House Hunting in Turks and Caicos: Open-Air, Oceanfront Solitude

This three-bedroom villa is about again from a 40-foot cliff overlooking the Atlantic Ocean on the island of South Caicos, considered one of 9 inhabited islands and cays in the Turks and Caicos archipelago.

Known as Coral Villa, the Caribbean-inspired home contains a collection of interconnected pavilions with steel roofs. Its 2,zero20-square-foot inside opens to an extra 2,580 sq. ft of exterior residing house on a 1.54-acre lot.

Completed in 2019, it’s considered one of 9 completed properties (and the primary resale) in the Peninsula Villas neighborhood of Sailrock Resort, a 770-acre improvement with 300 homesites set amongst pure vegetation, distinctive topographies and various shorelines.

“It is a barefoot luxury lifestyle,” mentioned Michael Bovell, a gross sales consultant with Sotheby’s International Realty Turks and Caicos, which has the itemizing.

The single-level home is reached alongside an unpaved highway to a mud driveway edged on the entrance of the home by craggy stones, with a indifferent one-car storage to at least one aspect.

A glass-paned entrance door opens to a hallway resulting in a central nice room with almost 17-foot vaulted ceilings, uncovered wooden and travertine flooring. To one aspect is a kitchen with customized wooden cabinetry, white quartz counter tops and a middle island with a wine cooler. Four wooden stools match beneath the breakfast bar.

A desk with wooden benches on either side anchors the eating house. The residing space has matching sofas, a sisal rug and a tv atop a wooden sideboard. The home, which might be rented out by means of the resort’s lodge program, is being offered furnished.

Large, hurricane-rated glass sliding doorways slide open from the residing space to a pergola-covered terrace with wicker-like Janus et Cie furnishings, a heated swimming pool and panoramic ocean views. Another pergola-shaded terrace is on the reverse finish of the good room.

The bedrooms occupy the pavilions bracketing the good room. Each has an en suite bathtub with an out of doors bathe inside a stonewalled backyard. A separate door leads from the bedrooms to non-public oceanfront terraces.

The two major bedrooms even have walk-in closets and quartz-topped vanities, trough sinks and Grohe plumbing fixtures in the bogs. Every room is air-conditioned.

The villa is a five-minute golf cart journey to Sailrock’s Great House. Resort facilities embrace two eating places and bars, a spa, a health middle, an infinity-edge pool, bike paths and secluded seashores.

The eight-square-mile island of South Caicos, with about 1,200 residents, is understood for its pure harbor, scuba diving and deep-sea fishing. Cockburn Harbour, about two miles from the home, has eating places and mom-and-pop grocery shops. South Caicos Airport, with a global terminal below development, is 20 minutes from Sailrock. The flight to Providenciales, the most important of the Turks and Caicos Islands, takes 25 minutes; the ferry takes 90 minutes.

Beyond the serenity of Turks and Caicos’s powder-soft white sand seashores and crystal clear turquoise waters, actual property is scorching.

In the second quarter of 2021, the islands recorded $328 million in gross sales quantity, a 105 p.c spike over Q2 2020, and “as much as Turks and Caicos would typically do in a very strong year,” mentioned Joe Zahm, the president of Turks and Caicos Sotheby’s International Realty, citing information from the Turks and Caicos Real Estate Association. Residential and commercial prices increased an average of 26 percent.

Along with the islands’ tax-neutral status, the security of investing in a British Overseas Territory, and easy access via a three-hour flight from New York, the pandemic has fueled the recent boom, with affluent buyers arriving in droves.

“Turks and Caicos figured out how to manage Covid protocols quickly,” said Mark Durliat, chief executive at Grace Bay Resorts, emerging “as a place people want their second-home experience.”

“Quarantining in paradise.” That’s how Robert Greenwood, a partner and director at Regency-Christie’s International Real Estate, described those who decamped to Turks and Caicos. Because of the islands’ low population density, when Covid hit, “it became an insurance policy on top of an insurance policy. We had very good sales during Covid,” Mr. Greenwood said.

As of Sept. 3, Turks and Caicos had reported 2,624 Covid-19 cases and 20 deaths, from a population of about 39,000 year-round residents. Since Sept. 1, proof of full vaccination has been required to enter the territory, and agents expect the safety measure to keep buyers comfortable and the market humming.

“Our goal is to be the safest place you can come to,” Mr. Greenwood said.

In the second quarter of 2021, 82 single-family homes sold at an average price of $2.31 million, according to the Turks and Caicos Real Estate Association. During the same period in 2020, 45 homes sold at an average price of $1.85 million. In the condominium market, prices rose 10 percent year over year, with 69 units sold in Q2 2021, at an average price of $1.02 million. A year earlier, 30 units sold at average of $928,600.

Though activity was robust across the market, there were “more sales in new development than resales,” Mr. Zahm said. Trophy properties also soared. In Providenciales, one property on nearly five acres with panoramic water frontage sold in May for just over $20 million.

The significant increase in new development, heavily concentrated in residential resort communities, is “in response to limited existing stock and high and rising demand from luxury lifestyle buyers,” said Robert Cooper, a director of 7th Heaven Properties, a brokerage covering the Caribbean and Central America. Coupled with its “world-class beaches, high-quality lifestyle, proximity to the U.S. and highly attractive tax environment, the Turks and Caicos Islands is one of the region’s leading upscale destinations,” he said.

The Capri-like Rock House Resort on the north shore of Providenciales expects to open in early 2022, with 26 of 28 homes in its first phase sold, Mr. Durliat said of the Grace Bay Resorts property. The two two-bedroom cottages left are asking $2.25 and $2.025 million, including use of daybeds on a 130-foot jetty, a Beach Club and a 100-foot infinity pool on a 25-foot limestone cliff.

Across the islands, prices start around $500,000 for a two- or three-bedroom house. Waterfront homes range from $700,000 at the lower end to about $15 million for luxury beachfront homes, Mr. Cooper said.

Early this year, land sales zoomed for those wanting to build island dreams, swamping architects and builders, said Ian Hurdle, founder and director of The Agency Real Estate, a luxury brokerage. House and land prices escalated so much that the condo market, which “had gone really soft,” picked up in the first quarter of the year, Mr. Hurdle added.

Condominiums range from $250,000 to $9 million, Mr. Greenwood said, with 99 percent going “back into the short-term rental” market. With no income tax on the islands, “it is a great way to have a nest egg offshore that is income producing.”

A new Ritz-Carlton Residences on Grace Bay beach in Providenciales is slated to be complete by Oct. 1, with 59 of 60 condominium units in two 12-story towers sold or under contract, said Walter Gardiner, the resort’s director of sales. Presales started at $2 million for a two-bedroom, 2,200-square-foot condo with ocean views. Three-bedroom penthouses with 5,000 square feet sold for about $7 million, Mr. Gardiner said.

Private islands are also available. Water Cay’s 432 acres and 7,000 feet of white sandy beach is currently on the market for $49 million.

“We are well known for A-listers and captains of industry,” said Mr. Greenwood, noting that about 85 percent of buyers come from the United States.

In recent years, the “geographic footprint” has expanded from the traditional East Coast gateway markets to Los Angeles, Houston, Dallas and Miami, Mr. Zahm said: “We are definitely seeing a broader group geographically.”

The percentage of European buyers is low, though because many are high-net-worth, “in terms of dollars, it is high,” Mr. Zahm said, adding that Canadians, unable to travel, continue to buy virtually.

Buyers also come from Panama and South America, Mr. Greenwood said.

There are no restrictions on foreign ownership of real estate in Turks and Caicos. Owners are registered on the title and the Crown guarantees ownership, Mr. Greenwood said. Title insurance is not necessary.

Mortgages with 50 percent down and interest rates of 5 to 7 percent are available from three Canadian banks, Mr. Hurdle said.

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