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Trinidad And Tobago To Lead The Caribbean Property Recovery
October 9, 2009Article by Ray Withers
As Costa Rica beat Trinidad and Tobago to improve its chances of qualifying for the World Cup, the Caribbean property markets have been taking tentative first steps toward recovery, with Trinidad and Tobago set to lead the way through growth in foreign investment.
“Property in the Caribbean had gotten expensive in the last few years, and it had become somewhat of a status symbol considered by only the fortunate. Now that prices have fallen — though not by as much as Spain for example — people are determined to seize the opportunity before it slips from their grasp,” said Ray Withers director of international property investment consultancy Property Frontiers.
“Property in Trinidad and Tobago is a favourite because it is perceived as one of the safest and most secure places in the Caribbean, both from a natural disaster perspective because it is outside the hurricane belt, and from a financial perspective because it has a stable economy capable of strong growth in the mid-long term,” Withers added.
Trinidad and Tobago’s economy has grown massively in the last few years according to World Bank figures:
After contracting by an average 0.4% between 1985 and 95 the economy has been growing annually at above 6% on average according to the World Bank’s at-a-glance report. A more detailed report, also from the World Bank shows that Trinidad and Tobago’s GDP almost doubled from USD 32,001.93 Billion in 2000, to USD 60,587.02 Billion in 2008.
The latest data from the World Bank is from 2004, at which point it said that the T&T economy was primarily fuelled by the services sector, which accounted for 51.1% of GDP. According to an article in the Trinidad Guardian the services sector now accounts for 59% of GDP.
Trinidad and Tobago has been hit quite hard by the downturn, especially by the drop in tourism numbers. This has led to transactions and prices falling in the property market. Property prices fell an estimated 19% in 2008 (after inflation) and further falls have been recorded this year.
However, the recession has not been as severe as was first expected and now that things are beginning to recover internationally, it is expected that sales will begin to recover in 2010.”We are expecting a slow recovery to begin in most Caribbean property markets in line with rising international sentiment in 2010. People are starting making enquiries now; they don’t want to miss out on the low prices,” said Ben Jeffries Property Frontiers sourcing manager.