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Property deals hit five-year high

Uptick: the number of property sales in Bermuda topped 300 last year for the first time since 2011

The number of Bermuda property sales hit a five-year high last year, real-estate firm Coldwell Banker said yesterday.

A total of 302 properties sold last year, up from 250 in 2014, with sales volume hitting more than $324 million, a slight rise on five years ago.

And commercial-property sales were also up, with 16 sales recorded for the year with a total value of nearly $20 million — the highest figure since 2009.

Susan Thompson, the agency manager for Coldwell Banker, said that the America’s Cup, due to be held next year, had injected money into the economy.

But she added: “After June 2017, we don’t know what will happen with the America’s Cup, who will win and whether it will stay here.

“We do have smaller companies coming to Bermuda, but we still have a lot of vacancies when it comes to commercial property, so we obviously need to work on filling that space if we can.

“And we will be heading towards an election — whenever there is a potential change in the world as we know it in Bermuda, it can make people a little uneasy. Coming up to an election, people hold off on making major decisions, regardless of the outcome.”

Ms Thompson said: “We have had some increases and we need to continue to increase in that direction. I can’t predict what’s going to happen, but I believe 2016 will be a better year than 2015.

“I think we’re in a positive era at the moment. People in general are feeling very positive about things.”

She added that changes in the rules governing property purchases had increased the number of Permanent Resident Certificate holders entering the property market, while there had also been more buyers from overseas.

Coldwell Banker said the average price of a single family home in Bermuda for the calendar year last year was $1,073 million, while the average condominium went for $714,000.

Plots of land sold with an average pricetag of $400,000.

Single family homes totalled 38 per cent of the market, condos 27 per cent, and land sales a distant third at 8 per cent.

But Ms Thompson said: “While the percentage attributed to land may seem small, it is interesting to note this percentage has increased by 5 per cent in the last 12 months.”

Luxury properties, the top 10 per cent of the residential market, saw eight homes that sold for prices of more than $3.5 million.

Ms Thompson added: “While encouraged by the upward swing in the number of sales transactions, we still have a long way to go to get a healthy, sustainable real-estate market.”

She added that 2016-17 “will present some challenges” as inventory levels start to adjust and pent-up demand slows.