Global Spotlight: Tropical Destinations Lure International Buyers

Above, Bermuda’s Westcoast Topsail is listed for $2,950,000

From the appeal of year-round coastal living to the desire to lead a laid-back yet upscale lifestyle, destinations in tropical locales are becoming increasingly popular for homebuyers across the globe. This month, we take a look at three brokerage firms in sun-drenched locations to find out the trends that are driving property sales in their markets.

050 Sharon Cranfield 1Sharon Cranfield
Cranfields Property Bermuda

Tell us about your company.
Cranfields Property Bermuda (CPB) is a family-run business that opened in 2013 as a boutique style agency that has grown organically over the past 10 years. We serve the international and local Bermudian market, covering the entire country of Bermuda, and handle all types of real estate—residential and commercial sales, rentals and property management. We have an in-house appraiser, compliance department and an internationally licensed real estate trainer. Our real estate connections thread through the whole community, and we value and respect all our property partners. 

Please describe your current housing market.
Since COVID, we have been low in inventory of stand-alone homes and internationally available properties (for non-Bermudian buyers). New international condo inventory is steadily increasing in both price and demand, with a backlog of purchasers waiting for new developments to complete. International house prices remain stable.

Larger Bermudian-only family homes are coming to market at higher prices, and there is a quick turnover through cash buyers. Other segments are not as buoyant, specifically at the lower end of the local market where buyers are struggling to afford mortgages and cope with inflation and higher interest rates. 

We have a strong investment market, supported by rental demand and increased rental prices. Because the majority of international employees are on work-permit contracts and can’t buy, there is a very strong rental market. Right now, we are near a crisis point in terms of rental availability. 

Tell us about the market for international real estate investors in Bermuda.
International buyers can purchase condos through investment in the Economic Investment Residence Certificate (EIRC) program. The EIRC program grants residency to an international investor and their family, and this allows for the purchase of one or two condos as part of an investment of $2,500,000 in Bermuda. Alternatively, condos in a tourism development are also available to international buyers. 

In Bermuda, a $35,000,000 purchase on the ocean buys you a prestigious 14-acre estate with mansion house, multiple cottages, a glorious beach and pool. The $6,950,000 purchase of Glebe House with renovation and updates, could double your investment.  

Bermuda is a remote island location, often under-appreciated or unknown. Its high-end real estate properties compare with some of the best global locations in the world, rivaling these in terms of desirability, safety, security and privacy. We offer a high standard of living to those looking for a secondary residence. 

Our international investors are mainly from the USA, predominantly the East Coast U.S., but we also see multiple European and Canadian investors. We comply

051 The Glebe House 1
The Gebe house in Bermuda is listed for $6,950,00.

with European standards and laws for anti-money-laundering and KYC.  

What advice do you have for foreign buyers interested in buying in your area?
Foreign buyers with an understanding of the purchase process in Bermuda will fare better. CPB will provide an overview of the process and the current market, as well as arrange to show properties of interest. We would then help the buyer to align with a lawyer versed in immigration and real estate law, and we can advise and guide you through the process. The smoothest transitions to life on the island are those through a relocation company that will arrange school visits and previews, family pet imports, drivers’ licenses, car purchase and registrations, etc. 

What do you love most about living in your area?
Bermuda affords you an exhale, a place where you can come to get away from the world and enjoy a slower pace of life but a high standard of living. This is not a transitional summer community. Residents are included in our close-knit community, with its very old-style culture and a classically beautiful way of life.

How does being part of Leading Real Estate Companies of the World® support your business?
We love the closeness of the LeadingRE global family—we feel part of a group of like-minded people with similar goals, ethics and standards. LeadingRE is constantly evolving and adapting to meet new trends in real estate.

051 Edgar Karim fotoEdgar Karim
Co-Founder and Chief Commercial Officer
Propiedades Cancún
Cancún, México 

Tell us about your company.
Propiedades Cancun began its history in 2014 in the city of Cancún, beginning by marketing our family’s own properties. Little by little, it expanded in the new growth area of the city, until it became the No. 1 real estate agency in sales for several consecutive years in volume of residential transactions of the Cumbres Group. We began to expand the inventory portfolio to luxury developments and properties in Puerto Cancún. Our service, professionalism and the added value that we have generated for our clients have led us to continue growing year after year.

How would you describe your current housing market?
Inventory is growing, and home prices are rising, with the average price being $4,000,000 MXN (approx. $235,000 USD). We have two different markets. The luxury properties that have a limited inventory, the middle and high-end houses for the people who live in the city and the new market for Cancun: the short-term rentals in the new developments. 

PC-Corasol, located in Mexico’s Riviera Mayo, is listed for approxamitely $1,682,000.

What type of properties do you sell, which are the most popular, and what features or amenities are especially popular with your buyers?
There are two types of properties where we have a lot of demand: residential houses and condos in developments where they allow short-term rentals. In both cases, clients ask to be in a gated community, with amenities such as swimming pools, paddle tennis courts, gym, pet parks, social terraces, roofs, etc.  

What are some of the most important trends in your market?
The state of Quintana Roo has about 130,000 hotel rooms. Cancún alone received 33.7 million tourists in 2023, which is causing the hotels to grow at rates of 6,000 to 8,000 rooms annually versus the 300 units each year that are made for vacation rentals or short-term properties.  We have a huge demand for this product in Cancún because of the profit they have for the investors. 

What are your biggest challenges/opportunities for growth?
With the big investments the federal government is making in the south of the country, especially Cancún, a lot of foreign investment is coming. We are about to have three main projects in the city: the Mayan Train that will travel all over the peninsula to the different Mayan ruins, a bridge that will cross over the lagoon from the city of Cancún to the hotel zone in less than 10 minutes and the new malls for tourism for Latin Americans. United States citizens are our number one investors, but also Europeans, Canadians and Colombians. 

What advice do you have for buyers outside your area?
I encourage foreign buyers to invest in the developments built for short-term rentals before these federal projects are finished. The price was $40,000 per square meter in 2022, $50,000 in 2023 and now it is $60,000. In 2022, we received 30 million tourists; in 2023 we received 33.7 million tourists. 

Seeing this, it’s easy to protect the growth tendency. The prices are going to continue growing, so the capital gain is expected to be incredible if a buyer puts down no more than 20% of the payment of a unit now and pays the difference in two or three years. Cancún is not only the No. 1 tourist destination of Mexico and Latin America, but one of the favorite places around the world. 

What value do you get from being a member of LeadingRE?
LeadingRE is a sign of professionalism. If a firm is part of this exclusive membership, it’s because they are doing things correctly. We are part of this network of the best real estate companies, which allows us to help new buyers to make the best investments in our incredible city. 

053 Sabine A. Mertes UrbahnSabine A. Mertes-Urbahn
Select Caribbean Properties
Dominican Republic 

Please share some background on your company and what makes it unique.
Select Caribbean Properties serves mainly the north coast of the Dominican Republic, but also the rest of the island through great connections that have been established over 22-plus years. We stand out among the real estate companies on the north coast because of the great service we provide. We not only sell real estate, but we also offer the whole concept of this amazing lifestyle. We are knowledgeable of local real estate law, and we can connect our clients with local reputable attorneys. The fact that we speak five different languages attracts more and more clients.  

Please describe your current housing market. 
The average home price for a 2-3 bedroom house is between $250,000 and $550,000, but prices can vary depending on the location and the type of property. The economy has been very stable in the Dominican Republic in the last few years, but like everywhere else in the world, prices are increasing. This is especially true in new construction; the cost of steel, concrete, cement and materials in general is going up. There has been a consistent increase in both interest and development, especially in the tourist area. This growth is not just limited to commercial properties, but extends to residential housing as well. The demand for housing has been driven by both local and foreign buyers, leading to a dynamic and growing market. Demand ranges from luxury villas to beachfront condos and single homes but also mountain retreats.

What home features or amenities are especially popular with your buyers? 
Apartments in urban and tourist areas are highly sought after. They appeal to a wide range of tenants, including young professionals, expatriates and small families, due to their convenience, security and amenities—especially in the famous surf town Cabarete, where everybody wants to be. It is the globe’s best surfing and kite hotspot.  

What are some of the most important trends in your market?
The growth in tourism, remote work and sustainable living, coupled with technological advancements, are likely to keep demand strong in many regions. Luxury properties in tourist destinations and eco-friendly homes across the country are experiencing unique trends. Both the luxury real estate market and the eco-friendly market are improving rapidly. They are reflecting broader global trends in travel, lifestyle and environmental awareness.

053 Pool Arial View Cabarete Garden Villa
Cabaret Garden Villa is located at Sea Horse Ranch in the Dominican Republic and listed for $935,000.

Are you seeing much foreign investment, and, if so, from which countries? How has this changed in recent years?
The country’s strategic location in the Caribbean and its direct flights from major cities in North America and Europe  makes it an accessible destination for international investors. Cities like Santo Domingo, Punta Cana and Santiago are experiencing a rapid growth. These areas are hubs for tourism and business, attracting both domestic and international investment. The development of infrastructure and amenities in these cities further fuels their growth. 

What do you love most about living in your area?
The endless possibilities this wonderful coastal area has to offer. The everyday morning or evening walks on the beach. The option to choose between all the water sports activities, horseback riding or tennis. The enormous diversity of culinary varieties. Making friends with people from all over the world.    

How does being part of Leading Real Estate Companies of the World® support your business?
Being part of Leading Real Estate Companies of the World is such a delight in many ways. I have learned so much about the real estate industry, business and a life of meeting wonderful people around the world. It is an honor to be part of the global membership network. 

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