Caribbean property climbs ahead of 2017

The Caribbean property market is starting to climb at the start of 2017, as buyer confidence and investment both increase.

The Bahamas rose 22 places in’s Top of the Props chart in December 2016 to become the 17th most popular destination on the site. This is the highest ranking for the Bahamas since November 2015, when it was the 11th most popular destination. Barbados also jumped four places to become the 29th most popular location on the portal. Panama, meanwhile, home to stunning beaches on its Caribbean coast, raced 27 places up the Top of the Props chart to become the ninth most sought-after location.

Both destinations were members of the Top 15 most popular countries on multiple times in 2015, although they saw demand decline in the last year. Now, a wave of interest appears to be building once more.

This is partly fuelled by the growing confidence in the US economy, as Donald Trump’s election and the decision by the Federal Reserve to raise interest rates for the second time since the global financial crisis have boosted positive sentiment. Tourism, too, is performing well, with visitors up 7 per cent in 2015.

Together, these are feeding into investor demand, as shorter void periods facing rental homes are driving higher buyer interest. It helps that prices have also reached their floor, notes Knight Frank, with the average value of luxury homes across in the Caribbean slipping by 1 per cent in 2015.

“While for some, the repercussions from the Brexit decision, Trump’s electoral victory, currency shifts, and in some cases, lingering oversupply may add an element of uncertainty, for others they represent a buying opportunity,” says the firm.

Indeed, Chinese investment has notably increased in recent years, with Chinese FDI in the region rising 500 per cent in the decade prior to 2012.

Knight Frank highlights the Bahamas as one of the Caribbean’s more mature property markets.

“Mirroring much of the Caribbean, property prices fell 30 per cent to 40 per cent in peak-to-trough terms post-2008 but the annual rate of decline slowed to less than 5 per cent in 2015,” explains its latest research analysing the region.

In Barbados, meanwhile, sellers are adjusting their prices by an average of 15 per cent to accommodate buyers from the UK, who have been hit by the pound’s 17 per cent fall against the US dollar since Britain’s vote to leave the European Union.

“Although the island’s trophy segment (US$15m+) is active vendors are still having to be flexible on price,” adds the agency. “Below US$3m the market is more sluggish, and vendors are having to reduce asking prices where there are high inventory levels, this includes beachside condos on the west coast.”

In real terms, enquiries for property in the Bahamas on doubled month-on-month in December 2016, while enquiries for Barbados rose 28 per cent. With a new US President, renewed economic confidence and new pricing on the cards for 2017, the tide for the Caribbean, it seems, is turning.