Commercial property rentals continue to be soft as more companies decide to employ a work-from-home model due to the COVID-19 pandemic. And from all accounts, the situation is likely to remain the same in the foreseeable future.
This assessment has come from President of the Barbados Estate Agents and Valuers Association Inc. (BEAVA) Susan Armfield, who told Barbados TODAY that long-term rentals are likely to be boosted by Government’s 12-month Barbados Welcome Stamp initiative.
“We are seeing some positive response to the 12-month Welcome Stamp and offshoots of requests for three, six [and] eight-month rentals as a positive side effect of the welcome stamp offering,” said Armfield, as she shared a brief evaluation of the real estate market.
Even before the 12-month visa was officially launched on July 18, several real estate agencies were enticing potential travellers by advertising a mixture of mid to long-term rental options.
In relation to commercial rental spaces, Armfield said that segment of the market was definitely down, and it was only a guess when it would pick back up.
“I would say that commercial rentals are definitely down as more people have stayed working from home and that means there is less commercial space needed going forward. A number of people have relocated. So commercial rental is down,” she said.
At the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, several employees were forced to work from home as the country implemented physical distancing measures.
Early last month, real estate company Terra Caribbean released results of a survey, which found that the majority of people in Barbados and several other Caribbean islands preferred to work from home.
While the study showed that less than half of them believed businesses would actually adopt a work-from-home approach in the next 12 to 24 months, an overwhelming 92 per cent of those surveyed said that in the longer term, the ideal environment should be a mixture of remote and office work.
Only five per cent said the ideal work environment would be fully remote, and three per cent preferred a physical work option.
Taking a look at the villa rental space, Armfield told Barbados TODAY that segment of the market was down due to subdued performance of the tourism industry.
She added that while local residential rentals and sales were still taking place, real estate industry operators were “still feeling” their way.
“Villa rentals are down because not many people are coming here on holiday at the moment. The airlift is increasing but it is a fraction of what we are used to,” she said.