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“Top Real Estate Trends Impacting You & Your Business”

My name is Dwayne Wallas, 12 years working in the real estate business with HG Christie Real Estate.  I moved to Abaco in 2007.

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I’ve been asked to come here today and present some insight in the real estate market in Abaco.  As you all know Abaco is a unique part of the Bahamas and a unique part of the world.  In my view it is the people that make it unique.

But also and perhaps more importantly it is the geography – it is the only island in the Bahamas which has a relatively large land mass of 650 square miles similar to Grand Bahama or Andros while also having the 120 mile long chain of barrier cays.

This combination is not found anywhere else in the Bahamas or the Caribbean for the most part.  The ‘mainland’ of Abaco offers the ability for farming, logging, and more light industry or the option to have an estate or many acres with waterfront.  The tourism potential of Great Abaco Island is also very much untapped.

The barrier cays offer unique boating experiences together with wonderful communities.  Put the two together and the potential is tremendous.

I believe Elbow Cay is a perfect example of a thriving development model for the Bahamas.  It offers several small scale hotels together with restaurants and most importantly ATMOSPHERE.

The data I will be showing is derived from the Bahamas MLS.  Therefore it only takes into account sales transactions that have had a broker involved.

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What is selling in Abaco?

Hope Town is booming.  The rest of the Abacos have had a banner year but it all trails way behind Hope Town.  The community has managed to strike a balance between authenticity and capacity.  This year you could not rent a golf cart on the cay unless you booked it well in advance.  The real estate market on the cay is similarly very strong.

Treasure Cay is the close second for driving the economy of the Abacos.  The area sees a strong tourism market as well as posting a strong year for the real estate market.  The condominium market in Treasure Cay was in terrible shape, but the past 2 years have finally seen the inventory reduced and the market is beginning to normalize.

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The Marsh Harbour market is a tough nut to crack.  The market for Bahamians is starting to normalize as the banks are starting to ease lending requirements, but the property values are still depressed.  On the other hand the luxury or foreign investor market in Marsh Harbour (MH) is still very much stagnant.  I see lots of growth potential for the centre of Abaco, but it is suffering as a tourism destination.

Marsh Harbour is generally just a transit point and a shipping/business centre.  There is an opportunity to grow the tourism market here and by extension improve the foreign second home owner market.  From what I see MH seems to lack the charm and “islandy feel” visitors expect when they arrive at the airport.

Baker’s Bay is in full steam construction mode and providing tons of employment but not affecting the real estate market of Abaco at all.  It is its own microcosm and has little direct effect on the Abaco economy apart from the jobs.

Similarly the Abaco Club at Winding Bay is in slow growth mode and provides good employment but has little to no effect on the real estate market anywhere else in the Abacos.  The new developer, Southworth, is slowly rebuilding the prestige and demand.

My last point on this topic, as you can see from the chart, the strongest areas of Abaco are Elbow Cay and Treasure Cay.  The remote parts of Abaco have limited demand.

There are some good opportunities in the remote areas, but be aware that you will be in for a long haul.

Similarly the vacation rental market is only really functioning in Treasure Cay or Hope Town.

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So What about Abaco Compared to the Rest of The Bahamas?  

It is often said that Abaco is a more vibrant economy than Grand Bahama and this chart certainly shows that, although it is given that Grand Bahama is more than just real estate sales.  There is industry in Freeport which we lack here in Abaco.  Maybe for the better, maybe not?

Point is, Abaco is a strong real estate investment market, high sales volume and a high average price point.  Prices in Abaco are not too far off Nassau and second in the country.

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It is, I believe, an economic model to be learned from and encouraged to blossom.  The current test case of locally operated property tax collection on Elbow Cay is interesting and I’m keen to see how it works out.

Chart of Sales Growth Abaco

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Over the past 7 years the data shows growth of sales volume of 18% per year.  Despite the growth in the market and strong activity levels, I’m seeing property values are still dropping somewhere around 5% per year.

I anticipate this trend to turn around in the next 12 months.  As inventory is absorbed, we should see prices start to stabilize and begin to push up a little.

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Government Stimulus to Real Estate

Current incentives of 1st time buyers and Family Island Encouragement Act are having positive impacts.  I believe they should continue.

I believe the taxes on the purchase and sale of real estate is too high.

Stimulating the real estate market and providing incentives to buy here will further stimulate the wider economy.  It is said that a new home owner will further spend an additional 10-20% of the purchase price on furniture or remodeling etc.  That adds up to a significant amount of money being circulated around the economy.

I would urge the government of the Bahamas to further incentivize the real estate market and encourage home buyers, both local and foreign.

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The Acreage and Development Market is completely dead…

There has not been a single transaction of a tract of acreage in Abaco in 10 years.  There are many factors at play but the 2 key reasons I believe to be

  1. Restrictions on foreigners purchasing tracts of land via Foreign Investment Board
    • I believe this market should be liberalized.
    • Keeping it restricted does not benefit the Bahamas.
    • The tax revenue on the sale of large tracts of land is a good reason to encourage the market not restrict it.
    • The vast tracts of raw land are not benefiting anyone by sitting dormant.
    • It is all too common to have a large tract of land owned by 10 or 20 people who inherited it and they will never reach a decision on what to do with it.
  1. The cost of developing land in the Bahamas for sales of lots has risen beyond the ability to realize a profit. The cost of utilities, road paving and legal expenses, plus marketing costs are significantly higher than the price one could sell a residential building lot for right now.
    • A Non-waterfront residential lot on the main island of Abaco sells for an average of $30,000
    • Cost to develop a subdivision of lots for sale in Abaco is around $30,000
    • Therefore No incentive to develop.

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The Tribune has recently published 2 articles on land registration reform, one from the president of the Bahamas Bar Assocation, the other form the president of the Bahamas Real Estate Association.  To quote Mr. Elsworth Johnson

“A registered land system would divulge the number of frauds that cause people to be dispossessed of their land. It would also reduce the amount attorneys are able to charge [for real estate transactions]”

Thank you all very much for the opportunity to share some of my thoughts today.

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Have a wonderful day.

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Check out my latest listing, its luxury, its future investment, its the most prestigious estate on the market in the Beautiful Abacos.

 

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HG Christie has finally launched a new website portal that allows you to view listings by area and see their exact location and pricing.  It is kind of interesting and somewhat eye opening, if for instance one zooms into Marsh Harbour or Treasure Cay and views how many properties are currently for sale in a specific area.  There are few little kinks to work out but overall a great tool.  Check it out here:

http://hgchristiebahamasrealestate.bs

 

All I can say it is has been an extremely busy 2014 so far in the real estate business. I have not been able to make myself sit down and write up an update to this blog. Every week, Every day has been non-stop trying to keep up with the demand. Demand for appraisal work and for sales work and often juggling both can be tricky. Both disciplines have specific time frames to work with. Buyers and sellers want immediate responses and while clients looking for appraisals are always on a limited time budget.

ABACO - WINDING BAY PLUS 49

Above: Incredible New Price on a harbour front 1.8 acre parcel in Little Harbour.  $200k for a beautiful piece of paradise.  It has beach, deep water for a dock, and 40′ elevations, it has it all except that pesky electricity supply.

Speaking of Appraisal work – there has definitely been an uptick in appraisals services volume which indicates that a) credit is become more available and mortgages are become easier to obtain and b) consumers of real estate and loans are expressing more confidence in the economy. Typically you would not borrow money if your financial future was looking poor right? I will mention that the commercial banks in the Bahamas have severely clamped down on appraisal standards and lending requirements here.   In the past a simple cost/replacement calculation would have sufficed to justify a value estimate however now every local bank is requiring that at least 2 comparable sales are included in the analysis and used to justify the final number reported. In some ways this is a good thing for our market, it is a maturation of the lending and mortgage business here partly as a result of the implementation of the Bahamas MLS. On the other hand it means value estimates are generally lower than they were in the past and less subject to the ‘interpretation’ of the appraiser. In any event higher reporting standards will benefit everyone in the long run.

How is the Abaco Real Estate market doing these days?

Well I’ve pulled up some sales activity numbers from the MLS which give a pretty good snap shot of the past year. Everyone is aware that the South Florida real estate market saw a strong bounce back and return to positive appreciation about 2 years back (2012). We expected it to happen in the Bahamas last year however while 2013 saw a little improvement, appreciation was stagnant. 2014 appears to be seeing a similar flat line in property values but that is a good thing, certainly better than a declining market. Steady markets are good, they are reliable, predictable and safe. Excessive appreciation is often a bad thing leading to a correction as we have all seen about 5 years back.

The past year of Abaco Real estate sales volume shows a huge uptick this year:

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You can see at the end of 2013 there was a steady transaction rate of 2-6 which is reflective of the whole of 2013 and typical or 2012 also. You will notice that as of February, there was a marked improvement in sales volume. You will also note the modest increase in sales of properties over $1M.

Interesting to note – In a previous post I wrote about the busiest month of the year for sales activity, and April is typically one of the best for real estate both in the Bahamas and in the United States. But for some reason this past year, April saw a huge drop. I will have to look into what happened in April this year.

Additionally, August is typically one of the slowest months of the year for sales, but this year is looks like it is one of best of the year.

All in all, I have strong confidence that the market in Abaco is back on track and we will see some good but steady growth this coming year.

That confidence is supported by several factors at play that will return Abaco and the Cays back to a strong yet sustainable growth level.

Treasure Cay is supposed to have a new managing partner coming on to take over and rejuvenate the community. The area sorely needs some new energy to revitalize and upgrade. It is a shame because the community has such tremendous potential but is being held back in my opinion.

Winding Bay, The Abaco Club is set to have new management and ownership coming October. The Abaco Club has been struggling to realize its full potential for the past couple of years and property owners have seen the value of their investment erode away substantially. With the pending take over by Southworth, out of New England the area should see a substantial upgrade and corresponding improvement in property value. I have confidence they will be the right fit and benefit all of Abaco.

The new Marsh Harbour International Airport (MHH) has been operational for some time now and is an immense benefit to the island and offers a clean, efficient and air conditioned space for travelling to and fro. Now we just need direct service from Atlanta by Delta or even perhaps direct service to New York. It is a beautiful building and gone of the days of sloshing through mud to get to your car or taxi.

The Hope Town Inn & Marina has been open for over a year and they have seen tremendous approval by the market. The marina is always very busy, and the rooms are on constant turnover. The property is attractive, convenient and becoming a staple of the Hope Town scene.

Great Guana Cay maybe seeing some big things coming on stream soon, but more to come on that later.

Unfortunately Green Turtle Cay is still struggling a little in terms of visitors, but this is proving to be a positive aspect for the second home owner market. Folks are finding the quiet and peace away from the busy tourist action the ideal spot for a quaint second home. The old New Plymouth Inn is ready for new life and would be a wonderful retirement project for the right person. It has lots of history and character and would be a ton of fun to return to it’s glory days.

Lastly, my 2 cents – A house painted white seems to have serious trouble selling in the Bahamas. I suppose it is the only colour to paint a house in certain parts of Greece but it does not seem to work here. Anecdotally, there are several bargain homes on the market in Abaco that have been sitting for a good long while and I attribute it to the colour of the house – white. Similarly unpainted cedar siding seems to be equally difficult to sell.

Happy back to school and International Literacy Month, And Coastal Cleanup Month!

Join The Turtle Trot

And support Friends of the Environment, proudly sponsored by HG Christie Ltd. Real Estate. Taking Place in Hope Town, Abaco. What better location for a scenic run/walk/scoot/jog/bounce?

Well, this past summer has been so busy and action packed I’ve not had time to write a blog post in months.  My inner self is chastising and berating me!

So much has happened in the past 3 months since my last post that I don’t know where to start.  The end of beginning of June saw the Harbourside Marine Rotary Tuna Classic Fishing Tournament.   This is a great event, at a beautiful time of year for fishing in teh Bahamas and for Tuna which is my favourite fish to catch.  This year it was partly hosted out of Schooner Bay in South Abaco which is where the winning catch was caught from.  Proves that Abaco is a great place for tuna fishing.  I just wish I had more time and money to go fishing, I haven’t been out fishing in over two years…  I am firm believer that a bad day fishing is still better than a good day at the office.

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Other happenings include the 38th annual running of Regatta Time in Abaco.  It was middling turnout this year, but the winds were up and the racing was lots of fun.  However the event was dampened due to a silly scare of a very inconsequential tropical storm that never materialized.  As a result, the final 2 races were cancelled and most of the participants went home early.  Our crew came out with a bang, winning the first race, and then having a major breakdown (most of the mainsail hanks broke out of the mast track during a jibe at 1 min to the start) so we never got into the second race.  Then the third race we placed second.  It was great sailing with winds in  the 15-20 knot range and nice and steady.  The Balamena’s favourite weather.  Here is a photo of us receiving our first place trophy from North Abaco member of Parliament Renardo Curry.

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It was a fun time as always.

Another neat event was Bahamian Brewery holding a mini-E class Bahamian Sloop regatta in Treasure Cay.  I had a great time racing the E class boats.  They are 14′ long, and hand made out of wood in the Bahamas.  they sail pretty well and can be handled easily by one person or in heavy weather it is more comfortable with 2.  The juniors went out in the morning and crewed for a very promising young lady who placed first in the first race but couldn’t pull it off in the subsequent 3 races.  It was followed by a sculling competition which i didn’t hang around for but it looked like fun.  I now need $12,000 to buy an E-class sailing sloop – any willing donors out there?

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Above:  me crewing in the Sands Light boat.

Last week, I had the pleasure of spending the night in Hope Town, and staying at the Wee House.  It is a beautifully furnished and decorated 1 bedroom cottage in the heart of Hope Town.  Right between the Harbour’s Edge and the Hope Town Museum and a stones throw from the main public dock.  I had not spent the evening relaxing on the back porch in Hope Town in a very very long time.  It is a wonderfully relaxing thing to do.   The view of the harbour from the porch is picturesque and the cottage has been very thoughtfully appointed, there is even a small cooler to pack a lunch in.  Below: the view from the porch as the sun goes down.

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And lastly, I just had the pleasure of watching a new video at http://www.ConchSaladTV.com about the proposal to create the East Abaco Creeks Park.  very neat and worth watching.  check it out:

https://vimeo.com/63784340

Thanks for reading, and I hope you get to enjoy Abaco sometime.

Well, It is the end of June/Beginning of July already.  6 months till Christmas and the other busy time of year.  Here in Abaco it is pretty much non-stop activity every weekend for me.  Next week the Abaco sailing regatta starts on Wednesday 3rd with the famed Fiddle Cay “Cheese Burger In Paradise” Party which marks the Skippers Meeting and beginning of the races.  The Party serves up free Cheesburgers at one of the most idyllic spots in Abaco, a beautiful beach on an uninhabited cay next to Green Turtle Cay.  The burgers are given away free which is made possible by very generous donations made every year by business owners and second home owners on the cay and one very cool guy that puts it all together and seeks no recognition for it all. If you know who I’m talking about give him a pat on the back.

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Photo of RTIA 2008, Hope Town Race Courtesy Robert Dunkley, http://dunks.smugmug.com/SAILING

The Regatta Time in Abaco, check out the website at www.regattatimeinabaco.com has been going on for almost 40 years and my Grandfather has raced in just about every one of them.  I’ve been racing in it since I was 15, having missed about 4 of the years for various reasons.  It is a great time, great racing and wonderful way to see the beauty of Abaco’s Cays and Seas.  There are five races held in different parts, the first starting in Green Turtle Cay.  The last one this year is held in Hope Town.  The format, or order, of the races and locations has changed over the years.  Until recently the final race and party was held in Marsh Harbour at the Jib Room and Marsh Harbour marina.  I still remember the first time I raced the regatta and snuck an alcoholic drink or two with the friends I was sailing with (we were a little underage then).  Needless to say we did get into a little bit of mischief but nothing too unruly.  The final party was in the old Jib Room (aka Marsh Harbour Marina) which had a bar area up stairs which is now just storage.  It was a great spot with wonderful view across the harbour.  The current owners Tom & Linda have made several changes over the years but it is better than ever and great place for lunch or dinner (they only serve dinner on Wednesday and Saturday).

This year there is a new race being held starting in Great Guana Cay and finishing in Marsh Harbour, which should be an interesting race, typically it is an upwind beat the whole way.  I’m interested to see how the race committee plans the new course.  One race that has remained pretty much the same throughout the past 30+ years is the Marsh Harbour to Hope Town race.  It is a great course which starts right outside the entrance to Marsh Harbour, usually has a short beat up to the Crossing Ferry  Dock area, followed by a long beam reach to the southern tip of Scotland Cay.  After rounding the bout at Scotland Cay, the course turns back upwind to take you through the narrow channel between Man O War and Garden & Sandy Cays.  This beat from Scotland to round the bouy near MOW often makes or breaks the race.  It all depends on how well the navigator can plan the tacks through the tide currents that rush in or out of the cuts to the Atlantic Ocean (your sailing inside the barrier reef and cays) and playing the wind shifts that occur at a various points.  There is always a significant shift in the wind shadow of Garden Cay and if executed right it can really pay off.  The final test is to get through the cut with as few tacks as possible.  The ideal course would cost the boat only 3 tacks to turn the mark at Sandy Cay (incidentally, its for sale at $10.9M) and head on down to Boat Harbour.

The next stage of the course takes you along the dramatic “Sugar Lumps” (purported to have bat caves and Lucayan cave paintings) and the beautifully developed Matt Lowes Cay, and the beautiful shoreline of Sugar Loaf Cay.  (The home called Sugar Loaf Pointe, is for sale and you can see it as you sail by in the race).  The final turning mark is just outside of the Abaco Beach Resort and Boat Harbour Marina where many an epic bill fishing tournament is held every year.  The pool bar there has seen plenty of ‘tall tales’ told.

The final leg of the race put the Iconic Elbow Reef Light House on the starboard bow and the finish just outside Hope Town Harbour.  This MH-HT race has pretty much stayed the same for almost 30 years as it is a great race, both challenging and very enjoyable, taking you along many scenic areas of the cays.

The regatta has not always been the way it is now.  In days gone by, there races started in Hope Town and ended in Green Turtle Cay.  Other progressions over the years are the disappearance of a round the bouys race just outside of Treasure Cay; A race from Treasure Cay to Marsh Harbour which was basically one long spinnaker run before the wind and my grandfather says he used to really enjoy that one.  It started with a short beat to weather and ended with a short beat, but the majority of the race had the Sea of Abaco lit up with colourful sails dotting the horizon for the 13 nautical miles.  I’ve seen a couple of photos that have survived from those days and it liked a fantastic sight to see.   There is a story about he dolphins being released from pens at Bakers Bay while everyone was partying in Treasure Cay.  There are many stories about the long gone but not forgotten “Roosters Rest of Green Turtle Cay”.  The anecdotes and episodes over the years are numerous and it is a wonderful event for sailors.

The organisers of RTIA are to be commended for tirelessly putting it on every year.  The original founders of the RTIA are to be thanked in particular – the Late but Legendary Lindsey Scott, started up the regatta many moons past, later skillfully run by Dave and Kathy Ralph, and now ably heralded by Ruth Saunders.  Give them all a congratulatory pat for the good time you’ll have while, racing, cruising and partying.

And last but not least, never forget the thankless job of race committees across the world.  As usually run by Carol & John Ewing, who do a fine job of handling a very complex regatta.

See you on the course 🙂

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I have been remiss in not keeping up with this blog and I’ve now missed almost 2 months and not written anything.  Shameful.  Anyway, it occurred to me that a good post would be to share my response to a potential client who has asked about owning a vacation rental home in the Bahamas.  There are some folks who will probably find this information quite useful:

Hi Angela,

I hope all is well.  Apologies for not responding to your previous message, it has been a very busy week.

The condo in Freeport, for $86,000 would be a great investment, they do well as long term rentals.  Freeport’s economy is generally a little depressed at the moment but should improve soon.  Tourism is down on the island so renting short term to vacationers will be challenging.  Definitely possible though, with good prospects for improvement in the future.  Freeport has a number of large hotels so there is plenty of competition for tourists’ dollars.  Abaco by comparison only has 2 medium sized hotels and a number of small ones (12 rooms or less).  And then there are about 2,000 homes or condos in a vacation rental pool.  The island is a big market for vacation rentals.

Elbow Cay and Hope Town are the prime vacation rental market where a good home can get up to 30-35 weeks a year.  On the other extreme Lubbers Quarters Cay typically gets 10-12 weeks a year.  A good rental in Marsh Harbour or Treasure Cay can get between 15-20 weeks.  The property has to have beach or waterfront to swim in and if there is a dock or a pool that the renter can use it is a big bonus.

The reality of owning a vacation rental home in the Bahamas though is not that rosy in terms of income.  Unless you happen to get one of the prime houses on the beach in the middle of Hope Town, that rent solidly back to back through the year, the income generated typically covers expenses and holding costs of the home.  In most cases renting for 15 weeks a year will usually cover annual property tax and the insurance costs and most maintenance and upkeep of the home as well as cover the utilities.  Basically a break even and owing the property does not cost you anything.  Once the place rents more than 15 weeks it can be a money producer, while less than the 15 and it usually needs a cash injection.  This 15 week number is a ballpark average, some homes with low values and low replacement costs could have low rates and therefore might break even at 10 weeks or less.  Other high-end luxury homes tend to never break even on income and expenses, but in the upper tier, the taxes can be quite high so the owner is just happy not to have that liability going out.

Then the real benefit of owning a vacation rental home is the ability to have a place to stay and vacation in, friends and family can use it and you get to enjoy the island life without the big expense of a hotel room or renting out a house for a week.   It does mean that many owners spend their 3 weeks vacationing here doing repairs and upkeep, but it is a small  price to pay for paradise right?   If you want to look at any specific homes and consider the rental income potential and the associated expenses let me know and we can go over the numbers.

The home you asked about in Casuarina Point is not going to be the best short term rental, it would typically expect about 3-4 weeks a year.  The more remote a home the less demand it has as a vacation rental – people on vacation usually want to have the option of a restaurant or two nearby to have dinner in.  Who wants to cook dinner every night when on holiday right?  The Casuarina home would rent for about $1,200 per week for probably 4 weeks a year so it could expect a gross income of $4,800 which would not cover expenses unfortunately.  In the past this home in Casuarina would have rented well, the area was a hot spot for fly fishermen visiting Abaco who needed a place to stay that was close to the sand banks, flats and creeks.  Recently though a few dedicated fishing lodges have opened up like ‘The Abaco Lodge’ and ‘The Delphi Lodge’ which cater to the fishing crowd and offer very nice accommodations and gourmet prepared meals.  These lodges have put the small vacation rental villas out of business essentially.  You would need to factor in management of the house to do check-ins and check outs and make sure it’s cleaned etc.  Most property management and vacation rental professionals will charge 30% of the rental rate which usually includes the cleaning.

But Hope Town and Green Turtle Cay are still key vacation rental hot spots and the right place can bring a decent return on investment.  The trick to remember though is don’t use the key holiday weeks for yourself.  Let it out for Christmas, New Years, Easter, Spring Break, Memorial Day weekend, US Independence weekend, etc. etc.  Many owners of vacation rental homes reserve these keys weeks for themselves and then grumble that the place is not getting enough rental income – well duh!

The Casuarina home has been on the market for about 3 years, the owners are definitely ready to get it sold.  It has potential to be converted into a bed and breakfast type of place if the owner wanted to live there and run it.   There is lots of land to build additional cottages.  The only fees would be insurance (probably about $3,500 p/a) and property tax (about $1,600 p/a).  The only other expenses would be utilities and maintenance, there are no HOA dues.

I hope this is all helpful and let me know if you have any more questions or would like to discuss anything.

Best regards,

Dwayne.

From: Angela
To: Dwayne Wallas
Subject: Re: New listings from Your REALTOR

Hi Dwayne,

About this property: http://www.hgchristie.com/details/abaco/casuarina-point/house-as12181

Was wondering how it would be as a holiday rental, how many weeks of the year. Also how long has this house been on the market for, and what on going fees apply to own it if any? Any details you could provide would be helpful.

Thanks and Kind Regards,

Angela

Easter Weekend in the Bahamas is a 4 day holiday, with Friday and Monday both public holidays.  It is a long standing tradition of the less faithful to take advantage of the spring weather and the extra long weekend to travel afar in a boat to the Exumas, or hop on a plane and skip to another island.  or go back home to the roots.  Or go shopping.

It is always a rather busy couple of days for me.  For instance this year, friends from ‘off-island’ were staying on Guana Cay who wanted us to spend time with them, family members were staying on Man O War Cay and wanted us to spend time with them, and there were other happenings going through the weekend too.  What we did was have lunch at Grabbers on Friday with the Nassau crew.  I had a very nice pizza by the pool looking out across the beach, the paddlers and the moored vessels.  Saturday we went to Pete’s Pub in Little Harbour for the Pig Roast with family.  Then on Sunday we went to the Hope Town Eastern Egg hunt for the children:  Clara loved it.  Hundreds of kids swarming the hillside searching out the hidden eggs and chocolates.  Image

This was followed up by lunch at Firefly Resort on Elbow Cay.  The food is spectacular and possibly some of the best eating you can find in the Bahamas.  www.fireflysunsetresort.com  They have just expanded the dining area so you don’t have to worry about inclement weather.

And of course, being a in real estate I had to work all of the Monday holiday.  But it was a gorgeous day in Abaco.

On top of all that, a good friend of mine was recently hired to assist with a reality survival TV show shoot here in Abaco a few weeks ago.  The show Man Woman Wild was shooting in Abaco.  They were shooting the marls and creeks areas of the Bahamas instead of the typical deserted beach island scene.  In many ways the creeks and mangrove marshes are much more interesting and alive than the idyllic deserted beach islands are.  As a visual – a beach is kind of like a desert, there really isn’t much sealife around.  But when you get in the creeks, it is like the equatorial rain forest and you will find turtles, baby sharks, all sorts of fish and lobsters, crabs and a variety of plant life.  When you get bored of lying on a beach sipping frozen drinks out of coconuts, you should find the energy to go and explore some of the oceans baby nurseries.  There are several eco-kayak tours and guiding companies that can arrange for a trip, or just buy your own kayak and got check it out on your own.  For instance http://www.abacoeco.com/ is one option to check out.

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Enjoy, and make a point to visit this time of year, it is still cool in the evenings, but warming up steadily in the days.  Right now is one of the best times of the year in the Bahamas.

And if the idea of kayaking the creeks and exploring nature that way interests you – you might like this home in Casuarina Point on the canal creek.  right outside the back door you could hop in a kayak and paddle on up into Yellowood Creek and fly fish.  it is a 4 bedroom home on a half acre lot and a steal of a price.  Click the picture for more details:

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