High-priced dwellings

Study finds Bim is the world’s second most costly place to own a home

The much talked about housing solutions are coming to Barbadians at a hefty cost, with a recent study showing that Barbados is the second most unaffordable place to buy a house when house prices are measured against average income ratio.

The findings place Barbados ahead of countries like the Maldives and Venezuela as countries with the least affordable housing.

However, one local policymaker says he is not entire sold on those findings, instead insisting that there was a housing price to suit various income levels, while one private sector official is predicting that prices could fall in coming years.

According to the Australian-based moving company Assured Removalists, Barbados was the second least affordable place to live with a house price to income ratio of 133.77.

This means that the average house price is just over 133 times the average wage in Barbados.

Papua New Guinea takes the number one spot of being the least affordable place to buy a house, with a house price to income ratio of 181.6.

According to the findings people were paying more for housing around the world, with average house prices up 6.5 per cent in the last 12 months.

The company did not say when the study was carried out, but said it combined data on average annual salary, income tax and house prices to produce a ratio that shows the measures of housing affordability around the world.

“The higher the ratio is, the less affordable the houses are,” it said.

Solomon Islands, Maldives, Bhutan, Vietnam, China, El Salvador, Venezuela and Tajikistan rounded off the top ten.

Conversely, the Bahamas was identified as the fourth most affordable place to buy a house with a ratio of 3.42, while Jamaica placed eighth with a house price to income ratio of 5.03.

Suriname was deemed the most affordable with a ratio of 1.87. Saudi Arabia, Oman, the United States, Honduras, Brunei Darussalam, Kuwait and Qatar rounded off the top ten most affordable places to buy a house.

However, Minister of Housing and Lands Denis Kellman told Barbados TODAY while he was not familiar with the survey, he was satisfied that there was a housing solution to fit every income level in Barbados and it was therefore dependent on the kind of house an individual wanted to invest in.

“Housing in Barbados is affordable depending on what you are looking for. If you want to go to Sandy Lane then you must have Sandy Lane pocket, if you want to come to NHC you must have NHC pocket, if you want to go to the private sector you must have that pocket. We also have housing just like our tourism to suit the individual pocket,” explained Kellman, who noted that there was also land available for purchase to fit various income levels.

“I do not know what income bracket the person was dealing with but we try to satisfy the needs of everyone. But I would admit that we are not a country at the top end that is cheap. When you get quality you must pay for quality. And you would agree that the Royal Westmorelands and the Sandy Lanes and the Apes Hills and so on, we do not dictate that market,” Kellman said, adding that there was hardly anywhere in Barbados that could be considered to be rural.

In a separate interview, President of the Barbados Estate Agents and Valuers Association Paul Alleyne told Barbados TODAY he too was not aware of the survey.

However, he admitted that land prices and building materials were relatively higher here than in many other countries, which would inflate the cost of building a home here.

“The cost of material is high, and it is even higher now that we have these austerity taxes including the NSRL [National Social Responsibility Levy]. So my understanding is that the cost of building has probably gone up about 15 per cent. So when you look at the total we would be high compared to somewhere like let’s say the countryside in Canada, but compared to let’s say, London, we are not that high. So to me that is a very hard comparison to make,” Alleyne explained.

He said since the market peaked a few years ago, prices have since been adjusted downward between 20 to 40 per cent depending on where the properties were located.

Alleyne said Barbadians could expect prices to fall even further given Government’s recent belt-tightening measures.

“We think that the price of land might start to come down. People’s salaries have not gone up but yet it is going to now cost them more to build a house than it did six months ago. So what options do people have? Either they could build smaller house, which may or may not be possible given the size of their family . . . so the only other thing in that equation is pricing of the land. We feel that new developers may end up having to reduce some of their pricing in order to attract people looking to build,” Alleyne concluded.


23 Responses to High-priced dwellings

  1. John Everatt August 28, 2017 at 11:23 pm

    Mr. Kellman talks about a Sandy Lane pocket vs an NHC pocket. So please tell us about NHC projects like the Grotto which are supposed to be at the affordable end of the scale. How about all the little boxes that have been built throughout the island by NHC that sit and rot because they were never completed? Or how about all the houses at Coverly which were supposed to be affordable? The silly season is certainly upon us.

  2. Ali Baba
    Ali Baba August 29, 2017 at 2:22 am


  3. Epaphras D. Williams
    Epaphras D. Williams August 29, 2017 at 2:49 am

    A comprehensive study needs to be done on the Barbadian psyche – ambitious or asinine?

  4. Tony Webster August 29, 2017 at 4:07 am

    Lord, hear our prayers: deliver us from those of twisted words; those bereft of normal human attributes; those willfully blind, and unable to see the elephant beside them, despite dung all over their front-rooms”, and those turning a deaf ear to the cries of the common man.

    Yes, Lord, write it all down that it shall cast a light unto the feet of those who pass this way again.Explain again to me Lord, about “to those who much is given, much more is taken”

  5. Alex Alleyne August 29, 2017 at 5:24 am

    Everyone knows that real estate in Barbados is way over priced. The NHC build “slave huts” and call them “Low income housing”, now go check the price for one.

    • jennifer August 29, 2017 at 5:36 am

      Great name – fitting too. Slave huts.

  6. jennifer August 29, 2017 at 5:34 am

    Oh yeh, another one of them studies. Stupid. Same entity, same perpetrators. Same blind bat syndrome.

  7. Jason chandler August 29, 2017 at 6:30 am

    Oh my Lord….
    Again when ever this man speaks, I get a headache.
    Question that in ask again, how this man get a ministry portfolio??

  8. Harry August 29, 2017 at 7:27 am

    A perfect example of what my father called a “SAM’, there are 2 parts of Kellman’s anatomy which are definitely too close to each other.

  9. Sue Donym August 29, 2017 at 7:51 am

    Bits of data mean little without context. What sources did the Australian moving company probe – official national records?
    Do the prices show construction costs of new homes, asking prices or professional valuations? Any information as to methods of gathering the data or is this a compilation of figures given to them by their clients for dwelling actually sold?

  10. Sherlene Phillips
    Sherlene Phillips August 29, 2017 at 9:06 am

    If when you buy food and pay bills you dont have any savings…then hard to get any housing…and with favouritism very very hard to get any government housing even if your name there for ages

    • jennifer August 29, 2017 at 10:25 am

      True. Same thing with jobs too. These politicians got this people in all of this keep down nonsense and those hangman noose mortgages etc.

      • hcalndre August 30, 2017 at 6:12 am

        Why should the bajan people believe that the only way that they can obtain anything in life is through a politician, where are the job agencies? Most of the politicians never had 2 pennies to rub together until they lied their way into to parliament and soon after they become Shahs and Monarchies. Kellman, a person buys a home with what they can afford, and it may not be where they wanted to raise their families, so forget the bs talk. Questioning the findings are nothing surprising, its there for all to see. When you compare salaries and the prices of homes, what more is needed?

  11. Darson August 29, 2017 at 9:15 am

    What has he done Wrong now ? how long was he minister of Housing? what is the cost of land on which the houses are built ?
    i do agree some of the housing projects are very crappy , but this was long before him , and if you are saying given the quality of house for the ugly prefab rubbish i see , i do agree they are over priced .

  12. Alex Mitchell
    Alex Mitchell August 29, 2017 at 9:33 am

    DBLP full of fraud and kick backs, 20 years of VAT and taxes and the money gone and no housing, How many people make $801 per week to get NHC housing?More Fraud, UDC land fraud also , none cant sign deeds for the last 20 years.

  13. milli watt August 29, 2017 at 10:05 am

    wonder if he does sell houses by weight like how he does sell food

  14. Shotta Boss
    Shotta Boss August 29, 2017 at 10:38 am

    Not one housing project in St Lucy shame

  15. Ossie Moore August 29, 2017 at 10:40 am

    Kellman!!! Talk Yuh Talk! Eclipse biscuits and some sardines can go a long way!

  16. Ossie Moore August 29, 2017 at 11:13 am

    Only a St . John man can recite as such. Tony Webster! Talk yuh talk as Joe Tudor would tell yuh back in time!

  17. Loretta Griffith August 29, 2017 at 2:04 pm

    Dawson who the cow likes it licks and who it hates it kicks.
    In Barbados it depends on who says what.
    It is time like these that we really experience the hypocrisy of some of us.
    God is not sleeping and for sure he is in control.
    All the naysayers are doing is making the DLP SUPPORTERS who were not thinking of voting go out and cast their vote.

  18. Seaweed August 29, 2017 at 5:13 pm

    When are those pretty little houses below District C police station going to be occupied? Is it true that the builder forgot to put in septic systems, or is that rumour?

  19. Tony Webster August 29, 2017 at 7:29 pm

    @Loretta: gal, your analysis and your expectations regarding “naysayers” reminds me of my father explaining to me aged seven or so, the expression “whistling in the dark” . Mind you, in this instance, I consider such forecasts of shadows foretelling coming events…to be both rational, and justified!
    Whistle away, to your heart’s content lady!


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