St. Martin

St. Martin’s History

Although sighted by Christopher Columbus in 1493 and claimed for Spain, it was the Dutch who occupied the island in 1631 to exploit its salt deposits. The Spanish retook the island in 1633, but continued to be harassed by the Dutch. The Spanish finally relinquished Saint Martin to the French and Dutch, who divided it between themselves in 1648. Friction between the two sides caused the border to frequently fluctuate over the next two centuries, with the French eventually holding the greater portion of the island (about 61%). The cultivation of sugar cane introduced African slavery to the island in the late 18th century; the practice was not abolished until 1848. The island became a free port in 1939; the tourism industry was dramatically expanded during the 1970s and 1980s. In 2003, the populace of Saint Martin voted to secede from Guadeloupe and in 2007, the northern portion of the island became a French overseas collectivity. In 2010, the southern Dutch portion of the island became the independent nation of Sint Maarten within the Kingdom of the Netherlands. On 6 September 2017, Hurricane Irma passed over the island of Saint Martin causing extensive damage to roads, communications, electrical power, and housing; the UN estimated that 90% of the buildings were damaged or destroyed.  *The World Factbook

St. Martin’s Economy

The economy of Saint Martin centers on tourism with 85% of the labor force engaged in this sector. Over one million visitors come to the island each year with most arriving through the Princess Juliana International Airport in Sint Maarten. The financial sector is also important to Saint Martin’s economy as it facilitates financial mediation for its thriving tourism sector. No significant agriculture and limited local fishing means that almost all food must be imported. Energy resources and manufactured goods are also imported, primarily from Mexico and the US. Saint Martin is reported to have one of the highest per capita income in the Caribbean. In September 2017, Hurricane Irma destroyed 95% of the French side of Saint Martin. Along the coastline of Marigot, the nerve center of the economy, the storm wiped out restaurants, shops, banks and open-air markets impacting more than 36,000 inhabitants. *The World Factbook

St. Martin’s Weather

Located in the tropics, and close to the equator, St. Martin experiences little variation in temperature throughout the year. Temperatures range from 75° in the winter to 90° in the summer. Humidity also increases during the summer months. Trade winds, along with air conditioning and watersports, combine to minimize the increased heat and humidity in the summer months.

 

Hurricane season in the Caribbean starts in the beginning of June and runs through November. Although hurricane strikes are rare on St. Martin, Hurricanes Irma and Maria struck the island in September 2017. The island receives an average of 40 inches of rainfall each year. When rain showers do occur, they usually come on quickly, end within minutes, and leave the sky as bright and sunny as before they arrived. *Caraibya.com

Things to Do on St. Martin

Looking across Baie Nettle, are offsite views of the lively capital city of Marigot.  Just 10-15 minutes from the property (the time variable is the Simpson Bay Lagoon draw-bridge), Marigot features duty-free shopping at numerous boutiques and high-end jewelry stores.  Excellent French restaurants, cafes and bars, are scattered alongside cobblestone streets.  Unlike other Caribbean islands there is a vibrant nightlife and no shortage of “things to do” on St. Martin.

 

The island is known for its beautiful beaches.  Relaxed sunbathing, some-times with nothing more to wear than SPF50, is popular on the French side.  Orient Bay is a well-known, and often times a crowded people-watch from the many beach bars fronting the bay.  Watersports including sailing, snorkeling, paddle boards, jet skis, kite surfing, and scuba diving, are favorite tourist pastimes.

 

Yacht watching is another island preoccupation.  Numerous yachts can be seen cruising local waters, and docked at Marigot’s and Simpson Bay Lagoon marinas. The protected geography of Simpson Bay provides a safe harbor from storms, yacht provisioning, as well as repair and maintenance services with dry dock facilities to 360’ for megayachts.  The close proximity of Princess Juliana, an international hub airport, facilitates easy access for owners and their yacht charter clients.  St. Martin is definitely known as an exclusive playground for the rich and famous; celebrity sightings are not uncommon.

St. Martin’s Residential Real Estate

St. Martin’s residential real estate appeals to an international clientele and the market is fairly consistent with 2-3 significant €9+ million sales each year.  Vacant beachfront lots and tear-down type properties sell for €2.2-4.5 million, while newer beachfront villas range from €6-15 million.  Hillside ocean view lots of varying sizes are available from €1.4-4 million, with a wide range of villas priced between €2-12 million.  Similar to real estate markets everywhere, the variables of location, size, age, design, and finish determine the price.

 

Following Hurricane Irma, island real estate values suffered from uncertainty and weakened  demand as the island cleaned up and recovered; the market softened across the board.  Demand for new properties, built to hurricane resistant standards and finished with high-style island contemporary design, has resurged.  The typical pattern is for repeat villa renters to become buyers, who in turn spread the St. Martin story to their circle of friends.

 

Island realtors suggest that new, furnished turn-key beach villas, priced in the realm of €4.3 – 5.3  million, adjacent to a luxury resort hotel, will be greeted with strong demand and be readily purchased.  Buyers look for new construction, built to Miami-Dade County building code standards.  They seek out turn-key properties, offering a high-degree of security coupled with the convenience of room service, property management and maintenance, provided by a recognized luxury hotel brand.

 

St. Martin’s Government has approved the construction of for sale beach villas on the property.  Fractional ownership is permitted, and most luxury hotel flags are familiar with residential sales and marketing, as well as property management tailored to the needs of second home buyers.  Subject to the developer’s specific plans, the phased construction of 40 villas, each with 3,000 – 4,000 sq.ft. (279-372 sq.m.) interior space, and an additional 1,250 sq.ft. (116 sq.m.) outdoor living area with plunge pool, can be accommodated adjacent to a new resort hotel.

 

It should be noted that properties on the French Side of St. Martin sell for a higher price, when compared to those located on the Dutch Side of Sint. Maarten.  The island does not have a MLS (multiple listing service) to share property listings and collect sales results.  As a point of information, casualty insurance is provided by the French Government.

Real Estate Highlights:

Beachfront Parcel of land in Terres Basses St Martin
The Peninsula Estate Terres Basses
Casa De La Playa SXM
Amandara Luxury villa, SXM

2.5 Acre Parcel – € 3,000,000

8.67 Acre Estate – $ 15,000,000

3.3 Acre Estate- $ 14,000,000.00

2.5 Acre Estate – $ 7,850,000.00

Beachfront Parcel of land in Terres Basses St Martin

2.5 Acre Parcel – € 3,000,000

The Peninsula Estate Terres Basses

8.67 Acre Estate – $ 15,000,000

Casa De La Playa SXM

3.3 Acre Estate- $ 14,000,000.00

Amandara Luxury villa, SXM

2.5 Acre Estate – $ 7,850,000.00

Additional Residential Highlights: