By NEIL HARTNELL
Tribune Business Editor
Real estate sales in western New Providence have hit “a record-breaking pace”, Tribune Business was told yesterday, with one prominent development having found buyers for $21 million worth of property in just seven-eight months.
Matt Sweeting, of Bahama Islands Realty, said mid-market and high-end projects in this area had reached “a unique pace of sales”, with developers increasingly making in-house financing available to combat commercial bank lending issues.
“There’s a lot more condominium inventory available than this island’s ever seen,” Mr Sweeting told Tribune Business, citing the 500-unit, 100-acre Venetian West development as a prime example of the trends he is seeing.
“We see tremendous interest in western developments such as Venetian West, which has sold $20-$21 million of inventory in less than seven-eight months,” he added.
“That’s a unique pace of sales. What I’m confident of, and I would say without statistics, is that that’s a record breaking pace.”
Describing Venetian West as “arguably the most modern development the island has seen at that price point”, Mr Sweeting based the project’s total gross revenues on an average selling price of $300,000 and the 70 units sold to-date.
Western New Providence has increasingly become viewed as the ‘place to live’ by both resident and foreign buyers, due to a variety of factors.
Apart from being the one area on the island that has not been heavily built-up and developed, western New Providence’s other attractions include airport proximity, the likes of the Baha Mar and Albany developments, and the extensive road and infrastructure investments that have improved accessibility to and from central Nassau.
Mr Sweeting cited the One Cable Beach property being developed by Jason Kinsale and his fellow investors as another example of demand for a western New Providence location, with 25 per cent of units already sold.
This, he suggested, was evidence of “tremendous interest” from traditional overseas markets such as the US, Canada and Europe.
“There’s still a lot of buyer confidence in the Bahamas,” Mr Sweeting told Tribune Business. “And we’ve never had this amount of dollars available in in-house financing before on the island.
“I think that developers that have the opportunity now see the banks have increased their lending requirements, making it harder for buyers to obtain loans, and with new commitment metrics.”
And he added: “Developers like Bayroc are working through the last 2 per cent of their inventory. With less than 70 units under development, they are closing out at an average price point of $1.3 million to $5.5 million.
“One Cable Beach is a great complement to the hotel condo product as buyers choose to live in luxury or rent out.”
Mr Sweeting said condominiums offered buyers the best return on investment (RoI) potential because they were much easier to rent out than other real estate options.
“Properties in Cable Beach and the Old Fort Bay area are instantly attractive to expatriates and short-term renters, which can offer condo investors a premium return on their investment, as short-term rentals increasingly yield higher returns,” the realtor added.
Mr Sweeting said all these conditions were coming together to uplift the Bahamian real estate market to better days.
“I’m very excited about the upcoming years in real estate,” he told Tribune Business. “There’s tonnes of opportunities through upcoming developments. There’s an opening up of new markets, and smart investors in this economy should feel assured in their real estate investments. Realtors have been crying out, but things are about to take a turn for the better.”