Classic is best for Caribbean satisfaction

CARIBBEAN hotspots come and go but Barbados is a sunny stalwart – a developed, cultured playground for the rich and famous (Simon Cowell, Cliff Richard and Andrew Flintoff all have properties here), as well as for more humble folk. Yet despite its stability as a British favourite for homes and holidays in the sun (80 per cent of visitors there are British), Barbados is recovering slowly from the downturn and savvy searchers can find properties going for less than 25 per cent of their original prices.

New developments are helping create a stock of affordable flats. You can buy a one to four bedroom apartment in St James on the Platinum Coast from a meagre $144,000 via Cluttons. Further up the ladder, a detached villa with a spacious pool at the Royal Westmoreland golf community would cost $1.75m – a 15 per cent discount on 2007 prices.

David Coombes, of Chesterton Humberts in Barbados, says it’s a great time to look for a property on the island. “Our economy is still depressed by the lower numbers of tourists, which is our main industry. Demand from overseas is still slack due to the weak pound, and there are people looking to sell in a hurry. So those who put in the effort can find excellent value here.” Coombs suggests enlisting the help of several agents on the ground by befriending them, or at least, setting up a good dialogue. He also advises potential buyers to consider plantations slightly inland – some of which are near gorgeous golf courses – where you get far more land and square footage for your money than you would with a place right on the water.

With the pound rising slowly, Barbados property will start to look more affordable to Brits and the cycle of high demand and short stock will start again, pushing up prices. So seize the chance – after all, Barbados offers a unique position in the Caribbean. “Here you have your place, but you can go watch polo, go to a great restaurant, go shopping. There’s a nice feeling that’s hard to describe.”

kim house, mullins
Price: $650,000
This two-bed house is few miles north of Holetown, a 10 minute walk from the beach.
House. Contact: Cluttons, tel: 020 3040 8210

sugar hill, st james
Price: $2,950,000
A three bedroom home in this excellent resort with sea view, swimming pool and access to shops and restaurants. Contact: Knight Frank, knightfrank.com

Summerland Villas, Prospect
Price: £411,300 to £854,100
A luxury development with two-three bedroom penthouses and direct access to the beach. Contact: Savills, 020 7016 3740

NEED TO KNOW | AREA INSIGHT

l The island of Barbados is 34 km long and 23 km wide. Once a Portuguese territorial possession, it became English in 1625. It has a population of 275,338, with 80,000 people in Bridgetown, the capital.

l The island has a wide variety of properties for sale, from villas to apartments, plantation houses and cottages. The most luxurious part of the island is around the Port St.Charles marina in Speightstown in the north-west of the island. The Royal Westmoreland Golf Club on the West coast and Rockley Golf Club on the South coast feature luxurious villas and larger houses.

l There are lots of local jewellery, clothes and craft shops and a thriving community of art galleries to satisfy shoppers. There are a huge range of eateries, from fine dining to outdoor casual, with most cuisines
represented.

l Barbados is very well served with flights – both Virgin and?British Airways go direct.