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|Nassau Guardian Article - House Prices Hit Locals|
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|Posted by:||Apr 25th 2006, 03:06:00 pm|
By VIRAJ PERPALL, Guardian Staff Reporter
Soaring property prices are making it difficult for residents on Harbour Island to buy their own homes.
Beachfront property on the island starts at around $1million and can spiral past the $10million-mark. The same sort of homes in Nassau would be half that figure with starting prices for first-time buyers in New Providence at around $200,000.
Real Estate agents on Harbour Island admitted the idyllic setting and pink-sand beach have helped turn this small corner of The Bahamas into the playground for the rich and famous.
"The cost of real estate on the island is really expensive because you have the who's who here," Prescott Young, a Harbour Island tourism official, said. "If you have an area where a lot of celebrities live, the cost of property will soar. These type of people influence the area."
Mr Young said the downside of this property boom was that average Harbour Island residents are unable to get one foot on the housing ladder there and are being forced to move two miles across the water to the Eleuthera mainland.
"Most people seeking property here are millionaires, if not billionaires," Mr Young said. "So it's very difficult for the average person to buy property on Harbour Island." "[Most first-time buyers living] here have to look at Eleuthera for housing," he added. "And when it comes to future developments for local residents we will also have to look at Eleuthera."
Mr Young pointed out that the soaring property prices have taken off over the past 15 years. He said that an average upscale home would have sold for around $80,000 in the early 1990s and late 1980s.
But all that has changed. He said there are approximately 200 luxury winter homes owned by the rich and famous from across the globe.
"These properties are usually owned by people with high disposable incomes," Mr Young said. "They can afford anything they want."
And Harbour Island's red-hot property market is showing no signs of cooling down. Prices, in fact, look certain to skyrocket.
"Not only does the island have beautiful property and beaches, and the amenities of what foreigners are looking for, but the way of life is also very peaceful and relaxed," said Kimberly Morgan of H.G Christie Limited, a real estate agency. "This is attracting more prospective rich buyers."
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