What a million and a half dollars buys in Trinidad’s Real Estate Market
Ancient are the days of purchasing brand new homes under the million dollar mark. With rising cement prices and the dwindling hiring-power of the dollar, a million dollars, which once seemed an enormous amount of money, is now being considered ‘a find’ in the minds of many home-seekers.
In Northeast Trinidad alone, five hundred thousand dollars, on average, procures only an average size parcel of land measuring five thousand square feet. Now, added to the fact that average construction cost now tips the building-scale of five hundred dollars a square foot, a modest flat house of fifteen hundred square feet cost over one million and two hundred thousand dollars…and I did say these were averages, which means you’d likely run into homes that cost a lot more.
Our folks, who buckled themselves unto the roller-coaster of 80s house-shopping (thirty+ years ago), seemed to get off that ride unscathed financially. Who hasn’t heard of Deeds being signed at a selling price of around one hundred and fifty thousand dollars? The truth is, we all have, but we need to leave those memories right were we found them; in the past.
Young, single, working professionals generally qualify with the banks for homes under the million dollar price-tag. Essentially, what they are qualifying for rarely exist.
Some of these professionals are clients of mine, and if you're like most of them; holding out for a drop in the Real Estate market, you may have also been pulling hair at an alarming rate. There are no indications of falling prices in Trinidad's market, only rising ones to keep pace with rising inflation rates and incomes. Chances are, if you turned down purchasing a home that cost 1.2 million three years ago, that same home would be worth at least 1.5 million today...Try us, we have the clients and the movement in prices to prove it.
Alternatives? There are a few. It's becoming more and more of the norm for Lenders to encourage their clients to apply for mortgages with a significant other. Jointly, a newly-wed couple or engaged pair qualifies for homes with prices that closer resemble what banks are willing to lend. Thus, the average new homeowner isn't an owner but a happily married co-mortgager.
It’s worthwhile to mention (if you haven’t already noticed) that the further you expand your search to include less urbanized areas, the less your home usually costs. However, Home-seekers are often enticed by such areas for reasons other than lower asking prices; “the air is fresher”, “I feel so much safer” are just some of the remarks of homeowners that ventured into more rural areas. Property development projects and local population statistics suggest they are not alone as there exist a rising trend in the number of country-side residents.
So what will you spend your 1.5 million on?