Top of the line: International real estate expert Michael Valdes said “Bermuda might be a beautiful alternative” for people from Brazil, Russia, Sweden, Venezuela and England that are looking for luxury property. *Photo supplied by Rego Sotheby’s International realty
Top of the line: International real estate expert Michael Valdes said “Bermuda might be a beautiful alternative” for people from Brazil, Russia, Sweden, Venezuela and England that are looking for luxury property. *Photo supplied by Rego Sotheby’s International realty
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Bermuda’s luxury properties could find new owners from across the globe, including Russia, Brazil and Venezuela.

Michael Valdes, who is in Bermuda this week, is the managing director, International Servicing Latin America, Caribbean & Bermuda Region, for Sotheby’s International Realty. 

He has Bermuda as part of his overall territory after having been the representative for Sotheby’s in the Middle East and Africa.

The Miami-based real estate expert said he came to Bermuda to understand the island’s realty market better and help develop a target audience for the homes that are available to overseas buyers. 

He told the Bermuda Sun: “I saw some very amazing properties today. I saw some properties in range from … $5m to up to $30m. They were amazing value for what they were. 

“We deal with what is basically the top one per cent of the market around the world, so our expertise is in the luxury real estate on a global scale. We are looking at properties that are of this nature. 

“We have a clientele that really does play in that field in various parts of the world so, for us, this is our comfort spot. When we start seeing these properties, we’ll know the valuations. These properties had some amazing views and had some amazing pieces of land.”

While the average Bermudian may wonder what the value is in a $30m property, Mr Valdes pointed out the value lies in people “buying a property they cannot build for the price that is being asked for. Your replacement costs would be, in some cases, twice what is being asked.

“Then you add to that the advantages of Bermuda has to offer, you can then have a really interesting conversation with someone that has, perhaps, not thought of Bermuda in the past.”

He said while examining the Bermuda homes, he was asking himself “Who is the end buyer”? He said the quality of properties in Bermuda would attract people from Russia, Brazil, Venezuela, Sweden and London “who have great wealth” but are looking for elsewhere in the world to live.

Mr Valdes said: “Bermuda might be a beautiful alternative for them” where they can have the lifestyle they want to go along with a quality property and a sense of security in Bermuda’s currency.

He added: “What Bermuda has as a differentiating factor here is the great properties and… the backing of the Crown, which makes it very comfortable to come in and purchase here, which is not the case in some countries in the Caribbean and Latin America.”

He said potential buyers would “have a better sense of their security and their investment dollar here”.

Mr Valdes added getting the word out about Bermuda is key.

The Sotheby’s managing director added: “Recognizing what the opportunities are that exist here. It’s almost like Bermuda is the great secret that hasn’t been out there yet to enough of an exposure on a global scale.

One of those target audiences could be Sweden. Mr Valdes said Sweden incentivizes its retirement age people to leave the country and live elsewhere. He added that is an untapped market, especially with a Bermuda tax advantage. 

“It’s a new audience to expose this to.”

While on Tuesday’s tour of homes, Mr Valdes said: “We tried to think of where the buyer would come from because the house was a little bit different in each situation.

“There was a house that might be attractive to the London market because of the style of the home and the condition of the house. There was a very modern house that would probably be wonderful for a Russian buyer. There was another home, Idlewood, might be for a more established Russian family because of the privacy that came into it.”

Buddy Rego, president for Rego Sotheby’s International Realty (SIR), said it was exciting to get a fresh pair of eyes to look over the Bermuda market.

“Bermuda has changed a lot in the last eight years and it has changed significantly in the last 12 months. What I hope Michael takes away from this trip are the opportunities that Bermuda presents. We are serious about being open for business and that transcends all sectors.”

Penny MacIntrye, executive vice president for Rego SIR, added: “It’s fantastic to have him visit because you have someone who is clearly well-travelled. He’s lived in London and Miami, and, for us, we have great feeder markets in those two locations.”