A Guide to Buying Property in the Caribbean
Always dreamed about buying property in the Caribbean but not sure how to go about it?
Our guide to buying Caribbean real estate is aimed at helping you understand the process from end to end to help make that dream come true.
If you are looking to invest in property in the region but you are unsure about where to buy, what to buy, how to buy or how far your budget might stretch, please read on.
This guide is designed to help you to understand the Caribbean property market and the opportunities it affords to buyers from overseas.
The Caribbean Property Market
First of all, it is important to appreciate that the Caribbean is a very large and varied region spanning over a million square miles.
The broader Caribbean basin region also includes the countries of Central America which border the Caribbean Sea.
Exceptionally divers, the region includes some of the world’s leading offshore financial centers as well as one of the last remaining Socialist planned economies.
The region differs considerably in terms of geography, economic structures, political systems, culture and legal systems: islands both small and large, flat coral islands as well as rainforest-covered mountainous terrain, fast-growing modern economies as well as more traditional societies, independent sovereign states as well as dependent overseas territories.
There are islands which largely speak English, French, Spanish, Dutch and more…
As you would expect from such a varied region, the property market differs considerably from location to location.
So, it is important to try and find an island or country that suits you – one that meets your requirements in terms of landscape, lifestyle, type of property available, price range and ease of access from your country of residence.
Take a look at our guides to discover more about the islands and countries of the Caribbean to see which destination might be best for you.
Caribbean Property Prices
Property prices vary considerably from destination to destination.
However, average property prices can be much lower elsewhere. In some locations it is possible to find homes for sale under US $200,000. In others, it is even possible to snap up homes for sale under US $100,000.
So, researching typical prices can help you to understand where your budget can go furthest.
Also, be sure to take a look into the strength of the property market in your selected location.
Some destinations currently have a very strong property market and price discounts are practically achievable.
Other destinations offer more of a buyer’s market where a low ball offer could very well be considered.
Caribbean Real Estate Options
Once you have decided on where to invest, think about the type of property that would suit you and your lifestyle.
There is a very wide range of property for sale in the region, from ultra-luxurious villas and private island retreats through to modestly priced apartments.
There are Caribbean beachfront homes for sale across the region including The Bahamas, the Dominican Republic and Antigua, city pads in the rapidly developing metropolises of Santo Domingo and Kingston, rainforest hideaways nestled among the trees in Dominica, Belize and Costa Rica, stately plantation houses and charming historic homes in Barbados and Jamaica, as well as ultra-contemporary new construction condos for sale in Grand Cayman and Puerto Rico.
Which would be best best for you? Only you can decide that.
Would you prefer to buy a home in a gated community or resort with amenities on site and management to take care of the property for you, or would you prefer a private home in idyllic seclusion?
The choice is yours.
Investing on a Budget – What is the Cheapest Island to Buy Caribbean Real Estate?
Another factor to consider is budget.
If you are looking to invest on a limited budget, you might be best off looking at destinations in the Caribbean where average prices tend to be comparatively lower. So, what is the cheapest island to buy Caribbean real estate?
While prices in highly prestigious islands such as St Barts, the Turks & Caicos Islands and the Cayman Islands can stretch into the tens of millions, other locations are far more affordable. Destinations such as the Dominican Republic, Roatan and Jamaica, for example, can offer excellent value for money and buyers can pick up more affordable Caribbean real estate.
Seizing the Opportunity
There is nothing worse than finding the property of your dreams only to find out that it under offer or has been sold.
While on some islands the real estate market can be relatively slow, in others, the market moves very quickly.
So, it you find something you like, it is often best to make a move as soon as possible.
Can foreigners Buy Property in the Caribbean?
In most destinations throughout the Caribbean, foreign nationals are permitted to buy property and tend not to face many (or in some cases any restrictions).
However, it is important to be aware that the buying process varies significantly across the region. The legal process and associated taxes and fees differ considerably from location to location. For example in the British Virgin Islands, non-nationals are required to obtain a Non-Belonger Land Holding License.
The Buying Process – How Do you Buy Property in the Caribbean?
The buying process differs from island to island. For example, in the French Caribbean including Martinique, St Martin and St Barts, the buying process mirrors the process in France.
In contrast, in the English-speaking Caribbean such as St Lucia, Antigua and Barbados, the buying process has been influenced by English law.
Always be sure to seek the advice of a local lawyer or attorney for guidance before proceeding with a transaction.
To learn about the buying process in each location, head to our destination guides.
Funding Your Purchase – Mortgage Financing for Buying Property in the Caribbean
It is possible for foreign nationals to get a mortgage to purchase real estate in many parts of the Caribbean.
As you would expect, qualifying for a mortgage is subject to meeting the lender’s criteria.
To find out more, take a look at our page on Caribbean mortgages for non-residents.
Moving to the Caribbean & Obtaining Residency
Investing in Caribbean property can be a gateway to obtaining residency in the Caribbean.
Many destinations offer residency to foreign nationals purchasing a home in the region.
For example, in The Bahamas non-nationals purchasing property valued at $750,000 and over can apply for Permanent Residency status, while buyers investing in property valued at US $1.5 million and over may benefit from Accelerated Consideration for a Permanent Residence certificate.
To discover more, take a look at our destination guides.
Acquiring Citizenship in the Caribbean
Investing in real estate can, in certain select destinations, come with an added benefit: a second passport.
Several Caribbean islands operate Citizenship by Investment programs which offer eligible applicants the opportunity to apply full citizenship in exchange for an investment in real estate.
To explore the details, take a look at our page on Caribbean Citizenship by Investment.
Find Out More About Buying Property in the Caribbean
To find out more, please explore our website or contact 7th Heaven Properties, the Luxury Caribbean Property Specialist.
We are dedicated to helping you find your perfect property in the Caribbean and would be delighted to talk through your options and answer any questions that you may have about buying property in the Caribbean.