Real estate broker and businessman Mario Carey
Mario Carey: ‘Interest in Eleuthera at All-time High, Double the Inquiries in a Year’
Once an island best known for its place in Bahamian history, its hilly roads and empty silos a symbol of a long-ago thriving dairy industry, Eleuthera is emerging as the Family Island real estate story of the year.
So says legendary real estate broker Mario Carey, founder of the first international affiliate of Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate, BHGRE MCR Bahamas Group.
“If islands had comeback stories, Eleuthera would be the comeback of 2021,” said Carey, who has handled some $3 billion in sales in a career spanning 40 years and is known for his market watch predictions. “Judging by the number of inquiries in our office about Eleuthera, Spanish Wells and Russell Island and seeing how fast the prices are trending upward, the world is rediscovering Eleuthera,” “In our office alone, we have had double the number of inquiries about Eleuthera in the last year.”
What’s driving the interest in the mainland that runs 110 miles long and rarely more than three miles wide?
“During COVID, people began looking seriously at safe havens and where they could live with certain conveniences but without the hassle or the density of a highly populated urban area,” Carey said. “Eleuthera had it all – especially the key factors of accessibility, affordability and availability. It’s also a beautiful place with great beaches and the fact that it now has good, reliable health care with several private clinics and an urgent care facility in Palmetto Point in Central Eleuthera makes a difference because people feel a level of comfort that they may not feel on a more remote island where if there is a serious incident like a heart attack it can’t be managed unless you are flown to Nassau or the States. So everything is pointing in Eleuthera’s favour, including the airlift from Florida and the ferry service from Nassau.”
United, American and Silver Airways serve North Eleuthera from South Florida with numerous flights a day and local airlines including Bahamasair, Pineapple Air, Southern Air and Western serve one or more of the three airports on the island. Bahamas Ferries makes the two-hour trek to Spanish Wells off the coast of North Eleuthera at least five times a week from Nassau in the early morning with a return in the afternoon and goes to Governor’s Harbour in Central Eleuthera weekly.
“What is especially interesting about this resurgence in mainland Eleuthera and Spanish Wells, which is already becoming too expensive for many, is how many Bahamians are buying or searching for property so they can build a retirement cottage or a primary home. I’ve had several clients tell me personally or one of my partners, Tim Rodland or Tim Smith, that they feel they have spent enough time in Nassau, they want a place that is peaceful and where they can enjoy life and Eleuthera has what they are looking for. From boat mechanics to partners in a few of the most prominent law firms, there is a Nassau to Eleuthera movement afoot.”
According to one of Carey’s partners, Tim Smith, who has the 80-acre Gun Point estate listed at the northern tip of Eleuthera, ideal for a master plan, mixed-use development with marina, resort and residences, climate change has contributed to the increased interest in Eleuthera.
“As buyers search for properties with elevation, Eleuthera hits that target. There are singular high spots in The Bahamas, like Mt. Alvernia in Cat Island, but there is nowhere else that has the rolling hills and general high elevation yet stunning beaches like Eleuthera,” said Smith. “Prices are going up even as we speak but fortunately bank rates are favourable so I think we are going to continue to see an increase in interest and activity.”