A trend we’re seeing amongst our international clients is that they’re refinancing their assets in order to release equity for further investment. Within this, we’re seeing a shift towards investment for lifestyle purposes, and second homes. Away from the usual investment hotspots of France and Spain, for example, we’re seeing increasing demand for the Caribbean – in particular, St Barts.
Of course, the Caribbean has been enduring a tragedy following the devastation of Hurricane Irma, but we are seeing the market pick up somewhat, which is excellent news for the economy and rebuild of the island.
Particularly of note is the news of the sale of a trophy asset, suggesting demand is returning.
The property in question was previously owned by a billionaire hedge fund manager and sold for $67million at the end of 2017. The villa has its own coconut grove, private beach and two separate villas on its 7½ acre stretch of land.
For a property of this scale to sell in St Barts is a sure sign that the market is gaining momentum. In support of this, we are seeing an increased appetite to lend on property there, with French banks particularly motivated. These banks are also willing to be somewhat flexible on their criteria in the hope of stimulating a challenging market, so it really is a great time to consider purchasing on the island.
Furthermore, some private banks who don’t usually finance St Barts real estate will do so for an existing client.
We had a client recently who wanted to buy in St Barts, and his bank agreed to despite not offering loans of this nature under normal circumstances. Buyers shouldn’t be put off seeking finance thinking it’s not available, banks are open minded to the opportunities on offer.
Overall, we believe the market will continue gaining momentum, and its appeal to buyers of luxury overseas property will return apace.