Grenada: one to watch for British buyers in the Caribbean

Sunday, January 19, 2014

Grenada: one to watch for British buyers in the Caribbean

Name a Caribbean island and Grenada might be halfway down the list. The dominance of neighbouring Barbados, for example, often overshadows the 'spice isle' because of its high profile celebrity cachet and wealth of sporting activities.

Not that this takes away from the island's magnetism however- in fact many regular visitors to the country point to these factors as the reasons behind its charm.

Served by a twice-weekly flight from London Gatwick (both British Airways and Virgin Atlantic offer the ten-hour journey), the Maurice Bishop International airport is within easy reach of the rest of the island.

Naturally lusher than many of its rivals (35 per cent of the island is tropical rainforest and it boasts 45 beaches)- it is the biggest exporter of nutmeg, ginger and cloves on earth! Some of its famous countrymen include singer Billy Ocean and Reading F.C striker Jason Roberts.

Grenada represents a major destination in the Grenadines. This island chain also includes St.Vincent and Carriacou, as well as celebrity haunts Bequia and Moustique (where David Bowie and Mick Jagger have homes respectively).

A combination of hurricanes (Ivan and Emily) and the global recession did little to help the island's tourism. Indeed, tourist arrivals dropped from 130,363 in 2008 to 112,307 in 2012 - a 14 per cent contraction in 4 years (Caribbean Tourism Association).

A revival is evident however. New tax exemptions and citizenship schemes have encouraged a spate of new developments on the island.

Property tycoon Peter de Savary's Mount Cinnamon resort typifies the high-end options available for those with an ample budget. A giant complex overlooking famous Grande Anse beach, one to three-bed 'resort villas' here go for upwards of US$600,000.

Meanwhile, a $500m project in the maritime village of Port Louis aims to offer bespoke properties starting from the $1m mark.

This new development trend (including high end hotels and yachting clubs) has caught the eye of the World Travel and Tourism Council. Flagged as most likely to be 'fastest growing up to 2021', it would seem that buyers should take advantage of an economy bursting with potential.

As with many Caribbean islands, foreign buyers are subject to the 'Alien Land Holders License'. While not limiting non-Grenadians to buying in specific areas, the license equates to ten per cent of the property purchase value and is mandatory.

Non-natives who want to buy in the low or mid bracket should be pleasantly surprised, however. From modest wooden houses to upmarket villas, this is still largely a buyer's market.

Due its increased popularity as a vacation destination, rental returns are worth considering when buying property.

"The capital - Saint George - is particularly popular with holiday makers, while the rate of property enquiries (and enquiries per home) has also risen here", says Saskia Wellman of

Most properties around the commuter belt areas (Confer or Egmont for example) tend to offer around three bedrooms, and cost between US$135,000 and US$300,000.

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