Haute Residence hosted an international luxury real estate panel, featuring four of the top agents in the Canadian and Caribbean markets: Kevin Crigger of The Kevin Crigger Real Estate Team in Toronto; Ryan Knowles of the Ryan Knowles Team in The Bahamas; and Justin White and Craig Ryan of Anchor Antigua Realty in Antigua and Barbuda.
They were hosted by Haute Living's Erik Haase. Watch the full webinar below.
Kevin Crigger: "With all the concerns related to Covid, and all of the shutdowns and related regulatory changes, the interesting part is we had our best performance ever for the luxury sector. For a lot of our clients, and many of them own obviously multiple jurisdictions around the world, many of them had fabulous properties in Toronto but didn't spend full time in them, and with the lockdown and limitations on travel, everyone reevaluated their home situation. We saw the largest number of luxury transactions over $10 million that our market has ever seen in the single-family home sector but also in luxury condos. Prices have been getting close to $3,000 a square foot for new condo projects, and there is a huge level of local demand. An interesting conversation in the Toronto market has been around affordability; our government brought in a foreign buyer tax in 2017 and the idea was to sort of cool the market to make it more affordable for domestic purchasers. With Covid, we've had no international market here at all, so all the demands really been fueled by local buyers because people can't get into the country. And despite that, we saw an incredible 2020, and looking at the start of 2021, we have properties where we have 21 offers, selling $500-700,000 over asking and inventory remains quite low, so the demand is incredibly high.
Ryan Knowles: "Most of our interest comes from foreign buyers right. The market is driven by foreign demand. During Covid, we've had more and more people, especially from the US, looking for a safe haven where they can shelter in place, isolate, get away from the lockdowns, especially this time of year get away from the cold. A lot of them are renting but we've also been finding that some of them are looking to purchase and actually move full-time to the Bahamas to a warmer climate. We're very close to the US, with daily flights from Miami, New York, Chicago, Charlotte, and lots of different places. If you're coming from a place like New York where real estate is incredibly expensive, you get a lot more bang for your buck in a place like the Bahamas. The government shut down travel for a few months, but there were still ways to get around that if you could travel privately, which many of our clients did. Since about October they've lifted it, so now we have commercial flights coming in every day. It's not what it used to be, but we're probably at about 30 to 40% of our previous capacity. The hotels are still a little bit slow, but we're also finding that a lot of people are doing deals virtually. We do a virtual showing either on Zoom or WhatsApp video and they'll purchase sight-unseen you know, Then they get to come down here after that; they bring everything that they need, and off you go... It's a great time to buy right now. The markets are definitely moving up; inventory is limited. There's only so much land, especially in prime locations. There is only so much beachfront left."
Justin White: "When we talked in July last year, that's when he started to focus on this idea of safe haven real estate. Not JUST a safe haven for financially secure investments, but with regards to what was happening in the midst of this horrible pandemic. Similar to the Bahamas, most of our business comes from outside of Antigua, especially in the luxury area. We are a very small island nation, an independent nation, Antigua and Barbuda. There are a few really good developments to speak about, but the amount of stock or available real estate on the market at any one given time, there is not that much. There are very limited opportunities for something that you really want, and if you really are trying to secure something in a safe haven... Antigua was a very well-kept secret for a long time. It was a playground for the rich and the famous that didn't want to be seen and wanted to have a discrete holiday. Now, what we're seeing is the masses are starting to look at Antigua for all of the benefits that we were talking about here."
Craig Ryan: "Since we last spoke, our Q1 has broken all records in sales and offers accepted, so we have already hit 2021 with a bang. And a big shout out to Haute Residence for putting us on the map in July  talking about safe-havens... We have more offers accepted for the months of December 2020 and January 2021 than we did for 2020. People are coming in; they understand. It's a word-of-mouth community. Owners that have a property, they're telling their friends, and when their friends visit here they are not leaving until they have a definite property... We have properties under offer right now that clients have not seen. They have seen the videos, they've seen the Matterport, and they are confident enough to say, 'We want this property.' So when they do arrive in Antigua, they now own the property. This has attributed to the entire world economic scale and understanding these people want to have no issues. When they reach Antigua, they want to go to their home. They are having meetings with lawyers while they're here to have escrows and the ability to put offers on properties in the two-week, three-week vacation that they're on the island, which has never been seen before. We are now reaching a point where if this continues for six more months, everything will be resale."
To watch more real estate webinars curated by Haute Residence, visit www.hauteresidence.com.