Earl Samuels, chief development financing officer at The Jamaica National Group, believes that there could be a levelling off of prices in the real estate market if the Jamaican economy does not recover from COVID-19 in the short-term.
Mr Samuels said the Jamaican real estate market has been on an upward trajectory especially over the past five years and added that it was difficult to say when the market would return to that boom because of the uncertainty brought on by COVID-19.
“There will be some levelling off in prices in the real estate market soon unless the impact of COVID-19 is short-lived, and the economy starts to gain some momentum. The recovery is going to take some time to happen. Therefore, I think real estate prices will experience some levelling off as a result. I don’t see prices falling, but the level of appreciation that we experienced over the past three or four years will level off,” he stated.
“We don’t know if the impact of the COVID period is going to end in three, or six months. Shortly after the 2008 recession the real estate market became very active and we saw a lot of development taking place. Since the start of COVID-19, the market has been in a limbo. we are still in a limbo. We do not know how long it will last. What we must do is try to maintain a level position,” he stated.
Mr Samuels was one of the presenters at the Proven Reit Iconic Live Series, a webinar held on social media on May 14. The series was held under the theme: “Pivoting to Remain Viable in a Changing Landscape”.
Ms Aisha Campbell, chief executive officer (CEO), Proven Reit, said COVID-19 pandemic had slowed the upward trajectory in the real estate market but she was confident that the market was beginning to recover.
“We are seeing an uptick in the number of persons interested after the initial slowdown. We anticipate that perhaps we won’t have the original trajectory, but people are still interested in real estate projects,” she said.
Mr Christopher Nakash, CEO, Nakash Construction Equipment Limited added that that prior to COVID-19 the economy was performing well. He said this has laid to foundation for the economy to recover.
“It will take about 12-18 months for us to get back to where we were before COVID-19. We are seeing upticks and contracts being awarded. But we will not be in a position we were in for a while,” he explained.
“If we get past COVID in the next few months, we have enough carryover that we can resume where we left off albeit slower. We have a strong base to work from and so we are on our way to recovery,” he said.