Following a breathtaking fourth quarter of 2020, the TCI real estate market has just closed an historical quarter of business with nearly $128,000,000 in closed transactions, up 60% over the same period last year with average price increases across each sector. What’s more, there are over $463,000,000 (you read that right!) in pending and conditional transactions and this leaves out another circa $100M in new development sales at the Ritz-Carlton Residences (set to open this summer), South Bank, Beach Enclave, Rock House, The Strand and other new Development projects.
There is a lot to unpack. First, it is clear for the post-COVID world that ultra-luxury and luxury markets have fully endorsed Turks & Caicos Islands as a preferred warm weather destination. Also, a vacation property is now much more than simply a lifestyle investment, but a life investment and often an integral part of work, play and community, contributing to taking our market to the next level. To continue reading, click link to download full report.
We’re all familiar with the trademarks of traditional Caribbean architecture. Wrap around verandahs, louvered windows, stone walls, arched doorways and colourful shutters functioning as both embellishment and protection. These homes have long served as staples of our history, peppering the shorelines and hilltops of Providenciales, from the original settlements, to the first wave of foreigner migration to T&C’s shores, with builds pioneered by the Ward family.
With development now taking on more of a steady rolling swell, rather than a crest with peaks and troughs, the last decade of T&C’s home design has seen the emergence of a more contemporary aesthetic. As a personal example I (FINALLY) made the transition from an open air home with louvered windows and gorgeous breezes through most of the year, to hurricane rated glass windows and an eco-friendly air condition system 🙂 As an avid lover of traditional Caribbean design, I never thought I’d say this, but I haven’t looked back since.
My example is a humble residential perspective of someone who feels deep roots to this timeless aesthetic, but with a steady influx of international buyers, I’m not alone in my pursuit of home design with an increasingly modern tilt. Below are 3 architectural firms that are truly transforming the landscape of Providenciales and redefining how we think about Caribbean design:
London and TCI based firm Blee Halligan Architects cut their teeth as development partner to Windward on the Blue Cay project and have continued this partnership on the South Bank project and The Peninsula at Emerald Estate, four standalone contemporary Beach Houses on the exclusive northeastern tip of Leeward, which are undeniably the showpiece properties of the collection. Blee also works on private projects throughout Providenciales, building on their design ethos of building in nature; designing for specific geographic, climatic and cultural nuances of the locale.
Beach Enclave is known for outside the box thinking, enter stage left, the first ever South American architectural firm to design in the Turks and Caicos. Hired to create minimalist low impact designs for the Beach Enclave Long Bay expansion and Beach Enclave North Shore second phase, Jacobsen Arquitetura successfully provided integrated designs to two seemingly varying sites. Linear design using natural materials, space and light, combine to create comforting ordered spaces with zero distractions to evoke a feeling of calm, provided by both the clean interiors and tropical views the designs overlook.
With over 20 years’ experience designing homes in Turks & Caicos as well as an international presence in Ireland and Great Britain, James Hamilton Architectspride themselves on empathetic design, with their clients needs at the heart of their process. A browse through their website will illustrate the numerous projects they’ve been involved in, and the varied nature of the homes they can produce. A personal favourite is Villa Fred, which marries the softness of cedar shingled roofing, order of symmetry and more modern linear elements like planked roofing, recessed lighting and pocket sliding doors opening to expansive views.
It all started with a desire to create a legacy built on a strong foundation, exemplary fundamentals, a strong professional team and an extraordinary location. The developer’s vision was to combine a home environment with the services and amenities of a condominium. Vacation home-owners wanted more than a piece of real estate, they wanted bespoke services and dedicated home management services. The Beach Enclave design ethos with low density and floorplans that seamlessly blend indoor with outdoor living spaces, modern but warm décor combined with fun amenities, maintains its successful path. Since the first launch of Beach Enclave North Shore in January 2014 the developers continue to strive to create new and lasting experiences and dream vacation homes. Now with five phases of development in three amazing locations, it is no wonder that the dreams of many vacation home-owners have come true.
Wanting to appeal to a broader market of home buyers, Beach Enclave developers introduced The Club at Beach Enclave Long Bay with four Beach Houses and a boutique condominium, The Club Residences. Now completely sold out with the Beach Houses nearing completion and The Club Residences due to start construction imminently the developers have cleared ground for the Phase 2 of Beach Enclave North Shore. Utilizing the same architect as The Club at Long Bay, the developer has taken a dramatic beachfront location and carved into the limestone shelf to seamlessly connect the Beach Houses to the surrounds. The exposed limestone functions as a design feature and acts as natural barrier offering privacy between the homes. The expanded resort amenities on this North Shore location include an elevated oceanfront Club Lounge with an indoor/outdoor bar and restaurant, lounge decks enhanced with water and fire features, an upgraded oceanfront Fitness Center and Yoga Deck, a lighted tennis court, kids club, and a one-of-a-kind luxurious Enclave Gardens, teeming with Caribbean fruit trees, all for the exclusive use of owners and guests.
We welcome you to view the listings in detail.
Beach Enclave Journey Of Success
We wanted to share with you the various milestones achieved by Beach Enclave in the making of the brand. We welcome you to BE a part of this incredible journey.
2020 TURKS & CAICOS REAL ESTATE MARKET CLOSES LIKE A CHAMP
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 shutdown and stringent travel requirements. And I guess our task in this space is to seek to answer the question, as set forth by the great David Byrne of Talking Heads: “Well, how did we get here?!” Let’s start abroad: After the stock market cratered, it began to recover quickly and it became clear this was not a rerun of the 2008 financial crisis. Soon thereafter, we witnessed affluent buyers starting to move on luxury vacation property from Vail to Aspen, and from the Hamptons to South Florida. COVID–19 was triggering the opposite of the financial crash of September 2008, in that luxury real estate was highly desired by those looking for easy-to-access, safe-haven retreats away from urban areas and primary homes. With airports and resorts closed, and most commercial planes not flying, the luxury market was, quite urgently, seeking out real estate!
With the challenges faced by everyone in 2020 the Turks & Caicos Islands decided to recognize the efforts put forth amongst our community members and we are very proud that our sales executive, Lisa Lopes, was chosen as one of the Pandemic Heroes. Volunteers, like Lisa, often put their own challenges aside and reach out and assist without hesitation. Thank you Lisa! You are an incredible role model for everyone, especially your two lovely daughters. Congratulations to all the other recipients and those individuals who may not have been recognized – you brighten the lives of all those you have touched!
Turks & Caicos Sotheby’s International Realty, Venture House, Grace Bay, Providenciales
Anyone who has lived in the Equatorial zone, or has traveled to the Caribbean/S. America over the years during Christmas season, will be familiar with the Trade-winds. The Trade-winds, dominate most of the tropics and subtropics throughout the world and are a nearly constant (they only drop away during end of September and October) northeasterly wind in our hemisphere, that starts to blow in November of every year. By the time December rolls around we experience whether akin to Aspen, Colorado. Think bright blue skies with the sun beating down, but a cool chill in the air. Substitute snow-capped mountains for swaying palm trees and sandy beaches and you begin to get a feel for the special draw of Turks and Caicos (‘T&C’) during the holiday Christmas period.
Every December 26th since I was a child, we have enjoyed a Boxing Day boat trip on the Atabeyra. For those with British heritage you’re familiar with the joys of Boxing Day, which for all intents and purposes, is a much less chaotic day than its forefathers Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. The Irish call it Wren Day, other countries call it St Stephen’s Day, but for all who celebrate it, in practicality it has become a day to relax and unwind after the stress of the holiday season is over, and gather with friends and family to enjoy a final day of good food and great company. If you can enjoy this holiday, or any other day in December on a boat, you’re quids in! Boating is a year-round event in T&C, and it doesn’t stop during Christmas. The weather is beautiful, the sun is shining and we’re still swimming in the ocean. Granted the sea may be a little colder than we locals like it, but there’s no better way to wash off the cobwebs than taking a Boxing Day plunge, and let’s face it, anyone from the Northeastern seaboard or Europe would laugh if they heard us admitting we find it a little cold! The temperature is akin to taking a dip in the Mediterranean during Summer time, refreshingly cool, enough to enliven your skin and leave you feeling renewed and energized.
Inter-island travel is open again
If you, like many, have been confined to your homes/apartments since the outbreak of COVID-19, self-isolating, locked-down and going through the rigmarole of at home schooling like the saint that you are, imagine jumping on a ferry with your family (face mask on of course) and making your way over to North Caicos (population approx. 1,500). From North Caicos, you can rent a car and head over to Middle Caicos on the causeway to explore the caves and bluffs with virtually no one else in sight. Fresh air, clean breezes, big ocean and natural adventures abound in North and Middle Caicos, and are just what the doctor ordered after months and months of quarantine. Sure, you can stay cooped up in your apartment until the frost from winter thaws, or you can safely enjoy all that T&C’s sister islands have to offer, and give your family the gift of a memory they may not have otherwise had.
With the end of the dreaded hurricane season in November, December’s climate is well known as the most hospitable environment for international travelers. We’ve talked about boating and beaching, but there is no end of outdoor activities to take advantage of. With highs in the low 80’s and lows in the high 70’s, December is a perfect time to get on that kayak or paddle-board and explore miles and miles of unspoiled natural environment. Mangroves, the same ecosystem that protects our shorelines during hurricanes, are peaceful and rife with small marine life, turtles and bird watching for the nature lovers out there. There are many places where you can enjoy these activities conveniently just by stepping out of your private villa’s backyard, like Tip of the Tail Villa. Otherwise you can join one of the many operators on a guided tour of these precious ecosystems. I especially like Big Blue Collective who have long been ahead of the game in focusing on small private groups and preservation of the flora and fauna of T&C.
Call me crazy, but without the usual queues of the seasons you receive when you live in the Temperate zone, its tough to know when Xmas is on its way. We tend to live in a perpetual endless summer in T&C, but there are a few key indicators that the Christmas season is well under way. The first of these signs is the lighting of the giant Christmas tree that has long been an annual tradition. In years gone by the space that Seven Stars now occupies, used to be home to one of the first resorts in T&C, the Ramada, and after that it changed hands to the Allegro. Those times are a distant memory now, and it’s hard to imagine a time when Seven Stars wasn’t Seven Stars. The resorts on this prime beachfront land are so varied in aesthetics, but the one common feature, other than the land they’ve occupied, is the lighting of the Xmas tree. That’s the thing about traditions, they stand the test of time.
Tip of the Tail Villa, Turtle Tail Oceanfront, Providenciales Tip of the Tail is set on the highly unique and private South Shore Peninsula at the end of Turtle Tail Drive. This incomparable one acre parcel has 436 feet of water frontage with iron shore fronting the villa and to the east a private beach cove with palapas for shade. In the neighborhood of other luxury homes, Tip of the Tail was designed to maximize the guest experience. With its exceptional staff and management team, Tip has quickly become a successful short term rental with many repeat visitors. Originally priced at $5.9M.
You may have heard the term “disruptor” being thrown around over the last few years. Uber Eats would be a well known example, as a company that caused radical change to an existing industry or market by means of innovation, in this case to the F&B industry. Air B&B would be another example of a disruptor company for the Hospitality industry. Though we technically can’t categorise COVID-19 as a company, the virus’s advancement worldwide, has caused radical change, not only to the way we do business in all private sectors, but also to the way we live. The term disruptor is somewhat misleading, in that it implies a negative interference with the norm. Though change on any level can be unsettling, the Uber Eats and Air B&B’s of the world have brought positive improvements to the F&B and Hospitality industries, by widening the traditional net of employment and consumer base through convenience and accessibility.
In 2020 the COVID-19 virus has been the disruptor of the Real Estate industry. Our process for selling homes still relies ultimately on the guiding principles of trust and connection with our buyers and sellers, but we have had to pivot quickly to replace what has traditionally been a face to face industry, marked by in person viewings and showings. With the help of the Sotheby’s International Realty brand and the importance placed on the use of technology, thankfully we’ve been in a position to make the most of our new reality and cater to our clients needs by hosting virtual spotlights, creating 3D virtual Matter-ports, and taking buyers on Facetime walk throughs. Below is a list of 6 properties sold, either wholly, or with the assistance of technology.
The Wright House
The Wright House in Chalk Sound, overlooks Silly Creek with waterfront vistas abounding. A perfect example of the power of technology to affect a sale and purchaser. The Wright House was listed in July 2020 and sold after 37 days on market, all, wait for it…virtually. The purchasers were familiar with Turks & Caicos and made contact with the listing agent who toured them through the property on Face time and found a connection for them – a perfect fit of homeowner with home – they loved the decor, the layout, the views, the location, and the property had signed contracts for its purchase within two weeks of the list date for $1.1M.
Just across the way from The Wright House, in private Silly Creek estate, Villa Rocco, a 4 bedroom waterfront home sold after 65 days on market for $1.5M. In the case of Rocco, both the listing and selling agent were within the Turks and Caicos Sotheby’s International Realty family. Again, Face time walk through was the technology of choice for the selling agent to familiarise the purchaser with the property, which was beyond their expectations.
An oceanfront classically Caribbean home sits just on the Water’s Edge, as its moniker describes, with south facing views. Charming and idyllic, this 3 bedroom home on .6 of an acre was sold through a combination of the Turks and Caicos Real Estate Association network and technology. At $1.125M, the home sold after approximately 5 months, with a simple Face time walk through via iPhone, but with those views it’s easy to see why.
Sensing a theme emerging? Homes between $1-2M located in the area of Chalk Sound/Silly Creek are trending in the last few months. Haven House sold after 85 days on market for $1.1M. The three bedroom home was introduced to the buyers through a physical walk through once the islands opened up officially in July. Matter-ports were the technology of choice for these buyers, who reviewed multiple homes and dollhouse views before they were able to fly in for 48 hours. Once the scope had been narrowed, a Face time walk through was used to reaffirm their love for the property.
The Grandview 302
One of the prettiest little spots on the beach, the Grandview has long been an unimposing gentle residential resort with lots of appeal. Even so, the average time between listing and sale for condominiums usually runs between 12 – 18 months. This little beaut sold after 48 days on market from within the Turks and Caicos Sotheby’s International Realty family with the aid of a Face time walk through, for $1.5M.
A Balinese dream and the second highest sale price in Silly Creek’s history – Villa Alamandra deviates slightly from the trends above, in that it has been on market a little longer than its neighbouring sales. What makes this story so unique is not the technology employed, Face time walk through was used here as well, but the fact the purchaser was a first time buyer in Turks & Caicos. At a sale price of $2.95M, that is a significant level of trust and investment in the country and the agents brokering this sale, and a reflection of the certainty the buyer had in this property being right for them. The confidence required to bring together the sale could only be achieved through the professionalism of the agents involved and the purchasers ability to see the property live.
In summary, we’re seeing an overall shortening of the length of time properties are sitting on market and a more focused view from buyers looking for the perfect home to ride out the remainder of the pandemic. COVID-19 has disrupted not just our way of doing business for the better, it’s provided buyers with the motivation to take the step(s) they have been dreaming about. For some that means the purchase of a larger home, for others it means investing in the Turks and Caicos real estate market for the first time.
At Turks & Caicos Sotheby’s International Realty we remain at the forefront of brokerage leadership with the use of technology. Whether it’s the importance we place on digital listing assets through the use of high resolution photography and video, 3D virtual reality tours and Matter-ports (special shout out to our amazing Marketing Director Denise Douglas for putting these together), our apple TV app, streaming and syndication capabilities, our use of augmented reality through CURATE and Ro0omy, or simple Face time walk throughs to ensure we’ve found the right fit for our buyers and sellers. At Turks and Caicos Sotheby’s International Realty we believe in pivoting and staying ahead of the curve. No not that curve…which has now been flattened in the Turks & Caicos. Special acknowledgment to the Turks & Caicos Government for a job well done on flattening the curve, and providing the country with the Stamp Duty Tax reduction during this difficult time.
p.s. The Stamp Duty Tax reduction is still in place until 30th December 2020 on land and properties up to $2M.
Light At The End of The Tunnel 3Q Sales Show Steady Balance With Positive Year End Predictions
There is light at the end of the tunnel as we creep back to a somewhat normal life, albeit carefully, so as not to unleash further closures as parts of the world are now experiencing for a second time. The measures put into place have helped secure the health and welfare of our people here in the Turks & Caicos Islands and the steady stream of visitors fortunate enough to arrive over the past couple of months have been pleasantly surprised at the consistent protocols throughout the businesses on island. The atmosphere and the beautiful, uncrowded beaches make for a very refreshing place to rest and revive your spirit through this time. It is no surprise that real estate inquiries are streaming in and sales are continuing at a regular pace. Last year marked a record year in real estate sales so it’s humbling to compare to those numbers, however, the 3Q graphs for 2020 are indicating a constant and strong balance. It is noteworthy that, of the $147M in pending sales on MLS, we expect $80M of these deals to close out before the end of this year which would bring the projected annual total sales for 2020 to $273M, approximately $10M higher than our 2018 year end sales.