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Island Time

The current crisis may have changed the ideal vacation home forever

Ian Hurdle is founder and director of The Agency Turks & Caicos which represents high-end properties around the United States, Mexico, and the Caribbean. Hurdle chats with Business Traveler about vacation real estate in general and why right now is a surprisingly bustling time for the vacation home market with the pandemic fueling more interest than ever.

BT: How is the vacation real estate industry doing right now?

HURDLE: Due to the pandemic, in the high-end second-home market, it became very clear that buyers want to live where they vacation. In resort destinations such as Turks & Caicos, the minute the island travel ban was lifted, travelers took to the skies and bought a little piece of island paradise.

Turks & Caicos was what quarantine dreams were made of – soft, powdery sand, crystal clear waters and endless outdoor adventure. At the rise of COVID-19, The Agency Turks & Caicos was actually breaking sales records from previous years.

BT: Are people interested in rentals (versus hotels) due to fewer interactions with other guests?

HURDLE: Absolutely. Unlike hotels, vacation rentals provide a safe place to eat, live, and play, while being able to maintain a safe distance from other guests. Vacation properties like Impulse offers privacy and peace of mind for your closest family and friends. From private chef dinners to direct access to enjoy one of the best beaches in the world, rental properties like this one fit today’s need well.

In addition to a rise in vacation rentals, we’ve also seen an increase in private jet travelers seeking destinations like Turks & Caicos. From July to September, the Turks and Caicos Aviation Authority reported that 56 private jets touched down per week. Celebrities, such as Jennifer Lopez, A-Rod, DJ Khaled and Sean Combs were booking up high-end rentals and resort properties across the island.

BT:What advice do you have for those looking to invest in real estate right now?

HURDLE: I anticipate there will be a continued increase in demand and limited inventory for homes that offer space, flexibility, outdoor recreation, and wellness-driven amenities in one place. I’d recommend investors seek out properties that meet all their lifestyle needs, especially as remote work and unprecedented world events continue to drive activity to island destinations. Also, be sure to work with a reputable agent who can navigate you through the unique rules, regulations and policies in play throughout each territory, which may be different than what buyers are used to at home.

BT:What has surprised you the most about those interested in real estate investment right now?

HURDLE: The pandemic changed our values and especially how we live. Those who could work remotely began purchasing vacation homes to live in full time. I believe we will see the effects of these market shifts for years to come. While major cities will eventually draw people back to their bustling urban centers, the movement among buyers seeking more room to roam and a better quality of life has caused a tectonic shift in inventory levels and pricing across all resort markets.

Due to the absence of annual property tax and the development of the island, purchasing a property in Turks and Caicos will continue to be a safe investment.