Interest in real estate up; BREA advocates for more govt incentives

As the country winds down its novel coronavirus (COVID-19) lockdown measures, the Bahamas Real Estate Association (BREA) is seeing an uptick in new interest in property, especially private islands, from buyers across the world. The association is also advocating for the government to implement incentives to encourage the purchasing of property, such as economic citizenship.

BREA further revealed yesterday in a press statement that interest in elevated property near the shoreline has also increased, as climate change awareness heightens.

BREA President Christine Wallace-Whitfield said in the statement that buyers are interested in secure, English-speaking locations.

“There is nowhere that fits the bill better than The Bahamas – close to the U.S., politically stable government, a peaceful, independent nation with magnificent waters for boating, clean air for recreation and good health and all the amenities people from all walks of life expect in the most urban and sophisticated cities,” said Wallace-Whitfield.

“Waterfront is still a huge drawing card and always will be, but now we are hearing more requests for waterfront with elevation as people become increasingly aware of climate change and its impact on low-lying areas.”

Wallace-Whitfield said real estate firms across The Bahamas have reported heightened interest in property in general, private islands, gated communities and land with elevation.

BREA is hoping that the government, as part of its plan to pull the economy out of the economic doldrums caused by COVID-19, will consider economic citizenship for foreign real estate purchasers, which it contends can raise as much as $300 million.

It is also hoping for a reduction in the prime rate in order to stimulate borrowing for the middle class and for first-time homeowners, as well as “stamp tax exemption on certain categories of property or family island properties purchased by Bahamians and a graduated increase in real property tax on properties valued at more than $3 million”.

“Real estate and development combined create the second pillar of the Bahamian economy and land is far less fickle than tourism, so it is a positive for The Bahamas that we are experiencing growth in this area,” said Wallace-Whitfield.

“It is up to us to maximize the benefits of our unique position in the world. We need to be innovative and creative, understanding that just because we did things a certain way before does not mean we have to do them that way forever.”

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Chester Robards

Chester Robards rejoined The Nassau Guardian in November 2017 as a senior business reporter. He has covered myriad topics and events for The Nassau Guardian. Education: Florida International University, BS in Journalism

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