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Is NYC building a private beach in the Bahamas?

By Kimberly Reynolds     Feb 11, 2014 in Travel
For many years after the markets crashed in 2008, New Yorkers made due with only one home. Now that real estate is rebounding, many are looking to the Bahamas for their second home.
The Bahamas is known as the ultimate getaway, with companies like Holiday Cruise Line and the Albany Resort offering Americans their dream vacation. With its relative proximity to the East Coast, the Bahamas has long been a favorite destination for New Yorkers wishing to escape the frigid cold.
New York Adding a Sixth Borough Says Holiday Cruise Line
New York City is composed of five boroughs — or so we thought. Real estate experts say that in addition to Manhattan, The Bronx, Brooklyn, Queens and Staten Island, the beach front borough of Bahamas is in the making. Residents are not just booking their stay with Holiday Cruise Line or the Albany, they are buying vacation properties as well.
Investors from NYC are diving into the Bahamian real estate market in ever increasing numbers. The lull following the crash of the markets in 2008 has been replaced by near frantic building and buying of new luxury resort properties. The main drivers are the residents of NYC, looking for a way to escape from the Polar Vortex.
The Albany Survives Crash
One development in the Bahamas that managed to avoid the market crash of 2008 was The Albany, a luxury resort featuring investors such as Tiger Woods and Ernie Els. Howard M. Lorber, the chairman of Douglas Elliman and the chief executive of investment firm New Valley, leads the NYC connections to the Albany. Lorber is developing a midrise condominium, Honeycomb, at the Albany resorts hoping to capitalize on vacation dreams of NYC residents.
Horacio LeDon, the Douglas Elliman broker heading up marketing efforts for Honeycomb said what everyone is thinking, “This is New York in the Bahamas.”
Marina Builds Up
The Honeycomb condominium joins three other new buildings expected to open this year in the Bahamas. These buildings, designed by such well-known architects as Gwathmey Siegel Kaufman, HKS of Dallas and Morris Adjmi of New York, have already sold out.
The new condominium developments are positioned around the marina and are incorporated into the island resort’s master plan. The plan was developed by Andrés Duany, best known as the designer of the planned community of Seaside, Fla. The owners hope that this next stage of the development will extend the Albany’s reach beyond wealthy athletes, industry leaders and celebrities, to sun seeking New Yorkers in general. Come for a Holiday Cruise Line vacation and stay in your own home.
Vacation Properties Rebound
The Albany resort is capitalizing on a reviving interest in second homes among New Yorkers.
“We are seeing an increase in American second-home owners coming to the Bahamas, especially over the past six months,” said Heather Lightbourn Peterson, a broker at Coldwell Banker in Nassau.
“Wealthy New Yorkers have been going down to the Bahamas for quite some time, and all without any proper marketing. We, Douglas Ellman Brokers, aim to change that,” Horacio DeLon said.
More marketing means more NYC clients heading to the Bahamas.
Luxury Neighbors
The new developments in the Bahamas join an elite group of American companies who have interests in the vacation paradise. Among those is Holiday Cruise Line, who in addition to providing island cruises, owns a private little slice of paradise at CocoCay. The island playground resort is reserved for their Bahamas cruise passengers, who can snorkel, parasail, kayak or unwind by one of the many Oceanside pools.
If your budget does not include purchasing a private island, there are still many bargains to be had in the Bahamas.
Everett Pinder, a real estate agent with Treasure Cay Real Estate said, “Prices dropped as much as 30 to 40 percent between 2007 and 2010, depending on the area. Prices are still down that far.”
NYC Residents Find Affordability
For most NYC residents looking to find a vacation home in the sun the Bahamas offers some great bargains if the owners are willing to walk to the beach. The price difference between beachfront and inland property is huge with inland houses starting at $575,000, but rising to $3 million for a beachfront location.
There is a steep difference, up to 30 percent more, in property prices between Nassau, the capital and other major ports such as Treasure Cay. This is because Nassau is easier to reach from the United States, and has more shopping and nightlife than Treasure Cay.
Easy Ownership
There are no restrictions on foreign property ownership in the Bahamas. Residents of NYC buying property can apply to the Bahamian government for permanent residency status, a move some people make because it may carry significant tax advantages.
With affordable prices, easy foreign ownership rules and a short flight or voyage from NYC it’s easy to see why residents of the Big Apple are flocking to the Bahamas. There may not be a bridge to connect it, but it appears NYC has a new borough where a parka is for fashion only. Now, after sailing the seas with Holiday Cruise Line, they are staying to enjoy a warm winter in the Bahamas.
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