We won't try and sugarcoat it, 2012 was a gloomy year on St. Croix, but 2013's St. Croix Real Estate statistics offer hope for both buyers and sellers!
For the uninitiated, a deluge of properties hit the market in the wake of Hovensa Oil Refinery's January 2012 closing announcement. Property values began to slide and sales were sluggish as residents and investors watched from the sidelines to see what would become of our little piece of paradise.
The 2013 year in review brings us good news! The market is moving again. Yes, in many cases sales values are lower - residential average sale prices were 19% lower than 2012. But, the number of units sold shot up 33%.
From our vantage point, it is clear that sellers adjusted their prices to reflect the market’s trends. Once they hit the right price point, the properties sold.
Not all average sales prices dropped. Condo average sale prices were up 7% with a 100% increase in number of units sold (2012- 34 units sold vs 2013-68 units sold). Lenders have opened up financing for condos making it much easier to grab the deals.
Commercial units also recorded an increase in average sales price, but the volume of transactions is relatively low (5 in 2012 vs. 9 in 2013). However, the fourth quarter of 2013 and the first quarter of 2014 show an upward trend in commercial activity. We predict a strong showing in the commercial sector this year.
Land sales saw movement, too, with a 21% uptick in total units sold, but the average sales price dropped 52% from 2012 to 2013. Still, we are impressed with these land numbers because bank financing on land is virtually impossible to secure on St. Croix right now. Owners are stepping up to the plate more often now to offer seller-financing on land.
What does it all mean?
For buyers, the new listings’ inventory is stabilizing and people are buying. It is a buyer's market now, but the inventory on our island is inherently limited. We recommend at least beginning your search now. There is value waiting for you.
For sellers, if you really want to move that property, we recommend the following:
- First impressions are HUGE - Buyers are savvy and in a position of strength. De-clutter inside and out and consider completing some of the DIY home repairs you have been postponing. Add a fresh coat of paint, clean the gutters, repair the fence and spruce up the lawn.
- Pricing is KEY - We know price reductions are a hard pill to swallow. However, the more realistic sellers are going to gravitate toward what prices are selling for today. The buyer is looking through a much different lens than 5-6 years ago. Work with your Realtor to review active comparable properties so you know your competition, and set a reasonable price based on sold comps.
We are optimistic that as buyers snap up the deals and supply shrinks, we will see values gradually rise. If you can sit on your property, great! Enjoy it!!
If you own a home, however, and you don't live in it and/or you cannot maintain it, consider your options before you watch the value plummet due to disrepair.
Blue Sky Real Estate represents large and small Caribbean real estate properties located all over St. Croix, St. Thomas, and St. John, US Virgin Islands and the British Virgin Islands. Whether you are interested in a luxury home, undeveloped land, condo, fix-upper, commercial property, a hilltop perch or a beachfront oasis, Blue Sky Real Estate can help.
Blue Sky Real Estate also offers property management services including screening applicants, paying bills, handing repairs, marketing online, checking inventory, assessing arrival/departure conditions, and staging property for maximum impact and income. Contact us to find out more.