Perelandra, a two bedroom, two bath villa overlooking the Virgin Islands' Cruz Bay, is Exhibit #1 for Forbes.com's advice, "Buy Now, Retire Later."
The gist of the item is: prices have never been lower, will only go higher. If St. John – or anywhere else – is a part of your retirement plan, now is the time.
"The price was the impetus to buy now," the Gallaghers said. "We realized if we waited, and prices came back up, we wouldn't be able to do it, So we sold stock and bought. It felt like paradise." Perelandra's new owners, Linda and Patrick Gallagher, bought the villa for $960,000. Asking price was $1.495 million.
(Update: A commenter on the Forbes story, who said she was the previous owner, said the original asking price for the villa was $1.05 million.)
They plan to continue to offer the villa for short term rental, using it themselves three or four weeks a year. The income will help with taxes, maintenance, and management.
Forbes adds that a housing analyst for Moody's, the credit rating and research company, agrees with their move. Celia Chen is quoted saying "popular second-home locales … should see the bottom this year – meaning now is the time to start looking."
Lynn Giovanna, an agent with Islandia Real Estate, poiints out the number of home sales this year is ahead of last year's pace, albeit slightly – 12 deals in 2011 vs. 10 in 2010.
"Many of my customers ask if mortgages are available in the Virgin Islands," she wrote on the Islandia blog. "Home mortgages offered by First Liberty mortgage brokers include a 30-year-fixed at around 4.50% and a 15-year-fixed at around 3.75%."
Disclaimer: The owners of The Inquiring Iguana, the "publisher" of this Web site, have listed his home away from home, a two-bedroom, two bath villa, Blue Tang, for sale. As such, he has an interest in the real estate market.