Terra Caribbean - Blog

Better Property Pricing in the Barbados Property Market

Friday, September 04, 2020 | By Omar Watson, Real Estate Agent
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Can a blog title be any more self-explanatory? First, let me declare this won’t be a long-winded deposition on the need for owners to reduce the price on their properties for sale to encourage potential buyers but more a less than subtle recommendation for more value fit sale options. 

As real estate agents in the Barbados property market, we pay keen attention to market demand and inventory that meets our clients’ budgets. Owners, developers, and contractors suffer less from buyer absenteeism than from failure to supply housing that meets a reasonably priced demand! 

On either side of the spectrum, buyer or seller, it’s important to understand that you need to move and flex with market conditions in order to survive. For some, it’s a matter of taking advantage of the prevailing winds but for others, it’s about adjusting to stay in the game. The fact of the matter is that with everything happening these days, COVID19 included, more and more buyer decisions are price-driven. Sure, we’d all like to splurge on the things that make dreams dreamy but for the most part, our brains have been updated to include the “Can I really afford that though” filter. So, it’s far from a case where persons aren’t willing to buy but more an impetus on smarter spending, sorting the price list from Lowest to Highest instead of brand or location. The fact of the matter is, in the Barbados property market and throughout the Caribbean, if your property is priced well (not priced low) it will attract attention. Yes, we know that you built it and it is the apple of your eye, custom to the design you imagined, we know what you think it’s worth and what your cousin who sold a house in 2002 advised you to sell it for, but the real question is “Does the market agree?”. 

Harmony Estates has been a best-seller: the jewel in the crown that is affordable housing. “Build it and they will come,” they say and that’s exactly what happened. Before even a brick was laid someone put a sign up that promised affordable house and land packages coming soon—cue a couple of hundred enquiries in the first few days. Construction began and the upgraded sign mentioned packages started from BBD$265k, which triggered a volcanic eruption of the market that rivaled Mount Vesuvius’ assault on Pompeii. Where were these buyers coming from? I mean the market wasn’t bare by any means but who knew there were so many interested buyers latent below the surface? And it went beyond just being interested, they were coming preapproved by their financial institutions some with checkbooks hanging out of their back pockets! Affordability spelt opportunity. For the low-income buyer, it was an opportunity to own a piece of the rock. For the middle-income buyer, it was an opportunity to move from a rental to their own home. For the high-income buyer, the opportunity screamed investment. The registration list filled up faster than your favorite watering hole at Happy Hour on a Friday night. The agents practically slept at the site. It was a guarantee Harmony Estates was going to be your last showing today and your first tomorrow. Even now months later the registration on houses not yet built but coming soon continues to attract decent attention. 

The moral of the story here isn’t necessarily that you should offer your property at BBD$265k to attract attention to it but rather study the current Barbados property market and create an accurate scenario that shows what well-priced inventory can do. The exact same thing happens with queries on bank repossessed listings:  before we can even begin marketing them, they are sold. There is someone searching for your property, literally right this second (hopefully on but they are searching in the price band just below yours because affordability is the reigning king. More than ever now we are asking our vendors to consider this when thinking about selling “Is my property appropriately priced?” and “Have I taken the market into consideration?”. And if you can’t answer this for yourself there are 16 seasoned Real Estate agents here in the Terra Brokerage team who’d be more than happy to assist. 

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