By YOURI KEMP
Tribune Business Reporter
A prominent Bahamian realtor yesterday voiced optimism that the Bahamian high-end real estate market will be “stable for years to come” given the country’s sound economic fundamentals.
George Damianos, pictured, Damianos Sotheby’s International Realty’s president and managing broker, told Tribune Business: “I entered the business in 1972, and I would say that probably was the lowest I have ever seen in real estate in The Bahamas.
“It was prior to Bahamian independence in 1973 where there were a lot of people that were leaving, and a lot of Bahamian businesses were closing down, so I would say around 1973 was the toughest time I have ever seen in real estate in The Bahamas.”
While The Bahamas, and whole world, faces a new potential threat in the form of the coronavirus, Mr Damianos expressed confidence that this, too, was another challenge this nation’s real estate market can overcome.
“I think the luxury market in The Bahamas is stable and there is a demand for high-end properties,” he added. “I think because we have a great location, and we also have a very stable dollar, which is on par with the US dollar, it is stable and will be stable for years to come.
“We have enjoyed the highs in the early 2000s and the late 1990s, which was when The Bahamas really took off in luxury real estate and definitely were high points in our business and our careers, and the expansion of our business.”
Lana Rademaker, Damianos Sotheby’s International Realty’s chief brokerage officer and co-owner, said: “I think Baha Mar is definitely going to bode well for us. We have had success with Baha Mar selling their condo hotel residences and, in general, we find clients coming in are coming in to stay at Baha Mar.
“They want to see what it is about and enjoy it as a resort, and while they are here they want to look at real estate opportunities. Are there investment properties that they can rent, that they can do Airbnb with, or is there a long-term residential plan for them to be here?
She added: “These anchor resorts, it was Atlantis in the late 1990s, and now it is Baha Mar that is the new appeal. Atlantis still remains a very strong driver for us with clients coming in to invest in the Reef.
“We have consistent inquiries and demand for luxury real estate all throughout the Bahamas, so it is not just in Nassau. Our agents on Out Islands are constantly working with buyers who are looking for luxury homes, beach front properties, so accessibility and ease of access into the country from international cities and major hubs is huge for us.
“The addition of international flights - I see the new one that came from Denver over the weekend - that really changes the market for us, because a client can get on a direct flight and land here in Nassau. That, for them, makes the decision so much easier to come here than another Caribbean island where you need one or two extra flights to get there.”
Damianos Sotheby’s International Realty is currently celebrating 75 years of business in the Bahamian real estate market, and plans a major celebration to mark the occasion later this year.