Miracles in business, as with any miracle, are a rarity, but the results can be truly extraordinary when they do occur. Take Guyana, for example: a middle-income country that has long-been renowned for its breathtaking natural beauty, a tropical paradise that adventurers and thrill-seeking travelers were well-acquainted with, if not the wider world. Well, what a difference five years can make.
Exxon Mobil’s discovery of huge oil and gas reserves in 2015 – the largest such find in decades – has earned the country a seat at the global top table of oil producers. With confirmed reserves of close to 10 billion barrels and rising, Guyana has been turned upside down as it prepares for projected economic growth of 300% over the coming years by conservative estimates, or even up to 1000% according to more optimistic analysts.
The black gold rush has turned Guyana’s residential real estate market on its head as expatriate workers have arrived in their thousands. Geologists, field engineers, oil and gas attorneys, project developers, and more have driven supply shortages and rising costs to the detriment of Guyanese citizens. To overcome this high-demand, low-supply imbalance that threatens to destabalise the lives of the less privileged, property developers and house builders from across the spectrum, from those who typically cater to the luxury high-net worth clientele to traditional providers of affordable homes, are united in their ambition to ensure the delivery of high-quality, affordable homes for their countrymen, fit for the 21 st -century and the new, prosperous Guyana that is in the making.
A notable leader of this initiative is Fabulous Homes Guyana, led by the well-known and highly- regarded Dr. Karis Munroe – a pioneer in the Caribbean and Guyanese real estate sector. Celebrating its 10 th anniversary of business in Guyana this year, the company is a subsidiary of Fabulous Homes International, a leading provider or premium real estate across the USA, the Caribbean and of course, Guyana, Fabulous Homes International stand out as a broker of luxury properties across the above regions and have a highly professional and dedicated team to serving the Real Estate sales and rental requirements of its clientele.
A mere glimpse at Fabulous Homes’ portfolio speaks a thousand words. Resplendent in terms of aesthetics and design, and built to the highest quality and safety standards, Fabulous Home properties have for over twenty years met the architectural gold standard, meeting the high expectations of a discerning clientele seeking their own private slice of Caribbean luxury. With its blend of Caribbean flavour and South American flair, Fabulous Homes Guyana has seen incredible demand for its stunning, character-rich properties. And most excitingly all of all, such properties are no-longer the preserve of only the wealthy and privileged – in-line with her new Project 5000 strategy, Dr. Munroe will be overseeing the provision of thousands of affordable homes which will help alleviate the burden that is increasingly weighing down the shoulders of local Guyanese people squeezed by the supply shortage affecting the country.
Talking about Fabulous Homes and the Guyana operations, Dr Munroe proudly said, “Being born in Guyana, it’s an honor to be able to give back to the people. Typically, we serve the higher end clientele, but it became clear and apparent that lower income individuals and their families were struggling to purchase property within the country. With this, we concluded that we can still provide beautiful homes but just on a lower sized scale. These homes were part of my Project 500 vision which was to place 500 families into affordable housing. It gives me a great sense of pride that this was unbelievably popular and now it is known as Project 5000, which I aim to complete this year”. By setting up a platform whereby an initial small down-payment is received from homeowners, Dr. Munroe stated that each family can aim to pay off their property in the space of anywhere between 5-10 years. Going by the average time it takes most to pay of their properties, this is an uncommonly
short period of time by the usual measure, allowing homeowners to fully own their properties in next to no time.
Dr. Munroe continued: “As we develop individual and large scale residential/commercial projects, we have coined the mantra, “Luxury on a budget! Since our niche properties only served 2% of the market in our early years in Guyana, we had to shift gears a bit to create programs our fellow Guyanese could afford. Hence the Project 5000 platform was built which made home ownership affordable and accessible to the 98%. We are currently simultaneously developing a 1500 homes Moderate income community and a high-end luxury community at Friendship 30 minutes outside of Georgetown at a community we named Avalon.”
Development of the Avalon Community, located just half an hour away from Guyana’s capital, Georgetown, at Friendship South, is continuing apace. In addition to providing a number of affordable properties in-line with the Project 5000 initiative, the Avalon Community will occupy a happy middle ground for residents seeking access and availability to the hustle and bustle of city life and the opportunity to retreat to a quiet and comforting space that is imbued with natural charm. Residents will benefit from its good roads, potable water, electricity, warm aesthetics, security and sense of good community, in addition to key amenities such as a private school and playpark, shopping centre, private hospital and jogging trail.
Similarly, Fabulous Homes Guyana is also in the process of developing the upmarket Oasis Country Club Community, a striking 200 property collection of waterfront summer houses and condominiums that are visually stunning and in close proximity to the crystal rivers where kayaking, fishing, water skiing and jetboats have become increasingly popular.
These are heady, exciting times for Fabulous Homes Guyana and Dr. Munroe, who is as busy engaging in efforts to support aspiring homeowners as she is running one of the region’s premiere luxury real estate companies. Project 5000 is no one-off endeavour for Dr. Munroe, who over the years has sought to use her standing and status as one of Guyana’s leading real estate magnates to bring about real positive change for Guyana and the less privileged.
The Guyana National Housing Trust is one such example, and since 2013 this institution has worked hand in hand with local authorities in Guyana and a number of other countries to give hardworking families the opportunity to transition from being renters to owners via the provision of expert advice and interest-free loans. Additionally, the Guyana School of Real Estate is another brainchild of Dr. Munroe which has helped hone the skills of aspiring young talent wishing to enter the real estate market, providing the training, support, and work experience opportunities required to succeed in the industry. And then there’s the roll-out of the Caribbean First Multiple Listing system, that has allowed over 20,000 agencies to use this platform to list properties and make them accessible to interested consumers and buyers across Guyana, South America, the Caribbean region and the wider world.
With the countdown clock for economic take-off ticking down, hopes and expectations amongst the Guyanese people are soaring in alignment with soaring demand for luxury homes at affordable prices, and it is clear to see that Fabulous Homes International Guyana will continue to deliver on this front now, and over the course of many years to come.