Jonathan Morris Interviewed
on Real Estate in Eleuthera, Bahamas
Jonathan Morris, a top producing Eleuthera real estate agent with Damianos Sotheby's International Realty, was recently interviewed by two popular Bahamian magazines - The Bahamas Investor, and The Eleutheran Magazine. Both of these Bahamas magazines were interested in the Eleutheran real estate market and Jonathan's thoughts on it.
The Bahamas Investor was specifically interested in real estate on Windermere Island, Eleuthera. They interviewed Jonathan Morris and this is what he had to say with them:
“People buy in Windermere for the lifestyle. They like the privacy. They like the unspoiled beauty, the beach,” says Jonathan Morris. “They are nature lovers, boaters, or just lead buy lives and this is somewhere they can go to completely decompress.”
The buyer demographic is changing from early 50s to mid 40s. A solid investment, real estate on the island has held its value throughout the decades.
A beachside two bedroom, two bathroom condo apartment sells for $395,000. Beachfront lots start around $975,000 (about 150 ft of beachfront on a 1.5 acre lot); waterfront lots on the sound side (between the mainland and Windermere) are prices around $299,000. Inland lots start at $175,000 (about half an acre).
A three bedroom home with a view of the sea and a beach access was selling for just under $1 million up to press time for the original article in the Bahamas Investor July 2014.
However, some properties for sale never get to the open market. Property ownership changes hands on what Morris calls the “cocktail circuit” - social functions where residents confide in neighbours that they are considering selling. Some plots get snapped up right away.
“Certainly a lot of vacant land has gone that way,” says Morris. Still, some great investment properties do come to market, such as Sandcastle House - a home situated on two lots, which Morris sold to a South African buyer in 2013 for $3 million.
As word slowly spreads about Windermere, buyers are looking for their piece of paradise. “Buyers’ interest is rising throughout Eleuthera,” says Morris. “You’re seeing an increase in every area, from vacant land to multi-million dollar homes. People like what Eleuthera has to offer.”
The Eleutheran also interviwed Jonathan Morris. They were interested in the overview of the real estate market in Eleuthera and Jonathan's thought's on it.
Jonathan Morris, an experienced estate agent with Damianos Sotheby’s International Realty and one of their top producer awardees for multiple years, talks with ‘The Eleutheran’ about the real estate market in Eleuthera – who is buying, what they are looking for , and the outlook for 2014/15. Damianos Sotheby’s International Realty has offices based in Governor’s Harbour, where he works along with estate agent Angelika Bacchus and assistant Eugenie Woodside, and in Spanish Wells, with estate agent Darrin Sands.
How did you get started in real estate?
I got started in 1999, about fifteen years ago, and at the time I was still bartending at the Rainbow Inn – that was my evening job, and my day job was real estate. Then it was a very different marketplace then it is now. There was less going on, and it was a very slow to move marketplace – with not a lot of activity. Now things have certainly changed quite a bit. If you looked in the island then, there weren’t many real estate agents, and most of the selling was probably handled by agents in Nassau who would come over. Now it has changed where there is a lot more activity in the real estate market. There are many more transactions from all different levels, and now there are many more agents too.
Who is buying currently?
There’s a lot more interest with Bahamians buying from Nassau. We are seeing more of that kind of activity with clients looking to either have a weekend getaway from Nassau, like a summer house or cottage where they could getaway to another island and enjoy what Eleuthera has to offer. We are also seeing people eyeing Eleuthera as a retirement, so they can sell out of their holdings in Nassau and either downsize or completely move, relocate and retire; obviously where they can have a different lifestyle. Or people are just buying a piece of land to plan ahead and build at some point, and right now vacant land is a good deal. It’s a good buy right now – and there is a lot of it. We are coming out of the recession now and things are definitely getting better. There’s movement for the positive direction which we are thankful for. There have been some tough years.
What type of International buyers are you seeing?
We have a lot of foreign home owners that are coming here, and they are buying and they are renting out their houses, which is an interesting trend. In my opinion, the old days of the homeowners that would come for the whole season and kinda hang out and live here – we are not getting those kind of buyers anymore. The buyers are younger and they are more aware of pricing and cost, so these houses when they purchase them, they have to perform. When they go into the rental market it’s to get into a position where their investment takes care of itself – in cash neutral or cash positive position and they build equity on it.
What are buyers looking for?
I think the biggest seller is the beachfront. This is what Eleuthera is famous for, so that’s the prime, sought after property, followed by waterfront, and then a view with access to the water or beach. So people are looking for, and certainly Eleuthera can accommodate all sorts of budgets in different areas.
Why is Eleuthera the place to buy right now?
The advantages of Eleuthera is that it strikes the right balance between infrastructure, services, amenities, and a sense of community, and there’s enough activity here, but where it’s not overwhelming – and it’s a safe environment to live in, and to visit and enjoy.
What should a buyer know about buying in Eleuthera?
I think a lot of it depends on the personalities involved. You have to know yourself, and you have to know what things are important to you. Don’t buy from an emotional point of view. Most of our sales here are second or third homes – it’s a discretionary purchase and not a necessary purchase. So, if you know what you like, if you like sunsets, or you want to be on a beach, be close to activities, restaurants and amenities and things like that – take those into consideration.
What is your outlook for 2014/2015?
2014 has been very good for me. I’ve had some very high end, high profile sales, so we are seeing a definite uptick in the market place from all levels, whether its Bahamians looking for a lot ready to buy and build, and we are seeing a lot more activity on the high end and on all levels and price structures. So I think that trend is going to continue. I think there is strong interest in Eleuthera and the marketplace here.
Buyer’s Tips – Jonathan’s Top 5
1. Do your homework! Know yourself and understand the type of home or property that will suit you and your family’s needs. Be sure to distinguish between “wants” and “needs”.
2. Be prepared! Have your finances in order and ready to do business. Earnest money ready to go and financing in place.
3. Use a reputable attorney for title opinion
4. Due diligence: Make sure all boundaries are properly marked and identified; utilities are available; the building is structurally sound; inspect for possible termites; confirm access is deeded (especially if the property does not front a government road); and make sure you are aware of any and all restrictions.
5. Use a reputable real estate agent to assist you with each step of the buying process. Jonathan recommends a Damianos Sotheby’s International Realty agent.
Click here to view Eleuthera real estate for sale.