House Hunting in … Barbados

This four-bedroom, three-and-a-half-bath villa, called Atelier House, sits on half an acre in the parish of St. James, on the west coast of Barbados. The area, known as the Platinum Coast, is home to some of the Caribbean’s most expensive residences. This house, designed by Alistair Downie, a London architect, has been used for photo shoots and as a vacation rental, with prices starting at $1,500 a night.

“The interior design is phenomenal,” said Walter Zephirin, the managing director of Seventh Heaven Properties, a luxury real estate agency based in Britain, which shares the listing with several other agencies.

A walkway flanked by palms leads to the two-story villa, which was completed in 2012 and has an interior of about 4,300 square feet. (It encompasses 5,270 square feet when the covered outdoor spaces are included.) Double doors open to an entrance hall that connects the living and sleeping areas. On the left are the living room and an open kitchen, which has an adjoining chef’s kitchen.

The open kitchen has a Portuguese granite island and dining counter with hints of blue and green, selected to match the outdoor environment, said Amanda Snow, an interior designer and furniture designer who is selling the home with her husband, Sean O’Halloran, an artist who runs a digital strategy business. The living room has double-height ceilings and doors that open to the deck, the infinity pool and the outdoor lounging and dining areas. A half bathroom is near the kitchens.

From the entrance, a hallway on the right leads to the bedrooms. One is en suite and two share a bathroom. The en suite master bedroom upstairs has wall-to-wall windows, a balcony and a covered private terrace. An ample sun deck overlooks the pool. A second staircase near the kitchens leads to an interior mezzanine, now a work space, and to the roof deck, Ms. Snow said.

She described the style as “tropical modern” with Brazilian influences. The trade winds, views and site all shaped the design, she said. The house is being sold furnished.

The nearest beach is a 10-minute walk downhill and 20 minutes back up, Ms. Snow said, or a three-minute drive. Near the house is a protected tropical gully with old mahogany trees, frogs and monkeys, she said. Restaurants and bars are about a 10-minute walk. Grantley Adams International Airport is about a 40-minute drive.

Barbados’s residential real estate market slumped for about a decade following the global financial crisis, agents said. Today residential prices are somewhere between 20 and 30 percent lower than they were at their peak, though one agent said prices of some properties have fallen by as much as 40 percent. Prices may have hit bottom, agents said.

“The market is beginning to feel a bit better,” said Hayden Hutton, the chief operating officer of Terra Caribbean, an agency with offices in Barbados and other countries in the region.

Mr. Zephirin said asking prices are more in tune with what buyers are willing to spend. “That’s what’s bringing them back to the market,” he said.

In a new report, Mr. Hutton wrote that last year’s market was “mired in uncertainty,” where oversupply and distressed sales were counterbalanced by increased confidence among potential buyers after last year’s general election, a landslide that returned the Barbados Labour Party to power.

Overall, transaction volumes rose in 2018, compared with the year before. Mr. Hutton added that data is scarce, particularly in the luxury sector, defined in the report as properties in prime areas priced at $1 million and above. In that segment, the value of properties sold last year well exceeded agents’ expectations, based on an informal survey.

Barbados, an island nation with a population of close to 300,000, has attracted royalty, captains of industry and celebrities, said Chris Parra, the chief executive of One Caribbean Estates, the Christie’s affiliate in Barbados. Beachfront luxury villas start at around $10 million and reach $125 million for an ultraluxury home on the market now. And the highest-priced homes have maintained their value, he added.

Beachfront condominiums and townhouses cost considerably less, he said. For example, a three-bedroom beachfront condo might cost $1.65 million, he said, and a four-bedroom townhouse might cost around $3 million.

Prices inland are lower, said Suzanne Davis, the owner and chief executive of Luxe Caribbean Properties, a Barbados luxury agency. On the west coast, a two-bedroom townhouse in a gated community not on the beach might sell for $800,000. The southern end of the island is more affordable still, with comparable properties selling for $400,000 and up, she said.

Mr. Zephirin encouraged buyers not to overlook areas outside the coveted west coast. “There are lovely pockets in the east coast and south coast,” he said.

Traditionally a destination for British and Canadian buyers, Barbados had more buyers coming from the United States in 2017 and 2018, Mr. Parra said.

The west coast draws more buyers from Britain and continental Europe, while the south attracts more from the United States and Canada, Ms. Davis said. Among her clients, about half are local and half are foreign.

There are no restrictions on foreign ownership of property in Barbados, but nonresidents must apply to the Exchange Control Authority at the Central Bank of Barbados for permission to buy and sell property, said Janielee Kelly, an attorney with Lex Caribbean, a law firm with offices in Barbados and elsewhere in the Caribbean. The process takes a week or two, and there is no charge.

The buyer and seller each typically retain an attorney, whose fee is between 1 percent and 2.5 percent of the sale price, plus a value-added tax of 17.5 percent.

Ms. Kelly said Barbados has a program for high-net-worth individuals and retired property owners who meet certain criteria: “The Special Entry Permit program gives eligible non-nationals the freedom to live, work and retire in Barbados without having the hassle of frequent visits to the Immigration Department,” she wrote in an email.

Properties are often marketed in United States dollars, Ms. Davis said, and transactions are typically done in either United States or Barbadian dollars.

English; Barbadian dollar (1 Barbadian dollar = $0.50)

The annual property tax, known as land tax in Barbados, is around $4,500 on this villa, Ms. Snow said.

Walter Zephirin, Seventh Heaven Properties, 011-44-0-20-8960-1010;

For weekly email updates on residential real estate news, sign up here. Follow us on Twitter: @nytrealestate.

Source link