IF YOU WISH TO LAY CLAIM TO YOUR OWN PIECE OF PARADISE, BERMUDA IS A DESTINATION FOR THOSE WHO DREAM BIG. Like many visitors, chances are you’ve found yourself seduced by this unique slice of paradise and wondered how to turn a vacation here into something more. Buying a piece of Bermuda real estate — one of the world’s most rewarding property investments — is a natural next step. And thanks to new land policy changes and licencing fee reductions in recent years, buying into the Bermuda real estate dream is now more appealing than ever. New Paths to Ownership Bermuda has always placed importance on preserving a market share of the island’s houses for Bermudians, but changes to government land holding policies that were enacted in June 2012 have opened doors to more home ownership options for non-Bermudians. With the announcement that Bermudians are now allowed to sell their homes to non-Bermudians, there’s an undeniable buzz around the island. And the wider housing market has created a win-win situation for both buyers and sellers. With more houses now available to international buyers, your choice of where to place your foothold on the Bermudian dream lifestyle has never been more enticing. Essentially, as long as the house for sale has an annual rental value (ARV) of at least $177,000, or at least $32,400 for a condo, Bermudians are now able to sell to non-Bermudians. The land policy was amended to allow non-Bermudian spouses of Bermudians the right to acquire land without the former requirement of an additional licence. Now that spousal alien licences are no longer required, non-Bermudian spouses can purchase their own home much more easily. This change in policy is estimated to have led to an additional 35 percent in whole ownership inventory in Bermuda available for purchase by non-Bermudians. In 2013, exciting law changes to licencing fees brought even more good news for international buyers eyeing the island. As of April 1, 2013, the Bermudian government reduced licencing fees that non-Bermudian buyers are required to pay when purchasing a new house. Non-Bermudians used to have to pay a 25 percent fee, but now it’s a much lower 8 percent. The reason the licencing fee is there is because of the limited availability of inventory available to foreign buyers, and with more inventory than ever when it comes to where non-Bermudians can own, the time to buy is definitely now. Sallyann Smith, managing director for The Property Group Ltd., reinforces this claim. “In 2013, The Property Group had a very successful year, including the sale of three Ship’s Hill condominiums at the exclusive Tucker’s Point, all to non-Bermudians. With the recent sale of several major homes to non-Bermudians, we are confident that the Bermuda real estate market is gaining strength; and there continues to be tremendous interest in home sales and rentals.” A Privileged and Affordable Niche It’s fair to say that Bermuda ranks amongst the world’s most prestigious and pleasing places to live. Not quite English, certainly not American and far from Caribbean, Bermuda blends island style, cosmopolitan class and natural beauty. The Reefs Club, adjacent to The Reefs Resort in Southampton; Tucker’s Point Club, in Tucker’s Town; and the Newstead Belmont Hills Golf Resort & Spa, located on Hamilton Harbour in Paget, are the three fractional-ownership residences on the island. “The fractional-ownership option is particularly well suited for someone who plans to be on the island for only about a month a year,” says Buddy Rego, a long-standing island real estate expert and president of Rego Sotheby’s International Realty. Fractionals offer five weeks of guaranteed occupancy, plus the option for more. “In Bermuda, fractional ownership is the most affordable way to get involved in home ownership,” says Rego. The Newstead Hotel and Belmont Hotel & Golf Course, once independent hotels, were purchased by local investors and joined to create one of Bermuda’s premier resorts. “I think the idea of a golf resort paired with a waterfront resort and spa means that you have, in one property, the best that Bermuda has to offer,” says Bushara K. Bushara, general manager at Newstead Belmont Hills Golf Resort & Spa. “There is no other property like this in Bermuda. Due to the limited size of the island, we feel this opportunity to buy a centrally located second home, with both sea views and fairways, will not come to the market again.” Remember, this is a lifestyle like no other you are buying into — and one for which you’ll be handsomely rewarded. A Strong Economy At just 21 miles long, Bermuda lacks open land for development. So what you have here, for the most part, are long-standing residential areas that have functioned as stable and nurturing communities for decades. Pair that with the overall success of Bermudian businesses — a thriving local economy, to be sure — and you have the groundwork for a healthy, flourishing society and an ideal place to invest in a stable future of your own. Bermuda has the third-highest per-capita income in the world, and the moneyed populace enjoys world-class cultural opportunities, dining and recreational activities. Add to that Bermuda’s reputation as being safer than the Caribbean and the appeal is only enhanced for foreign buyers. The list of people who have purchased here reads like a who’s who of business, politics and Hollywood, including billionaire H. Ross Perot, actors Michael Douglas and Catherine Zeta- Jones, and former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg. Lifestyle lures aside, Bermuda’s healthy economy, paired with the weakened U.S. dollar and suffering housing market in the U.S. generates considerable interest from foreign investors looking to grab a share of the islands’ luxurious real estate. Bermuda’s stable real estate market is proving to be a lure for more overseas buyers. Whilst the world has been plagued by a stormy market, Bermuda’s climate has remained relatively steady by comparison — especially when it comes to real estate at the upper end of the luxury market available for purchase by non-Bermudians. When the North American housing market crashed, Bermuda properties fared much better, falling in value by only about 25 percent of what Equivalent properties in the United States suffered. So it’s no surprise that buyers eyeing the upper end of homes here continue to show considerable interest. Much of the buyer interest has come from the East Coast of the United States, Canada and the U.K. The U.S. buyer’s market, in particular, showed signs of rebounding in recent years, predominantly with American buyers in the luxury home segment, followed by British and Canadians in equal measure. Recent years have also shown an uptick in Europeans purchasing homes in Bermuda, whilst the condominium market has been dominated by keen buyers from Canada and South Africa as of late. Overall, Bermuda real estate continues to be seen as a good value in the global luxury market because it hasn’t suffered the downward pressure that the U.S. market experienced. The fact that Bermuda’s currency is pegged to the U.S. dollar, still weakened against the Euro and pound sterling, makes the territory more appealing to Europeans, too. And whilst U.S. citizens are taxed on their worldwide income, U.K. citizens who domicile elsewhere are not subject to the same tax regulations as when they live in their home country — a further incentive for the British to call Bermuda home. Timeshare Appeal Another option for outsiders to buy into the Bermuda lifestyle, if even only for a period each year, is timeshare or vacation ownership. At the East End of the island overlooking the UNESCO World Heritage old town and its historic harbour is The St. George’s Club. Designated as one of the pillars of the new tourism focus, that end of the island is unspoiled. It is like stepping back in time with all the most modern amenities still there.Seventy-one fully contained Bermuda-style cottages are perched on Rose Hill, offering fabulous views. They are set in about 12 acres of naturally landscaped gardens. The facilities house pools, tennis courts and two very popular restaurants. The St. George’s Club is a Bermudian-owned and -operated resort, and it offers members the right-to-use for up to six months for a period of up to 50 years. Unlike fractional ownership, timeshare does not bring with it the problems of owning real estate. “Peak season is very popular, but there are a few weeks left in our inventory; and as our mem-Bers age and their circumstances change, we do get requests to resell them for owners,” says Sally- Ann Kyle, president and general manager of The St. George’s Club. Rates do vary based on the time of year and start at as little as $5,000 for a week’s lease in a one-bedroom unit. Annual assessments range from about $1,350 to about $2,760 depending on the size of the unit and the time of year. Many of our members have been coming for more than 25 years and have memories of growing up on this island paradise in the middle of the Atlantic. “Our option is less expensive than a hotel for a family who love coming to Bermuda every year. We are less than two hours from the East Coast of the U.S. and less than seven from London. The full kitchen option allows people to have the convenience of eating breakfast in their cottage, and our excellent restaurants offer lunch and dinner with menus and wines that cater to all tastes,” says Kyle. The St. George’s Club offers excellent rates for someone wishing to have a “try before you buy” visit, subject to availability, of course. Stake Your Claim With such a variety of options for gaining a foothold in one of the world’s most desirable destinations to live, work and play, there’s a niche for every discerning home buyer with an eye on Bermuda. Deciding which pied-à-terre appeals to you most will be the hardest part. After that, you’ve gained a stake in Bermuda’s enviable and sophisticated mix of sun, sea and sand. And being in on the real estate market, of course, lets you breathe easier, too, knowing you’ve invested in one of the most beautiful and desirable destinations on the planet. BERMUDA LONGTAIL REAL ESTATE LTD. Tel: 232-2769 / 535-2769 E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org Website: bermudalongtailrealestate.com Bermuda Longtail Real Estate Ltd. Is a dynamic company that prides itself in providing excellent sales and rental services in Bermuda and internationally. They are a family-owned and -operated business and have more than 40 combined years of professional experience in the real estate field. Whether you are a buyer, seller, tenant or landlord, Bermuda Longtail Real Estate will make your real estate experience a pleasant one. Call them today and begin your journey to your new home! NEWSTEAD BELMONT HILLS GOLF RESORT & SPA 27 Harbour Rd., Paget Tel: 236-6060 E-mail: email@example.com Website: newsteadbelmonthills.com Newstead Belmont Hills Golf Resort & Spa is pleased to offer you a rare fractional ownership opportunity. With just 45 suites and studios available on the property, you’re guaranteed exclusive and convenient access to everything the island has to offer — no worries and no waiting for reservations. Fractional ownership allows an individual(s) to invest in a one-sixth deeded interest in a limited number of luxurious suites: studio, one bedroom, two bedroom And three bedroom. The one-sixth interest allows the owner eight weeks of usage per year, two weeks in each season. Each residence features a kitchen area, generous bathroom and well-appointed living and bedroom area in each configuration. All suites have a commanding view over the gardens to the ocean and across to the city of Hamilton. In addition to their standard array of amenities, fractional owners will be favoured with the most attentive service and highest level of benefits such as pre-ordered grocery upon arrival, owner storage, membership at the Belmont Hills Golf Club and access to your own owners lounge. Any unused time by each owner will be put into a rental pool. The management company will market the unused inventory and will oversee the care and maintenance of each individual residence. The management company and the owner will split the revenues 60/40 with 40 percent going to the owner. Newstead aims to ensure all owners feel as if they are staying at their own island home. THE PROPERTY GROUP LTD. Nautilus House, 82 South Rd., Warwick Tel: 234-6900 E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org Website: property-group.com The Property Group Ltd. Is the finest of Bermuda’s real estate companies. They represent the most desirable properties available in every sector of the residential market for sale or rent on the island. Call their office or e-mail them for more information. After hours, please contact Sallyann Smith at 535-4521 or Brittany Archer at 505-1466. REGO SOTHEBY’S INTERNATIONAL REALTY Cavendish House, 2 Cavendish Rd., Hamilton Tel: 292-3921 Website: regosothebysrealty.com Rego Sotheby’s International Realty (Rego SIR), Bermuda oldest real estate company, was founded in 1949 and has grown into Bermuda’s premier real estate company. Part of the Sotheby’s International Realty worldwide network, Rego SIR offers a full complement of services: residential and commercial sales and leasing; valuations; insurance; property management; and landlord and tenant consultancy. Rego SIR continues to lead Bermuda’s real estate industry to meet the needs of their diverse high-net worth clientele. THE ST. GEORGE’S CLUB 6 Rose Hill, St. George’s Membership Office Tel: 297-1222 E-mail: email@example.com Website: stgeorgesclub.com Set on Rose Hill overlooking the UNESCO World Heritage old town is The St. George’s Club, a cottage hotel and vacation ownership resort. Seventy-one Bermudian-style one- and two-bedroom cottages are set in about 12 acres of landscaped gardens with three swimming pools, three tennis courts, bocce and croquet court, a fitness centre and a scooter rental facility. Boasting three restaurants: Griffin’s Bistro & Bar and the new Vespa Pizzeria located in the main Club House and The Beach House at Fort St. Catherine located five minutes away by complimentary shuttle or a pleasant walk across the adjacent Robert Trent Jones golf course (reopening in 2015) at the secluded beach of Achilles Bay.
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