrapolates to a yearly volume to 312, which would be significantly less than 2013.  However the months of April and May are typically the high season for sales in the Bahamas, followed by a bump in September (see my previous post on best selling months here).  By July I expect the year’s sales volume to show marked signs of improvement over 2013.

As the Bahamas MLS continues to establish into the culture of real estate in the Bahamas things will change and most likely for hte better although I still believe the market is adapting to having information readily available that was just not there before.  In closing while inventory is actually higher than in the past, the sales volume is increasing and the months supply is actually dropping and the things are vastly better than they were in 2011.  Compare to this post i wrote for the HG Christie Blog back in 2011: http://www.hgchristie.com/blog/mls-market-update-first-quarter-2011-by-dwayne-wallas/

Right now there is tons of activity in the Private Island market in the Bahamas right now. At the moment there are three private island auctions going on.

One is for a group of cays in the North Abaco Chain being sold at Auction in the very near future.  This is going to be one of those rare chances to buy real paradise for a fraction of the value.  Big Grand Cay and its group of cays are spectacular setting and one of those rare playgrounds of sand sea and water that could be entirely yours.  A total of 11 different islands, think of the potential to have a cottage on each one and rent out a little private island to honeymooners, with fully serviced amenities.  The down side is the area is a bit remote but a Cesna Caravan can land at nearby Walkers Cay without a hitch.

check it out here:

http://www.hgchristie.com/properties/abaco/private-island/AS11949/bahamian-estate-must-be-sold–big-grand-cay-archipelago-online-auction-opening-bid-1-950-000/Image

have a look in the Cruising Guide to Abaco, it is one of the hot spot destinations for Anglers heading to Abaco for Fishing. and a key stop off for waterbourne commuters travelling between Abaco and Florida.

Also on Auction is Innocence Island in the Exuma Chain, a large private island with a very rare private runway.  The Bahamas government has put a restriction on it and will not allow anyone to build private airstrips anymore due to the logistics of controlling the airspace here (read US government influence).  In any event this is a rare chance to buy a cay with private runway.  check out the video here:

Otherwise, around Abaco there are some neat options to have a private kingdom in paradise.

Joes Cay, beautiful beaches and only $2.25M:

http://www.hgchristie.com/properties/abaco/private-island/AS10800/joe-s-cay/

Bahama Cays, (formerly the artist known as Fish Cays) some unique features, almost completed mini boutique resort, could be great for the right person.  all the hard work has already been done:

http://www.hgchristie.com/properties/abaco/private-island/AS12330/private-luxurious-island/

People have been wanting and trying to buy Johnnys Cay for decades, and now it is finally for sale.  located between Elbow Cay (Hope Town) and Man O War Cay, you could not find a better strategic position for a private fiefdom anywhere in the world.

http://www.hgchristie.com/properties/abaco/private-island/AS12325/johnny-s-cay-situated-between-elbow–man-o-war-cay-in-the-abacos/

Cave Cay was the site of an attempted settlement many many decades ago.  Had it survived it would have been another charming place to visit along with Hope Town or New Plymouth.  It has caves and harbours and beaches and natural kaleidoscope of landscapes and waterscapes.  it is just waiting for someone with vision to appreciate the natural beauty on offer:

http://www.hgchristie.com/properties/abaco/private-island/AS12183/stunning-private-island-with-two-natural-harbours/

And the much touted, much desired Sandy Cay (confusing but there are 3 Sandy Cays in the Abaco Chain) literally adjoining Man O War Cay.  So you can have fresh baked bread every morning from MOW, swing by for lunch of hang out with the sail shop or boat building fellows.  A unique proposition on offer, the cay has been lovingly enjoyed by 2 sets of extended families over the years.  This is where family memories are made that will endure through to the grandkids of the grandkids.  recently price adjusted to $8M, considering all the toys, boats and extras it is quite an attractive prospect.

http://www.hgchristie.com/properties/abaco/private-island/15135/sandy-cay/

Powells Cay is a developers delight.  large, raw beauty with an excellent labour force minutes away, easy access to infrastructure, this spot is ripe for a unique getaway resort to be developed.

http://www.hgchristie.com/properties/abaco/private-island/AS12305/pristine-powell-cay/

And lastly, Walkers Cay is a fabled island, the most northerly spot in the entire Bahamas.  There is history and fellowship and stories upon stories about this place in its heyday.  begging for someone to come along and redevelop it to its former glory days.  Recreate the celebrated luxury fishing camp and marina of times gone by.  plus government supplied electricity and water, private runway, and deep water channel.

http://www.hgchristie.com/properties/abaco/private-island/AS12219/premier-fishing-and-diving-paradise/

Contact me anytime if you have a serious interest and don’t miss out on the chance at the auctions if you can.  dwayne@hgchristie.com

 

 

 

 

Did you know there are 544 real estate agents licensed around the Bahamas?  Seems like a lot for a population of only 360,000 people in the country.  That’s an agent for every 670 people in the Bahamas.  Obviously this is leaving out the estimated 25,000 foreign property owners in the Bahamas.  The point – choose to work with a good one, check out their profile and experience online, ask for referral, or interview them and make sure you have a good fit. 

Similarly, there are 1062 attorneys that have been called to the bar in the Bahamas.  Quite a lot eh?  But considering the economy of the Bahamas is built partly on the financial industry and real estate industry, the number is not so large.  Again, ask for referrals, and vet the attorney you hire beforehand.

A little bit of homework can save you time, stress and money.  Then you can enjoy your piece or paradise with peace of mind and quiet enjoyment.  For easy reference to confirm if someone is licensed check out www.BahamasRealEstateAssociation.com or www.BahamasBarAssociation.com/.

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