Some news from St-Barths in Lockdown !

Published on April 03,2020

Confinement, which has a huge impact on the lives of the island's residents, reflects what currently affects the entire globe and a large part of its population. Almost 10000 inhabitants confined in St- Barths, among nearly 3 billion people confined in the world! Despite its small size, the island does not escape the Covid-19 storm but, as usual, tragedies of global scope are managed here, just like local climate disasters, with courage and determination.

Very early in the crisis, from the standpoint of its impact here, most of the population of St-Barths was confined to residence. This decision, difficult to take locally at the start of the Bucket week, has surely been lifesaving so far.  Just as St-Barths and its tourist economy were getting ready to go into overdrive, visitors left the island, sailboats sailed away, and the port and the airport were put in standby mode. For hoteliers, restaurateurs and merchants, barely recovered from the shock of Irma, the pandemic ended the season more than prematurely.

But economic interests have rapidly given way to imperative health concerns, so difficult to manage in a territory with limited medical infrastructures and where visitors flock from all over the world. The island is therefore closed to tourism, access to the beaches is forbidden, Gustavia looks like a ghost town and, as a result, life has changed for its residents.

For parents with school age children, "home school" is the new challenge to face. Food shopping remains easy, in well stocked supermarkets, but moving around is restricted, just as outdoor physical exercise, only allowed within a short radius of one’s home.

After over two weeks with this new lifestyle, the population generally demonstrates their respect for the regulations and professional life gets organized, just like personal life. Within the Sibarth Real Estate team, some have first moved closer to be with their children living abroad, but each continues to actively manage their share of the agency's business by teleworking from home.

I must emphasize here, in this very particular context, the serenity and understanding displayed by our clients in general, and namely by the owners of properties located here on the island. Indeed, everyone could rightly worry about the devastating consequences of the pandemic on the financial markets and potentially on the real estate sector. But once again, the feeling of security and trust about their real estate asset in St-Barths largely prevails over the instinct of panic.

History has taught us that acts of terrorism, financial crises and other hurricanes have sometimes slowed down or even frozen our activity, but that property values have always appreciated over time. The real question is that of the recovery time, which no one can predict given the scale of this humanitarian and economic crisis, but we know that we can count once again until then on the resilience of St-Barths and of all its market actors.

Take care of yourself, stay confined, and do not hesitate to join us for any concerns you may have, by emailing your usual contact and/or estates@sibarthrealestate.com

 

*Picture: Christian WATTIAU  -  Chairman  -  Working remotely from home / St-Jean Bay without tourists and planes