Antigua Property Market Q&A with James Burdess, Head of Savills Caribbean..
1. How would you describe the property market in Antigua right now?
It’s an exciting time to be involved in the property market in Antigua. We opened a new Savills office in Antigua 2 years ago, during the pandemic, and it has been very successful despite the uncertainty that came with the pandemic. The demand for homes to buy is very buoyant and the rental market is also strong with high demand for luxury homes available to rent. We wish there was more stock of homes to sell and rent to meet demand.
2. What has brought about the change?
Antigua differentiates itself from the rest of the Caribbean as a sailing destination and during the pandemic there was an influx of owners and charter guests taking to boats. It became a car park for mega yachts. I think they started noticing all the lovely bays and places they could buy a home, and it seemed to stimulate demand. There is also a lot of inward investment from overseas in Antigua such as international branded hotels and developers creating new communities of homes. There is a real lack of upmarket boutique hotels on the island - the best places to stay at the moment are in beautiful villas rather than hotels - and this is providing opportunities for developers. There are some big projects in development such as Pearns Point on the west coast which is developing a community of luxury homes on a spectacular peninsula and further ones in the pipeline. It’s the beginning of an upward curve.
3. What are property prices doing?
Property prices are increasing as demand for real estate is currently very strong in Antigua. There are not many resale homes available, so most buyers have to consider a new build if they want to buy a luxury home on the island.
4. Where is the demand coming from?
Demand is more diverse than some islands with an eclectic mix of British, Belgian, French, Italian buyers. There are two marinas owned by Italians, so they are quite a draw for Italians.
It is more European than Barbados. In comparison the Bahamas, Turks & Caicos, Cayman Islands have about 90% buyers from the USA.
5. Have the restaurants and services improved in Antigua?
Antigua already has great restaurants, but I expect there will be more variety coming. The new ones so far have been quite bespoke and charming. They are not like many of the super smart ones in Barbados, they are more casual, with less focus on the décor and more on the quality of food.
6. Have the new flights from Heathrow had an impact on tourism and property buyers?
It’s difficult to assess the impact but airlift and access into are good to Antigua and this has meant tourism is booming, which means villa rentals are strong.
7. Do properties in Antigua make good investments?
Investing in the Caribbean is normally lifestyle rather than purely investment driven, but the purchase is underpinned by value. Buying a home on Antigua will appreciate, as prices are only going to go one way and that’s up in the next few years. There are some fabulous development and real estate opportunities in Antigua. It is still good value and you can buy right on the waterfront, which is difficult to do in Barbados and St Barts now, at a reasonable price point
8. What do you think of Pearns Point?
Pearns Point is exceptional as a piece of land and a location. Being on a peninsula gives a feeling of being on your own private island with the advantages of security, sea views and privacy. Now the infrastructure and planning is all in place, it’s ready to go and it’s a great time to buy a plot and to build your desired home, with the Antiguan property market on the up.
9. How does buying a retirement property in Antigua compare with Europe?
The climate in Antigua is a plus- it's warm and sunny over 12 months of the year with the temperature varying just 1-2 degrees, as opposed to Europe where you may get 8-9 months of warm weather. Antigua also has a stable economy. Antigua is a safe and vibrant place to live, with a prominent ex pat population, where the spoken language is English, as well as having a judicial system which is based on the English legal system.
10. What are your predictions for Antigua's property market over the next few years?
The property market over the next few years is set to do very well with prices in Antigua attractive versus other islands and hence they will only go one way – up. There are many large projects in the pipeline, including the redevelopment of Jolly Harbour, as well as a lot of energy in the hotel sector which will help generate interest. Currently the demand for property outweighs the supply of built homes, so most buyers are having to design and build their own homes.
11. Any Top Tips for buying in Antigua/ Key things to Consider?
Aside from the usual legal processes of buying a property, it is a relatively straightforward process to buy in Antigua.