BVI Property In The News – Post-election Property Pricing Postulations  – With the BVI Government Elections having taken place on 20th August, the BVIPG asked BVI Real Estate agents and development leaders how they felt the results may affect real estate and housing prices.  Those responding to our request were definitely in agreement.

 “I think we’ll continue to see a steady rise,” says Chris Smith of Coldwell Banker. “The resort developments in progress will ensure that there are plenty of people visiting the BVI with money to spend on luxury homes.  The BVI has some very beautiful homes for sale; many people seek a second home here – there are more people lookin g than there are homes.  As I see it, this means a continued rise in house prices. ”

Ajit George of Nail Bay concurs, “From my experience, I do not believe that the elections will be any material effect on house pricing.  The key to any change in pricing will be the speed at which a non-belonger’s licence is processed.”
    Zig Christie of Caribbean Realty points out that there has been a steady and relatively steep increase in house price over the last three years, and feels that there is little sign of this abating.  For the moment, BVI Property is showing a continued, marked return on investment and that, in terms of investment stability, is an excellent prospect.  Again, non-belonger landholding licence processing time is seen as key to house price rises.

    A June 2007 study from sales performance analysts ShopTalk2000 gave square footage prices for 3 bed, ocean view villa purchases in three resort communities in the BVI as follows:  Raffles Tortola – 3000 sq ft, $633/sq ft; MainSail Scrub Island – 3027 sq ft, $1027/sq ft; and Little Dix Bay – 2,700 sq ft, $1,138/sq ft.  A quick survey by the BVIPG puts comparable purchases outside the resort community market at $500/sq ft for a villa and $400/sq ft for a town house/duplex.  Those looking to build will spend approx $250/sq ft on Tortola, and slightly more on Virgin Gorda.

In the News
    250 Workers Strike in Anguilla:  June 27th 2007brought a strong lesson in human rights and acceptability to all developers operating in the Caribbean as 250 labourers from India working on a US $236 million resort in Anguilla, went on strike, halting all proceedings.

    The workers, housed in shipping containers converted into bunk houses and restricted to compound living whilst not on site, gave reasons of poor pay and poor living conditions for the action.  They complained to Anguillan authorities and to their employers that their pay came to just $180 per month and the food they were given totally inadequate for the purpose.  They had been expected to work for up to 11 hours a day and work related injuries often went untreated.  One concerned Anguillan citizen stated “It’s tantamount to slavery.”

    An imported workforce with compound dwelling was one of the ideas mooted for the labour for the planned resort developments in the BVI.  In light of this action, the developments proposing to import labour may wish to consider the viability and consequences of doing so.