Property sales rose last year to $240m
Bermuda’s ailing real estate sector bounced back last year with both sales and values up.
Total sales across the industry rose to almost $240 million — up more than $11 million on 2013 figures — and the second successive increase.
The number of properties sold remained nearly the same — up one to 194.
And Rego Sotheby’s International partner Penny MacIntyre said that sales registrations were still trickling through from last year, so the figure was likely to rise.
Ms MacIntyre said much of the dollar increase had come from higher-value properties — although she cautioned the increases were small.
She added: “We’re starting to see a slight uptick — albeit very slight.
“It’s nice to see the pulse picking up, the momentum to still be there and confidence starting to increase.”
Ms MacIntyre added that the first quarter of the year was traditionally slow in the real estate market.
But she said: “At the rate we’re going, we do see more interest and activity. There are more people looking to purchase homes and more commercial activity.”
She added that even the condo market — particularly the two-bedroom, two-bathroom properties hardest hit by the recession — were seeing more interest for buyers “albeit very slight”.
Across the industry, a total of 13 condos, ranging in price from smaller properties at $410,000 to four-bedroom, four-bathroom homes at $3.3 million — had sold last year.
And a total of 11 properties worth $26.6 million sold in the first quarter of this year.
Ms MacIntyre said: “We certainly believe that we’re seeing signs of increased confidence from buyers — either first time home buyers or people wanting to upgrade their residences.”
She added that plans to loosen off restrictions on house purchases by PRC holders was also likely to stimulate the market, while the America’s Cup had also contributed to increased interest in the Island from overseas.
Ms MacIntyre said: “The America’s Cup helps in increasing interest in Bermuda — we have a wonderful opportunity there.”
And she added that interest in hotel properties had also increased — with some new projects, like the redevelopment of Coral Beach and Horizons and the Pink Beach Club already underway.
Ms MacIntyre said: “People still have lots of choices and they’re taking longer to make decisions, but they are out there looking and they’re very particular about what they want to buy.”
She added: “As we were last year, we remain cautiously optimistic. It will be a couple of months before we see the full impact of 2014 as people register their sales. We’re are optimistic — but realistic as well.”
Ms MacIntyre was speaking after the firm held its Recognition Awards night, where Rego Sotheby’s International real estate agents Liz Wright and Margaret Young took the honours as top agents.
Ms Young won a total of three awards — best real estate agent, best listing agent and best sales agent, while Ms Wright won best rental agent.
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