Realtor hails “first” $1 billion in property gross sales



• ‘Very shocked’ if rivals come near hitting 2022 document

• However the ‘hottest market in 40 years’ is now beginning to ‘settle down’

• ‘Feeding Frenzy’ can be hit with a 50% drop in stock on the market


Tribune Enterprise Editor


A realtor yesterday hailed the $1 billion in property gross sales his agency dealt with in 2022 as a “first” within the Bahamas and claimed he could be “very shocked” if any rivals got here near matching that efficiency.

George Damianos, president of Damianos Sotheby’s Worldwide Realty, informed Tribune Enterprise that the corporate’s document outcome was pushed by pent-up demand that “dispersed” from the post-COVID period as rich patrons proceed to focus on abroad actual property purchases.

Praising his employees for a outcome that appeared in Sotheby’s Worldwide’s Luxurious Outlook, he nonetheless predicted that 2023 was unlikely to match final 12 months as a result of the stock of high-end properties nonetheless obtainable on the market had shrunk. by 50 % in comparison with regular ranges in communities. corresponding to Lyford Cay.

The prediction of Mr. Damianos for a slight reduction was supported yesterday by different realtors. Gavin Christie, managing companion of Corcoran CA Christie, informed this newspaper that the business is now “on the tail finish” of the post-pandemic growth, though the amount of gross sales dealt with by his agency in 2022 was up 22 % year-on-year .

Acknowledging that the Bahamas was coming off the “hottest market in 40 years,” he agreed that the market is “cooling off” from the “feeding frenzy” attributable to COVID-19. Nevertheless, relatively than dipping, Christie’s mentioned it was present process a gradual “correction” in direction of extra regular ranges of exercise, whereas an absence of stock obtainable on the market will create upward stress that retains present property costs degree. up.

Mario Carey, director of Higher Houses and Gardens Actual Property MCR Group Bahamas, additionally known as 2022 an “excellent 12 months” for actual property gross sales and mentioned his agency was “enthusiastic” concerning the prospects for 2023. Nevertheless, he added that he was “paying consideration” to suggestions suggesting that patrons might undertake extra of a “wait-and-see” method as a consequence of headwinds created by inflation and better international rates of interest.

In the meantime, Mr. Damianos, confirming that the $1 billion determine referred solely to gross sales from his firm, informed Tribune Enterprise: “We have been fairly happy with our outcomes. I believe it is the primary time an actual property firm has executed $1 billion in gross sales or extra in a 12 months. I believe it is a good indicator of what is going on on within the Bahamas.

“I believe the opposite firms did properly too, however I might be very shocked if anybody else got here near that. It was form of a carryover from 2021, which many individuals mentioned was their greatest 12 months. It was pent-up demand, folks wished to go offshore and make investments. We had numerous developer gross sales, folks shopping for land to develop business properties. It is going to be attention-grabbing to see the way it seems, who builds and makes issues.”

Sotheby’s Worldwide mentioned its Bahamian subsidiary, headed by Mr. Damianos, had surpassed the $1 billion mark in property transactions by the tip of the third quarter of 2022 on September 30. The corporate makes a speciality of high-end actual property gross sales involving values ​​which might be usually within the thousands and thousands of {dollars}.

Mr. Damianos, nonetheless, performed down expectations that final 12 months can be matched and even bettered in 2023. “There isn’t a actual cause why our market mustn’t proceed,” he mentioned. “The wealthy nonetheless need to make investments, they nonetheless need to benefit from the pleasures within the solar and so they nonetheless need to benefit from the heat climate.

“However I believe we in all probability will not have that form of 12 months [we had in 2022]. There are two causes. One, particularly, is clearly stock. The issue is having sufficient stock to promote. The one factor that can penalize us is the quantity of stock we have now to promote to those folks. That is our large factor. We’ve got a small handful of builders. The query is whether or not they catch as much as demand earlier than it drops once more.”

Requested how a lot available-for-sale stock has decreased on the high of the market in comparison with historic ranges, Mr. Damianos replied: “I’ll make an informed guess. I’d say our stock is down a minimum of 50 % within the high-end area.

“After I first began in Lyford Cay within the early 2000s, I’d say 7 % to 10 % of the properties right here would have been available on the market. We’re in all probability at 2-3 %. That is from 2021-2022. Through the years it has decreased, however now it’s in all probability the bottom it has ever been. If you do not have a product, you’ll be able to’t promote it… However it’s not one thing I’d name doom and gloom.”

Mr. Damianos mentioned the actual property market usually went by means of cycles and the present concern of low stock can be corrected because it “revives” once more. Nevertheless, he acknowledged that the dearth of competitors might encourage sellers to carry out for top or above market costs, whereas potential patrons might resolve to carry off if they can not discover something that meets their necessities.

He was supported by Mr. Christie, who agreed that the restricted provide of properties obtainable on the market will assist hold costs “constant”. He informed Tribune Enterprise: “The 12 months has began very, very properly. We’re on the backside of the most popular market we have had in 40 years. The change we have seen is that the meals frenzy COVID sparked has slowed.

“Our market, nonetheless, stays extraordinarily sizzling from final 12 months and, inside it, we had many properties promoting at and above asking worth. That has cooled, however the market stays very, very robust. I consider that in 2023 this may proceed, particularly within the luxurious market. Folks will at all times say the market goes down, but it surely has corrected itself to the place it ought to be.

“What we noticed throughout COVID was an irregular quantity of transactions and the numbers went up 10 %, 15 %, 20 %. The market is correcting itself however stays robust. It has extraordinarily low stock which helps our costs stay steady.”

As for the subsequent 12 months, Christie’s predicted: “Our projection for 2023 is that it’ll nonetheless be an excellent 12 months as a result of lack of stock serving to to maintain our costs steady. All of our forecasts for 2023 are nonetheless a really robust market within the luxurious area.

“Final 12 months was an excellent 12 months. Our numbers have been up, I believe, about 22 % year-over-year in gross sales volumes coming off an irregular 12 months in 2021. I believe this 12 months has the potential to do in addition to final 12 months. We do not have a crystal ball to foretell, however so long as we haven’t any vital modifications, I believe we’ll be pretty much as good as final 12 months.”

Whereas the price of mortgage financing has risen for worldwide patrons, as a consequence of rising rates of interest within the US and elsewhere, Christie argued this was offset by robust demand for the Bahamas as a “sought-after vacation spot”. He added: “No matter market we’re visiting, there at all times appears to be robust demand for the Bahamas.”

Mr. Carey, too, mentioned the actual property market within the Bahamas appeared to “have settled down a bit” after the post-Covid gross sales surge. Nevertheless, he added that key financial indicators affecting it “look like wholesome” regardless of threats from inflation and rising international rates of interest.

Head of Higher Houses and Gardens Actual Property MCR Group mentioned the Bahamas seems to have returned to the pre-Covid seasonal pattern, with most exercise happening between late December and Might. “I’d assume 2022 was an excellent 12 months,” he mentioned. “It nearly reaches a peak of a market. It was a unprecedented 12 months. Can we evaluate it? Who is aware of?

“With inflation, many patrons are holding again. Some patrons assume they’ll wait it out and see what occurs. Final 12 months we did not have that dialog. Earlier than inflation went up, we did not have that form of dialog, however now we’re having it. I am involved with numerous very good enterprise folks, and so they deliver these items. Inflation offers them a degree of concern. We might even see extra of a wait and keep in 2023.

Acknowledging that rich patrons have been amongst these most proof against the influence of inflation, Mr. Carey nonetheless pointed to the slowdown within the US actual property market for example of traits that might ultimately have an effect on the Bahamas. Nevertheless, he added: “We’re captivated with this 12 months. We’re being attentive to a number of the conversations, however to this point everybody says the market continues to be good.”

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