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Economic investment certificate could hurt condo sales, real estate man says

Condo sales: Rego Sotheby's International Realty president Buddy Rego (File photograph)

A new immigration policy designed to attract investors in Bermuda could hurt condominium sales, a top real estate has warned.

Buddy Rego, of Rego Sotheby’s International Realty, said non-Bermudians must have a Permanent Residents’ Certificate to purchase most condominiums.

But he said the new economic investment certificate scheme introduced a five-year delay to the process, in addition to the requirement for $2.5 million in investment in Bermuda.

Mr Rego said: “These condos represent between 5 and 10 per cent of all real estate transactions in Bermuda. That’s not insignificant.”

He added the real estate sector was not consulted over the policy shift and was now in discussions with Government.

He said: “We only found out about two weeks ago when they announced the new policy.

“We are now in the midst of discussions with Government. We are trying to understand what this means for transactions that had already begun.”

Mr Rego added that the Government had restricted the sale of most condominiums to Bermudians and people with PRCs several years ago.

He said the new EIC policy, which came into effect on Monday, created a new barrier for non-Bermudians who want to buy a condo.

People who invest in Bermuda through an EIC can remain on-island for five years and they must maintain their investment for at least five years before they could apply for a PRC.

Mr Rego said: “This policy creates a challenge because no one is going to want to wait for five years. Particularly sellers.”

He estimated that condominium sales accounted for between $5 and $10 million in sales revenue a year, but the policy change would result in the loss of at least $1 million a year in revenue.

Mr Rego said: “About 70 to 80 per cent of these apartments that are eligible for sale to non-Bermudians are still sold to Bermudians.”

He said it was too early to say what the outcome of discussions would be, but it was hoped that sales already under way would be allowed to continue under the old policy.

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Published March 04, 2021 at 8:21 am (Updated March 04, 2021 at 8:21 am)

Economic investment certificate could hurt condo sales, real estate man says

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