Virtual World Opens Jamaica Real Estate Market

Written by Guest Author: Margot Weatherford, Licensed Real Estate Agent in the U.S. & Jamaica

Wow! What a year it has been. I remember flying in January 2020, refreshments were offered on my flight, the passenger beside me sat closer than 6 ft, and of course mimosas were served during my long morning trip. My, how the times have changed!  So amongst these 2020 changes, how has the real estate market been affected, both in the U.S. and Jamaica?

Did you know that the United States experienced an unprecedented number of home sales in 2020? It has been reported that homeowners are building equity at the fastest pace in 6 years.  Homeowner equity is reported to have increased annually per household by $17,000 USD.

A little further south on the Caribbean island of Jamaica,  1700 residential properties were reported sold in 2020 by the Jamaica Multiple Listing Service, a 35% decrease from 2019. Contrarily, new construction sales have soared, particularly in Kingston, with 1-2 bedroom apartments selling at an average price point of $19M-$27M JMD.  The current exchange rate is 1 USD:142 JMD.  

Now is a great time to buy on the island, with the most popular price point for investment or vacation home being close to $200,000 USD. Although a popular price point, available inventory is sparse, so we search off-markets for our clients as well. 

The island has experienced an increase in international buyer demand this year Many of my current buyer clients are in the US, Canada and the UK. Virtual Employees and Business Owners are starting to realize that they can live anywhere and are looking to paradise as an option! Can you blame them? Furthermore, given the depreciation of the Jamaican Dollar to US Dollar this year, purchasers who are paying in USD can get a great deal if buying a property listed in Jamaican Dollars. Purchasing property in Jamaica is the same process for a Jamaican National and  a Foreigner, making it very straightforward. In fact, last month, we secured a lease on a luxury villa in Montego Bay for $4,500 USD per month. The tenant is living in England and has family in Jamaica, her business has gone virtual and she has the flexibility to be on the island longer lengths of time.

If you wish to explore and view real estate in Jamaica, my favorite island, I recommend you contact Hibiscus International to plan your real estate travel. I hope to see you in paradise in 2021!

Margot has been a Realtor with Keller Williams for 7 years, and is licensed in North Carolina, South Carolina and Jamaica, West Indies.  She runs her real estate team, International Coastal Properties out of Wilmington NC, with team members available in all locations to assist with buying and selling needs! Margot is also a member of each affiliate Real Estate Board and holds a Certified International Property Specialist designation through the National Association of Realtors. Giving back is important to her and her team donates back to Children’s Homes in their local areas. Margot also teaches Business Building Training Courses to young adults internationally.

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