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Published Articles on Real Estate - Anguilla Life Magazine


The High Value of Low Impact-Villa Tourism & Real Estate

As the real estate market has improved on Anguilla over the last number of months, and as there has been an increasing number of up market property and home purchases and sales, the growth of villa tourism is becoming an interesting issue. Most real estate transactions on Anguilla that require an Alien Land Holding License are for the development or purchase of vacation homes. Due to the fact that those interested in retirement homes are primarily interested in areas that offer community settings with state of the art medical facilities (i.e. Florida and Arizona), the investors interested in Anguilla tend to be pre-retirement high net worth individuals anxious to improve their quality of life. As such, the homes most foreigners own on Island will be vacant most of the time, unless they are rented-hence, villa tourism..

Villa tourism represents the opposite end of the spectrum from cruise ship tourism, with hotel tourism occupying a central position between these two extremes. Cruise ships disgorge large numbers quickly, in one spot, then take them away; hotels congregate tourists in one spot for extended stays; villas disperse people throughout the island, so even if large numbers are involved the impact is minimized. Cruise ship tourists can be expected to know the least about a destination because their mode of transport is their ultimate focus; hotel tourists can be expected to learn a bit more during their stay; but it's villa tourists that can be expected to learn the most. Villa tourists are more often independent and on their own..

Following from the above, villa owners can be expected to know even more about their island home than any of these types of tourists. Villa owners become more closely associated with their second home by virtue of the fact that they have made a substantial financial commitment and are usually resident more frequently and for longer periods. Therefore, as we work to expand our economy and improve our standard of living while maintaining our values and traditions, what better type of tourist than the villa tourist, what better type of investor than the villa developer?

Not only are villa tourists and villa owners more likely to respect existing values on Island, the fact that their villas are located throughout the island improves the value of all land-not just the beach land demanded by hotels. Due to the fact that Anguilla is flat that it is difficult to protect view lines from anywhere but the coast, the highest land values will accrue to coastal property giving an economic advantage to those with coastal land to sell. However private homes and villas ultimately represent the best investment vehicle for the greatest number of landowners to realize their real estate values.

An interesting side note to consider is the impact decentralized villa development will have on the general affordability of property on Island. While foreign land sales will put upward price pressure on all land, it is particularly coastal land that will be impacted. Foreign investment will not significantly inflate inland prices because foreigner investors normally require unobstructed and protected sea views. Such unobstructed and protected sea views can only be realized on Anguilla from coastal property--we lack the mountainous interior that can provide these required views from inland locations. Therefore, inland property should remain relatively available and affordable. Given that inland property has traditionally been the property of choice for Anguillian development (less sea blast, less hurricane threat, etc.), foreign coastal land and villa development should have minimal negative societal implications, provided coastal access is ensured for all..

In order to maximize the benefit to Anguilla, to maximize the value of coastal property, to maximize the investment that foreigners will be prepared to make to purchase or develop their villa, it is essential that there be the opportunity for a viable return on investment. To accomplish this viable return, villa tourism must be encouraged--but not mandated. Freedom of choice must be the operative principal, for flexibility is a fundamental incentive required to encourage private, high net worth investment.

Anguilla can take over from where Montserrat left off-- with world class beaches as well..


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