Agency sees jump in inquiries from homebuyers
Bermuda's housing market is experiencing an invigorated period “with steep competition among homebuyers”, according to a leading real estate company.
Interest from potential buyers has picked up since the island moved into Phase 4 of its transition following the Covid-19 pandemic.
Coldwell Banker Bermuda Realty said it had seen “a flood of interest” by potential residential property buyers in the past couple of months.
At the same time, the agency has warned that uncertainty shrouds the outlook for the remainder of the year, and one of the biggest concerns is a second spike in Covid-19 cases and a second lockdown.
It said: “Factors such as a rise in new coronavirus cases and prolonged unemployment would negatively affect the real estate market as we move into 2021.”
But the agency is optimistic that the improvement in demand and transactional volume is sustainable.
While the number of new property listings for the agency is down, which it believes is due to previous Covid-19 restrictions and concerns, those on the market are generating inquiries.
Coldwell Banker said interest has been at a variety of price points, and in some cases property viewings were stacked up one after another after only a few days of being listed with, in some cases, multiple offers at or in excess of the asking price.
The range of properties attracting interest range from one-bedroom condos in the $200,000 range, to a $4 million waterfront home. Potential buyers are both locals and those from overseas.
Adam Birch, an agent, said: “I've had more sales showings in the past two weeks of my listings than the first six months of the year combined.”
Coldwell Banker said its website traffic is up 30 per cent compared to the same time last year, and there had been a 32 per cent increase from US viewers.
Meanwhile, Peter Goodall of Property Skipper, said: “July was another record month for traffic in Bermuda, climbing 17 per cent over June 2020, and a whopping 41 per cent over July 2019.”
Coldwell Banker had a seven-fold increase in inquiries regarding its overseas buyer guide.
Susan Thompson, agency manager, said: “Prior to Covid 19 Shelter in Place, we would receive perhaps two or three overseas leads a week, in the past month or so I am receiving two or three daily. I believe some of this has to do with the one-year residential certificate. Other factors that may be responsible for the uptick is people looking for ‘safe havens' to live and then finally, there are those sitting at home thinking it would be great to live on an island such as Bermuda.”
Brian Madeiros, president and chief executive officer of the agency, said: “We do not have any empirical evidence of price appreciation at this juncture, but we are seeing stiff competition mainly for properties in desirable neighbourhoods, waterfront, properties with pools, views and property in good to excellent condition. Additionally, our data suggests that over 55 per cent of our buyers do not require financing from lending institutions or are financing a very small portion of the purchase which gives them an edge over buyers requiring the traditional 70 to 80 per cent financing.”
“During the last couple of months our market intelligence indicates that we are transitioning from what was a buyer's market pre-Covid to a seller's market in certain market segments and price points”.
The agency said the sweet spot in the market seems to be in the $1.25 million to $1.75 million range.
Angie Lodge, who has worked in real estate for 27 years, said: “We're seeing more active buyers than we expected as we emerged out of Shelter in Place. Looking at our inventory of listings, we're seeing overall totals down partly because new listings are down due to Covid-19 previous restrictions and concerns. However, those homes that are on the market and which are priced correctly for the market are clearly finding buyers quickly.”