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Top Grand Bahama Realtor confident Turn-Around has started

Tuesday, April 9th, 2019 at 9:26am Engel & Völkers Bahamas

With the recent news that ITM/Royal Caribbean has signed an LOI with the government
to purchase the Grand Lucayan, online news and social media is abuzz with speculation
that there will be an economic surge on Grand Bahama. In particular, the real estate
market may see an increase in sales with the potential of new hotel room inventory,
flights to the island, visitors and new employment opportunities. Prior to the
announcement of ITM/Royal Caribbean’s LOI, the real estate market had already started
to experience a slight increase in activity according to Chiara Petrucci, real estate advisor
with Engel & Volkers.

“Our market has bottomed out and sales are definitely on the rise with a number of
properties that had been sitting on the market finally selling and they’re selling fast at the
moment. Grand Bahama offers some of the best prices for waterfront condos and homes.
If you compare Fortune Bay on Grand Bahama with Old Fort Bay on New Providence,
you are looking at about 10-20% of the price for the same size canal front lot. Now is the
time to buy on Grand Bahama.”

Earlier this year, Engel & Volkers released its 2018 Bahamas real estate market report
which showed an 84% increase in home sales from 2014 to 2018. “I don’t think it is
accurate to say all homes have increased by 84% over that period of time. There are two
factors to consider, first, Matthew took a big toll on the market in 2016 and then in recent
times higher end properties have started to sell which pushes the average sales price up.”
Ms. Petrucci says she has listed 12 properties over the past 6 weeks and 5 of them are
now under contract. “Sales have increased rapidly over the past 6 months with properties
that were sitting on the market for 2 years now finally starting to sell,”

“It’s not only the Royal Caribbean announcement that is creating excitement, it appears
prices have bottomed out which will always attract new buyers but also the Grand
Bahama shipyard for example has had one of its busiest years ever, Pharmacem is in the
midst of a significant expansion and the harbor itself has been physically expanded to
accommodate the new demand.” The government’s decision to take ownership in a
significant hotel on the island was met with mixed public criticism. Ms. Petrucci feels,
“You have to consider the position things were in with the property. If this completes, it
will be a significant feather in the governments cap and will definitely be a confidence
boost for Foreign Direct Investment.”

“The speculation is that Royal Caribbean will be developing a home port for its cruise
passengers. This will increase flights, amenities and tremendous international press
coverage for the island itself. The benefits should trickle down in many ways to many
people and help to present more opportunities to develop new amenities and services.”

Freeport/Lucaya was developed in the 1950’s under the Hawksbill Creek agreement with
a number of economic incentives for investors. “Freeport is a planned city with extensive
infrastructure, an international airport, grocery and restaurants, numerous marinas and
small hotels, yet only a few minutes drive from the city you can also have the real feel of
being on a Bahamian out island. This combination is unique to any of our islands.”
Ms. Petrucci says there is a strong local market on the island with over 40,000 full-time
residents. Additionally, ex-pats looking for retirement properties and second home
buyers looking for rental income also makes up a large part of the market.


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