Paget, one of the nine parishes in Bermuda, is a chic, casual, cultural community just south of the capital city of Hamilton.
Named for the 17 century’s William Paget, who was the fourth Baron Paget de Beaudesert, Paget’s beaches are beautiful, its tone is relaxed and its privacy is pre-eminent.
It’s small; it covers only two square miles, but it has a big heart.
“It is easy to get in the swing of things in Paget, as Bermudians are known for their friendliness and hospitality and are open to meeting new people whether they are at a formal event or a casual gathering,” said Susan Conroy Frith, president of Frith Real Estate Bermuda.
Paget is bounded on the north by Harbour Road, on the south by Middle Road, South Road and Harbour Road, on the east by Tee Street and on the west by Cobbs Hill Road.
Much of the housing stock in Bermuda is reserved for Bermudians and permanent residents.
According to Ms. Frith, each home is assigned an annual rental value, and at present, non-Bermudians can only purchase houses with an annual rental value of BMD126,000 or higher. (Bermudan dollars are equal in value to U.S. dollars.)
This, she adds, translates to list prices of about BMD2 million and up.
The market for condos is more open. Non-Bermudians can purchase a condo with an annual rental value of BMD25,800 or higher, which translates into a listing price of approximately BMD500,000 and higher.
Single-family homes in Paget generally start at BMD875,000, according to Buddy Rego, president of Rego Sotheby’s International Realty. Premier properties, which are large private estates, command BMD15 million to BMD35 million, he said.
Ms. Frith said that the market for condos is more open for non-Bermudians, who can buy a unit with an annual rental value of BMD25,800 or higher, which translates into a listing price of about BMD500,000 and higher.
She added that the “supply is strong for condominiums, and therefore the laws [regarding international buyers] are less restrictive.”
Mr. Rego added that the general range for condos is BMD300,000 to BMD3.8 million.
The homes, in the so-called Bermuda style, range from very small cottages to the large estates set on multiple acres.
“They are made of Bermuda stone or cement block and by law must be able to withstand 100-mile-per-hour winds,” Ms. Frith said. “The archetype Bermuda home is a low-squared building with a stepped white roof that is designed to catch rainwater, as there is no fresh supply of water on the island.”
She noted that typically, the homes are painted in light pastel colors, although the more modern ones feature darker colors such as gray or navy.
Mr. Rego added that “the single-family homes are custom. No two are alike.”
He noted that amenities generally include tennis courts, swimming pools, golf courses, gyms, recreation/entertainment areas and docks.
Many of the major condo developments, which are all low-rise, were built in the 1980s and 1990s, he said. “The developments are mostly townhouses,” he added, “with a few single-level apartments and one stand-alone villa.”
Ms. Frith noted that many of the condo complexes are close to the ferry stop, a convenient location for business executives who commute to Hamilton.
What Makes It Unique
Paget’s location is prime: It’s only a five- to eight-minute drive from the capital city of Hamilton and Hamilton Harbour.
Karin H. Sinclair, a sales agent with Sinclair Realty-Christie’s International Real Estate, said that “on a 21-square-mile island, one wouldn’t think distance should matter, as nothing is very far away. But to many residents, convenience is key to Paget’s appeal.”
Mr. Rego said that Paget “has beautiful beaches. There’s foliage, the roads are newly paved, the public transport routes and ferry routes are accessible and frequent, there are excellent restaurants, and the large estates offer privacy.”
Ms. Frith noted that “it’s one of the most beloved parts of the island because of the many gems,” including country clubs, museums and private clubs, within its borders.
The centrally located Paget is known for its variety of cultural and culinary amenities.
Mickey’s Bistro, which serves seafood, is the only restaurant on the island sited on the beach, according to its website. Sea Breeze is known for its sushi and pizza; and Fourways Restaurant & Inn, which has an 18-century fireplace, cedar beams and stone walls, has a high-end surf-and-turf menu that includes chateaubriand, a rack of New Zealand lamb and jumbo tiger shrimp.
The Elbow Beach Hotel, sited on a private beach, has four restaurants, including Café Lido, which serves modern European cuisine; Thyme Restaurant & Bar is known for its locally grown herbs, vegetables and fruits; and Paraquet Restaurant, a family-run eatery established a half century ago, has a home-style menu that features mile-high slices of lemon meringue pie.
There are a number of private members-only clubs in the community, including Coral Beach & Tennis Club, which has eight championship har-tru tennis courts, two squash courts, a putting green and a croquet lawn; the Royal Hamilton Amateur Dinghy Club, a yacht club that dates to 1882 and holds sailing races every Wednesday and Sunday; Pomander Gate Tennis Club, which has five tennis courts and four pickleball courts; and Newstead Belmont Hills Golf Resort and Spa.
“Elbow Beach is one of the highlights of Paget,” Ms. Frith said. “It has a spectacular public beach in the middle of the world-renowned Coral Beach Club and Elbow Beach hotels.”
She noted that the Railway Trail, designed for hiking, biking and walking, runs through the heart of Paget.
The Bermuda Botanical Gardens, which covers 35 acres, was established in Paget in 1898 and includes the Masterworks Museum of Bermuda Art.
Paget also is home to the Birdsey Studio art gallery, devoted to the watercolor works of Bermudian Alfred Birdsey. The main headquarters of the Bermuda National Trust is in Paget, and its building includes the Bermuda Rose Society.
For luxury brands, residents shop in Hamilton, which is a five- to eight-minute drive away. Choices for women’s designer clothing include Maxmara, Lusso and CC Boutique. FH, a men’s fashion store, is in Hamilton’s Princess Hotel.
Although there are no private grade schools in Paget, there is one independent pre-school, Bloomfield Nursery School.
Warwick Academy, the oldest school in Bermuda, is right on the border of Paget—a four- to seven-minute drive away, it enrolls students from primary school through high school and offers an International Baccalaureate program.
Residents also send their children to several private schools in Hamilton, which is nine kilometers away. They include Bermuda High School for Girls, which has an early-years program to year 11 for female students and a co-educational two-year International Baccalaureate program. It is a six- to eight-minute drive away.
Saltus Grammar School, which is a six- to eight-minute drive away, is a co-educational school with two campuses—one for the lower-primary grades and one for students in the upper-primary grades through high school.
Who Lives There
Paget attracts locals, expats and middle-class families as well as high-net-worth individuals from around the world, according to Mr. Rego, who added that most of the residents live there year-round and most are local because of limited work permits.
“Bermudians love the central location and the neighborhood feel,” Ms. Frith said. “Expats who are in international business also value the ability to be home from the office in five to 10 minutes. Second-home owners choose Paget for its natural beauty and proximity to the beaches and private clubs.”
Sir John Swan, a real estate developer and philanthropist who served as premier of Bermuda from 1982 to 1995, lives in Paget, according to property records and published reports.
Triathlete Flora Duffy, Canadian swimmer Jade Hannah, and AIG CEO Brian Duperreault were all born in Paget, according to published reports.
Noting that prices in Paget have been stable since the international decline in 2008, Mr. Rego said he’s “optimistic about the future, as Bermuda always reinvents itself. Paget is always a popular option due to the variety of homes, proximity to the City of Hamilton and amenities, including beaches, restaurants and waterfront, and will continue to be a ‘go-to’ parish.”
Mr. Rego said that with the August introduction of the one-year residency certificate that allows applicants to live and work remotely in Bermuda, there has been a “significant increase in demand for short-term/vacation rentals with a difficulty to fulfill this demand. Most long-term rental properties are not furnished and not suitable for these short-term visitors.”
Simultaneously, the government extended the length of time general visitors can stay from 90 to 180 days. Together, these initiatives “introduce potential international purchasers to the island, giving them a chance to experience it longer and really immerse themselves in the culture,” Mr. Rego said. “The hope is that those who come for the one-year residency end up loving it here and intend to purchase.”
He added that the pandemic has heated up the real estate market. “We have significantly more interest from overseas buyers/renters who view Bermuda as a covid-controlled and safe place to escape crowded cities,” he said. “The government implemented an incredibly effective system to ensure that community spread is unlikely.”
Ms. Frith noted that after a “stagnant 2017-2019” market, things have “noticeably picked up since Bermuda emerged from the Covid-19 lockdown. We have seen an uptick in sales of the larger homes that are available to international purchasers.”
Although Bermuda does not have a multiple listing service, she said that her agency’s recent sales suggest that “properties are selling for 20% to 30% below original asking price. However, because the market is heating up, this discount may not last.”
Ms. Frith added that the local property listing company Propertyskipper.com estimated that website property search traffic was 41% higher in September than it was in the same month in 2019. Like Mr. Rego, she attributed the renewed interest in Bermuda and Paget to the government’s eased restrictions on residency and the island’s successful stemming of the virus.