The Trinidad and Tobago Real Estate Market – An Overview

Real estate prices in Trinidad have increased substantially since the recession of the 1980’s. With the opening up of the economy the Trinbagonian entrepreneur is more confident in the economy and has taken full advantage of the tax benefits implemented in recent years. There has also been an influx of foreign investment that have come to Trinidad mainly in the petrochemical industry.

These investors have set up ammonia, iron carbide and methanol plants to rival the size of others all over the world. Most of the offices for these foreign investors are located in Port of Spain, with the petrochemical plants situated at Pt. Lisas, thereby creating a demand for office accommodation at Pt. Lisas and Port of Spain and for housing in the north-western peninsula and San Fernando environs of Trinidad. BPTT has completed the construction of a 60,000 square-foot office building in Port of Spain, that is owned by three of the Country’s largest finance companies who have made a determined thrust as real estate developers.

As a 34% shareholder in the Liquefield Natural Gas Plant (LNG) presently being constructed at Pt. Fortin, Amoco has also commissioned a 20,000 square-foot office building at Pt. Fortin. With this plant being established at Pt. Fortin, together with the mega plants at Pt. Lisas, we have finally seen an improvement in real estate prices in the south, due to housing needs for the LNG plant’s contractors. Market values have finally caught up with replaceable cost values, even though housing is still significantly cheaper than in the north west.

There has been a mini-building boom in the last three years in Trinidad, which has helped to steady prices even though the opening up of the economy has resulted in quite a demand for housing. This building boom was mainly as a result firstly, of a tax incentive implemented that would mean that all rent would be tax exempt, and all rates, taxes, mortgage interest and expenses deductible, once the property was constructed after 1993 and completed by 1996. Secondly, the demand for rental accommodation meant that the average Trinbagonians could buy, build and lease at a great return on his investment, having had the tax break. Thirdly, the entrepreneur was once again confident in the economy of the islands.

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