October 16, 2019
“Capitalism is the extraordinary belief that the nastiest of men for the nastiest of motives will somehow work together for the benefit of all.” – John Maynard Keynes
It didn’t take long. Shortly after Hurricane Dorian damaged countless homes and businesses in the northern Bahamas, real estate investors started calling local agents in search of bargains.
“We’ve surprisingly had several calls,” said Colin Lightbourn, who manages real estate company Engel & Volkers’ Bahamas office in Nassau. “People are asking if there is anybody selling properties in any of those cays and to keep them on our list.”
“They say, ’I don’t want to sound heartless, but if any properties come up, I’m a buyer.’”
While the timing of the phone calls may appear awkward, the inquiries from would-be buyers is not new for a region whose island nations and territories are often roughed up by hurricanes.
In 2017, investors scanned the Caribbean for bargains after Hurricane Maria pounded St. Maarten, Puerto Rico, and even Barbuda, the latter of which was declared uninhabitable by its government.
There were discounts to be had. On Dutch St. Maarten, for example, a five-bedroom home with an ocean view was on the market for $3.5 million before the storm but was reduced to about $1.9 million in damaged condition after the storm passed through, the Wall Street Journal reported at the time.