Buyers are heading south for the spring, according to TheMoveChannel.com's Investment WatchThe monthly report, which ranks the level of interest in the portal's property listings, found that apartments in St Kitts and Nevis took the highest number of enquiries in February 2013, followed by a flock of other Caribbean and South American properties.The one-bed flats, starting from £264,920, won the most attention from buyers, receiving 15 per cent more enquiries than the runner-up, a building plot in the Cayman Islands.
Investors flew to South America, too, in search of warm sunshine away from the eurozone. Indeed, the UK was the only European country to make the Investment Watch chart, with Brazil and the Caribbean accounting for six of the top 10 listings combined. Jamaica's Port Antonio caught investors' eyes in fifth place, with plots of land selling for £80,000, while Brazil's economy and upcoming World Cup opportunities boosted the investment potential for similar land opportunities in Rio de Janeiro as well as beachfront flats on the Ponta Negra.
But investors were looking for returns as well as relaxation: while Brazil's listings had the lifestyle appeal to rival the Caribbean, they were topped by a timber investment in third place, carbon credits in fourth and a precious metals investment in sixth, as some of the pack moving south headed for high yields instead. Indeed, alternative investments continued to be a big driver of TheMoveChannel.com activity, accounting for four of the top 10 listings.
Torn between sun and strong incomes, though, the St Kitts and Nevis apartments combined lifestyle and income potential to dominate buyer interest. The country's citizenship-by-investment scheme, which grants residency and tax benefits for real estate buyers, also helped to boost demand.
Select Resorts, who manage the St Kitts and Nevis listing, comments:
"The citizenship by investment program is the oldest of its kind in the world. Established in 1984, the program keeps the overall growth of the country in mind. Once accepted, holders of a St Kitts & Nevis passport are able to travel visa free to over 100 countries worldwide and can enjoy many tax benefits.
In association with Savills International, we are currently working with developers to promote a number of investment options that combine all the benefits of the citizenship by investment program with excellent returns through rental income. With investments starting at the required $400,000 level for citizenship, there are a number of options to suit a wide variety of pockets and interests."
Director Dan Johnson adds:
"With Cyprus adding new uncertainty to Europe's economy, it was to be expected that investors would fly south this spring - or any direction that guarantees returns or sunshine away from the eurozone. Alternative products continue to attract a lot of attention by boasting the lowest entry costs and highest returns on the site. It is telling, therefore, that the apartments in St Kitts and Nevis attracted the most enquiries in February, despite carrying the largest price tag; a sign that the right property can strike a chord with investors regardless of cost, especially when they are looking away from traditional markets."