St. Croix’s real estate market is booming at the start of 2021! For those hoping for a better year, the market sure is delivering. Homes enter and exit the market within days in some instances if priced correctly and staged well. The $1 million+ bracket has seen multiple closings, boosting sold volume 80% and average sales price 60%.
Condos are performing equally well. While the average sales price is down 8%, sold volume has more than doubled and the number under contract is up a healthy 50% which will surely boost the average sales price in the months ahead.
Land and commercial/industrial market activity yields positive gains as well. Limited residential inventory in the under $450,000 price range has fueled land sales, resulting in a whopping 1,209% increase in sold volume and a 747% gain in the average sales price.
If you’ve been pondering selling, now is a fantastic time. Call us for more detailed market analyses and to get your property on the market!
Enjoy our traditional quelbe music featuring Stanley and the Ten Sleepless Knights. As we close 2020, we are happy to announce that Jay Rollins is a new Blue Sky agent. He joins the recent addition of Ismail Yusuf and Yahya Yusuf. Bios and pics coming soon! We close December 22, 2020 and open on January 7, 2021. Of course, all of our agents are available via phone and we can make special appointments. Stay safe! Cheers to 2021! Best, Caryn, Stephanie and Everyone at Blue Sky
The holidays are officially here! This is our favorite time of the year. The Christmas breezes have arrived. The sky takes on that special vividness. There is talk of coquito, announcements of just picked guavaberries for sale, and special orders for roast goat and pasteles. Of course, this year’s festivities will be muted since we all have to practice good public safety by wearing masks, staying physically distant and limiting gatherings to households only. The US Virgin Islands are open for overnight visitors. Our villas are booked with travelers or owners who are opting to winter in the Caribbean. We encourage everyone to be safe while here. Our sales markets continue to show strength. Land, condos and homes are moving at a steady pace. Again, when priced correctly in a given market, properties move. One niche that exhibits very strong demand with little supply is the $250,000-$350,000 price range for single family homes. We have buyers ready to purchase these homes. The rental markets have seen a shift; rents are returning to pre-Maria rates. This is as much a function of increased supply and decreased demand particularly as the hurricane recovery has dwindled to a handful of personnel. The nice part is that many available rentals are now upgraded and offer up market amenities like air-conditioned rooms.
We will close at noon December 22, 2020 and re-open at 9am January 7th. We will all be working and available by cell phones during the holidays. We hope to see you soon! Warmly, Caryn & Stephanie
As October comes to a close and the Fall solstice is in full swing, we are reminded that our lives are still greatly affected by the coronavirus pandemic. Our cases remain relatively low in the Virgin Islands after a frightening late summer surge. We are happy to note that most of us continue to practice social distancing, hand-washing and mask-wearing. The results are that we have maintained a safe community thus far. However, we anticipate a very busy winter season as many mainlanders will choose to work remotely here in the US Virgin Islands. That bodes well for restaurants, stores, villas and hotels – as long as our coronavirus cases do not surge and overwhelm our community. We continue to see strong land, condo and home sales. We remain hopeful.
As summer winds down, so is the hurricane season. Fingers crossed that we are spared again this year. So far, so good. Nonetheless, stay ready!
The robust sales market continues. Rentals remain strong even as available inventory increases.
The Virgin Islands is now accepting visitors with testing protocols in place. Hotel stays and villa rentals have resumed. We hope to see everyone wearing masks to keep each other safe from coronavirus. It is easy to think that our relaxed pace of life does not require a mask. Au contraire!
We anticipate a healthy season. We think visitors and ex-pats alike will want to work from home in the Caribbean’s plentiful open air spaces.
Please stay safe! We look forward to seeing you very soon!
We find ourselves in the first week of a 2-week “Stay At Home” order due to a dangerous spike in positive coronavirus cases. This means no villa rentals or hotel stays for the next 30 days at least. Travel is restricted to business travel only. Read more about the latest travel update here.
We have to prepare to endure spikes, shutdowns and re-openings for the next year as long as the US Virgin Islands remains open for business and allows visits from family, friends, loved ones and tourists. The beaches are open until 6pm during the week, but close at 12 noon on weekends and holidays.
Hurricane season is upon us and a storm will be in our area starting tomorrow. As of this writing, we expect much-needed rain and some wind. Hopefully, that will be it. Please remember to check your hurricane supply kits, repair and secure your property and call your generator repairman NOW! Make sure you have as much done ahead of time. When a real threat emerges, it is nearly impossible and very stressful to prepare.
All public schools and many private ones have gone virtual this fall.
The housing market continues to remain very active. We seem to be echoing the national trend where home sales are up an astonishing 42%. The islands seem like a very nice option in this new remote work scene.
In other news, we thought it a good idea to remind everyone that the shorelines of the US Virgin Islands are public up to the 50 ft from the high-water mark or the first sign of vegetation (see code here). Of course, private property rights must be respected as well as the rights of those using the shorelines. We love the relatively open access to beaches that residents and visitors enjoy here. There are many beaches with plenty of open access and there are neighborhoods and property owners who provide the public access to one of our greatest natural resources- the beautiful Caribbean Sea. However, anyone can access the shorelines either by foot or by sea without trespassing. It is important to be aware of the law and we encourage a spirit of cooperation between beachfront property owners and beach lovers.
We are doing well and hope you are finding serenity wherever you are.
As the mainland United States careens into the fall with a mounting covid-19 infection rate and death toll, we, too, are coping with recent spikes in cases. Many have attributed the uptick to recent arrivals of Limetree Bay workers. Of course, that has happened, but Limetree is doing a pretty decent job of testing and isolating all of its positive employees. The re-opening of the tourism economy has also contributed to the increase as has family and friends coming back home to seek refuge for a short visit or to ride out the pandemic closer to home. Regardless of the reason, the Governor has taken firm steps to mitigate the spread to include increased testing, contact tracing and quarantining. Beaches close at 4pm on weekends, bars and restaurants are restricted to distanced table seating and all large gatherings have been banned. The National Park Service recently closed Buck Island over concerns about large numbers of visitors during the pandemic. However, our Delegate to Congress, Stacey Plaskett, has challenged the legality of the closure and has reminded the Park Service that Virgin Islanders are never banned from Buck Island as written in the law.
While we grapple with normalcy, the wheels of commerce continue to turn. The sales of homes, condos and land continue at a strong pace. We have seen the higher-end inventory moving very well. Since March, 6 homes have sold in excess of $900k – the exact same number for the same time period last year. Inventory is still limited in the lower price ranges. Long-term rentals have settled to a stable range coming in line with pre-hurricane recovery norms. The state of emergency imposed by the Governor in response to the pandemic ends at the end of July which will also end the stay on evictions. As supply and demand fluctuate, we expect the rental market to reflect that relationship. Landlords have greatly improved the quality of available rentals and the second phase of the recovery is offering repair assistance to landlords. www.vistormrecovery.com
Many vacation villas are leaving the long-term rental market and returning to housing visitors. One of our favorites, Mango Hill Great House, has hosted a consistent stream of happy travelers and a wedding or two this summer. People are ready for a change of scenery and with so many other Caribbean destinations closed to visitors, the US Virgin Islands provides a beautiful escape.
We have enjoyed eating a meal out here and there. Luckily, many restaurants on-island have open air seating. Take out is available island-wide but we all look forward to breaking bread with friends and loved ones in our favorite restaurants. We are sorry to lose our favorite Italian spot, Un Amore, and beloved balter, but these are a few of the new eateries that have opened recently- The Galleon, Double D’s Roadhouse Grill, Breakers Roar, Melee: Mobile Bar & Bites & Bon Manjer. Bon appetit!
We are convinced that brighter days await and we look forward to seeing all of you very soon! Thank you for your continued support and encouragement. Stay safe out there!
Greetings from St Croix! How fortunate we are to be living in these historic times.
Whilst much of the news is grim we find pockets of inspiration and reason to hope. That we have the opportunity to witness the power of people in creating a more just world and to see alliances between people of all races all over the world confronting injustice and demanding peace, economic security and real change is special.
We are paying attention.
If you love and live in the Virgin Islands, you will have seen the remnants of our brutal colonial legacy – sugar mills still dot the landscape, great houses are either in disrepair or have been rebuilt and repurposed as museums and private homes, formerly cultivated sea island cotton seems to grow wild, and eating sugar cane is now a favorite childhood treat and not a death sentence. Great pains have been taken to preserve and protect the architectural legacy of our towns especially. Preservation is not because we glorify colonialism, but because we respect the toil and artfulness of the mostly enslaved people who built these islands’ beautiful towns.
We would be remiss if we didn’t talk about Black Lives Matter and how that idea resonates here in the Virgin Islands and the broader Caribbean.
Black lives have always mattered in the Virgin Islands. Our parents and grandparents made sure we knew that our lives were important. Our history is replete with examples of our people fighting to make sure our lives mattered – The Amina in St John in 1733, General Buddhoe, Denmark Vesey who made his mark in Charleston, South Carolina, Nella Larsen, Harlem Renaissance writer, Edward Wilmot Blyden, philosopher, Hubert Harrison, Queen Mary and the Queens of the Fiyabun, D. Hamilton Jackson, Ruby Rouss, Walter I.M. Hodge and Louis E. Brown to name only a few. We are proud of that legacy. From resistance and rebellion to writing the Revised Organic Act to building affordable housing to provide safe shelter, our people have fought for our right to exist and to exist with dignity and equality.
We are proud of our community today- of the young people committing themselves to change, to the diverse community of people who live and love the Virgin Islands and who are allies in creating the Virgin Islands we love.
We are indeed fortunate. Wishing you well! Caryn, Stephanie and the Blue Sky Team
COVID-19’s effects are clear in the market! The numbers seem to be all over the place and confounding, but upon closer inspection, there may be clear patterns and explanations.
Inventory continues to drop in the residential sector, a fairly consistent trend since Hurricane Maria in 2017. Impacting the dismal sold and volume data may be the protracted amount of time loans are taking to close given the pandemic. Despite these sharp declines, the average sales price of homes has dipped only 3%, less than expected if you take the numbers at face value.
Condos, too, see drastic declines but the average sales price has actually increased by 25%.
Land continues to move as residential inventory remains low – people now opt to build given the few choices of already constructed homes. The sharp increase of 34% in the average sales price is a bit deceiving, however. A property in downtown Christiansted which sold for $999,999 and was classified as land actually had a structure on it so one could argue it was a commercial property and not land at all. This sale skewed the average sales price sharply so if we remove this sale, land prices remain stable.
The commercial/industrial sector is a mixed bag. More inventory and number under contract compared to the same time period last year but sharp declines in number sold, volume and average sales price. Once those under contract close, it will be interesting to look back at how these closings affect the data.
Overall, St. Croix’s real estate market remains healthy despite the challenges. We are seeing new, off island buyers and local buyers see opportunity and are getting in on the action!