By YOURI KEMP
Tribune Business Reporter
A Bahamian realtor yesterday said it is a “good time to be seller” as the demand for properties valued under $500,000 has generated numerous inquiries from prospective purchasers.
Matt Sweeting, chief executive at 1oak Bahamas, told Tribune Business that 2023 is looking “promising” based on the level of buyer interest witnessed in January. “I think we’re going to see some of that 2021-2022 excitement in the market. There’s still a bit of a housing shortage, especially under $500,000,” he said.
“It’s a good time to be a local seller in the market and, for the buyer, in this climate they need to be very educated but ready to move as well. I just texted a client a moment ago, and they were like they were still thinking about it. We saw the property yesterday, but we had another showing there yesterday with a cash buyer. So by the time the first client has deliberated that property may very well be gone.”
The high-end real estate market boomed in 2021 and 2022 with homes in gated communities and private islands all selling well. Mr Sweeting, though, said: “I’m speaking predominantly to the lower end because that is where 1oak and myself, as an agent, our focus is. We probably do maybe less than 5 percent luxury business, and in the business that we did in these last few years, 95 percent have been at or under $1m.
“I think high end properties will have a lot of interest as well. I think we are seeing similar occurrences in high-end in terms of dwindiling supply. But I know the under $1m market better.” January is unlikely to be a “slow month”, as interest is “extremely high” all around.
Mr Sweeting said: “As a company we’re putting on an event because we appreciate that a lot of people are predominantly first-time buyers and don’t know where to start. A lot of people are starting the year with their resolutions being home ownership.”
1 OAK will be hosting a free open house on February 1, where prospective home buyers can meet with “bank representatives, attorneys, realtors, builders, insurers, contractors and financial planners” in one space to help people “understand the process”.
Mr Sweeting added: “As a company we’re super excited. We’re bringing on a few more agencies. We are using some of our success from last year to really improve not only our digital footprint, but also our physical footprint as well. We’re renovating a new office. We just launched a new website that’s arguably one of the best in the country in terms of being able to find property easily.”