The Insider's Guide to Buying Property in Curacao
With a high standard of living, high-income economy, progressive culture and welcoming people, Curacao is a wonderful destination with so much to offer.
If you are currently considering investing in real estate in Curacao but you are wondering “where are the best places to buy property in Curacao?” or “how do I go about owning property in Curacao as a foreign buyer” then this guide is for you.
Our guide takes you through the process of buying property in Curacao 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.
Overview - The Curacao Real Estate Market
Located in the Southern Caribbean Sea just 40 miles north of the Venezuelan coast, the 171 square mile (444 square km) island of Curacao is a vibrant destination offering picturesque natural beauty, unique culture and history and a fantastic lifestyle.
Like sister islands Aruba, Bonaire, St Maarten and Saba, the country was formerly a member of the Netherlands Antilles (Dutch Caribbean) until its dissolution in 2010 and shares a common language (Dutch) and strong historical, cultural and social connections.
Today, Curacao is an independent country within the Kingdom of the Netherlands with a strong economy fueled by the oil, financial and tourism sectors.
Its coastline is hugged by intimate coves fringed by 35 golden sand beaches, challenging golf courses, elegant marinas and the beautifully preserved historical capital Willemstad (a UNESCO World Heritage site).
With gorgeous beaches, a lively entertainment scene, a high standard of living and a mature luxury real estate market, Curacao has long attracted overseas property buyers from the USA, Europe and Latin America.
The Curacao real estate market draws buyers searching for vacation homes by the beach or the golf course as well as individuals looking to retire in Curacao. Property for sale in Curacao ranges from affordable resort apartments to luxury houses in locations including Blue Bay, Coral Estate, Jan Thiel, Jan Sofat and Santa Barbara Plantation around Spanish Water east of Willemstad.
“With gorgeous beaches, a lively entertainment scene, a high standard of living and a mature luxury real estate market, Curacao has long attracted overseas property buyers from the USA, Europe and Latin America”
As the most developed of the ABC islands, Curacao offers a high standard of living within an economically stable parliamentary democracy.
Diversified economy with well developed financial, energy and tourism sectors and a currency pegged to the US Dollar.
Popular tourism destination with a strong rental market and diverse range of activities for both visitors and residents.
Highly accessible destination for property buyers via direct international flights to Willemstad from the USA, South America, the Caribbean and the Netherlands.
Golden sand beaches, golf courses and beautifully preserved 17th and 18th Century Dutch buildings in the capital Willemstad.
The security that comes with being a constituent country of the Kingdom of the Netherlands.
One of the Caribbean’s top diving destinations with 65 highly regarded dive sites.
Buying Process, Fees & Taxes
- Can foreigners buy property in Curacao?
Yes, foreigners can buy property in Curacao and the Government of Curacao welcomes investment from overseas buyers. There are no restrictions on foreign buyers acquiring real estate in Curacao and foreign buyers enjoy the same rights as citizens. Foreign buyers may purchase either freehold property land or lease land which is a very common means of property ownership in Curacao. Furthermore, foreign buyers do not need to become a resident in order to buy property in Curacao.
- Buying process
Buying property in Curacao is a relatively simple process, which typically involves the following steps:
- Begin your property search.
- Find your perfect property and make an offer.
- Once a Sale / Purchase Agreement has been concluded, the buyer is typically required to pay a 10% deposit which will be held in escrow by a Notary.
- The Notary process typically takes 6 to 8 weeks and Notary fees amount to approximately 1% of the purchase price.
- The buyer will be contacted by the Notary to sign the deed and make the final payments.
- Pay all required taxes and fees.
In addition to the property purchase process described above, there is a second route to property ownership in Curacao which is relevant to lease land.
In the case of a lease land, the property is leased from the government of Curacao typically for a period of 60 years in exchange for the payment of an annual fee.
For the duration of the term of the lease, the lessee may treat the property as if he/she were the actual owner (subject to any restrictions or conditions imposed by the government).
Once the period of the lease comes to an end, leases are typically renewed by the government.
If the government is unable to renew, the owner is compensated at the current market rate for improvements made to the property.
This is a common route to purchasing property in Curacao and many non-residents have purchased property in this way.
- Fees & taxes
Upon closing, buyers are required to pay a 4% Transfer Tax in Curacao.
There is also an annual Property Tax which ranges from 0.4% to 0.6% depending on the value of the property.
Latest Real Estate Listings in Curacao
Residency & Citizenship
- How long can a foreign citizen stay in Curacao?
Citizens of the USA, EU, Canada and many Caribbean and South American countries may stay in Curacao for up to 3 months (90 days) without a visa.
- How do you become a resident of Curacao?
Non-citizens wishing to stay in Curacao for longer than 3 months (90 days) are required to apply to the Immigration Department for a Residence Permit.
In 2014, Curacao introduced an “Investor’s Permit” which offers foreign investors with sufficient funds to support themselves the opportunity to apply for residency.
To qualify, applicants are required to make an investment into a business or real estate such as a private home.
To apply for residency in Curacao, applicants also need to provide:
- Proof of income
- Proof of ownership of a home in Curacao
- A valid passport
- Declaration of good conduct / behaviour
- Copy of original birth certificate
- Medical certificate
- Proof of health insurance
Successful applicants investing a minimum of 500,000 Guilders (US $280,000) are entitled to a 3-year renewable residence permit.
Successful applicants investing a minimum of 750,000 Guilders (US $420,000) are entitled to a 5-year renewable residence permit.
Successful applicants investing a minimum of 1,500,000 Guilders (US $800,000) are entitled to an indefinite residence permit which does not require renewal.
Family members can also receive a residence permit for the same period as the main applicant which will need to be renewed at the same as the main applicant.
- How do you become a citizen of Curacao?
If you have lived continuously in Curacao for 5 years with a valid residence permit and have a good understanding of Dutch you may apply for Dutch citizenship by naturalization.
Find out more: Immigration and Naturalisation Service, Ministry of Justice and Security
Mortgages in Curacao
Looking for financing to fund the purchase of property in the Caribbean?
Contrary to popular misconception, it is possible for foreign nationals looking to invest in Curacao real estate to apply for a mortgage.
Our partner – a very well respected international financial organization – offers mortgages for qualifying non-residents buying, building or improving a second home in Curacao.
For more information, see our page on: Caribbean mortgages.
How to Get There
There are direct flights to Curacao from various cities across the United States, Canada, and Europe.
Flights arrive at Curacao International Airport which is located on the eastern coast of the island, north of the capital Willemstad.
From the USA fly with AA from Miami, with Continental from Newark, with JetBlue from New York or with Delta from Atlanta.
Air Canada operates a flight to Curacao from Toronto.
From Europe, either fly with KLM from Amsterdam or fly to the USA and take a connecting flight.
Alternatively, various airlines operate flights to Curacao from across the Caribbean and Central/South America, including Avianca (Colombia), Copa Airlines (Panama), Divi Divi Air (Bonaire), InselAir (Aruba, Dominican Republic, Curacao, St Maarten), and LIAT (Trinidad).
- Miami to Curacao 3h 00m
- Atlanta to Curacao 6h 15m
- Toronto to Curacao 7h 55m
- Newark to Curacao 8h 35m
- Amsterdam to Curacao 10h 05m
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