Tuesday, February 16, 2010

‘Now is the best time to invest in properties’

‘Now is the best time to invest in properties’

Thursday, 11 February 2010 04:17
by Tiffany Sukola | Variety News Staff

WITH military buildup efforts expected to have a direct impact on the real estate market, local realtors are advising island residents to consider buying homes or land before the cost of home ownership skyrockets.

“If you’re looking to buy, now is really the time,” said Guam Association of Realtors president Chris Felix yesterday. “Once the buildup related population boom happens, you’re going to see rent go up and you’re going to see property value go up.”

According to Felix, if local residents don’t act fast, home ownership may become virtually unaffordable for many.

Felix said Guam will see a sharp population increase even before the thousands of Marines and their dependents arrive on island, because many investors, construction workers and trade workers from other industries are needed in order to prepare for the buildup.

Demand increase

Felix added that although the relocation of the Marines is not going to happen for a couple more years, the demand for houses on Guam is already steadily increasing.

Felix said that real estate conditions on Guam would soon be similar to the conditions in the 1980’s, when many local residents could not afford some of the houses on the market because the military’s presence had an affect on real estate.

“Residents should really take advantage before the market goes up,” said Felix, adding that the tax credit for first time homebuyers is still available.

According to Felix, construction of residential units peaked in 2004 and construction projects remained steady until 2007. However, in 2008 and 2009 Felix said the industry saw a slight decrease in the number of residential projects.

“We’re going to see the same thing until the Environmental Impact Statement is accepted or until the buildup starts,” said Felix.

Felix added that although investors are eyeing Guam, he doesn’t expect to see a sharp increase in construction until the decision to relocate the nearly 8,000 Marines from Japan to Guam is official.

Popular job

In anticipation of the real estate market’s growth, Felix said that many island residents are leaving their current jobs to become licensed real estate agents.

Felix said that the realtor’s association now has close to 400 members, the only U.S. market that has been able to increase its membership over the past three years. He added that membership used to be somewhere in the 60-100 member range.

“In the states, it’s the opposite story,” said Felix. “The market is going down and people are actually leaving the industry.”

Felix said that many residents are seeing the potential of the real estate market in the coming years and are rushing to get licensed before the buildup.

“If they wait until the buildup is already occurring, then it’s already too late,” said Felix.

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