Is that God tapping on my window? Exactly how many classic mojitos had I consumed during happy hour? Well at least it seems like the furious hand of the Almighty has been unleashed as an unseasonable El Nina monsoon-like storm lashes out at my Bali hotel room. Thunder and her BFF lightening are putting on a decibel raising lap dance just outside the stressed out windowpane.
Over the span of a few days on a brief spin down to the Island of the Gods, the subject of Lombok and Sumba property came up so many times I had to move from my fingers and onto my toes just to keep score. My mind tracked back to the world of comparable markets, which is one of the key tools of the trade, and somehow Lombok keeps springing up.
While Lombok has so many of the same attributes of nearby Bali, its remains oh so close but oh so far away. From a property point of view the key play over the past decade has firmly focused on land speculation, appreciation and the end game of expecting to flip on a high capital gain. Few have done their legwork, though a rising tide of newest projects such as Selong Selo are creating quality product and transitioning from dirt into bricks and mortar.
Despite the market maturation of Lombok which for the most part is seeing a development push in patches from the South, to Senggigi to up North on the fringes of the Gili Islands, there remains vast tracts of projects which has sold land lot parcels and in many of these, only the requisite entrance and partial roadways accompanies by some infrastructure are on show.
Developers too a speculative route purchasing cheap land at a range from a few dollars up to perhaps USD10 a square meter and are not pushing up prices anywhere from USD40 a square meter up to near the hundred marker. What is decided missing though, with expectations of course, is a critical mass of successfully executed estates.
Flipping over the cover to dive into nearby Sumba, the property story has yet to be written. Yes, the iconic Nihiwatu resort with its world famous surf break, a level of real estate sales success and now a private equity investor has put the destination on a broader map. While glancing in to the rear view mirror or land sales over the past few years, speculation has run a wide gamut with low priced property in the USD2 to 5 dollar per square meter level, is now pushing into double digits.
My question of course is will Sumba fall into the same land-flipping conundrum as Lombok or will it set its own unique course. The government is pushing for development in both markets and putting pressure points in the Mandalika integrated resort for parcel holders to either get into the ground or else surrender leases. Meanwhile in Sumba a vast roadway system and current airport upgrade bode well for the future.
Both Lombok and Sumba have unique selling points for surf and outdoor focused tourism and real estate projects and the natural attributes are some of the best in Asia, if not on a larger scale. Can this niche be developed is it has in Greater Bali or will the canvass remain a work in progress back of a volatile artist who has gone out one too many times for a smoke? Perhaps God has the answer, though at the moment he seems mighty busy right outside my window.