The Red Book® 2019 - Trinidad & Tobago

Page 82

A P A R T M E N T S

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T O W N H O U S E S

The Townhouse Trend It’s the late 1970’s, we were all ‘Jammin’ to Bob Marley Exodus, and grooving to a post-war speciously modern consciousness. Simultaneously, the economy was growing at exponential rates and in order to meet the demand for housing, new construction techniques and novel types of accommodations evolved to satiate changing lifestyles. Developers at the time envisioned creating not only single family homes, but also communal living. As such, the area of Westmoorings, once spurned marshlands which were reclaimed at the mouth of the Diego Martin River, was the first to see the development of townhouse units where a shared party wall was involved. The concept behind this type of unit was a straightforward design, introducing a housing unit that would appeal to first time homeowners, professionals, and speculators. The first of these units to be introduced was the Westpark Villas; well designed and laid out in several blocks with basic common amenities considered luxurious at the time. Based on historical information, these units were initially pre-sold, which was another new concept, and under $100,000. By the time of completion, the prices quickly rose. While this was above the affordability of the middle income earner at the time, the units sold out within a relatively quick timeframe. Due to demand, initial purchasers put their property back on the market and were able to achieve prices significantly above what they paid for the unit, introducing a new phenomenon called the “flip sale”.

1980’s - “Oil doh spoil” By the mid 1980’s, several townhouse developments sprinkled the market with relative success. However, the price of oil plummeted, the economy took a downturn, and property prices declined. As a result, the appeal of townhouse units which were still a relatively new concept, waned as speculators and flippers dropped out of the market. During this time townhouses were constructed in other parts of the country with little interest in a declining market; land was more desirable in those areas. However, there was still some appeal for a pre-built housing unit to first time homeowners. The price point of these types of units did not reach saturation. The data indicates that the price of a wellappointed unit in a desirable location did not lose as much value compared to the detached pre-built single family homes.

2000’s - There were some good times and some bad times too It was not until the late 1990’s that the market saw a turnaround and property prices increased significantly again. Units were T: +1 (868) 628-2391 | E: infott@terracaribbean.com | terracaribbean.com

80

1980

$2,500,000 $2,000,000 $1,500,000 $1,000,000 $500,000 $0

1980

1985

1990

Westpark Villa

Prices overtime for standard units.

2000

2010

Schooner Court

2018

Diamond Vale

. It should be noted that this is not due to location alone but to quality as well

being rapidly developed to take advantage of this new boom and to maximize land space. Unresolved social issues lead to an upsurge in crime and naturally, there was a serious concern for personal safety and property. The concept of shared amenities and the higher level of security which was offered by the “gated” design had high desirability. By the mid 2000’s, in some areas, such appeal escalated above that of a detached unit or even vacant land, and prices for townhouse units doubled over a five year period. Eventually, several market events followed: 1. The effects of the global economy had an impact on our economy and real estate activity. Generally prices declined again by approximately 30% at the higher end of the market. 2. Several developers entered the market creating an oversupply with demand moving downward. 3. Inflationary pressures caused an increase in construction costs having a knock-on effect on services charges. 4. The demand for rental units decreased as expats and other market participants did not renew their leases.

Today is today… Coming into this period, existing demand for housing is not at the same level, relatively speaking, as 1978. Additionally, increased security concerns are not alleviated at the same level that communal living provided in 1999. However, there is some excess liquidity and pent-up demand along with low interest rates, and hopefully it will return to some stability and eventual growth. Over the past 5 years, several projects were completed or are underway attracting buyers, investors and flippers but these units


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