Located in Kingston, Jamaica—the capital and largest city of the island country—the team at Valerie Levy and Associates Limited has sold and participated in the sale of hundreds of properties in Jamaica and Florida. Here, Broker/CEO Lorraine Levy Finlason provides a glimpse into the active and vibrant market.
Please tell us about your firm.
Lorraine Levy Finlason: We are a family firm that has been in real estate for nearly 40 years. My mother Valerie, who is still active in the business, founded the firm and was instrumental in getting real estate licensing to be a requirement in Jamaica. My father, who is a civil engineer by trade, is also part of the company. My brother leads our valuation and survey department, and I serve as broker and CEO. We have about 55 agents and serve all 14 parishes of Jamaica, with offices island-wide.
Are prices rising or declining in your market?
LF: Prices for rental properties are on the decline, largely due to restrictions for Airbnb. We have a glut of high-rise apartment buildings, which could become a strain for our infrastructure. There is a lot of inventory to sell in the new year, and properties that might have once drawn international investors may now be attractive to local buyers who have income from pension funds or the high-performing stock market. Our typical townhouse or single-family home averages anywhere between $450,000 USD and $650,000 USD, while pricing for other types of properties is holding steady.
Tell us about the types of properties in your market and which are most popular.
LF: We sell all types of properties: condos, townhouses, single-family homes, resort-oriented properties and commercial. Much of the development is happening in the wealthiest areas of our north coast on or near the ocean. These properties range from small villas to larger estates directly on Blue Hole, Alligator Bay or the famous Monkey Island.
What types of buyers do you work with? Are they predominantly local, or mixed from other countries?
LF: We have a lot of Jamaicans returning, many of whom may have had a tough time where they moved due to politics or COVID-19. We have activity coming in from Canada, the United Kingdom and the U.S., particularly New York, Florida and Texas. We continue to serve international investors as well.
What are some of the most important trends in your market?
LF: People want more family space at home: home office, area for online schooling, playroom, personal gym, pool, full basement. Like most markets, people are looking for ways to keep productive and healthy at home.
What are your biggest challenges/opportunities for growth?
LF: COVID-19, crime and the devaluing of the Jamaican dollar against the U.S. dollar are some of the challenges we face. However, the devalued currency creates strong opportunities for foreign investors, and our government welcomes investment from overseas buyers who enjoy the same rights as Jamaican citizens.
How does being part of Leading Real Estate Companies of the World® (LeadingRE) help advance your business?
LF: We take full advantage of the courses and webinars offered for training our associates and find them to be incredibly valuable. The global exposure and international connections are other key benefits.
For more information, please visit www.vlarealtors.com.
Paige Tepping is RISMedia’s managing editor. Email her your real estate news ideas to email@example.com.