Purchasing in Exclusive Communities in Jamaica

If you are resident overseas the property purchase decision in Jamaica can be very daunting, especially if you are unfamiliar with or have not spent considerable time in the market to understand its dynamics.

The adage location, location, location, location cannot be overstated. Finding the ideal location depends on a number of factors, such as your budget andlifestyle needs and interests. A retiree may need to purchase property close to medical amenities, and for other persons, recreation may be important and other persons may choose to purchase in a gated community with certain amenities such as swimming pool and tennis court. To help simplify the decision-making process it may be best to focus on specific parishes as each has its own peculiar feature. The several communities in Kingston and St Andrew provides a wide range of options and therefore is a good starting point.

Communities over US$1M

The prospect of homes in Jamaica costing over US$1M at first may seem absurd, but in several Caribbean countries, it is not unusual for property values to frequently hover above this bench mark. As business confidence increases and foreign direct investment in the country improves, the increase in demand for housing will continue to put pressure on a waning housing stock in some of Kingston’s affluent communities. If your interest is in single family housing, listings in the following communities can be found over this benchmark;(i) Millsborough Crescent off Barbican road, (ii) Edgecombeand Gainsborough Avenue both off Widcome Avenue and accessible from Barbican Road, (iii) Upper Paddington Terrace, and (iv) Location known as Golden Triangle – Seymour Road, Retreat Avenue (Close to Vale Royal – Prime Minister’s residence). Values hold and soar in these communities as the restrictive covenants that prevent the subdivision of the land or construction of multi-unit dwellings continue to be held sacred and are guarded by a number of residents in the communities.

The community of Jacks Hill in recent times has also been the beneficiary of a rise in prices and this community which also has predominantly detached houses and a strict adherence to the “no subdivision covenant” have many homes slowly creeping over this high mark. In the more known communities of Cherry Gardens and Norbrook it would not be unusual either for some properties to be listed above US$1M.

For persons who have the financial appetite for this spend there are a number of benefits. Firstly, these locations will continue to hold their value as the premium goes up on single family lot sizes of one third of an acre to half an acre. In some instance lot sizes are up to one acre. Secondly, these communities are located in close proximity to a number of amenities. For example, the Liguanea area (Hope Road and Old Hope Road as landmarks) has seen an explosion in commercial activity in recent times. The landmark Sovereign Center Shopping plaza which includes a cinema and the Sovereign Supermarket as an anchor tenant creates shopping and recreational convenience. The relocation of the United States embassy in Liguanea has also resulted in an increase in the hub of activity in that area and the need for supporting infrastructure such as dining and commerce which include a number of major bank branches.The University of the West Indies and University of Technology as tertiary learning centers also provides an anchor for economic activity. Importantly, the UWI and Andrews Memorial Hospital provides critical medical support and several medical practitioners have put up shingle in the surrounding Kingston 6 communities. The Barbican Centre shopping plaza in Barbican, serves also as an annex for the communities of Jacks Hill, Russell Heights, Cherry Gardens and lower Liguanea. Together with Sovereign Center and strip Malls such as the Liguanea Post Office Mall, Liguanea Lane Plaza provides a cluster of infrastructure to support the burgeoning demand for housing in and around that area. For those persons, however, who remain concerned about the lurking menace of crime and home burglary, the alternative gated community remains a viable option with a number of town houses and bungalow type units bounded by perimeter walls in housing complexes with supporting recreational facilities such as swimming pool and tennis court. Many of these gated communities are centered around the Liguanea corridor most notably, lower Paddington Terrace, Millsborough Crescent, Barbican Road and scattered localities within Norbrook and Cherry Gardens.

Thirdly another feature of these communities is there several traffic corridors which results in less traffic buildup than some other communities such as Stony Hill and Cherry Gardens. Also, the area serves as a mid-point between the down town area and the business community of New Kingston. For younger family, several known precatory and public high schools with long and notable traditions are located within this cluster as are several areas of worship.