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Anguilla’s Real Estate Nuance

Anguilla’s Real Estate Nuance:
Developing for the Future / Protecting the Past
As everyone who is familiar with Anguilla is aware, there was a substantial amount of real estate investment in marketing, construction and purchasing during the period from 1994 thru 1997—most notably in the arena of larger managed hotel residences featuring preconstruction sales efforts. The first two of these larger managed hotel residences (i.e. Viceroy at Barnes Bay and Flag at Rendezvous Bay) are both being built on sites that were marred by previous failed hotel efforts—in the case of Barnes Bay, Coccoloba; in the case of Rendezvous Bay, Sonesta. As such, Anguilla is in a much better position toady that she was in prior to the start of Viceroy and Flag as work in progress is much better than failed shells in ruin–one only has to look at decaying debris of Mullet Bay Resort in St. Maarten for confirmation of that grim fact. However, with the foregoing in mind, one must be concerned about the apparent troubles both Viceroy and Flag have encountered during their construction phases—and the pressure that has put on other managed residence communities that are being or have been planned… such as the projects at Rendezvous Bay, at Shoal Bay West, at Conch Bay, and at Shoal Bay East, et al. Interestingly enough, the construction issues facing Viceroy and Flag (along with the macro economic issues facing the global economy that are negatively impacting real estate investment and lending) might actually be seen to be having a positive impact on the pace of development on Anguilla as there are many who feel “too much too soon”—which is, of course, why Government put in place a moratorium on foreign owned large scale tourism investments…a moratorium which was at least partially offset by Anguillian owned projects that were approved after the moratorium was instituted (in particular: at Rendezvous Bay, Conch Bay and Shoal Bay East).

An interesting side effect to watch relating of the slow down in real estate investment and sales is the impact that such a slow down will have on corresponding real estate marketing and advertising—both locally and internationally. When things are going well, when the economy is thriving and sales are brisk, there is a tendency to minimize the expenses related to marketing and advertising as being unnecessary—however when things get slower, when the economy is lagging and sales are dormant, there may be a tendency to increase the expenses related to marketing and advertising as being essential in an effort to offset the damage of the downturn…especially in a market such as Anguilla’s where there has been a traditional and steadfast reluctance to lower prices (both on the part of the Anguillian as well as Expatriate owner).

A related side effect of the slow down that will be fascinating to consider relates to the political and educational component of the economic changes—those who felt the planned development was “too much too soon” may be pleased, while those who have invested for the spin off growth envisioned may find themselves struggling, while those who never fully understood the scope of the projects being proposed may simply be perplexed (whether that lack of full understanding encouraged them to feel that more or less was being built than was actually proposed and approved) …a group which most notably might include the younger generation (those currently in school or who have recently graduated).

With the issues facing Anguilla’s real estate market, current conventional wisdom suggests it would be best to be cautious and careful—however, as noted, for many people it is much too late to be cautious or careful as investments and commitments have already been made and they must move forward…hoping for the best, hoping for a turn around, hoping for forward motion. Yet if one has an underlying faith in Anguilla and an underlying understanding of the cyclical nature of real estate markets, one could argue that now is an appropriate time to be a true contrarian and invest—preferably not as a “bottom feeder” taking advantage of others misfortune, but as a proactive and prudent investor…whereby keeping true to Caribbean roots in terms of design and motif is commendable (as is being as green as possible with the development itself). One such project is the redevelopment of the historic Old Factory Complex across from the Catholic Church in the center of The Valley.

Given the economic importance of real estate in general and of the managed communities in particular, The Old Factory Complex is being redeveloped as a real estate gallery to provide a full service overview of the available real estate offerings on island—not only for the benefit of prospective purchasers, but also as an educational facility to ensure the general public (especially the younger portion of the community) is fully aware of and informed about the projects and developments being pursued. While this information is available in news print and at the various sales offices around island, to date there has not been a centralized facility showcasing the impressive array of projects being constructed or contemplated—by working with the developers themselves as well as with Government, the real estate gallery will help bridge an information gap amongst Anguillian and Expatriate alike…by being open to the general public, by facilitating school class trips, by being available for functions and social gatherings, the real estate gallery will assist in bringing real estate development into proper focus and profitability. Facilitating such focus is essential for the debate about real estate development to be meaningful and based on accurate information—facilitating profitability is essential for the entire community…for if new projects fail (whether they fail on new ground or on the grounds of projects that have previously failed) it will be disastrous for us all. As societies and communities grow and as their needs and commitments increase, there must be a concomitant growth in revenue, employment and education–even the Buddhist Kingdom of Bhutan has found it necessary to embrace change–a sobering reminder of its inevitability.

Scott Hauser was born in the USA (in 1954) and earned a Bachelor’s Degree from Kenyon College in Political Philosophy (in 1976) and a Master’s Degree from MIT in Real Estate Development (in 1991)–he has resided and worked on Anguilla since 1977. Since 1991, Mr. Hauser has been an independent entrepreneur establishing professional affiliate relationships with Xerox (in 1993), with FedEx & Kinko’s (in 2000) and with Sotheby’s International Realty (in 2004). In addition, he is duly licensed under Anguilla’s Companies Management Act to provide offshore corporate services for international clients. Further, he was granted Belonger status by the Executive Council (in 1992) and was appointed a Commissioner of Oaths by the Court (in 1993). Mr. Hauser has been Anguilla’s preeminent realtor since 1992.


Scott L Hauser

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