Emmanuel Jacques, Managing Partner, Emmanuel Jacques Almosnino Law Firm (EJA) in Saint Barts, says he is seeing more U.S. investors coming back in force in the Saint Barts real estate market as the euro has weakened against the U.S. dollar over the past several years.
According to data from the European Central Bank (ECB), the euro’s annual peak has decreased over the past few years. In 2014, reached a high of $1.3953, but, in 2015, that peak declined to $1.2043 and again in 2016 to $1.1569, on May 3. Since then, the euro has continued to decline. On June 23, the people of Great Britain voted to break away from the European Union, known as the “Brexit.” The effects were immediate as the euro fell from $1.1389 the day of the vote to $1.1066 the following day. The ECB shows the euro at $1.107 as of July 8. This is a 20% decline from the high in 2014, making Saint Barts real estate that much more affordable to American buyers.
Julius Baer Group Ltd., a lending institution based in Switzerland, predicts that the euro will fall to $1.08 by the end of the third quarter of 2016. Meanwhile, other international banks such as the Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce are forecasting improvements in the U.S. economy, which should help increase the dollar against the euro for the foreseeable future.
The firm saw a significant increase in real estate transactions by Americans over the past year, assisting buyers in identifying real estate opportunities on the island, representing them in negotiating with sellers, obtaining financing and in closing the transaction. Mr. Jacques attributes the increase in U.S. investment in Saint Barts to lower purchase prices compared to the other famous destinations in the Caribbean or Europe.
“The enthusiasm for Saint Barts has grown over the past year, notably because Saint Barts became a high-value destination for an affordable price,” Mr. Jacques says. “Many investors the firm has assisted in acquiring real estate have continued to utilize the firm’s services in handling rentals and other matters on the island.”