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okplumber
(@okplumber)
Active Member
Joined: 9 years ago
Posts: 5
February 17, 2012 4:22 pm  

Good Morning. My wife and I are researching the possibility of a move to St. Croix. We have made a visit in the past year and would plan on making a lengthy PMV before we decide. I know the best way to find a job is in person. My question revolves around housing. I understand one would want to rent for the first year before buying. But I want to find out if the numbers would ever work for a purchase as we wouldn't want to rent forever. The houses that we have looked at and fell comfortable with are all in the 400k-500k listing price range. Any idea what homes in this range are sold for? 10%-20% below asking? (single family homes, not condos)

Thank you


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vicanuck
(@vicanuck)
Expert
Joined: 11 years ago
Posts: 2574
February 20, 2012 11:59 am  

Buying a house on St. Croix just got a lot cheaper with Hovensa closing. I was told by a few realtors that over 90 new properties were about to hit the MLS. Could be just rumors, but a lot of the the people I know are leaving so maybe its true.


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IslandHops
(@IslandHops)
Trusted Member
Joined: 12 years ago
Posts: 929
February 20, 2012 12:13 pm  

Around the beginning of January there were 289 houses listed for sale on STX on the MLS. The number had been hovering in the 270-280's for a very long time. As of now we are at 342. That is 50+ listings in just 6 weeks, plus many price reductions. Interesting time to be looking for property. Very sad for those that are having to sell due to the Hovensa shutdown.


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OldTart
(@the-oldtart)
Expert
Joined: 9 years ago
Posts: 6523
February 20, 2012 12:15 pm  

okplumber, you really just have to wait until you get here as who knows what's going to happen with housing prices a couple of years down the line. Location is a huge price factor too. You can certainly get a ballpark feel for prices but until you actually start living here you won't really know what you want or need where running and maintenance costs are concerned. Good luck with the planning!


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East End Doug
(@east_end_doug)
Advanced Member
Joined: 15 years ago
Posts: 236
February 20, 2012 2:20 pm  

As you find anywhere else it's location, location,location that dictates price. However look at the quality and condition of each property. The cost and the time to repair and remodel can be sky high in the Virgin islands.I see houses in the best neighborhoods that need hundreds of thousands to repair and clean simple places in lesser neighborhoods that need very little. Come down and see what's available. This can take months to find the house that fits your needs. Don't jump into any purchase. Rent near where you think you want to live and look around. Prices will do a temporary dip, but the quality homes in good neighborhoods will always be desirable.


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Iris Tramm
(@Iris_Tramm)
Trusted Member
Joined: 11 years ago
Posts: 681
February 21, 2012 10:52 pm  

Good Morning. My wife and I are researching the possibility of a move to St. Croix. We have made a visit in the past year and would plan on making a lengthy PMV before we decide. I know the best way to find a job is in person. My question revolves around housing. I understand one would want to rent for the first year before buying. But I want to find out if the numbers would ever work for a purchase as we wouldn't want to rent forever. The houses that we have looked at and fell comfortable with are all in the 400k-500k listing price range. Any idea what homes in this range are sold for? 10%-20% below asking? (single family homes, not condos)

Thank you

It's a buyer's market right now on STX.


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Alexandra
(@Alexandra)
Trusted Member
Joined: 15 years ago
Posts: 1428
February 22, 2012 1:49 am  

How much less a seller will take for a property depends on many factors. When did they buy? Did they buy at the peak of the market or before the prices soared 5 years ago? How much do they still owe? Are they nearing foreclosure? Will the bank allow a short-sale? etc. Some sellers have more negotiating room than others and some would be better off letting the property go to the bank as they can't sell for enough to come close to paying off the mortgage balance. Some properties are priced correctly for the market and others are greatly over-priced, so this also has an effect on how much more you can expect a seller to discount.

We have had very few foreclosures on STX, historically. With the downturn in the market and now the new economic hit of the refinery closing, those numbers may rise sharply. Foreclosure properties on the island are usually not in great shape when they become available for purchase, so these aren't necessarily the properties to be aiming to buy. The best deals in foreclosure properties often get purchased by someone associated with the bank who holds the foreclosure before they ever are offered to the public.

Properties in great condition are less likely to be discounted heavily than properties in need of a lot of work. Do you want a property that needs serious rehabilitation? There is always ongoing maintenance in island properties. The heat, humidity, salt air, etc. take a toll.

The best timing can vary for when someone who wants to buy should actually pull the trigger. For some people, it is a very good idea to be here for 6-12 months and get to know the island before making a major investment. But for some, if they don't buy before moving to the islands they may never be able to qualify for the purchase they want in the years to come. This is because many people change careers when they come here and the lender will look at this as making them less of a good bet for a mortgage. Most lenders want people to be 2-5 years in the same career to have job stability and reliable income to approve their loan, especially after the mortgage debacle of the past few years. If you are retired with funds, the timing of a purchase is totally up to you, of course. If you still work regularly to make a living, you might want to talk to a local mortgage broker about whether you should buy a "2nd home or investment property" prior to making the full-time move or if you'll be ok waiting until you've been here awhile and that you could still get a mortgage after a year on the island. If you plan to stay in the same industry and have a job lined up, then this situation wouldn't apply to you and you should still be able to get a loan if you have good credit, etc. Over the past 8 years, I've seen people unable to get a mortgage after they moved here who could have easily purchased prior to arriving, so it's something to think about when making long-term plans. Getting as much information as you can up front will greatly assist your successful relocation.


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islandlola
(@islandlola)
Trusted Member
Joined: 14 years ago
Posts: 693
February 22, 2012 5:05 pm  

Alexandra, as always, GREAT advice and information.

Best,

Islandlola
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