2024, a year of unique challenges but exciting opportunities in the Barbados luxury real estate market. That is the sentiment of Richard Eames, Chairman of Island Villas, one of the Caribbean’s most sought-after boutique real estate and property management companies. Based in Barbados but with a portfolio and reach that extends regionally and internationally, Island Villas has built a reputation for its client-focused approach to doing business.

“As a boutique agency, we are hyper-focused on our people – our team and our clients. The industry has changed dramatically over the years and continues to be affected by global financial and geopolitical headwinds. We are proud of the fact that by prioritizing our relationships we have built a trusted brand that puts our clients’ needs first. This will be particularly important in 2024 as we see new trends emerging and an increased appetite for luxury real estate.”

According to the Robb Report, the global luxury property market was booming towards the end of last year, bolstered by growing interest in owning second or even third homes, and an environment of limited supply and overwhelming demand. With forecasts suggesting long-term growth, we asked Richard to share his thoughts on the Barbados luxury real estate landscape and how Island Villas is adapting to property market shifts.

  1. Y.O.L.O

Coming out of the pandemic, quality of life has become increasingly important to consumers, especially as people adopt the ‘you only live once’ (YOLO) philosophy. In fact, most of the ‘2024 hottest home trends’ are wellness-related (Zillow, 2024) and research has shown that people interested in buying property in Barbados are appreciative of the link between their physical surroundings and overall quality of life.

Beautiful outdoor space at Bananaquit

“In Barbados, we like to say that the cure for any ailment is a ‘sea bath’. We have seen a marked increase in beachfront properties in the Island Villas portfolio, both luxury properties for sale and rent. Another area of growing interest and where you can find excellent value for money is properties that have functional and aesthetically pleasing outdoor spaces. We have many Barbados properties for sale that are minutes from the beach and have fantastic, landscaped gardens that can be used for everything from barbeques and cocktail parties, to yoga decks, sensory gardens and more.”

  1. Conscious Consumers

Sustainability has been brought into sharp focus in 2024. The effects of climate change are being seen worldwide and occurrences of extreme temperatures, intense rainfall and other weather events are more common. Luxury home buyers are asking more questions about eco-friendly design and looking for properties equipped with features like solar panels, energy efficient smart home technology and water tanks.

Barbados Prime Minister Mia Mottley has stepped onto the world stage as an advocate for helping countries like Barbados tackle the effects of climate change. As a result, the country is making positive strides in terms of sustainable property construction and design. Many Barbados properties for sale have solar panels installed, as well as water tanks.

Designed with nature in mind – Moondust at Apes Hill

“Island Villas property managers conduct thorough reviews of the properties that we manage and liaise with owners regarding recommended upgrades and repairs. As a boutique agency, we also have a roster of preferred suppliers that we have vetted to ensure that our owners are receiving the highest standard of work at the best price. In 2024 we hope to enhance this process, proactively advising owners of new offerings in smart home tech and sustainability initiatives and linking owners directly with qualified professionals for advice and support when needed. This is all part of our expanded Community Concierge programme, using our team’s intimate knowledge of the local market and sharing that with our clients.”

  1. Resimmercial in Reverse

Previously used to describe the incorporation of residential elements into a commercial space, the idea of ‘resimercial’ design in reverse is now being used in the context of property buyers wanting spaces that can accommodate working from home.

“Who wouldn’t want to work from the Caribbean? The Barbados properties for sale in the Island Villas portfolio are all spacious and, in some instances, have been modified to cater to people who need to be in the boardroom while at the beach. We recognise that sometimes this may mean rearranging a space to meet a client’s specific requirements. Our Community Concierge team can arrange consultations with interior designers in Barbados, ensuring that your new Barbados home fits your aesthetic and lifestyle.”

  1. A Hotel at Home

Imagine a 5-star hotel or spa experience in the comfort of your own home. Trends for this year indicate that 2024 is all about luxury property buyers wanting hotel-style amenities. Globally, there is increased demand for properties with features like spacious bedroom suites, en-suite ‘spathrooms’, cocktail bars and bedside coffee stations.

Enjoy a spa-like experience at Blue Oyster Villa

“There are some truly exceptional luxury villas for sale in the Island Villas portfolio. Any of our expert team members can work with you to identify your preferences and arrange viewings in-person or virtually. In addition to the many on-site amenities our properties feature, we are also happy to bring the hotel to home experience to you, arranging spa treatments, personal training, coffee/wine/rum tastings, cooking classes and other lifestyle services.”

  1. Keep it Interesting

They say variety is the spice of life and property buyers are looking for interesting features and add-ons in 2024 (Zillow, 2024).

Access to family friendly activities like pickleball – Howzat! Royal Westmoreland Resort

“Barbados is a destination that attracts many multi-generational families throughout the year. Many of our clients are longstanding so we have welcomed their children and grandchildren in some cases. Outreach is a critical part of our plans for the concierge this year. Traditionally, real estate agents have also been seen as informal community ambassadors, able to advise on everything from securing a table at fine dining restaurants like The Cliff to where to get the best pudding and souse (Souse Park anyone?) We want to be able to offer tailored recommendations and information that may be of interest to all of our clients.  For instance, pickleball has exploded in popularity (8.9 million players as of 2022) and a family looking to buy a luxury property in Barbados may be interested in the addition of pickleball courts in the Royal Westmoreland development.”

  1. Tech & Real Estate

Technology is leading to big shifts in real estate. AI and VR are poised to transform how people view, buy and sell properties. With more millennials entering the market at all levels, real estate professionals have to be cognizant of changes in communication preferences and how people research properties to buy.

“Our goal at Island Villas is to embrace the efficiencies that technology can bring while still ensuring our human touchpoints are creating meaningful and personalized connections for our clients. Our team possesses a wealth of local information. We want to lean into that for 2024, celebrate what sets us apart.”

For more information or to arrange a consultation with an Island Villas team member, contact us today.