By NEIL HARTNELL
Tribune Business Editor
The volume of inquiries for western New Providence real estate has increased by 30 per cent in the last three months, a well-known realtor yesterday disclosing that gated community purchases were generating up to 9 per cent investment returns.
Arlington (Ali) Capron, a luxury specialist with Bahama Islands Realty, told Tribune Business that completion of the Airport Gateway project, together with commercial developments in the area, were acting as “a game changer” for residential real estate.
Suggesting there was “no reason not to be in the west”, Mr Capron said: “There’s been a 30 per cent increase in terms of volumes of calls.
“I’m getting a third more calls than I did two-three months ago. There’s been a 30 per cent increase in calls from people asking for different types of properties - condos, multi-family land.”
Mr Capron said commercial developments, such as the Old Fort Bay Town Centre, together with the development of gated communities such as Serenity, Venetian West, Lyford Hills and Charlotteville, together with the likes of Albany and Old Fort Bay, had “changed the perspective” on western New Providence real estate.
Buyer interest has also been aided by the fact western New Providence contained the last few areas of open space on the island, with the eastern side considered heavily developed, but Mr Capron said improved infrastructure - especially road access - was set to prove a major attraction.
Emphasising that the newly-completed Airport Highway enabled persons to drive from Old Fort Bay to central Nassau within 20-25 minute, Mr Capron said: “That’s a game changer.”
He added that western New Providence was developing in much the same manner as Carmichael, with the movement of supermarkets to the area followed by banks and other retail.
“The same thing is happening out there, and people are getting on board now before prices go up,” Mr Capron told Tribune Business.
“When demand increases and supply doesn’t change, prices go up. That’s why a lot of people are purchasing these properties under $300,000, especially in gated communities.
“People are really taking a second look, saying the west is becoming more attractive, and it’s better for me to get on board now rather than later.”
Mr Capron said he was holding “many showings” at the Venetian, and had recently rented a space at Old Fort Bay Town Centre to a commercial tenant.
Noting that “lots of town homes” were being built at the West Winds development, Mr Capron said many purchasers were constructing duplexes and triplexes, with plans to generate rental income streams.
Suggesting this was a lesson many persons had learned from the recent recession, he added that many western New Providence gated communities were “commanding upwards of 9 per cent returns on investment at present”.
“I would say that 80 per cent of the people looking are looking in gated communities,” Mr Capron told Tribune Business.
“They’ll be able to charge more rent, and at the top of people’s minds is security. At Venetian West, sales are going very nicely. Reservations are really moving forward, and spacious town homes are really moving. That’s the number one product in gated communities.”
He disclosed that he had recently been able to sell two half-built units in West Winds, while another former client was renting out two units in that project for $3,000 per month apiece.
“My only fear is that the prices are going to go up as the demand increases, and supply doesn’t,” Mr Capron told Tribune Business.
“That’s the only thing I’m worried about, as it will be more challenging for people to afford property in that area.
“There has to be some sustainability in the product out there in the west. If the demand increases and the supply doesn’t, it will have a negative effect on the market, as people will go up on price and buyers will not qualify,” Mr Capron added.
“If product does not move, it will force developers to adjust their prices, but to get the whole thing moving, we don’t want to affect the critical flow of forward progress.”