Penny MacIntyre, executive vice president at Rego Sotheby’s International Realty, said the change in law will no longer disadvantage mixed couples - a Bermudian married to a non-Bermudian. *Photo by Kageaki Smith
Penny MacIntyre, executive vice president at Rego Sotheby’s International Realty, said the change in law will no longer disadvantage mixed couples - a Bermudian married to a non-Bermudian. *Photo by Kageaki Smith

FRIDAY, JUNE 29: Changes in property law should help kick start Bermuda’s sluggish real estate market.

But it doesn’t mean the island will see rising home prices in the near future, said Penny MacIntyre, executive vice president at Rego Sotheby’s International reality.

Last Friday Government tabled two land policies with the aim to help of boosting the real estate sector.

Mixed marriage couples – a Bermudian married to a non-Bermudian — will no longer need a land licence to purchase their home.

The second now allows Bermudians to sell their home to non-Bermudians at the ARV band of $177,000 and above.

Ms MacIntrye said: “Many non-Bermudians married to Bermudians have been put off by the long process to purchase a property as well as mixed couples who have missed out on a buying opportunity because another fellow Bermudian was not required to obtain a licence.

“With this change, mixed couples will no longer be disadvantaged by the lengthy time frame to obtain a licence and finally have an equal opportunity to purchase in a reasonable time frame. 

“This will hopefully make mixed couples more likely to step into the market.”

She adding the second change of allowing the top end Bermudian homeowners to sell to non-Bermudians “will add to the very limited inventory of internationally available properties and gives hope to the Bermudian seller who will have more of a chance to sell their property to a wider audience”.

She said, while this applies to the high end up homes, this would have a trickle down effect for the rest of the market.

“Recognizing that the real estate market is constantly in a circular flow, there is the “empty-nesters” effect. 

“Those are parents whose children have moved-out or moved-away for college or to start their own lives and these parents will look to downsize their home.”

She said, taken together, the two policy changes should reduce the average number of days on market a home is listed — which is currently over 300, “but unlikely to see prices will go up given the extensive inventory of available homes.  In the least, the hope is this change will stem the tide of reducing prices.”

MP Wayne Perinchief in tabling the Bill said while the provisions of the Act from 2007 was needed in its time because  of the market conditions which existed.

He said: “A real estate market which is overly weighted and is sustained in favour of any one group is not healthy and defeats a primary aim of this Government; to promote conditions for young families to acquire their own homes.”

Mr Perinchief added the setting of the new ARV is at a level that promotes Bermuda as open to high net-worth individuals while preserving a market share for Bermudians that makes home ownership and asset improvement a realistic goal.”

The ARV of $177,000 will approximately allow 250 properties to be available to be sold to non-Bermudians.”