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    Anguilla:
  Tranquillity
   Wrapped
         in
      Blue

HURRICANE LUIS: A "NON-EVENT"?

No, not really a "non-event"--it was obviously quite a storm which disrupted all of our lives in one way or another. Some unfortunate souls lost homes and possessions, others lost businesses or income, while still others lost their sense of contentment and safety. But when one considers the long term impact on real estate, Luis may in fact be a "non-event"--and may eventually be viewed in a positive light.

Real estate on Anguilla has always been glacial: it moves steadily but slowly--perhaps, at times, imperceptibly. However, it does constantly move. High prices, aggressive transfer taxes, painful interest rates, difficult logistics, and numerous other ills, all conspire to slow the market, but have never succeeded in stopping or reversing it. So the question becomes: Will the addition of 200 mile per hour winds to the list of ills identified tip the scales against us? I don't think so.

The underlying value of real estate on Anguilla is not driven by indigenous population growth and demand, but by external perception and investment. The high net worth individual who is contemplating a Caribbean commitment and considering Anguilla, is fundamentally focused on concerns such as the quality of our daily life, our social tranquillity, our aversion to intrusive wealth taxes, our commitment to maintaining a healthy environment--in a word, our decency in an increasingly indecent world. From such a perspective, and to such individuals, Luis will simply be viewed as an explosion of mother nature which, ironically, may actually reinforce the positive perception that Anguilla so rightfully enjoys.

No deaths. No injuries. No curfews. No guns. No vengeance. No rationing. No breakdown in social order or civilized behavior.

Such facts simply overwhelm the temporary disruption of electricity, telecommunication, and cable t.v.--such facts simply reinforce the long term value of living on Anguilla. Beaches that eroded will return, restaurants that washed away will reopen, hotels that suffered damage will rebuild, for such events are part of an inevitable cycle understood by both environmentalists and entrepreneurs. However when basic decency crumbles, when trust is lost to violence and social recrimination, society never rebounds properly. Thankfully on Anguilla such decency did not crumble, such trust was not lost.

This is not to say that all behavior, everywhere, was exemplary--but it is to say that while a few individuals did take advantage of the situation and inexcusably steal, Anguilla society itself stood firm-it did not decay, did not plunder, did not loot. The record thus far indicates the world of investors is very aware of the difference.

Property transactions are still being negotiated, most at pre-hurricane prices. Alien land holding licence applications are still being submitted, analyzed, and where appropriate, approved.

Glacial, perhaps, but not frozen--real estate values will hold and soon begin to climb once again, in spite of, perhaps because of, Luis.

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