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

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#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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ScotiaBank Turks & Caicos Awarded Best Consumer Digital Bank 2021

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Providenciales, Turks & Caicos Island – September 24, 2021 – Scotiabank TCI has been named the “Best Consumer Digital Bank 2021” by Global Finance (New York), which regularly selects the top performers amongst banks and financial services and is a trusted standard of excellence for the global financial community.

In commenting on the award, Patricia Adams, Managing Director (Acting), Scotiabank TCI said, “Supporting our customers during the ongoing uncertainties remains our top priority and we are thrilled that our significant focus and investments in our digital banking platforms continue to yield positive results.”

“During this period, we have continuously relied on feedback from our customers about their specific personal or business needs and we remain committed to further improvements as we aim to make it easier and safer for them to conduct their banking” Adams concluded.

Some of the most recent investments include the expansion of the capabilities of the Scotiabank Mobile App, upgrades made to the Bank’s ABM network to include intelligent deposit machines and the use of digital analytics to anticipate customer needs and deliver personalized financial solutions.

Winning banks were selected based on the following criteria: strength of strategy  for attracting and servicing digital customers, success in getting clients to use digital  offerings, growth of digital customers, breadth of product offerings, evidence of tangible benefits gained from digital initiatives, and web/mobile site design and functionality. Read more about the awards here.

Scotiabank TCI’s award for “Best Consumer Digital Bank” follows another recent global recognition for innovation in financial services by The Banker’s Global Innovation in Digital Banking Awards 2021. The ‘Most Innovative in Data’ award acknowledges the Bank’s investments in data and analytics, as well as its commitment to delivering a more personalized customer experience.

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COVID Works programme launched by Ministry of Physical Planning & Infrastructure Development

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#TurksandCaicos, September 21, 2021 – The Minister of Physical Planning and Infrastructure Development, the Honourable Akierra Mary Deanne Missick and the Physical Planning & Infrastructure Development team are pleased to announce the launch of the COVID WORKS Programme, that went live on September 1, 2021.

The Programme seeks to support many who have lost jobs and livelihoods, while providing labour intensive work for economic exchange opportunities for persons to be engaged.

Works are set out in three (3) levels and comprise a variety of categories example, cleaning, road works, demolition and general construction to name a few.

Level 1 – value $1,500 – $9,999

Level 2 – value $10,000 – $39,999

Level 3 – value $40,000 – $70,000

Turks and Caicos Islanders with valid business licenses are also being encouraged to submit proposals to the Public Works Department for consideration for works throughout the islands. 

Commenting on the launch of the programme, Hon. Missick said, “We are very much mindful of the impact that restrictions introduced by Government in an effort to mitigate the spread of Covid-19, has had on the islands, many continue to experience financial hardship. Whilst, the hospitality and construction sectors in Providenciales have rebounded well, as an Administration, we cannot rest knowing that other industries are still limping along.

As a result, during the remainder of this financial year, the Turks & Caicos Islands Government has now launched the COVID Works Programme to provide an opportunity for Petty and Small Contractors to assist the Government in the enhancement of our communities, through programmed works, to the benefit of all of us as residents”.

The Minister went on to note, “This Programme is set to the tune of US$5,000,000.00, and works will be rolled out across the Islands in batches, as we have to ensure that we do not go beyond the allotted expenditure and that financial oversight and transparency are maintained.”

The initial batch of works for South Caicos, which comprised the following, was returned and evaluated on Monday, September 13, 2021 and included:

South Caicos 

Demolition- Queen’s Shed

Demolition- Distribution Concrete Tank

Demolition- Old Clinic Building

Demolition- DECR Building

Demolition- Library Building

Repair of Water Cistern

Works for Grand Turk included:

Grand Turk 

Demolition- Blood Bank Building

Demolition- Geriatric Ward Building

Demolition- Kitchen Building

Demolition- X-ray Building

All returning bids must be sent to the COVID Works email at tcigworks@gov.tc

Kindly note that as of Monday, September 20, 2021, the following works are planned to be released:

Grand Turk: 

Beach Cleaning (Eastern portion of Grand Turk)

Street Cleaning (All areas)

Providenciales:

Beach cleaning (Areas of Shore Club and Five Cays)

Street Cleaning (All areas)

A number of other works for Middle & North Caicos, as well as Salt Cay will be released shortly. This is a six month program that will spread throughout the TCI and we encourage persons to continue to register via tcigworks@gov.tc or the local Public Works Department and District Commissioners’ offices, to be eligible for this opportunity.

These works will continue on a monthly basis and the programme will come to an end in March 2022.

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Grandstanding at best – Hon. Jameka Williams

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#TurksandCaicos, September 21, 2021 – Response to Mr. Robert Been Jr. – People’s Democratic Movement All Island Candidate 2016 and 2021 “Where is the Wo’k you promised PNP?”

Like some of you, I have the opportunity to read the statements that has been published by Mr. Robert Been asking the government where is the work. I can only describe this as a classic case of grandstanding. The issues highlighted by Mr. Been are areas of concern in our country, however these issues did not begin yesterday nor did they became a concern seven months ago. I’d like to remind Mr. Been that these same concerns were there during his former governing party the PDM. The previous government did nothing to address these concerns in their four year tenure. Where was your voice then Mr. Been? As a matter of fact, where was your voice the four years prior?

As it relates to education, the issues with spaces in Schools has been heightened as a lot of families can not afford the cost of private institutions since the pandemic, so there is now a high demand for seats in the public schools. Our government is working closely with the private Institutions with a subsidy program to address those needs. Again, this issue existed under the former government before the pandemic but they made no attempt to address it. In addition under your former administration, schools were closed for over one year with no plan on sight for its reopening. Our children have regressed and many repeating to catch up on the year lost.

On September 1, 2021 our government announced the new protocols and measures as it relates to Covid 19. Yes, there are concerns being expressed by the citizens and business owners as it relates to the impact of those decisions. I would like to inform you to that these decisions were not made alone. Stakeholders were engaged in these conversations and I have also accompanied the Hon. Jamel Robinson to sit downs with various groups of business owners to provide feedback, listen and take recommendations.

Countries around the world are imposing stiffer penalties and measures to help with the control of Covid 19 virus and the TCI is no different. We’ve seen reports published of cancellations that we believe are flawed to bully the government into reversing the decisions made. Our government has a responsibility to protect life and livelihood. There are decisions that are sometimes tough to make but it is our responsibility to make them no matter how unpopular. In time, the people of this country will see the benefit of those decisions concerning what’s happening around the world in even more developed countries as it relates to COVID-19.

Mr. Been, I would like for you to know that the island of Grand Turk was in a state of devastation since the storm of 2017 under the tenure of your government. There was an outcry for years by its residents. The cruise industry is at a standstill. However, I’d like to inform you that during our budget debates this current government has passes 8.3 million dollars for all the islands with 3 million ring fenced for Grand Turk alone in works and cash grant injections. The Ministry of Planning and Infrastructure Development has as of September 1, 2021 rolled out its contract program for works around the islands particularly in the Nation’s Capital.

Since the closer of the cruise sector in Grand Turk, the former administration had little to no engagement with Carnival partners on a plan to jump start that industry. It is extremely commendable that our government took the initiative to host a town hall meeting with all persons involved in the cruise industry in June 2021. Additional the Premier is in constant dialogue with Carnival Cruise Lines and Royal Caribbean has now expressed an internet in having Grand Turk as one of their destinations.

Mr. Been, it is widely rumored that you may have an interest in Leadership of the PDM during the next convention. You are a personal friend of mine and I wish you well on your endeavors as this is a noble profession. However, my advice to you would be to offer solution based arguments so that the electorate sees your strength and potential instead of pointing fingers and grandstanding. Admittedly you mentioned that the elections are over. But are they really for you? As a government we do not have all the answers but I assure you that the decisions made are in the best interest of all of us including you. Hold on, better days are ahead.

 

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