TCI News

TCI Realtors sell over $290 Million despite COVID-bust to tourism

#TurksandCaicos, February 8, 2021 – In reviewing the past decade of a buoyant real estate industry; 2020 surged ahead of 2018 as second best, according to the Market Report Year in Review Comparison published by Turks and Caicos Sotheby’s International Realty and it meant realtors banked an impressive $290,223,626 in sales despite the dismal impact of Covid-19 on travel.

“The 2020 TCI real estate market performed better than we ever could have hoped for in the context of COVID–19, a four-month country-wide shut down and stringent travel requirements,” informed the Market Report circulated in mid-January 2021, which added, “With airports and resorts closed, and most commercial planes not flying, the luxury market was, quite urgently, seeking out real estate!”

Resulting in record vacant land sales and multi-million dollar closes on signature properties in the British  overseas territory, the Report attributes the banner year to a reduction in stamp duty. 

The reduction was one of the Government’s revenue raising measures as the coronavirus pandemic robbed the country of critical tourism earnings.

“Quarter two, (led by the sale of a couple of a trophy properties and several new development villa sales) was also assisted by welcomed stimulus from the TCI Government with a concession halving stamp duty for the second quarter. This helped us close sales during this torturous time for our hotel, resort and villa rental partners grappling with the border’s closures. And this is really the first time in our history that our real estate industry has not been so directly tethered to tourism flow,” informed the Market Report.

The report, fueled by statistics from the Turks and Caicos Real Estate Association, (TCREA) informs that 323 listings brought in a whopping $290,223,626 in sales; an average of $898,525 per close.

Showcased as the most significant, big pay day sales for 2020 were:  Emerald Pavilion sold for $13 million; Bajacau sold for $18.8 million; Amanyara Villa 16 sold for $6.75 million; Dream Big Villa sold for $5.75 million; Long Bay House sold for $5.825 million and Cerulean for $4.8 million.

Land sales in 2020 topped 2019; the fourth best performance for Turks and Caicos in the past decade. 

The Turks and Caicos Market Report illustrated that over $63.2 million in vacant lots was earned from 168 listings.

It was a 4.4 percent increase over the year prior.

“Within the 168 sales there were 14 land sales over $1M and the overall average price, as noted on the graph, has experienced a slight increase. Nine beachfront parcels, three in Leeward and six in Long Bay transacted in 2020. The Bight experienced an uptick in sales which were predominantly along Leeward Highway. Leeward’s growth continues with construction throughout and continued land sales as noted below. Discovery Bay shows steady land sales and we predict this will increase with the plans for road pavement along with the recently launched new development, The Strand, in Cooper Jack. Long Bay was the winner again this year posting 42 land sales. The outer-islands recorded land sales in North, Middle, West Caicos, Grand Turk & Ambergris Cay.”

The Ministry of Finance reported increases as well for the public purse due to stamp duty. 

“Stamp Duty on Land Transactions for the quarter was $2.2 million and totaled $12.8 million at the end of the second quarter which was $3.4 million ahead of the estimates,” reported Premier Sharlene Robinson, TCI Minister of Finance in an October 27, 2020 update to the nation.

The 2020 Stamp Duty Waiver for real estate purchases was available from September 20th through to December 20th, and was offered in three tiers, namely:  a 75 percent reduction of stamp duty on property valued up to $2 million, made between September 21st and October 20th; a 50 percent reduction of stamp duty on property valued up to $2 million, made between October 21st and November 20th and a 25 percent reduction of stamp duty on property valued up to $2 million, made between November 21st and December 20th.

Fifty-seven condominiums were sold to top 2019; leading the sales were luxury condos at Grace Bay Club; The Palms;  Ocean Club; The Regent Grand and the Shore Club.

“Condominium sales performance finished the year end with a slight increase after the significant drop in sales volume last year. The average price increased by 37 percent due to the sale of several luxury re-sale condominiums. The sale-to-list ratio remained high at 92 percent and the overall-average price per square foot increased slightly to $488. The price per square foot for condominiums over $1M was $661 and over $3M was $780.”

Condo sales volume boomed by 15 percent after a review of 2020.

Interest continues to abound in 2021 for the alluring alternative life Turks and Caicos real estate listings offer, despite the end to stamp duty concessions. 

The Report explained the remarkable performance is due to these truths:  “They want quality, the ease-of-use and access and security, and are less motivated by rental income opting for personal use and long-term capital appreciation. As a Hamptons real estate agent said in early summer, “life plans changed in a weekend”, and while that may be an overstatement for this market, it is clear that buyers (and most existing TCI property owners) have put their umbrellas in the sand with a clear intention: They really want to be here!”

In Y2020, 93 private homes were sold; more than 16 of them sold for $3 million dollars and nearly 30 percent of those single family homes were in the villa development category.

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