House Hunting in … St. Barts


This modern, three-bedroom villa sits on a verdant hillside above Flamand Beach, close to the northwestern tip of the French territory of St. Barts, in the Caribbean Sea.

The 1,722-square-foot home, accented with Caribbean particulars together with a white wooden balcony, fretwork and a vaulted, whitewashed ceiling, was constructed in 1989 and partially renovated in 2018, after Hurricane Irma broken St. Barts the earlier fall. The quarter-acre property features a picket deck with a swimming pool and Jacuzzi, a health club housed in a separate bungalow, a storage and two parking spots.

“The property has a refreshing newness about it,” stated Tom Smyth, an proprietor of St. Barth Properties Sotheby’s International Realty, an company itemizing the property. “It’s a renovated property in a sweet spot in the pricing right now, where somebody can get in below 3 million” — in euros — “and have a turnkey home with access to one of the best beaches of St. Barts.”

The two-story dwelling, which is being offered furnished, has been supplied as a trip rental with weekly charges starting from about $four,300 for 2 bedrooms in April to $12,100 for all three bedrooms at Christmas and New Year’s, Mr. Smyth stated.

All three bedrooms are on the bottom flooring, and the frequent residing areas are upstairs, with two units of stairs — one indoor, one outside — connecting them.

The three equally sized bedrooms have wooden floors. Two have en suite bogs and glass doorways that open to the ipe wooden deck, the place the pool and Jacuzzi overlook a hillside and the Atlantic Ocean.

Upstairs, the air-conditioned lounge has tile flooring, built-in cabinets and cupboards, and a wall of sliding-glass doorways that open to a large, coated terrace with ornamental finishes. Around the nook, the terrace has separate lounging and eating areas close to a stairway main right down to the pool.

The small bungalow in the rear of the property at present serves as a health room, outfitted with a treadmill and stationary bike.

The home, often called Villa Ipanema, is one among 12 properties in the non-public subdivision of Roc Flamands, which overlooks the small neighborhood round Flamand Beach. The seaside is lower than 10 minutes on foot, as are a number of motels and eating places. The regional Gustaf III Airport is about two miles from the home, and the closest worldwide airport, Princess Juliana International Airport, is on the neighboring island of St. Martin. The ferries at Gustavia Harbor in the capital of Gustavia are three miles south.

St. Barts, about 180 miles east of Puerto Rico, is a semiautonomous collectivity of France, with about 10,000 residents and robust French affect on its tradition.

The 10-square-mile island of St. Barts, surrounded by white-sand seashores and shallow reefs, was hit arduous by Hurricane Irma in September 2017. Housing costs weren’t affected, though transactions slowed because the island recovered, Mr. Smyth stated.

“There was definitely a lull,” he added, earlier than gross sales picked up once more in 2018. The island’s infrastructure has typically recovered, though two main motels stay closed as they bear renovations.

St. Barts properties usually sit “deeper” in traders’ portfolios — not as first and even second houses — so owners there are usually higher geared up to face up to financial hits like hurricanes, Mr. Smyth stated. And houses generally promote earlier than they’re listed, he stated, when brokers make connections between potential patrons and properties coming to market.

An analysis of the St. Barts real estate market by Benjamin Roche, the founder of Roche Realty, an agency in New York and St. Barts, showed that sales volume has stabilized since Hurricane Irma, while supply fell during 2018. The report counted about 60 homes for sale in the fourth quarter of 2018, most with three bedrooms. Many were less than five years old. They were also smaller in size than homes built in previous years, leading to a reduction in the average listing price for high-end waterfront homes.

Zarek Honneysett, the sales manager and a partner with Sibarth Real Estate, the Christie’s International Real Estate affiliate on St. Barts, said owners there are “very serene” and don’t tend to sell when trouble hits. On the contrary, he said, most houses listed since Irma have been fully renovated, with many incorporating hurricane protection. And while supply declined as homeowners made those repairs, prices have remained steady.

“Historically, Saint Barts has been very stable — not just in real estate, but politically, economically,” Mr. Honneysett said, and the quick recovery from Irma boosted buyers’ confidence. “Within a year, the island was back on its feet compared to different places. It’s added to the confidence of people wanting to buy here.”

Prices start near 1 million euros (about $1.13 million), which means homeownership is out of reach for many locals, he said. About 2 million or 3 million euros ($2.3 million to $3.4 million) can buy a two- or three-bedroom villa with a pool and a view, and prices can top 10 million euros ($11.3 million) for larger properties that check the boxes on many buyers’ wish lists: newer, beachfront, more land, better view, in “the best locations,” he said.

“The market is quite strong,” Mr. Honneysett said. “We have a lot of demand. We don’t have too much inventory of properties for sale.”

There are “no bad areas” on St. Barts, Mr. Smyth said. The island’s western tip, Colombier, offers sunset views over Colombier Bay and the Atlantic, while Flamand is popular for its white-sand beach. Pointe Milou, in the northeast, has dramatic cliffs and views, and Saint Jean has more tourist attractions.

Foreign buyers on St. Barts often come from the United States, as well as South and Central America. Mr. Smyth said his agency’s buyers have been from a mix of countries over the years, with “no particular pattern.”

Over the last few years, Mr. Honneysett said, his agency’s buyers have come from the United States, Canada, Britain, France, Germany, Italy and other Western European countries. A smaller share have come from elsewhere, including Argentina, Brazil, Venezuela and Russia.

As in France, foreigners are not restricted from buying real estate on St. Barts.

Celine Carsalade, whose law firm has offices in France, Morocco and St. Barts, said the buyer’s closing costs include taxes, the notary’s fee and the agent’s commission, which typically comes to about 12 or 13 percent of the sale price.

Lawyers are not required to handle real estate transactions, she said, but they can be helpful when it comes to dealing with taxation and administrative matters.



Source link Nytimes.com

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