A Guide to Buying Property in Belize for Foreign Buyers
With a flourishing tourism sector that has firmly placed the country on the map, Belize currently offers one of the most exciting real estate markets in the Caribbean and Central America.
If you are currently considering investing in Belize but you are wondering “where are the best places to buy property in Belize?” or “how do I go about owning property in Belize as a foreign buyer” then this guide is for you.
Our guide takes you through the process of buying property in Belize from beginning to end, including an introduction to the real estate market, the buying process and the taxes you will need to be aware of.
Bordered by Mexico to the north and Guatemala to the west and south, Belize is unique in being the only English-speaking country in Central America. The country has a long Caribbean Sea coastline, fringed with white and golden sand beaches. With ancient Mayan ruins hidden away in lush, old-growth rainforest and the second largest barrier reef in the world just offshore, Belize is a nature lover’s and diver’s paradise. Its flourishing tourism industry attracted a record 489,261 overnight arrivals in 2018 – an increase of almost 14.6% compared to the previous year. Most flights to Belize arrive in Philip Goldson International Airport, about 30 minutes from Belize City.
The ongoing growth in tourism over recent years, combined with an attractive package of tax incentives for retirees and ease of access via direct flights from multiple North American cities, has stimulated the Belize real estate market. The development of a new generation of luxury resorts with real estate offerings and plans for a new international airport on Ambergris Caye are likely to sustain the growth of the real estate and tourism sectors in Belize.
Like nearby Costa Rica, Panama and Nicaragua, the Central American country is an emerging property investment location with great potential. Belize real estate includes new homes for sale and beachfront condos for sale in luxury resorts, including several with hotel amenities and marinas. There are also beachfront properties in Ambergris Caye that are ideal vacation homes and offer excellent potential as an investment property.
Can foreigners buy property in Belize?
Yes, foreigners can buy property in Belize and the Government of Belize welcomes investment from overseas buyers. There are no restrictions on foreign buyers acquiring real estate in Belize and foreign buyers enjoy the same rights as Belizean citizens, including the right to purchase beachfront land. Unlike in many other Caribbean and Central American countries, foreign buyers are not required to obtain any kind of license or permit in order to purchase real estate in Belize.
Property can be purchased in the name of an individual or corporation.
Buying property in Belize is a relatively simple process, which typically involves the following steps:
- Begin your property search.
- Once you have found your perfect property, a written offer should be signed and submitted to the seller.
- Upon acceptance of the offer by the seller, the buyer will typically be required to make payment of a 20% deposit which will be held in an escrow account.
- Acceptance by both buyer and seller constitutes a legally binding agreement between the two parties.
- The next step is for due diligence to be undertaken, including a title search which is a legal requirement in Belize. The title search ensures there are no liens or encumbrances on the property and that no taxes are owed. We would advise you to engage the service of a local attorney or closing company to assist with this process. These closing costs are normally born entirely by the buyer.
- Once due diligence has been completed, an Agreement for Sale and title transfer documents will be drawn up and signed by both parties in the presence of a Notary Public.
- Thereafter the buyer will be required to transfer the balance of the purchase price into the escrow account.
- The next step is for the transfer documents to be executed and copies deposited at the Land Registry.
- The Land Registry will prepare new title documents and you will be provided with a copy.
The buyer is required to pay a Transfer Tax (“Stamp Duty”) on the real estate transaction at the time of closing.
Stamp Duty is applied at the rate of 5% of the value of the property.
The first US $10,000 is exempt and the value of any furnishings which may have been included in the purchase are excluded.
Property taxes are relatively low in Belize. The taxes are based on the land value rather than any improvements (e.g. the home) and are typically calculated at the rate of 1% to 1.5% of the assessed land value. Land assessments are usually 10% to 40% of the market value.
Property taxes are levied annually in advance and can be paid by mail or in person at the Lands Department in Belmopan.
As specialists in luxury Caribbean property, we can introduce you to a wide selection of the finest residential property in Belize.
Homes for Sale & Condos for Sale
Read more: Buying a condo in Belize
Land for Sale
You can also browse undeveloped land. Purchasing a lot of land provides you with a blank canvas and the opportunity to build your dream home in Belize.
Whether you are looking for beachfront land or a centrally located lot, we’re here to help you find the perfect lot of land for sale in Belize.
For larger parcels of land for commercial development, please see our commercial real estate listings.
Read more: Buying land in Belize
Hotels for Sale
Searching for hotels for sale in Belize? Browse hotels, B&Bs and guests houses right here.
Finding the Perfect Property for Sale in Belize
Discover the most sought after real estate investment opportunities and benefit from unrivaled insight into the market.
To find your perfect property in Belize, search our Belize real estate listings.
Ambergris Caye & Corozal
Discover Ambergris Caye & Corozal – Read our guide to buying property in Ambergris Caye.
Discover Belize City – Read our guide to buying property in Belize City.
Discover Cayo – Read our guide to buying property in Cayo.
Discover Maya Beach – Read our guide to buying property in Maya Beach.
Placencia & Stann Creek
Discover Placencia & Stann Creek – Read our guide to buying property in Placencia.
Discover San Pedro – Read our guide to buying property in San Pedro.
Discover Toledo – Read our guide to buying property in Toledo.
How long can a foreign citizen stay in Belize?
Citizens of the USA, Canada, EU and the UK may generally stay in Belize on holiday for up to 30 days without a visa.
Do I need a visa to live in Belize?
Individuals wishing to stay longer than 30 days in Belize must apply for a visa from local Immigration offices. Visas are issued in one-month increments, for which there is a fee of $25 for every 30-day period.
How do I become a resident of Belize?
An individual can apply for permanent residence after having lived in Belize legally for a period of 1 year.
Belize also operates a Qualified Retired Persons (QRP) Program offering residency and exemption from tax on all income earned from outside Belize. Participants, who must be aged over 45 with a non-Belizean based monthly income of more than $2,000 USD, may also import personal items duty-free.
How do I become a citizen of Belize?
If you have lived in Belize legally as a permanent resident for 5 years you can apply for citizenship by naturalization.
You could save money when investing in Belize real estate by using a foreign exchange expert to get the best rate for your property purchase. We have partnered with Halo Financial, a specialist in foreign exchange, to help you get the best exchange rates when making one-off or regular international payments for a property purchase in Belize. To see how you could save money, read more: Foreign Exchange.
There are direct flights to Belize’s Philip Goldson International Airport from various cities in the USA, Mexico and Central America.
Philip Goldson International Airport is located just outside Belize City on the eastern coast of the country not far from Ambergris Caye.
From the USA, American operates flights from Dallas Fort Worth and Miami. United flies from Houston, Delta Air Lines from Atlanta and Los Angeles and US Airways from Charlotte.
There are also regular flights from Mexico and Central America, including Cancun, Guatemala City and San José.
Atlanta to Belize: 3 hours 00 mins
Cancun to Belize: 1 hours 15 mins
Charlotte to Belize: 5 hours 25 mins
Houston to Belize: 2 hours 30 mins
Los Angeles to Belize: 6 hours 30 mins
Miami to Belize: 2 hours 10 mins