By Lauren Varga King
Competitive pricing, diverse real estate offerings and an abundance of available properties are adding to the appeal of the Bahamas.
The 700-island chain is sprawling with white sand beaches, crystal clear waters, and, according to Mike Lightbourn of Coldwell Banker Lightbourn Realty, a high inventory that makes for great selection. James Malcolm of Lindroth Development Company agrees that a mix of offerings are now available.
“Bahamas’ luxury real estate is a very diverse market depending on which island and what type of properties you are considering,” says Lightbourn.
At press time, coldwellbankerbahamas.com displayed more than 100 listings—priced from $1 million up to $30 million—on its site. The inventory offers buyers a choice of secluded single-family homes, gated communities and estate lots.
According to John Christie of H.G. Christie Ltd., buyers looking to protect themselves against inflation in the real estate market are searching for their share of island living.
“Listings have adjusted to realistic prices,” says Lightbourn. “The lower end of the luxury market in the $1 million to $3.5 million price range is selling the best.”
Lightbourn adds that gated communities on the more popular islands offer the most opportunities in the $1 million to $3.5 million price range. Perhaps that is why celebrities, such as Barry Bonds, Michael Jordan and Ernie Els have opted to own real estate at Ocean Club Estates on Paradise Island. The property offers its residents an 18-hole Tom Weiskopf-designed golf course and access to amenities offered by the Atlantis and the One & Only Ocean Club resorts.
Resort communities, such as Grand Isle on Great Exuma and The Reef at Atlantis also hold a share in Bahamas’ luxury market. Both residential options are managed for the owners and have the opportunity to be rented out in a hotel pool arrangement.
We asked our experts for even more perspective on the Bahamas luxury market, and here’s what they had to say:
“What is selling is doing so because sellers have made adjustments of up to 40 percent off the market high prices of 2007. Schooner Bay is about building an affordable place with a mix of offerings. We have sold 45 of the first 140 lots released for sale in the last 20 months. More than 75 percent of our sales have been to those who already call the Bahamas home. [At Schooner Bay] we are building a real and traditional harbor village where many people will live, work, school, farm, fish and vacation for years to come.”
—James Malcolm, Lindroth Development Company [Schooner Bay Bahamas is a sustainable community on the island of Great Abaco.]
“Prices have come down to figures at which motivated buyers — and, of course, sellers — are coming into the market. There will be more sales [in 2011] since those who have been on the sidelines will enter the market.”
—Mike Lightbourn, Coldwell Banker Lightbourn Realty
“H.G. Christie and the Bahamas are looking forward to a promising year in 2011 in the luxury real estate market. High-end net worth persons are buying high-end properties to safeguard themselves against inflation.”
—John Christie, H.G. Christie Ltd.