The Insider's Guide to Buying Property in St Maarten / St Martin
Overview - The St Maarten / St Martin Real Estate Market
The 37 square mile island of St Martin is the smallest island in the world to be divided between two nations. The northern part of the island – Sint Maarten – is part of the Kingdom of the Netherlands. The southern part of the island – Saint Martin – is an overseas collectivity of France.
Having been shared by the French and the Dutch since 1648, the island has an exceptionally diverse feel. The half a million jet set tourists that visit the island each year enjoy the best of both worlds: gourmet European restaurants, buzzing nightlife, spectacular beaches, and island-wide duty-free shopping.
Lively, cosmopolitan and easily accessible, St Martin is well established as a premier Caribbean destination for overseas property buyers. The real estate markets on both the Dutch and the French sides of the island are both well established.
On the French side, the Terres Basses (lowlands) area is the setting for some of the island’s most magnificent luxury homes. Opulent houses and villas are nestled into hillsides and along the beautiful beaches at Baie Rouge and Baie Longue. Orient Bay on the northern coast, which is renowned for one of the best beaches on the island, is also a popular place to own a home.
The Dutch side of the island offers a very wide selection of properties from affordable condos, luxury apartments as well as villas by the beach and waterfront. Popular areas to invest include Simpson Bay, Cupecoy and Maho on the western coast and Orient Bay and Guana Bay on the eastern coast.
“Lively, cosmopolitan and easily accessible, St Martin is well established as a premier Caribbean destination for overseas property buyers”
Established tourism and real estate markets enjoying growth.
French / Dutch territory with stable political and economic climate.
No property or capital gains taxes (on Dutch St Maarten).
Some of the Caribbean’s most opulent homes overlooking spectacular beaches.
Wide selection of restaurants, buzzing nightlife and island-wide duty free shopping.
Highly accessible destination as one of the region’s international transport hubs.
50 dive sites making the island ideal for diving and all kinds of water sports.
Buying Process, Fees & Taxes
- Can foreigners buy property in St Maarten / St Martin?
Yes, foreigners can buy property in St Maarten / St Martin and the island welcomes investment from overseas buyers. There are no restrictions on foreign buyers acquiring real estate in St Maarten / St Martin. Unlike in other destinations in the Caribbean, non-Citizens do not require a license or permit to purchase property on the island. On the Dutch side of the island property can be purchased in the name of an individual or corporation.
- Buying process
Buying property in St Maarten / St Martin is a relatively simple process, which typically involves the following steps:
- Begin your property search.
- Find your perfect property and make an offer.
- On both French St Martin and Dutch St Maarten real estate can be purchased fee simple or via long lease (government or private).
- There is no need for an attorney because a civil law notary is responsible for performing the title search and ensuring clear title transfer. The buyer is required to pay a deposit which typically amounts to 10%. The notary will prepare the required legal documents which should be signed by the buyer and seller.
- Transactions are normally completed within 4 to 6 weeks and the buyer is responsible for paying a one-time transfer tax as well as notary fees.
- Fees & taxes
Transfer Tax & Notary Fees
On Dutch St Maarten transaction costs including transfer fees and notary fees amount to approximately 5% to 6%.
On French St Martin transaction costs including transfer fees and notary fees amount to approximately 10%.
N.B. While there is no capital gains tax on Dutch St Maarten, there is a 33.5% capital gains tax on the sale of property.
There are no annual property taxes in Dutch St Maarten.
Latest Real Estate Listings in St Maarten & St Martin
Residency & Citizenship
- How long can a foreign citizen stay in St Maarten / St Martin?
On the Dutch side of St Maarten, visitors can generally stay in St Maarten for up to 30 days without a visa. Citizens of Canada, the EU, Australia, New Zealand and Japan may stay in St Maarten for up to 3 months (90 days) without a visa. Dutch and American citizens may stay in St Maarten for up to 6 months (180 days) without a visa.
- How do you become a resident of St Maarten / St Martin?
If you would like to become a resident of the Dutch side of St Maarten you can apply to the Immigration and Border Protection Service for a Residence Permit. Permits are issued to various categories of applicants, including investors and pensioners.
In the case of investors, applicants are required to make a minimum investment of NAF 900,000 in a business or real estate in St Maarten.
In the case of pensioners, applicants must be able to demonstrate proof of sufficient income.
- How do you become a citizen of St Maarten / St Martin?
If you have lived continuously in St Maarten for 5 years with a valid residence permit and have a good understanding of Dutch you may apply for Dutch citizenship by naturalization.
Mortgages in St Maarten / St Martin
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 St Maarten real estate or St Martin 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 St Maarten / St Martin.
For more information, see our page on: Caribbean mortgages.
How to Get There
There are direct international flights to St Maarten from various cities in the United States, Canada, France and the Netherlands.
International flights to St Maarten arrive at Princess Juliana International Airport near Simpson Bay and Maho Bay on the west coast of the island.
St Maarten’s Princess Juliana International Airport is one of the region’s major hubs.
From the USA, there are numerous direct flights from various cities, including Atlanta (Delta), Charlotte and Philadelphia (US Airways), Miami, New York and San Juan (American Airlines), Boston (JetBlue), Chicago and Washington (United Airlines).
From Canada, fly to the USA and take a connecting or flight or, during high season, WestJet operates direct flights from Toronto.
From Europe, Air France and KLM operate direct flights to St Maarten.
From the Caribbean, LIAT operates flights from most islands and Insel Air operates flights from the ABC Islands.
- Miami to St Maarten 3h 00m
- New York to St Maarten 4h 00m
- Atlanta to St Maarten 4h 20m
- Toronto to St Maarten 4h 50m
- Amsterdam to St Maarten 8h 40m
- Paris to St Maarten 9h 00m
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