KAL KENNARD, MANAGING PARTNER
If you and I have spoken together in the past, you will very likely know that I am a passionate property champion.
Over the last 20 years I have watched the Eastern Caribbean property market grow from strength to strength and witnessed the emergence of some wonderful new infrastructure, as well as a few development ordeals.
One of my bugbears has been the susceptibility of the citizenship by investment programs to be abused by developers creating plans for properties that would be unsaleable, save for the citizenship opportunity attached. This was especially exemplified, in my opinion, in the St Kitts & Nevis program, a country I am deeply attached to.
So it was exciting, as well as a relief, to hear that the Government has decided to level the playing field by allowing citizenship investors to base an application based on ANY property in the nation with a value of over US$400,000. Brilliant! Let me explain.
The Caribbean programs hold a very strong position in the market given the cost, timeline, benefits and flexible residency, and of note is the St Kitts & Nevis citizenship by investment program (CIP) where we have seen a two-fold increase in interest and applications in quarter one of 2021 compared to the same period last year.
As an economic driver, allocating specific development areas and specifying new-build tourism accommodation for approval makes sense where additional tourism accommodation is key to growing the primary industry in the nation.
In Antigua, Dominica and Grenada, we have seen the governments remain quite particular about which developments are approved for citizenship and it has served them well for the most part.
In St Kitts & Nevis however, an adjustment was needed because of the sheer amount of approved projects that appeared to be non-sustainable.
Of the 100 or so projects that are currently ‘approved for citizenship’ in St Kitts and Nevis, it seems to me only a handful can hold their own as decent opportunities if you stripped away the citizenship. Consider that with a population of 40,000, this means there is a development project for every 400 people which in itself is a standout figure. It’d be interesting to know how many rooms of accommodation that represents.
Many of these previously-called ‘approved projects’ are in relatively undesirable locations, of questionable quality, and I query who would rent these properties, let alone buy them again in the future. In an industry where, quite often, the client is led by their consultant and the consultant is paid commission on the property sale, there is room for abuse.
It’s my experience that all citizenship applicants like to know they have invested in a good quality, rentable and saleable asset. And as a citizenship specialist and property seller, I would like to present my clients with good opportunities.
Now that the golden stamp of ‘approval for citizenship’ has been neutralised and investors are free to choose from all the available properties over US$400,000, the market will decide what is worth investing in. And St Kitts & Nevis is very much worth investing in.
St Kitts & Nevis has magical quality to which I’ve seen many people fall in love with. As a destination and as a country, it is a true gem with its elemental values transcending our current-day western woes.
Stepping off your plane into the Caribbean heat, you will immediately be aware you are far from the madding crowd. Others have discovered St. Kitts & Nevis too, and as its multiple layers of charm reveal themselves you will soon see the twin island federation isn’t just offering quintessential white sand and turquoise waters. What you’ll discover is that it is incredibly pretty and romantic, and Kittitians and Nevisians are deeply kind.
In a refreshing counterbalance to neighbouring islands, St Kitts & Nevis is bursting at the seams with a natural energy interfused in multi-coloured beaches, lush rainforests, volcanic mountains, historic inns, and off-the-beaten-track style and character. Add to that beautiful restaurants, intriguing international residents and fabulous moonlit parties for all ages, and you have a potent mix of attraction.
Opening up the entire property market to citizenship investors is a clever step, not only to wash out the developments that aren’t sustainable, but also to grow the property market in a viable way, and to nudge the focus on the higher end of the market. Given the explosion of wealth going on worldwide with the value resilience of luxury properties, and the enormous economic value of luxury residential tourism to a small country, in my opinion this is a winning strategy.
This new rule will let quality and location speak for itself. This is the same strategy adopted in Turkey for their program, and I believe it results in much better of quality development all around.
I encourage our clients to seriously look at property in St Kitts & Nevis with a fresh eye as I firmly believe the economic future looks bright in the twin nation, and we are going to see even more spectacular properties coming to the market in the coming years. These lovely islands are the ultimate retreat, and the benefits to be gained here between the citizenship and property are priceless.
How do I begin the process and get a bespoke quote for myself and my family?
If you’d like to speak to us, please either send us a webchat (click the icon bottom right of this page), email or book in for a video consultation easily in our partner calendar. We find video conferencing to be the most efficient use of your time to ascertain the best program for you and your family. We encourage you to take advantage of it since your first consultation is free of charge.