Tourism is booming, once again, and it’s not just about hotel stays. Sale of property in resort areas is also on the uptick. According to Sagicor Property Services there was a dip at the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, but between 2021 and 2022 there has been a double-digit increase in properties being sold.
“A lot of the persons who buy property in that segment of the market are persons within our Diaspora, so there was a correlation between [decreased] arrivals in island and a fall in sale of properties in the resort segment of the market,” explains real estate advisor and realtor at Sagicor Property Services, Davica Hamilton. “Buyers include not just persons who are looking for a holiday home, but also younger millennials who are buying properties as investment options.
“In 2020 we had a fall in the transfers of properties along the coastal lines but it again picked up in 2021 and 2022. We saw improvements of about 21 per cent to about 30 per cent in transfers between those two years,” she adds during a sit-down with LetsTravelCaribbean.com.
Personal use buyers, she said, are looking for condos and detached homes. Anything on or within walking distance of the beach is “hot”, and buyers tend to want enough space to entertain family and friends. There are also options available for those who want to use property to generate income from short-term rentals. They have the option of working with management teams, like those available through Sagicor Property Services, to handle day-to-day operations. Then there are large corporate buyers who are planning new builds and are looking for either greenfield developments or properties that already have infrastructure in place.
Real estate investments have long been part of the Sagicor Group’s overall strategy, and its long-awaited resort-style Bessa development in St Mary is among the opportunities that will be available soon. For the multi-billion-dollar project, Sagicor partnered with KLE Group which has a 25 per cent stake. Ground was broken in 2017 and design changes saw it missing the original 2018 date to market. The second completion date was 2020, but then came the COVID-19 pandemic. Now Bessa is back on track.
“What we’re focused on now within the tourism space is completion of our development in Oracabessa. The development is scheduled for completion in the middle of 2023,” head of real estate and investment management at Sagicor Group, Shane Walters tells LetsTravelCaribbean.com.
Elegantly positioned on eight acres of seaside and river-front property, there are 86 units from which to choose. This includes 50 river condos, 24 ocean suites, and 12 pool villas. Just one minute from the Ian Fleming International Airport, Bessa’s neighbours include the high-end GoldenEye Resort, and it is minutes away from several popular attractions.
“Everything about it makes it a tropical oasis,” says Hamilton after describing the luxury of being on a private beach, the calming view of the river to the east, and the stunning foliage on property.
Turtles nest and hatch on the beach, another of the features heavily used in Bessa’s marketing material.
“Everything was taken into consideration to allow for a project that is a part of the environment and is well suited for the location,” Hamilton adds.
Meanwhile, there are hints of other major tourism-related real estate projects to come.
“Upon the completion of Bessa we’re still very bullish on the real estate market and, in particular, we’ll have some interaction with the tourism space. So there are several opportunities that we are currently exploring and other key strategic partnerships that, all being well, before the end of 2023 we’ll be able to share this information with the public,” says Walters.
Speaking in general terms, Hamilton pointed to the attractiveness of the parish of St Ann, which adjoins St Mary.
“St Ann has been on fire over the last five years, and it will continue to grow for the next couple of years to come. The resort market is not only a lucrative investment opportunity for persons interested in owning a second home or rental property in tourist towns, it is quite popular for members of our Diaspora who are looking to retire here,” she says.
“In terms of individual units that the buyers may look to invest in … on the north coast … is Paradisiac, which is a new gated community that’s available; it is on the ocean front. And there is Drax Hall Marina; there is a new phase that is being built now. So that’s another option [on the] coastline in terms of properties that are available for sale,” Hamilton adds.
HOW TO OWN YOUR PIECE OF RESORT LIFE:
There are still some units available at Bessa.
Viewings are available by appointment only.
More information is available online at bessaliving.com
For this and upcoming opportunities at Paradisiac and Marina Villa in Drax Hall, email Sagicor Property Services at email@example.com