Ambergris Caye is the largest island in Belize. It is well known for its scuba diving, water sports, and Caribbean beaches overlooking the Belize Barrier Reef, which is among the longest reef system in the world. Besides its amazing beaches, the island also experiences perfect weather, a relaxed lifestyle, and super-friendly locals. It is literally blessed with incredible beauty. San Pedro is the biggest city on the island, and it has both English and Spanish speakers and has over 20,000 people currently residing there, with many more seeking to move there.
All these factors together attract property investors to the island in large numbers, as it became a top destination for property investment, especially those looking for holiday homes. And as a result, property on the island has been in high demand in recent months. In this article, we will be telling more about the Ambergris Caye real estate market and what is really attracting investors to the island.
Ambergris Caye property market outlook
In recent years, Belize’s largest island has seen massive property growth as the number of tourists kept going up each year. But after the arrival of several global hotel brands, the property market growth accelerated, and the island quickly became one of the hottest property markets in the Caribbean. Even better, the island has managed to maintain its quaint and colourful charm despite all the developments going on. This has driven the prices up, with condos ranging from $150,000 to $700,000 and oceanfront houses going for about $1 million. However, this hasn’t stopped many investors from flocking into the island in search of preferable properties.
Now, on this island, when it comes to land and property ownership, foreigners have the same rights as citizens, unlike anywhere else on the planet. This means that you will be able property here, the same as you would in your home country. And there are no limitations to the type of property you can buy, from residential to rental, commercial, industrial, and raw land. Remember this, though, if you start a business here, you are required to employ workers who are citizens, and also, for land purchases, a government stamp transfer tax of about 5% will be applicable.
But what really makes Ambergris Caye so attractive to property investors?
There are a couple of reasons why the Ambergris Caye real estate market continues to be seen as a top destination for property investments in the Caribbean. Here are some of them;
Natural beauty – Ambergris Caye is home to the great Belize Barrier Reef, which, as we mentioned earlier, is the second biggest reef in the world. The reef is a tourist magnet and is one of the things that have made this island so popular worldwide. The other aspect of the island’s beauty is its perfect climate. It experiences 300 days of sunshine, with mild temperatures throughout. It’s never too hot during the summer or too cold during the winter. Lastly, we have to mention the perfect beaches that stretch for miles and are largely unspoiled. And as much as they are packed with tourists, they are never too crowded, which means plenty of spaces for you to kick back and relax. Also, the coastline is the perfect spot for swimming, fishing, scuba diving, snorkelling, or kayaking.
Special tax concessions – the tax benefits in Belize are also attracting significant property investments to Ambergris Caye. For starters, there is no capital gains tax on the island, which means that if you buy property, probably renovate it, and then sell it for a profit, you will keep every penny. Same case if you were to buy a condo and then resell it. Secondly, property taxes on the island are significantly low compared to other islands in the Caribbean, as they could be as low as 0.4% of the property value. And when you buy property in the less developed regions of the island, the tax may even be lower.
Simpler language and legal issues – compared to other Caribbean islands, you will find it easier to do business in Ambergris Caye for several reasons. For starters, English is widely spoken, so the language barrier won’t be a problem. Everything from the transaction phase to you integrating into the community, you will have a relatively easier time. Secondly, property contracts on the island are very similar to those in the U.S, U.K, and Canada, which means that investing here is quite smooth and familiar to many people from these countries. The truth is that a complex investment process can turn away so many investors. Anyway, even with a smoother process, you will still need to hire a local realtor and attorney to guide you through the entire process.
Stable and democratic country – this is something that property investors consider before everything else. And since Belize is a stable and democratic nation, many investors consider it a safe place to buy a property and live. Also, the government has invested in several basic amenities in Ambergris and has put several safety measures to keep the neighbourhoods free of crimes. So, we can also say that is a relatively safe place to settle in.
Affordable home prices – property prices on the island are the other thing that attracts property investments into Ambergris Caye. Property ranges from $150,000 to $700,000, depending on the property type, design, and location. This is quite cheap compared to other popular coastal regions like in Florida, California, Mexico, and Costa Rica. Also, the land deals are pretty good on this island as you will be able to find undeveloped land for a much lower price compared to other comparable regions. However, due to recent stricter environmental regulations by the government, there are restrictions on what you can do with that piece of land.
What do you need to know about buying property in Ambergris Caye?
If you are interested in buying property in Ambergris Caye, here are a few tips you need to keep in mind;
It is important to have a local estate agent to help you – regardless of how smooth the property buying process actually is in Belize, a local estate agent is very important if you are to find the most ideal property. Also, a local property attorney will really come in handy when it comes to documentation and contracts. Also, they will be able to conduct a title search on any property you want to invest in. This is crucial as it ensures that the property in question has a clear title and that no legal disputes are attached to it. There are other properties that are under certain restrictions on what you can do with it, and the attorney needs to research whether your property falls under this category.
The time it will take to complete the transaction – of course, when buying property anywhere, you want to know how long the entire process will take. In Ambergris Caye, it takes about 90 days from start to closing. But the good this is that you don’t need to be here during the entire process, but it is recommended at least one or two trips to see the house before you put your hard-earned money into it.
All the costs you are required to pay – in Ambergris Caye, here is what will be required from you;
- A government stamp transfer tax of about 5% of the property price
- Attorney’s fee, which is about 2% of the property price
- Title search, which is $250
- General Sales Tax of about 12.5%
- And the deposit, which should be about 10% of the purchase price.
Owning property on the island – you can buy property as an individual, corporation or trust. Also, when it comes to financing, you can get a mortgage from an international or local bank. You just need a 10% down payment to acquire 50% of the price.
Strata titling principles – in Ambergris Caye, the strata titling principles used for purchasing condos, townhouses, or apartments are the same ones used in other first-world countries like Europe and the U.S. The real estate laws are also similar.
If you are looking for a holiday home, retirement home, or a nice place to bring up your family, Ambergris Caye is the place to be, as it serves all those purposes. Considering the prices, low taxes, and ease of investment, this is certainly one of the best destinations for property investments in the Caribbean.