After 2008, apartments were not easy to sell due to the perceived risks of owning property in a development with other owners who would need to pay their portions of the development fees. At that time, there was also an oversupply of apartments as a consequence of the boom that occurred prior to 2008, when apartments were popular to build and to buy. For many years after 2008-2009, the preferred investments were land and freehold villas in and outside developments and resorts, because they were seen to be less risky than multi-unit developments—evidenced by the fact that developers were moving towards securing planning for villas and houses as opposed to apartments or semi-detached real estate. Demand was for higher-end luxury property, because the lower-end and middle markets suffered and slowed down dramatically.
In the last two years, however, we have seen a return of the apartment market; units are receiving offers and selling again. Admittedly, the reasons for some of these sales have been that there were a number of discounted sales or motivated sellers—as the gap between what purchasers were prepared to offer and what owners were prepared to accept lessened, and we as agents came closer to agreeing on deals. With the exception of the extreme high end, where uniqueness and luxury attract the very wealthy, value for money and price are the main reasons people purchase now, and beachfront apartments have been one of the bestsellers for us over the last 18 months to two years. So much so that the stock for resale units is depleting, and the deals are fewer and farther in between; prices are beginning to creep up again. There are still a few deals, but they are thinning.
Apartments offer the ultimate lock up and leave—you can drop your keys with your villa manager and leave with the peace of mind that comes from knowing that your property will be looked after while you are off the island. Some owners may decide to rent out their properties to cover overheads; bearing in mind that most apartments are on the beach, this is relatively easy to do. From a rental standpoint, apartments are seen to be very good value when compared to hotels and beachfront villas. Ideally, living in an apartment allows you to enjoy the facilities and 24-hour staff and security that you would normally get in a large beach villa but at a fraction of the cost, because you are sharing the expense with your neighbours. To have an impeccably maintained garden, pool with 24-hour security along with management and maintenance is an expensive undertaking, but if shared with another 4 to 13 owners, it is far more manageable.
Apartments and Villas
Old Trees: Located on Paynes Bay, this building with an Italian-influenced design offers 14 apartments and a large freeform pool surrounded by impeccable tropical gardens. The property is wider than most apartment buildings on the west coast of Barbados and thus affords wide views of the sea, a large garden and tremendous beach frontage. Old Trees owners and guests benefit from an expert beach butler service; with this, the beach is swept every morning, and sun beds, umbrellas and side tables are put out so residents can enjoy the magnificent beach and swimming. Should a guest require anything specific, the attentive beach staff will go to his or her apartment and work with the dedicated housekeeper to prepare drinks or snacks. The size of the grounds also allows for plenty of parking space, and there is even a security hut and office, the headquarters of the property manager who will take care of guests during their stays. The building offers seven properties for rental, and rates range from US $650 to US $5,000 per night, inclusive of daily staff. There are also two lovely 3,000-square-foot, three-bedroom apartments for sale listed at US $2,500,000. And the very glamorous penthouse, aptly named La Mirage, is also for sale, fully furnished, at US $6,950,000.
Smugglers Cove: Located directly to the north of Old Trees, Smugglers Cove is a far newer building. Whilst looking a little more modern than Old Trees, it boasts some typically “Bajan” features and even a few that reflect the famed Sandy Lane Hotel, such as coral rendering and ornate balustrades. Once again, the beachfront position ensures a successful rental history for all owners. Due to the boutique, low-density nature of the building, there are only seven units on five floors. What sets Smugglers Cove apart from most other developments are the large units on the third, fourth and penthouse floors, which encompass more than 6,000 square feet of living space and offer four or five sumptuous bedrooms with ensuite bathrooms along with wide and deep terraces, where residents can enjoy the sights and sounds of the Caribbean and Paynes Bay Beach. As with Old Trees, Smugglers Cove benefits from the same exceptional beach experience, and both buildings are ideally located within a short “beach walk” of Sandy Lane Hotel and golf courses; as well, memorable beachfront restaurants are just moments away. Property sale prices range from US $2,250,000 for three-bedroom units and US $6,250,000 and US $6,950,000 for the larger units, which in essence give you the same square feet as a large luxury villa.
Coral Cove: Also situated on Paynes Bay Beach, Coral Cove is possibly one of the most contemporary in design of all the buildings on the Barbados west coast; however the use of woods and other Caribbean features has helped create a pleasing mix of modern and tropical architecture. Aged mahogany trees help frame the property, which sits on the northern end of the bay and seems to be within a stone’s throw of the famed One Sandy Lane building, with apartments starting at US $19,000,000. At Coral Cove, 2,400-square-foot, three-bedroom luxury apartments are listed between US $1,400,000 and US $1,900,000, and whilst offering value for money, they also offer very up-to-date finishes and designs along with wide sea-facing terraces with Jacuzzi pools. Coral Cove does exceptionally well from a rental point of view, with owners benefitting from useful rental income, which helps cover their overheads for the year. Coral Cove is also very affordable in terms of the communal fees, as the building is efficiently run, and the smaller gardens mean that the overhead costs shared with the other 14 owners are manageable.
Sandy Lane Villas: Unlike most lifestyle developments and resorts, Sandy Lane Estate does not charge the same high communal fees, and owners pay less than 1,500 GBP annually as a contribution towards the upkeep of the estate roads and beach facility. Owners are in control and decide how to run their own homes. However, this is not to say that the villas are not maintained. After a quick drive through the estate, one will marvel at the impeccable gardens and the eclectic mix of villa designs, which emulate the most interesting of owners. Lot sizes start at one acre, and some lots are more than two acres. The hotel pays for the upkeep of the golf course and clubhouses, and 9-hole and 18-hole courses meander through the estate. Those villas that have golf-course frontage offer those views and space, while those with sea views have the highest value, especially those with golf-course frontage as well. Sandy Lane Estate homeowners benefit from an exceptional and private beach facility, which is located on the Sandy Lane Beach, and includes a bar and restaurant, along with an office and clubhouse-feel reception area. Some 80 villas have private cabanas, which allow owners to store private beds, umbrellas and even a fridge for drinks to be enjoyed on the beach. There’s no disadvantage to not having a cabana; beds are available to all arrivals, but if you still want your own bed, it can be stored in the general storage area. Staff members are most helpful; they meet guests on arrival and escort them to villas overlooking the sensational stretch of beach. We have seen a marked increase in demand and sales in Sandy Lane over the last two years, and a couple of owners have purchased adjacent plots in order to build their own custom homes, giving more of an estate feel to their properties in Barbados—clearly proving that this established location is appealing to high-net-worth individuals looking for additional space and privacy and also the opportunity to build their own homes to their exacting standards.
Rose of Sharon: Situated high up in Sandy Lane Estate, this substantial property offers four large bedrooms with ensuite bathrooms in the main house as well as two more bedrooms in the poolside cottage. The property has been upgraded throughout and boasts a modern kitchen along with prep and pantry areas. The villa also includes a large pool with patio surround, a gym, media room, office and even a “gully” terrace, on which one can enjoy total tranquillity and relaxation whilst being surrounded by a truly tropical experience. Electric gates permit passage to the villa, for which there is also a double garage and extensive lawns. As with all Sandy Lane villas, access to the beach is available via the Sandy Lane beach facility, and tennis and golf are also available. The position of Rose of Sharon is also ideal as the road is not a through road so traffic noise is kept at a minimum; if peace and quiet is a requirement, this property is a must-see. Whilst this property is for sale at US $6,950,000, fully furnished, it is also available for rent, should you wish to sample before making an investment.
Penridge: Located on the same road as Rose of Sharon, this impeccable six-bedroom property has been well looked after and was designed by the owner; it represents an ideal holiday home in the tropics that would be perfect for a large family. Children would love the extensive pool and terrace areas, and there is also a gully gazebo and numerous fish-populated ponds, which give the property a very calming ambiance and a tremendous backdrop to the villa. All bedrooms are large, with high ceilings and ensuite bathrooms, and the living areas flow effortlessly onto the wide, covered terraces, perfect for lounging on a lazy afternoon. Sea views are also available from the ground and first-floor levels. Ideally, the same owner owns the neighbouring property, known as Parnassus, so if an investor is looking for a site to create a secluded and private estate with a main house and a guest house, this is a one-off opportunity to own more than four acres in the Sandy Lane Estate.
Good Hope: When envisioning the perfect island retreat, one could only dream of finding such an exquisite property as Good Hope, which has recently come on the luxury property market in Barbados. Situated on the signature seventh hole of the world-renowned Old Nine Sandy Lane golf course, the villa is also bordered by the eighth-hole tee box on the western end. Perched on an escarpment 140 feet above sea level, Good Hope offers unparalleled views of the lush greens, gently sloping to the stunning tropical foliage and cerulean Caribbean Sea beyond. Located on West Ridge Road, an exclusive enclave within the Sandy Lane Estate just 500 yards from the entrance to the Sandy Lane Hotel, this venerable trophy property boasts one of the most enviable addresses in Barbados, and quite possibly the Caribbean. Set within the prestigious neighbourhood of more than two acres of beautifully landscaped gardens filled with mature mahogany trees, assorted palms and an orchard of fruit trees, it neighbours some of the most impressive residences on the island. Good Hope offers unmatched privacy, tranquillity and security; yet it is within reach of the top amenities of the west coast of Barbados, including internationally acclaimed restaurants, luxury-brand shopping and world-class sporting facilities.