Buying Property in the Caribbean
The Caribbean tends to be a mid to high-end purchase for many British buyers, with travel costs relatively high too, but UK interest does still dominate in Barbados, the US and Canadian markets tend to be the largest in many islands, especially the Caymans, Bahamas, Turks & Caicos.
The Property Market in the Caribbean
Readers of our autumn issue will have noted a strong Caribbean flavour in the tales of the successful property-hunters in our Winter Sun series over recent years. Out of nine almost instant purchases, three were from the region: one from Grenada and two from Costa Rica. It's perhaps not entirely surprising that the Caribbean has crept back into our Top Ten, and no doubt a little of the interest - as per the TV series - stems from buyers with family connections in the region themselves.
Whilst some home hunters seek the unspoilt natural beauty and island culture of the less mainstream isles, other locations appeal for their benign tax regimes, whilst others other great year-round rental returns for investors.
"2014 has been a much more vibrant year for our Caribbean department," says James Burdess of Savills International. "There's a surge on interest in Antigua for its new Citizenship by Investment programme, whilst there are some new resort developments coming on stream in the Grenadines in 2015. High-end interest in Cayman and Bahamas is focused on some deals on resales, and transactions are increasing in St Lucia and Barbados."
Be wary of failing to budget for hefty Alien Landholder taxes or other comparable licences required for foreigners to purchase property on the islands - they vary considerably and can be hefty.
Barbados has never been especially cheap but traditionally referred to as "Little England" (with a legal system mirroring English Common Law) it's a firm favourite and stable destination in which to invest, says Stephanie Patterson of Chesterton's International department. "The island has seen a construction boom, with the development and redevelopment of hotels, office complexes and luxury homes. In 2009 due to the economic downturn prices generally reduced by 10-15 per cent."
The positive aspect here was that the highly prized beachfront homes on the West or Platinum Coast [home to the sugar-sand beaches, famous Sandy Lane golf course and home to many sporting and TV stars] did not reduce in value and have actually increased.
"With over one million visitors to the island per annum and its major markets including the UK, Canada, the USA and Europe, Barbados has shown good signs of recovery from the economic downturn. 2014 has been the best year we have experienced in the last seven years," she adds.
Key Trends and Statistics
• Tourism grew as a whole by 1 per cent in 2013 but the Dominican Republic continues to outpace all the islands in the region. 2014 looks to be a record year promising decent returns for investors.
• Several international agents have reported their best year in a while
• New interest in Antigua due to investment/residency incentive
• The number of transactions have risen in Barbados and St Lucia
• Strong US and Canadian markets are helping to boost their recovery