The New Buyer
Real estate is an ever-changing industry, with buying and selling patterns constantly shifting. One of the most significant shifts in the industry is the emergence of the new buyer in the real estate market. The new buyers in the real estate market are likely to have different expectations and preferences from the previous generation of buyers. These new buyers will redefine the trends of the real estate market in the coming years, if they haven’t already.
Past, Present and Future Trends in the T&T market
2023 is one month young and there is no better time to look back at trends passed and trends coming this year. From 2019 to now, the real estate market has seen drastic shifts in both residential and commercial trends. The effects of the pandemic have changed how we work, how we live and even the types of property we buy over the last few years.
The Real Cost of Buying a Home
So you’re ready to buy a home. It’s a common misconception that to start the process, all is needed is the initial 10% down payment. While this is your personal investment, buying a home is an involved process which requires the assistance of many stakeholders within the Real Estate ecosystem. From valuing to financing the asset, and insuring the property to officially transferring the property and all the legal paperwork in between, the costs of buying a home add up quickly.
Hence, in addition to the 10% of the agreed price of the property, there are cash expenses just to finalize a house sale. What’s the real cost of buying a home?
What's Selling in T&T in 2022?
What’s selling in T&T in 2022?
In early 2021, due to the pandemic and the sudden shift in properties actually being purchased, we took a closer look at the movement in the market and highlighted some residential trends for 2021.
Now that we’re fully out of lockdown, and activity seems to be returning to almost pre-COVID norms, we delved in again to see which trends stayed and which trends did not.
60 years of Independence, 60 years of Real Estate
From the economy to technological advances and how we do business, Real Estate in Trinidad and Tobago has evolved from the 1960’s to today. The cyclical nature of T&T’s economy post-Independence has spurred waves of development, which have in turn stimulated a flourishing industry to what it is today.
How is Land Priced?
With many land developments and listings at various price points on the market right now, purchasing land could be a quick and easy option to get into investing. But, when it comes to unimproved property (land), prospective buyers like to understand the basis for pricing and what their money can buy.
Based on price per square foot and multiplied by the land area, the total land price of one parcel can sometimes scare prospective buyers into sticker shock. Hence, we delved into various aspects that contribute to the price per square foot of land.
Trending Areas in 2022
One thing the Coronavirus pandemic has done in the last two years is shift our focus from the hustle and bustle outside of home to our work and recreational space at home. As we close a second year of remote work and homeschooling, quality of life has become paramount to most. For some, a lush environment, more floor area, or a further distance away from the rush is worth moving outside the West.
What does this mean for Real Estate?
Your First Offer is Your Best Offer!
It’s been a rough two years and you’ve finally decided to downsize your Real Estate portfolio as soon as possible. You’ve done your due diligence, spoken to a few Real Estate agents, even paid for a valuation report, and determined a fair asking price.
After a few weeks of market exposure, your agent calls with an offer below asking, but you’re torn between accepting a lower-than-expected price and chancing receiving a better offer.
Buying Styles: Men vs. Women
It’s no secret that men and women think, act, and prioritize differently. The same goes when searching for homes. Believe it or not, when it comes to buying homes, men and women differ on the questions they ask, their motivation for buying and what they ultimately base their decisions on. We asked our agents, “What are the buying styles of men vs. women?” and the responses were telling.
While men fixate on price and the bare bones of the home, women tend to focus on safety, livability, and future plans - all equally important. Though the questions below are not exhaustive or exclusive to either male or female, it is an abstract of the contrast between men and women and how they make their property decisions.
Let's Talk Property Prices!
A few months ago, we discussed the difference between price and value and how the perception of both concepts affect transactions. Additionally, the last year and a half during the pandemic has changed the already shifting T&T Real Estate market. Now, with all the talk of Property Tax and Land Valuations, we realized that there are many misconceptions surrounding Property Prices.
Therefore, we delved into some of our sold transactions over the past 18 months from our database to understand what money can buy today at different price ranges. This is not a definitive guide but an insight to illustrate what the market has dictated over the last year and a half. The aim is to help both property searchers and vendors navigate the real estate market and show what’s selling and for how much.
5 Things You Should Know When Buying Land
Whether it’s for personal use or development, land is favoured by many as a quick and easy way to get into investing. As it is considered unimproved property, a land sale is a fairly straight-forward transaction. But, before you make that down payment, there are few things you should look out for to ensure it is a sound investment!
Effects of Remote Work
From May 2021 to now, Trinidad & Tobago entered a second, stricter lockdown and a State of Emergency following a spike in COVID-19 cases. Similar to the first lockdown in April and May 2020, businesses except for essential services either closed or had their staff work remotely. In July 2020, in an effort to understand how working remotely changed attitudes of office employees, the Terra Caribbean Group built and circulated an attitudes survey to their host countries; Barbados, Grenada, St. Lucia and Trinidad & Tobago.
Therefore, to understand how attitudes may have changed over the last year and how employees feel about the office in the future, Terra Caribbean Trinidad circulated another survey as an updated, comprehensive view of the Trinidadian employee.
Coping with COVID fatigue
We’re taking a break from talking about Real Estate trends to discuss the real topic at hand: COVID fatigue. Here we are a year later, and to our surprise, we are still in a pandemic and in another lockdown. However, the consensus is that this lockdown is stressful and more difficult, for varied reasons.
While numerous businesses have managed to pivot over the last year, making their operations digital and getting websites ready for e-commerce, some of us are still navigating how to pivot on a personal level; battling mental health challenges amid concerns of job loss, decreases in business revenue or the health of our loved ones. In honour of Mental Health Awareness month, we’re examining COVID fatigue and how to cope during these times.
NOW is a great time to invest in Real Estate.
This is not a Sales Pitch! Despite the current economic climate and the pandemic, the Real Estate market is active and has been since June 2020. We recapped the property trends here and can safely say that Real Estate in T&T in 2021 is a sound investment.
Why? Here are 5 reasons:
Price vs. Value
Let’s get practical for a minute!
With all the conversation about price reductions in recent months and valuations in a pandemic year, most people have been using the words “price” and “value” interchangeably. What really is the difference between price and value? Furthermore, what determines both factors?
Property Trends We Did Not Expect for 2021
Post lock down 2020, the Real Estate outlook for the rest of 2020 was dismal. With the phased reopening of Trinidad & Tobago in June 2020, many businesses contracted or closed their doors, leading to widespread job loss, diminished spending power and decreased economic activity. We were preparing for the worst.
However, in our May 2020 article, we highlighted a few drivers of the industry and how buyers may make their next property decisions. Nine months later, a closer look at the residential segment shows some concrete trends that have sustained through to 2021, that we did not anticipate.
Real Estate Wins from TT Budget 2020
Every year, the population waits anxiously to hear if taxes will increase, the price of food or gas will skyrocket, or the general cost of living will climb. This year was a different one; waiting amid a pandemic, on how the Budget for the next fiscal year would stimulate the suffocating economy. While we have seen continued activity in the residential segment post-lockdown, the Real Estate sector did contract this year. However, we are hopeful that the concessions and tax exemptions across Housing, Construction and Real Estate will jumpstart the sector for the next fiscal year.
Buyer Behaviour in 2020
After many surveys searching for the effect of the pandemic on Work from Home trends, the market outlook, and the real estate sector, we decided to look internally at our post lockdown closed transactions. With nine months of the year effectively gone and the COVID-19 pandemic still an active threat to our economy, we decided to get to the root of buyers’ behaviour at this time to differentiate between normal demand and pandemic demand. Additionally, while the commercial real estate market has seen a downturn, the residential market remained buoyant.
After a quick analysis, we discovered that while 50% of our post lockdown closed transactions (both sales and rentals) were normal demand, the other 50% were decisions, directly or indirectly, influenced by the current situation.
Rethinking The Office
During the Corona Virus (COVID-19) pandemic of early 2020, Trinidad and Tobago was placed on a stay at home order for April and May 2020. Consequently, all businesses except for essential services either closed for the duration of two months or had their staff work remotely. Across the Caribbean, other countries were faced with similar stay at home orders for the months of April and May 2020. With the phased reopening of most countries in June 2020, staff has expressed their willingness to continue working from home.
Therefore, in an effort to understand how working remotely has changed attitudes of office employees, the Terra Caribbean Group built and circulated an attitudes survey to their host countries; Barbados, Grenada, St. Lucia and Trinidad & Tobago.
Click here to view the full report.
How has COVID-19 affected Real Estate trends in T&T?
One of the biggest questions we face recently, as a real estate firm is the effect of the two month lock down on the real estate market and how business and prices may change within this new normal. While no one can predict the future of Real Estate in Trinidad and Tobago given this lock down, we have seen unique patterns appear through our data.
Working from home: How I changed my woes into wins!
Given the current COVID-19 pandemic that has swept across the world and touched down in our sister isle of T&T in the last couple weeks, working from home is no longer the exception but the rule. In the past, as a Terra Caribbean agent, we’ve always had the option to either work via remote access or come into the office and use the space there.
But with current conditions, we were strongly advised to stay home to do our part in flattening the curve. I could use some curve flattening! I welcomed the nearly mandatory work from home directive and thought, this should be fine, a walk in the park. But a week and a half in, this proved not to be exactly so. Here’s how I changed 5 woes into wins that may change my office life forever.
Don't do your own Valuation! Here's 5 reasons why.
Your family home, your prized possession, your piece of heaven that may have taken years to complete; but now, for one reason or another, your humble abode is up for sale. Most people have an idea of what their home is worth, however it’s easy for that financial investment to turn into a sentimental dollar value that may differ from what’s actually obtainable on the market. Therefore, before you list your dream home with a wish price, it’s best to consult with a professional who may know a thing or two about the market to advise on the value of your home.
Our Social Experiment
As we live in the digital age, social media is necessary. Hence, our marketing team dared the entire company to a 10 day social media challenge to encourage the team to make social media a social habit. As Real Estate agents, we're constantly encouraged to use social media to network with our circles as well as advertise ourselves.
Monique Aleong, Terra agent and social media newbie gives us her take on how she handled this challenge!
What's selling in T&T?
In our first edition of The Red Book Trinidad & Tobago 2019, we highlighted in our Residential Sale Insights that demand in the middle to lower Residential Sale segment remained stable over the period 2014 to 2018, while the high-end property segment decreased during the same period.
As we near the end of 2019, we asked the same question “What’s selling this year in T&T?” A closer look at the Residential Sale segment for the first 10 months of this year showed a similar trend in composition and price ranges of residential sales so far.
It's Buying Season!
For first time homeowners, waiting for the right time to buy can be a lesson in patience. Between shopping for the best mortgage rates, scanning social media for affordable homes in the right location and getting all your ducks in a row, the entire task can take a while. But during this buying season before the Christmas holidays, we normally see quick sales occurring and an increase in property transactions. As the old saying goes “strike while the iron is hot.” As real estate agents interacting and transacting with the market every day, we can safely say, now is the time to buy.
The Red Book Trinidad & Tobago 2019 is here!
Terra Caribbean Trinidad is proud to launch their first edition of The Red Book Trinidad & Tobago! This launch coincides with the company’s 20 year celebration in Trinidad and 20 years of Knowledge, Experience and Regional Reach.
Borne out of the knowledge culture of the Terra Caribbean Group, the Red Book is a reference guide in each territory of Terra Caribbean - Barbados, Grenada and St. Lucia. As such, Trinidad & Tobago’s first edition includes salient articles and insights on the current property market of T&T in its 128 pages and is the first real estate specific publication of its kind in the country.
Why Choose Terra Caribbean?
Most people think of Terra Caribbean as just a commercial real estate brokerage firm but we actually do so much more than that. For almost 20 years now, Terra Caribbean Trinidad has facilitated the rental and sale of both commercial and residential properties throughout the country. So why choose Terra Caribbean? Our CEO, Jean-Paul de Meillac tells you why in this episode of Be in the Know! with Terra Caribbean Trinidad. Enjoy!
What's on your wish list?
Many people think they KNOW what they want when buying a home… until it’s actually time to decide. What's on your wish list? Let our agent Andrea Barry help you determine what you want in this episode of Be in the Know! with Terra Caribbean Trinidad.
Stay tuned for more Be in the Know!
What's your Real Estate Resolution for 2019?
We’re two weeks into the New Year and while we’re still reeling from 2018 and the challenges that came with it, we are hoping for a brighter 2019.
Therefore, we’re urging all our clients and customers to start their property planning now if you haven’t already started. Whether you’re a first time homeowner, putting your house on the market to upgrade or in the commercial market, we advise everyone to have a goal for this year and an action plan to achieve it!
So what’s your Real Estate Resolution for 2019?
Let's take a look back at 2018
As we tick down to the last days of 2018, we take a look back at this year in the real estate industry.
This industry has seen spates of profitable periods over the last decade, but has steadily declined from 2016 to today. It is undeniable that while 2017 was a tremor, 2018 was an all-out earthquake, and we’re still feeling the aftershocks.
With shifts and changes in the macro environment in the past calendar year, the ripple effects cannot be ignored. While we’re hopeful of an upturn in the market in 2019 due to oil exploration and likely reinjection of government spending, we thought we’d analyze the considerable and critical external elements and how they affected the Real Estate industry in 2018.
What's the pre-qualification process?
Ever wondered what's this pre-qualification that bankers and mortgage officers speak about?
Our agent Aleicia Mendoza explains the pre-qualification process and the importance of it. Find out more about it in this episode of Be in the Know! with Terra Caribbean Trinidad.
Stay tuned for more Be in the Know!
What's my budget for buying a home? - Be in the Know!
Terra Caribbean invites you to view our new video series, Be in the Know!, where we discuss information on everything property related.
Owning your first home comes with so many mixed feelings of excitement, anxiety and uncertainty, that it’s quite easy to forget the smaller but important things. We realized most people are misinformed about the process of buying a property, beginning with the most important factor…the money!
Our agent Sasha Anton breaks down all the cash you need upfront when buying a home in this episode of Be in the Know! with Terra Caribbean Trinidad.
Drivers of the T&T Commercial Market
Trinidad is known as the business hub of the Caribbean, so it’s only natural that we have an extensive commercial market.
This market segment has seen many shifts and movements over the last two decades.
It leads us to question, what exactly are the drivers of this market?
First time buying a home?
Down payment? Check.
So, you’ve decided to take this big step to buy a home (and it is a very big step indeed), probably the single largest investment you’ll ever make. Owning your first home comes with so many mixed feelings of excitement, anxiety and uncertainty, that it’s quite easy to forget the smaller but important things.
Hence, we’ve compiled a comprehensive guide to help you along the way, from all the unsaid costs to general tips, from an Agent’s as well as a buyer’s perspective.
Are you ready to buy your first home?
What can $2m buy today? January 2018
This time last year, with a declining economy, we examined what $2m bought for the years 2007 to 2016.
As 2017 progressed, with a further contracting economy and a minor but impactful depreciation of the TT dollar, we look back at how these radical changes affected the Residential Sale market, with a snapshot of What $2m can buy today in different parts of the country.
What can $2m buy today? January 2017
With a New Year ahead, a slower market than 2016 and a depreciating currency, many of our clients ask us:
What can money buy these days?
To truly understand the buying power of $2m today and the time value of money, we first reviewed what $2m bought in past years. In our realistic analysis, we took into consideration, location and condition of these listings, our fluctuating inflation rate and stayed within a range of $1.8m to $2m.
Are businesses moving out of Port of Spain?
While Port of Spain is the business centre for much of the country and is an important financial services hub for the Caribbean, the commercial density has resulted in challenges in parking, traffic and office space availability.
Consequently, the traffic challenges and overpopulation in the Central Business District of Port of Spain have driven some organizations, local and international, to consolidate their offices from around the country to one of the developing commercial hubs/districts.
Are we hurricane ready?
Despite the old Trini colloquialism of “God is a Trini”, this year’s ongoing hurricane season, violent and tumultuous at best, has caused concern even in us laidback Trinis. With recent Hurricane Irma, ripping through countries of the Leeward Islands and South Florida and leaving death and millions of dollars of destruction in her wake, we ask ourselves, “Is T&T Hurricane ready?”
Commercial Rental Rates over the years
Terra Caribbean Trinidad has collated data from over forty buildings and produced the Commercial Rental Rate Study for ten years, 2007 – 2017.
In 3 short years, 2014 to now, the commercial office rental real estate market has taken a steep nosedive into near stagnation. Within the last two years (2015-2017), as large corporations of the petrochemical industry have downsized operations globally, as well as in Trinidad, in response to a worldwide decrease in the demand for oil and by-products of oil, space in A Class and B Class commercial buildings have become available, resulting in a vacancy rate of approximately 20% - 25% in the private office rental market.
We Know Trinidad and We Know Golf!
Terra Caribbean Trinidad was a proud sponsor of the Queen's Park Cricket Club's Members Golf Tournament 2017. This tournament which is held at the St. Andrew's Golf Club in Moka, Maraval is a staple on the Terra Caribbean Trinidad calendar every year.
Real Estate in the Information Age
In just a couple short decades, technology has changed the landscape of real estate, both locally and internationally. In Trinidad and Tobago, with over 900 active real estate agents or agencies, the business of real estate is no longer dictated by a rolodex and a phone, or a FOR SALE sign and a classified ad. The advent of expansive websites, social media, and instant messaging apps has transformed the speed and accessibility of information for end-users - the buyers and sellers that generate this market. The industry has matured and is now a grown adult in the T&T economy.
The Crossings - Where you want to be...
Located in the expansive neighbourhood of Santa Rosa, Arima, Phase 3 of Bhagwansingh’s at The Crossings is a welcome respite for young professionals, their families and investors alike.
Terra Caribbean stands in solidarity with AREA and the FIU to Fight against Money Laundering
The Association of Real Estate Agents (AREA) hosted a Media Conference on Tuesday, 14th February, 2017 with the theme “AREA Supports the Fight Against Money Laundering and Financing Terrorism”. at The Government Campus Plaza Auditorium, Port of Spain.
We're now Live! - Terra Caribbean Trinidad launches new website at Buzz Bar
In the height of the Carnival 2017 season, Terra Caribbean Trinidad launched the new website at Buzz Bar, One Woodbrook Place on Thursday 9th February. The first launch of Terra Caribbean’s new website, a cocktail event, was held at Apes Hill Country Club, Barbados on Thursday December 15, 2016 and was a huge success.
A Night to Remember - Terra Caribbean Web Launch
Thursday December 15 was a night to remember for the Terra Caribbean team: the venue, the newly finished and amazingly stunning Apes Hill Club House; the occasion, a cocktail reception officially launching our new Terra Caribbean website.