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The Market State

Fear not…there’s hope! (…hopefully)  –  Driving past the airport at Beef Island on New Year’s Eve, you would be forgiven for thinking that the global recession was a thing of the past and that rosier times must surely be ahead. I counted 23 private jets sitting on the tarmac. That might not sound a lot but for a little island like Tortola that’s a huge number and, I would hazard to guess, about 25% up on last year.

Apparently there were more than 40 sitting in St. Thomas. And although I was unfortunately “landlocked” for most of the holidays, I understand that there were probably 30 or more mega yachts floating around the North Sound in Virgin Gorda. Many of those who initially landed in the USVI were undoubtedly merely passing through, running quickly from the airport to Yacht Haven to board their gin palaces and zoom as quickly as possible to the more serene surroundings of the British Virgin Islands.

 

So it seems that all the money bleeding out of Wall Street over the past few months hasn’t simply disappeared after all. Clearly those bright chaps who have lots of the stuff (they must be bright then, right? Don’t answer that) have very sensibly been taking it out of their brokerage accounts and putting it in their piggy banks to save up for a big splurge in the BVI at Christmas!

I’m not sure if more gallons of diesel than champagne were consumed in that period but it was probably a close run thing. And these weren’t the only much sought-after luxuries over the festive period. BVI property was also in demand. The reason I was landlocked and my feet stayed dry was not because of sea sickness but because of the number of property showings we at Coldwell Banker happily undertook. Instead of gaining 20lbs this Christmas I probably lost 5 with all the running to and fro!

Not that I’m complaining and, on a slightly more serious note, we were truly surprised just how busy we were given the state of the world economy. Not only were we showing property for sale, we were getting offers. Hopefully, with a fair wind and a little luck, by the time of publication we should have some of those under contract. I will admit that leading up to the US Election and prior to December ’08 the number of enquiries for property was down on the previous year but with that very nice Mr. Obama taking over the reins and perhaps a feeling in the US at least that the only way is up (how much worse could it get?), enquiries have picked up again.

 

So, the Coldwell Banker staff was a bit late in sitting down to enjoy the festivities this year. And perhaps it is a hangover of belated merriment, but I am increasingly optimistic that 2009 will actually be a pretty positive year for the BVI property market. After all, whilst we sometimes think we Real Estate Agents are frightfully important, being ever so, ever so busy, our market is actually only a very, very small one and just a handful of buyers can change our world, and that of our sellers, dramatically.

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