Belize Luxury Property Market Continues to Thrive
Belize might have been a late bloomer compared to its neighboring countries, but it is now catching up. It has even emerged as one of the hottest places to invest in real estate. In fact, it is currently enjoying a thriving luxury property market today, largely thanks to non-locals purchasing holiday homes, rental places, or their permanent homes.
Reasons for the High Demand for Belize Luxury Properties
- High tourism. The high influx of tourism in Belize is the biggest contributor to the booming real estate industry in the country. In 2016, it reached the highest number of stay-over visitors within the past 20 years. Projections indicate that the tourism industry will remain robust for the next few years, especially considering that more flights and cruise ships now have routes to the country.
- Better economy. Another contributor to the rising demand for luxury properties in Belize is its economy. At present, it is showing signs of improvement, as GDP growth rate is now at 2.1 percent. Furthermore, the inflation rate went down to 0.7 percent, as opposed to the 1.8 percent average from 2000 to 2016.
- Affordability. Although luxury homes in Belize have high prices in terms of the local real estate market, most of these are still around or well below US$1 million. Such rates make them considerably cheaper than luxury homes in other Caribbean nations.
- No restrictions to foreigners. Many buyers of Belize luxury property are outsiders because there are virtually no restrictions preventing them from acquiring homes here. In fact, the country even offers offshore banking options as an incentive for international investors.
- The implementation of the “Qualified Retired Persons” (QRP) program. Retirees and pensioners are now making their way to Belize because of its QRP incentive program. It provides tax and residency breaks to foreigners (along with their dependents) who can be classified as Qualified Retired Persons. In order to gain the distinction, a person needs to be aged 45 or older; has to be a citizen of Belize, the US, Canada or the UK; and earns a monthly income of at least US$2,000, whether from a pension or investments.
- Slow mortgage market growth. Compared to the US, Belize has a relatively small mortgage market. This is partly due to relatively low demand for mortgage loans, and the propensity of buyers to pay in cash or utilize home-country based credit lines.
- Tropical paradise. Who wouldn’t want to live in a tropical paradise? Belize offers sun, sea, and sand, not to mention exotic adventures and activities. Besides its natural beauty, Belize is also a destination for history lovers, having served as the seat of the Mayan civilization.
Why Invest in the Belize Luxury Property Market Over Other Areas?
- Prime location. Unlike other many other tropical destinations, this country is only a short plane ride away from the US. It’s 2.5 hours away from Dallas and 2 hours away from Houston or Miami.
- Low cost of living. Even those who buy luxury property can expect to save money in the long run by staying in Belize, considering that the country has a low cost of living.
- Tax breaks for business owners. The government offers tax breaks for those who open a business that hires locals. This makes for even more savings.
- Numerous attractions. The beach activities alone are enough to convince people to migrate to Belize, but that’s not the only thing that you can enjoy doing in the country. For instance, the country is home to scenic golf courses where tourists and residents alike can enjoy stunning views of the Caribbean while playing.
Its wonderful attractions are enough for some to decide on retiring in Belize instead of coastal states in the US such as Florida and California. The country has also drawn its fair share of millennials, much like the beachside neighborhoods of Miami, thanks to the number of things to do and sites to visit. This is on top of the fact that they get to live the dream of staying by the beach. Best of all, its close proximity to the US allows people to travel back and forth to Belize with little difficulty, with the availability of flights making distance practically a non-issue.
- Unique culture. Belize is a melting pot of different cultures, a trait highly evident in the local food. Its communities are filled with people with European, South American, and/or African descent. This combination has created a very diverse culture.
- Ease of transport. Belize is a small country and can be explored easily, especially via car. It has good public transportation systems as well, so commuting from one place to another shouldn’t be difficult.
- English speaking. Most of the residents of Belize can speak English so Americans won’t have to face a language barrier.
Best Places in Belize to Invest in Real Estate
Placencia Village in the southern part of Belize remains as the best area for you to buy a property. Originally a small fishing village, it is now the home of 4,000 residents, many of whom speak English. The rest of Southern Belize is currently being developed, so more luxury homes will be built sooner or later in other areas beyond Placencia.
Ambergris Caye is another popular option because of its proximity to the Belize Barrier Reef. This area is reported to have the most expensive houses across the country, with prices reaching up to US$1 million.
Those who want to purchase luxury homes but are still careful about their budget can look at properties in Cayo District, which borders Guatemala.