Caribbean Luxury – Cough up the Cost or choose Closer to Home?
Since the 1990’s tourism has been one of the leading economic drivers for the Caribbean island of Barbados, and where tourists try, they buy… it has become one of the most sought after destinations across the pond for wealthy investors whose demands for off-shore banking far outweigh their concerns for their bank surviving the credit crunch! However, if a quiet night in with the movie ‘Cocktail’ is all you can afford to fulfil your Caribbean dreams then the alternative haven of the Cape Verde Islands could be the vodka in that martini that you’ve been longing for…
As the closest tropical destination to mainland Europe, just five and a half hours direct flying time from the UK, the Cape Verde Islands are being discovered by investors and holidaymakers seeking their slice of paradise. The islands are blessed with powder white sands, crystal clear waters and year round temperatures in the high twenties; it’s easy to see why comparisons with the Caribbean are common. Barbados still remains popular with property purchasers but with a price tag to mirror this, many are looking for a more affordable alternative, so how does Cape Verde compare?
Barbados is renowned for its idyllic, sun-blushed shoreline, which boasts some of the most beautiful beaches in the Caribbean; in fact The Crane was voted one of the ten best beaches in the world by Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous.
They may not be as famous, but the Cape Verde Islands can offer amazing white sandy beaches, completely deserted. Jane Dolan, a big Cape Verde fan recently returned form the islands and said “ I walked for 4 hours on a beautiful beach and saw absolutely no-one, it was incredible.” Some islands are swept by trade winds making them perfect for surfing and windsurfing, whilst the sand dune island of Boa Vista boasts 60% of all of Cape Verde’s beaches and new international flights. Matt Brooks a keen kite surfer, purchased a one bedroom apartment on Sal with the aim of spending the winter months indulging in his favourite past time, he says, “my criteria for a second home was to find somewhere affordable with a stable economy which combines my love for water sports, Cape Verde was the perfect choice”.
Barbados has been one of the world’s premiere holiday destinations for many years and as such, just about every leisure activity is available here, with water sports at the top of the list. Fans of fishing, kayaking, kite and wind surfing, scuba diving and snorkelling are all well catered for across the island.
Cape Verde is also a water sports paradise and although the industry may not be as developed as in Barbados, centres for water sports, diving and deep sea fishing are opening up across the archipelago. The largest marlin in the world was caught of the Cape Verde coast. Surfing and windsurfing are both popular on the island of Sal, in fact the PWA (Professional Windsurfers Association) International Windsurfing Championship was held on Sal in March this year. San Vicente has a large harbour and marina for the many sailboats visiting the islands.
Flights run to Barbados daily and the island is serviced by several major airlines. However the 8 1/2 hour flight time is significantly more than that of a flight to the Cape Verde Islands. With recent airport and inter-island air connections such as the new service from Halcyon Air, accessibility to and within Cape Verde has been significantly improved. This increase in air and ferry services is good news for holidaymakers and investors alike, meaning increased tourism and more spending for the islands. There will be 4 international airports in Cape Verde by next year.
Barbados has long been a sound opportunity for property buyers which has helped drive up the asking prices. Although this is good for property owners, this means buyers who are looking to get a foothold on the island’s property ladder are finding it increasingly difficult. In spite of this, the Dollar’s current weak value against the Pound does mean that there is the opportunity for value for money.
Property prices in the Cape Verde Islands are still benefiting from the island’s relatively unknown status with investors, so with prices remaining low, investors now have a fantastic opportunity to get in on the ground level of what is set to become a holiday hotspot.
Adrian Lillywhite of Cape Verde Property Ltd comments, “As the UK moves into colder months, seasonally and economically, people are looking for that winter sun getaway and a safer investment for their savings. The Caribbean is the ultimate second home destination without doubt, but for those with smaller budgets, Cape Verde offers a fantastic and viable alternative, I speak from experience when I say it is a fabulous place to escape to!”
So how much bang can investors get for their buck? Caribbean properties, especially those located in sturdy markets such as Barbados seem unaffected by the credit crunch. Luxury properties such as the Mount Standfast Villas, available through Windsor Worldwide International Property, located on the exclusive west coast of Barbados comprise 3 double bedrooms, each with 3 bathrooms, private pool and parking and start from $999,950 / £508,300.
Comparatively in more emerging markets such as the Cape Verde islands potential property purchasers can secure similar sized properties at a more affordable rate. The Dunas Beach Resort and Spa for example, located on the most established tourism island of Sal,offers 3 bedroom / 3 bathroom villas on Ponta Preta Beach from just €329,950 with a fixed euro rate of 1.4 to the pound, so just £235,678 fixed and is available through Cape Verde Property Ltd.
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Contacts for further information:
Windsor Worldwide International Property
Cape Verde Property Ltd