A clear, clean street in Georgetown, Guyana. Photo taken on-site by AIRINC Researcher Meleah Paull.
Skyrocketing, falling, leveling: 2020's impact on Georgetown prices
Between August 2019 and March 2020, Georgetown rents skyrocketed with strong oil and gas demand and limited rental supply. In March 2020, the COVID-19 pandemic began to impact Guyana and the Georgetown housing market. This, combined with the Guyanese General Elections on March 2nd, resulted in decreased demand. With fewer assignee arrivals, landlords became increasingly anxious over the thought of empty properties and are now more willing to negotiate rents.
Sources discussed tenant pushback over the past year. A large oil company announced a cap on what they would pay per square foot for rental properties. A major embassy stated it would not accept non-living areas to be used in rent calculations. This includes areas such as patios, garages, balconies, and driveways.
Vacancy and availability of quality housing options remains low
Overall, the vacancy rate remains low. Much of the available housing stock is not suitable for the high security demands of diplomatic and oil and gas tenants. One source mentioned an embassy that opted to rent a smaller 4-apartment block if the landlord upgraded the property to meet the security requirements. Embassy officials notified the landlord that they would cancel the rental contract once more suitable houses became available.
The Guyanese have been rushing to construct new housing stock to meet the insatiable demand. Much of this housing stock should hit the market in 2021, with around 50 to 100 new houses and apartments. Ogle stands out as an area of prized residential construction as this is where one major oil company is investing heavily in this area with the construction of their new corporate headquarters. Some hotel chains have broken ground on new hotel projects with planned openings in 2022 and 2023.
The oil and gas industry continued to function reasonably well during COVID-19. Privately chartered flights have brought assignees in-and-out during a time when commercial flights were not operating. Our sources have been trying to secure housing for a variety of clients including the embassies and companies connected with oil and gas throughout 2020.
Once the pandemic is over, strong demand is expected as expatriate arrivals increase. With the arrival of new housing stock and the reality-check that COVID-19 brought to the market, sources expect rents will stabilize in Georgetown.
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This post is part of AIRINC's On-site Insight series. On-site Insight provides readers with an exclusive “behind-the-surveys” perspective of new and existing expatriate locations based on commentary and photos from our global research team. Included is information on general living conditions as well as changing costs for both Goods & Services and Housing & Utilities, along with much, much more.
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