House Hunting on St. Croix: A Converted Sugar Mill With Sea Views

St. Croix, with about 50,000 residents, is the biggest of the three essential U.S. Virgin Islands, adopted by St. Thomas and St. John. In addition to its many white-sand seashores, it’s recognized for its diving websites, together with the Buck Island Reef National Monument, one among three underwater nationwide monuments within the U.S. It can also be essentially the most reasonably priced of the three islands: The common house value on St. Croix was $359,863 in 2019, in line with a November 2020 report by the U.S. Virgin Islands Office of Management and Budget (OMB), whereas the typical on each St. Thomas and St. John was about $633,000.

Prices had been rising for a number of years amid an financial restoration following two main hurricanes that broken the islands in 2017. But the coronavirus pandemic has interrupted that progress. The area is closely dependent on tourism, and journey restrictions starting in March 2020 led to a 36 % drop in vacationer arrivals through the fiscal 12 months ending in September, in line with the report. The unemployment fee was eight.four %, up from 6.three % the earlier 12 months, main the OMB to warn that “the Territory will have to develop a diversification of industries since the local leisure and hospitality sector has been adversely impacted due to ‘Stay at Home’ orders.”

But there’s nonetheless loads of life within the housing market on St. Croix. The second-home market had largely recovered from the influence of the hurricanes, stated Ava Gail Bourdon, the dealer/proprietor of RE/MAX St. Croix. After the pandemic shutdown was lifted, each the second-home and native housing markets slowed significantly, however by no means totally stopped.

“We’ve had a lot of sales sight unseen, especially in the last quarter,” Ms. Bourdon stated. “We’re doing a lot more video showings, spending more time on the phone with clients. Technology has worked really well with this respect, and people are buying this way.”

Sales on St. Croix had been down 14 % final 12 months in contrast with 2019, however the median sale value of $412,500 was up 17 %, in line with MLS information. That improve displays a scarcity of stock within the $250,000 to $400,000 vary, Ms. Bourdon stated, noting that the median value now buys a small three-bedroom house with a half-acre yard and pastoral views, however most likely not ocean views.

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