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BREA baffled over real estate sector continued closure

EyeWitness News Business May 13, 2020 at 3:39 am Natario McKenzie

NASSAU, BAHAMAS — The Bahamas Real Estate Association’s (BREA) president said yesterday she was ‘baffled and confused’ as to why the local real estate sector remains closed.

Christine Wallace-Whitefield told Eyewitness News, “it’s an active market”.

She said that agents continue to receive inquiries from persons looking to relocate as they may be no longer able to afford their current rental accommodations.

Additionally, she noted that there are persons still interest in viewing vacant properties and home purchases.

Wallace-Whitfield said it was difficult to understand the rationale behind keeping the real estate sector closed given its economic importance.

She underscored the business involves mostly one-on-one interactions between agent and potential purchaser, with the ability to adhere to social distancing protocols being no major concern.

“I am baffled and confused,” Wallace-Whitfield said.

“I don’t get it. So many people are asking why real estate isn’t operational. We really shouldn’t have been closed down. We deal with clients one-on-one. There is no major concern about social distancing.

“I am at a loss at what the real reasoning is. We sent another email to the Prime Minister on Monday asking if we could show properties curbside.”

Wallace-Whitfield said: “We have also sent our protocols for when we are allowed to open up. It would just be nice to have a little communication. We’re not even getting a nudge back as to a reason why.

“There is no reason why we shouldn’t be able to meet clients and practice social distancing showing vacant land or empty homes. There are persons out there who also need to find another rental property because they can not afford the current rental they are in. Some persons have lost jobs and have to downsize. That generates business for our industry.”

Wallace-Whitfield said that despite the economic uncertainty that COVID-19 presents there are still persons interested in real estate.

“I have spoken to agents out there and they are still getting inquiries,” she continued.

“There are persons looking for vacant land or investment properties. Even though the scare and uncertainty of the Coronavirus is still there I think people are trying to continue, to move forward and get back to some sense of normalcy. There are persons who have the means and still want to carry out what they had planned for 2020.

She added: “We are an essential industry because we are trying to find new rentals for persons who need to relocate because thy cannot afford their current rental situation. We are the third largest sector of revenue for the government.”

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