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killerbee

St Lucia

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My wife is St Lucian so I have an interest in what is happening there. We are on the lookout for land at some point in the future to enable us to build. Obviously I wouldn't want to buy at the wrong time.

Is St Lucia isolated from the drops in the US. Is there a bubble there like most places. I was out there in March and there seemed to be a lot of investment and I noticed it is a popular place for American investment/second home/retirement.

Hope someone has some thoughts.

Killerbee

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Hi Killerbee

My wife and I have just bought an investment property/winter home in St Lucia in the North of the island on Cap Estate. There is a fair amount of development on the island both planned and actual. We have been attracted by the island itself, the friendliness of the people and the potential investment both short term as a holiday let and also the relative cheapness given the current exchange rate.

We looked at both land and resale but decided to go for a resale property - for two reasons. Firstly land seemed overpriced relative to the build cost and resale market - anywhere between $10 -20 dollars per square foot, along with an up to $200 per sq foot build cost. Secondly a resale meant we could earn rental income plus use ourselves immediately. We found good quality resale villa for $150 a sq foot.

Be interested to know what you are looking to purchase?

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Hi Freedomfinder,

Cap Estate has really taken off, the golf course is great have you played it?

Our plan is to buy land as this is a very long term plan (we have the rest of our lives). We are also looking forward to building our own house. We may buy the land and not build for a number of years so I would prefer to buy at a later date if land prices are over-priced. The figures you quote were very interesting but do you feel insulated from the U.S.

Killerbee

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Cap Estate really impressed us - we are two minutes from golf course which I've not yet played but plan to soon (new clubhouse is now finished) with a sea view out to Cas en Bas.

As to property prices I've been trying to get good information on the state of the real estate market across the Caribbean for a while and not found a trustworthy source. I'm told St Lucian property prices have been rising by around 8-10% per annum for a number of years - not spectacular like some other islands so I hope prices will follow a similar upward trend.

I've found very good information on the US market and the relative level of overvaluation of some markets particularly Florida and California following boom from 2001. Prices are falling in Florida and rental market also seems to have collapsed due to oversupply. As such I would expect there to be some knock on effect to rental demand for our property (at least short term) and also a slow down of expansion plans for the island - probably no bad thing. It may also be having an effect on property prices - but this has been offset by the rise of the £.

In summary I think we are a bit catch 22 here - a falling $ makes the investment more attractive but will have a negative impact on investor confidence in the region

Good luck with your purchase.

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Hi freedomfinder,

Thank you for your observations, did you use an agent when you bought? And how the letting side of things working out?This is something we may consider if keep a place in the UK.

We contacted quite a few in March but the only ones that impressed us were Blue Reef and another in Rodney Bay, which I'm having difficulty remembering the name of but it's owned by an Englishman. Home... something or other.

Do you have any recommendations.

Your place sounds lovely and I like cas en bas as the sea is a bit rougher. Did you visit Grande Anse yet?

Ahhhh the Pitons ...opps must stop dreaming got to go.

Killerbee

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Hi Killerbee

For purchase we found the agents were all fine try belleheleneproperties.com but there are others, Blue Reef were fine. However with so much information now available on the internet we found that it is possible to narrow the search greatly between visits. All the agents have the new builds and land for sale they vary in what they have for resale.

We have not made much progress on the letting side yet as we are waiting for landholding licence to come through. We are torn between a short holiday let - higher costs, higher spec, shorter season but potentially higher returns and a long term yearly rental with the downside that it would limit our access to the property. We will probably try holiday lets first and take it from there. Tropical villas seems to have all the holiday rental market at least in Cap Estate.

I prefer the Atlantic coast as it is so rugged - Cas en bas is a favorite as is Grande Anse - also enjoyed down near the Pitons - Anse Chastenet and other bays nearby. It's a very special island.

freedomfinder

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