Sales closings were up 38 per cent in the first quarter of 2014 compared to 2013 according to a Coldwell Banker Bermuda Realty Report. *Photo by Don Burgess
Sales closings were up 38 per cent in the first quarter of 2014 compared to 2013 according to a Coldwell Banker Bermuda Realty Report. *Photo by Don Burgess

While other sectors of the economy are still lagging, the real estate sector continues to provide a cautious ray of hope.

According to Coldwell Banker Bermuda Realty, the first quarter of 2014 shows signs that it outperformed the first quarter of 2013.

This follows on an earlier report from Rego Sotheby’s International Realty that showed 2013 had increases in unit dollar volume — the first since 2008.

The Coldwell Banker report showed sales closings were up 38 per cent in the first three months of 2014 compared to 2013.

A spokesperson for the firm said: “Interestingly, over 50 per cent of the sales volume recorded for 2014 so far involves condominium units either in our suburbs or in the city, reflecting an increase in consumer confidence and recognition that prices in this sector, in many instances, reflect great value. “Notwithstanding the economic challenges experienced by many community stakeholders, we are seeing the emergence of multiple offers for property in sought after areas or market segments which have been fully exposed to the market and priced correctly.”

Coldwell Banker said their list-to-sell-price ratio (which measures the percentage of list price that the company achieves for their vendor on a sale) has held at 92 per cent so far in 2014.

The spokesperson said: “Our agents have also noticed an increase in demand from Bermudian buyers for executive homes prices at $2,500,000 and above. However, with a shortage of inventory, it remains challenging to readily satisfy this demand.”

Brian Madeiros, president and CEO of Coldwell, said: “Notwithstanding these positive indicators, we are still of the opinion that we do not have enough robust data to suggest a sustainable trend.

“We continue to closely monitor the commercial office market, focusing on existing office inventory and new demand as key indicators for economic growth.”

He added in order for the market to continue to recover “Our market intelligence suggests we need to see significantly higher levels of new companies moving to Bermuda in order to see sustainable improvement trends.

 “If we wish to see tangible changes in economic performance through new job creation, our political and community leaders must embrace strategies which seek to very aggressively populate our vacant office accommodation, which now sits at over 600,000 square feet.”

The Rego report showed that the market volume for 2013 was $225m, up from $197m from 2012. However, Buddy Rego, chairman, said Bermuda was still a long way from the $685m  figure from 2008.