December 4, 2009

Edward Harris At Large!


It is well known that the greed of mortgage bankers operating in the Real Estate Sector brought the global economy to its knees. Sub Prime Mortgages – lending money to unqualified people and marketing financial instruments as unique winning proposition. I had the pleasure of listening to Chairman and Managing Director of the Central Bank of India, based in Mumbai, India (this is not the Reserve Bank, it is a private bank). He spoke on the state of the World Economy and noted India’s favourable position having ignored the sub prime mortgage boom in the developed countries.

Nothing much was heard about Dubai except that the property market was slowing down but generally it was felt that the worst had passed, only to discover that Dubai is about to collapse under the pressure of defaulting loans. Dubai is sure one of the human wonders of the world, rising from the depths of the sea.

What is the state of the real estate sector in St. Lucia? The answer to this question is mixed as bonafide realtors – persons operating in the industry for over a decade are still holding their own, no established realtor has closed his/her doors. It is definite that the space is getting tighter for the freelancers who hop in and out of the industry. Unless things get better soon, a few foreign realtors will close their executive offices and operate virtually.

Realtors Association (Saint Lucia) Limited has its job cut out for it as the Directors are obliged to bring about some order in the industry. Realtors met on Thursday, 3/12/09 at the Bay Gardens Hotel to put their plans for the Association in motion. Realtors must get together to give a boost to the industry. There is urgent need for a Multi-Listing Service where all members of the Association will have access to the programme. Real estate in St. Lucia continues to be a winning proposition in spite of difficult financial times.

There is serious need to inform and educate realtors and potential clients about the industry. It is time for realtors and lending institutions to come together and launch sensitization programmes to stress the importance of the need for citizens to understand the implications of the industry. We have heard about the fall out in the industry in the USA – how persons have been ejected from their homes. If we are not careful it can happen here. Fortunately, our laws are very kind to home owners in the case of lending institutions and similarly with tenants and landlords. Had the situation been the same as pertains in America and other developed countries there would have been BANK OWNED signs all over the place as we see FOR SALE signs on cars. Too EASY CREDIT is bad for consumers.

In spite of the doom and gloom as some see in the current economic situation, there is likely to be some improvement in business for the holidays. I see as much as four cruise ships in the harbour and I get excited for the vendors. I walked around the arcade and I noted that most of the units are well stocked, ready to do business. The hotels should be back to reasonable occupancy for the 2009/2010 tourist season and that should be of great help to the hotel workers who were the most affected in recent months.

The Festive Season is upon us and remittances will pick up, barrels will soon be causing congestion on the wharves and a JOLLY GOOD TIME is once again in the works. God has highly favoured the people of the Caribbean. We are blessed.

Here is a tip for persons seeking to buy property. In the event you plan to obtain a mortgage from a lending institution, visit the loan officer and discuss your plan with him/her and find out what amount you are qualified to receive, given your financial situation.

Hereunder is my selected motivational pick of the week:
What You See Is What You Get
The realities of life result from many outside factors, none of which you can control. Your attitude, however, reflects the way in which you evaluate what’s happening to you.
It is not your situation, it’s your reaction to the situation that’s important. Things always seem to turn out best for those people who can make the best out of the way things turn out.
Life at any time can become difficult. Life at any time can become easy. It all depends upon how you adjust yourself to life. You cannot always control your circumstances. But you can always think positive thoughts.
There is nothing either good or bad, only your thinking makes it so.
© 2009

Keep the Faith, God is in Charge and expect Daily Miracles!

Edward Harris
Biblicist, Freelance Journalist, Realtor, Business & PR Consultant
Websites: St. Lucia – Agent ECREDMC

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