Luxury Outlook 2022
An ambitious exploration into high-end residential markets across the globe.
Featured as home to one of Condé Nast Traveler’s “Secret Islands of the Caribbean” Michelle Bess Bellegarde, chief executive officer, St. Vincent & the Grenadines Sotheby’s International Realty shares insight on one of the Caribbean’s best kept secrets.
“Although it’s well known to royals, avid sailing enthusiasts, and those looking for paradise unspoiled, the secret is getting out,” shares Bellegarde. “Here, luxury is not simply a price point, and those who travel here and choose to make it home come from all walks of life.”
“Although it’s well known to royals, avid sailing enthusiasts, and those looking for paradise unspoiled, the secret is getting out.”
St. Vincent and the Grenadines, among other Eastern Caribbean nations, has worked very hard to create a business-friendly environment with very low taxes, developer incentives, low cost of living, and new programs like Citizenship by Investment. “We have developed our islands to cater to a variety of lifestyles for luxury buyers including resort, golf, diving, yachting and sailing,” says Bellegarde. “Tourism and real estate purchasers in the Grenadines are now almost equal between the United States and the United Kingdom, to be followed closely by Canada. Our incentives have brought the greatest interest from Europe, The Middle East, Russia and China.”
While still a hidden gem, tourism is certainly at the heart of this island nation’s trends. “As increased airlift and cruise births continue to be announced by major carriers and cruise lines, we continue to see an increase in tourism and housing development,” says Bellegarde. “The highly-anticipated Argyle International Airport opened in February 2017 and has been met with great excitement, [delivering] an uptick in travel to the Grenadines as well as an uptick in business interests.”
Living here is living clean and living off the land. “No McDonalds, no Starbucks,” says Bellegarde. “Our food is organic and freshly prepared in local restaurants that rival the very best. Our fishermen still make their own boats and many old marine traditions like whaling are still practiced.”
Although a fading tradition, St. Vincent & the Grenadines is one of only a few nations that still whale for food. “Whale is not for everyone,” says Bellegarde, “but they say our lobster is the best in the world.”
“Don’t call Mick Jagger an expat!”
“Don’t call Mick Jagger an expat!” says Bellegarde with a smile. Celebrities like the Rock ‘n’ Roll Hall of Famer and Rolling Stones front man prefer to be called “locals” when enjoying their time on the island nation. Jagger is in good company with the likes of Tommy Hilfiger, Shania Twain, Bryan Adams and of course, members of the British Royal Family, enjoying the local moniker as well.
With homes ranging from $2,500,000 on the “secret” island of Bequia, to $7,000,000 on the resort island of Canouan, exclusivity and privacy are king and queen; on some islands this secrecy extends too, to value of property. “On Mustique, the actual sales price of luxury homes is highly guarded,” says Bellegarde. “Privacy and peace are the two things that our buyers crave most. They don’t want to be alone; they actually want to be in a community, but in a place where no one cares who they are or where they came from. They want to be free to make friends and be themselves in a place where what matters is who they are right here.”