Squirrel or Iguana?
Squirrel or Iguana?
There were 79 sales in January 2019 in the 12 Lakes Region communities covered by this report. The average sales price came in at $494,203 and the median price point was $243,000. Last January there were 71 sales at an average price of $308,649 and a median price point of $220,000.
My wife and I just returned from our winter vacation to the Caymans. I could not be happier that we returned to the snow. Yeah, right! As I reported last year, Grand Cayman in the British West Indies is the inverse opposite of Lake Winnipesaukee. Lake Winnipesaukee encompasses an area of 72 square miles of water. Grand Cayman has a land area of 76 square miles. Lake Winnipesaukee is 22 miles long and so is Grand Cayman! Another coincidence! No, things are just inverted here with land replacing water. Just like we drive on the right and down there you drive on the left. The island and the lake even look similar on a map only one is upside down.
Real estate is similar although a little more inflated on Grand Cayman. You can spend millions of dollars in the Seven Mile Beach area of the island…perhaps many millions more than Governors Island. Most of us can’t afford either place anyway. But you can find plenty of affordable single family homes out away from the main tourist areas in the more remote rural districts like Bodden Town, the North Side, and the East End. Bodden Town has a population of around 10,000 and both the North Side the East End have around 1,400 people not including the surge of tourists during the winter season…just like the Lakes Region gets in the summer. We stayed out in the East End again because that feels like home. You can find single family fixer uppers for around $200,000 CI and some move in ready places in the $300,000 to $400,000 CI. Off course, these houses are not on the water and our US dollars are worth only eighty cents down there. That’s part of the cost of paradise.
Last year when we were down there was a tremendous amount of road kill just like there was here last summer. They have been overrun with green iguanas just like we were overrun with squirrels. See, there’s another invert. Squirrels do a number on our bird feeders and they can also do damage to our homes. The iguanas on the other hand are devastating the foliage and gardens. The green iguana population had exploded to an estimated 1.1 to 1.5 million. That’s a lot of reptiles! These guys are not indigenous to the island like the protected blue iguana. They were introduced to the island as pets some 25 years ago and can grow up to five feet long. Obviously, things got a little out of control down there.
This year we noticed there was hardly any road kill. Why? Well, the Cayman Island Government instituted a “culling” program to get rid of them. That’s a polite way of saying they put a bounty on the little critters of $5 per head and have declared open season. In the last couple of months of 2018 there were 300 licensed cullers (hunters) that exterminated over 300,000 iguanas. They estimate now that things will get much tougher as the other million or so have more places to hide but they are extending the program through 2019. I thought of getting my culling permit and just staying there but realized I really had to come back and focus on selling real estate. I am not sure that $5 per head could sustain my lifestyle for long down there. I think my friend Bart in Laconia who had that terrible squirrel problem last summer should go help out. He is fully retired and could show them boys down there a thing or two about hunting varmints.
Data compiled using the NEREN MLS system.