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A Caribbean dream you can afford

Evening Standard

Barbados becomes a far more realistic proposition when holiday homes there can earn a regular rental income, says Cathy Hawker.

Just picture it: sun, sea and security in a millionaires’ favoured playground. Owning a holiday home in sophisticated Barbados might be an indulgence but today it is also expected to pay its way. New buyers on the Caribbean island want easily manageable homes with affordable running costs and good rental potential. In other words, they are demanding a cost-effective investment with an element of luxury – but without the outrageous costs.

“We are seeing more buyers who want an enjoyable holiday home where they can avoid too many of the spiraling operational costs,” says Terry Hanton of Altman Real Estate Group. “At all price points but especially at the more affordable end of the market, buyers who are happy with the purchase price are looking increasingly hard at the running costs.”

SOUTH-EASTERN BEAUTY
The Crane Resort on the island’s windy south-east coast, 10 minutes from the airport, is one of Barbados’s longest established and best-loved hotels, and its half-mile, pink sand Crane Beach is a beauty. It is 40 minutes away from the upmarket west coast action but it is well-established with its own understated elegance, family atmosphere and many loyal fans.

The Crane operates as a 252-room hotel and also sells its one- to three-bedroom apartments, from one week a year for £8,000 to whole ownership from £351,200. The price includes full furnishings and all buying and selling costs.

The 40-acre site includes pools, tennis courts, gym, spa and four restaurants, plus a good selection of shops and full hotel concierge services. Apartments are generously sized, from 1,200 square feet, with terraces and colonial-style furniture.

This was the first resort in Barbados to introduce the concept of shared ownership and it prides itself on having the lowest annual fee of any comparable resort. Two thirds of apartments are sold and there is an active resale market, with winter weeks particularly in demand. The average profit for all resales over the past six years has been 6.5 per cent, says sales manager Tristan Blades, while the rental pool has always covered all expenses for every week for every owner.

“We guarantee three per cent net rental return for three years,” says Blades. “People buy here because they see it as good value –and more and more they want the turnkey aspect, a holiday home without hassles.”

EASTERN BEACH HOUSES

The Crane’s owner, Paul Doyle, intends to follow this success with his next project, the Beach Houses at Culpepper on the less-visited east coast.

Doyle owns 50 acres of land on this wilder Atlantic coast adjacent to a national park and 10 minutes away from The Crane, and has begun building 87 single-storey, studio to three-bedroom beach homes. These modern homes have pale porcelain tiles, limed wood floors and wide walls of glass looking out to sea. The attractive, pared-back style is thoughtful with clever, self contained lock-off studio units that allow rental returns to be maximised.

Shared ownership starts from £8,280 for any week per year in a 1,100sq ft studio, and from £22,380 in a two-bedroom, 3,000 sq ft beach house with pool. Full ownership starts from £522,500.

The first homes are due to be completed next year, and there are plans for a boutique hotel, spa, gym and two restaurants. A total 75 buyers have already invested.