Spring 2000 Update - What's UP?
It's been a busy season for real estate on Ambergris Caye. Overall, sales have been brisk and appreciation has been excellent for the "in demand" properties. I canvassed local realtors this week, and here is what they have to say about a variety of aspects of today's real estate marketplace.
Current inventory of beach front lots is very low (one broker predicted a 25% increase in "prime" beach lot sale prices over the next year). Inventory of beach front homes is also low (at this writing there are seven beach homes for sale). Build-able in-town lots are in very short supply. There is still a large inventory of condominiums on market - particularly one-bedroom units. This comment on condos must be taken in perspective, as circumstances are quite different from location to location. Some condo buildings are very successful in sales and income, and have very satisfied owners. Some are plagued with slow construction, homeowner unrest, and failure to produce titles. When it comes to condos, each development must be taken on it's own merits.
There are a number of commercial properties on the market. Brokers comment that most are "overpriced" in comparison to the earnings potential of the properties. In such a case, the valuation of "replacement cost" does not help make a sale. Investors for commercial real estate do not pay replacement cost - they look for a healthy net return on their investment and if they do not get it they will not buy.
There are several local hotels on the market and lots of folks looking to buy hotels as well. Some have successfully sold and closed this season. Selling a hotel is not easy - lack of financing and sloppy book-keeping are two frequent items that can complicate a hotel sale. Many of our local small businesses mix personal and business expenses to the extent that it is hard for a prospective buyer to understand what kind of profit they can reasonably expect. Banks are not keen on loans for resort purchases, and in most cases the interest rates are too high to make good business sense. Seller financing is a very helpful element in making a sale "go". If you are a seller, spruce up your property, clarify your books and ask a price that you would be willing to pay if you were buying.
There is a Creole saying, "Greedy choke puppy." I used to work with a man who was fond of saying, "Pigs get fat but hogs get slaughtered". What does this mean in an expanding real estate market? It means that sometimes sellers (and brokers) get excited about the future, place their property on the market at prices that are too high, and they manage to miss the opportunity to sell altogether. If you want to sell today, you will have to sell at today's prices. If you want to sell at next year's prices, then wait until next year to place your property on the market. If you do not take this advice, you may find yourself adjusting to the real marketplace too late - the buyers for your property may have already spent their money elsewhere.
Local brokers do not agree on everything - but they ALL AGREE that BELIZE IS BEST. I think so too. Invest now and invest wisely. It's the most beautiful investment you will ever make.
Speaking of BEAUTIFUL ........ San Pedro continues to "Color Up" like crazy! Look for a new color survey soon.
Thanks for reading ..... Diane Campbell
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