The 21-square mile island of Bermuda is renowned for its
pink sand beaches, crystal caves and wealth of natural beauty.
If all this sounds appealing, the non-Bermudian freehold property market is small but well worth pursuing
American writer Mark Twain was famously quoted as saying, ‘You go to Heaven if you want to, I’d rather stay right here in Bermuda’. There’s no doubt that the island has much to tempt those who favour a relaxed lifestyle surrounded by a fabulous coastline. Karin Sinclair, agent at Sinclair Realty, affiliate of Christie’s International Real Estate comments, “As a British Overseas Territory uniquely located just two-hours from New York City and six-plus hours from London, Bermuda’s gracious way of life, sophisticated business infrastructure, quality schools, and semi-tropical climate make it the quality choice for today’s international purchaser who values being near (but not necessarily ‘in’) the United States.”
Ms Sinclair goes on to explain that few people (including many real estate agents) understand just how small the Non-Bermudian house market really is – and has always been. “Based on our 25-year data analysis,” she says, “with rare exception, between six and nine freehold single-family houses typically sell in the Non-Bermudian category in any given year. Of those six to nine houses, one or two will have purchase prices in excess of $10 million; between one and three will be in the range of $6 million – $9 million, and the rest will be under $5 million.
“Last year performed at the upper end of average with eight completed sales (a further three Non-Bermudian category houses had pending contracts but did not make it through the immigration approval process in time to be counted in 2018). Some people mistakenly believe the luxury market is ‘down’ because eight is a small number. But, in fact, that’s very average in a pattern that has remained steady for over two decades. There are no great peaks and valleys in the Non-Bermudian freehold house market, just slow, steady growth.”
Ms Sinclair points out that, if you consider luxury homes as a global asset class, Bermuda’s luxury properties offer exceptional value for money when compared to other jurisdictions where the wealthy choose to live. “As an example,” she explains, “let’s look at the very top of the market. In Bermuda, a $35-million guide price buys Chelston, an ultra-prime 14-acre beachfront estate with a 10,000 square foot; main house, four cottages, a swimming pool complex, and beautiful park-like grounds leading to a spectacular pink sand beach – all within minutes of the City of Hamilton. In the Hamptons, you’ll get only four acres of beachfront for the same price; in Cayman, a super-sized home on a smallish waterfront lot. And in London – even with its downturn – you’ll be fortunate to acquire a five-bedroom lateral apartment at £35 million…albeit in Kensington Palace Gardens.”