St Lucia is the archetypal laid-back tropical paradise with a stunning topography of rainforest, mountains, beaches and friendly people. It’s usually Barbados that steals the limelight in the Caribbean, but for those who feel other islands are over-developed or over-priced, there is St Lucia.
Here you tuck yourself away and stare at the ocean, but nip out to some dramatically-located, friendly local bar, on the beach or suspended at the top of a rainforest, for a rum punch. The late Lord Glenconner left half of his former estate hidden away in the Piton Mountains to be developed into a luxury resort - recently completed.
The St Lucian government has been keen to lure people to the island to see what it has to offer and many developments offer investment perks such as a 10-year exemption from income tax. Due to the island’s natural geography, the island is unlikely to become over-developed. Some further inducement was the introduction of the Citizenship By Investment programme in 2015 with a property purchase threshold of $300,000.
Where to Buy Property in St Lucia
Traditionally the most popular areas for buyers have been in the northwest, around Rodney Bay, Marigot Bay and the major cruise port and capital, Castries.
As with the other mainstream Caribbean islands, you can buy anything from a rustic local home with change from $200,000, a larger bungalow for around $300,000 plus, a modern condo for around the same, historic colonial homes for $700,000 up to over several millions, or you buy a new property on a gated resort.
In one of the gated waterfront developments at Rodney Bay you can buy an apartment from just over $500,000 or even a townhouse for less than $400,000, depending on the location.
On The Landings, the largest private marina development on the island, prices start from around $600,000 for high-end apartments, but beachfront villas will be nearer $1m.
Another major development has been Sugar Beach, situated in the island’s prime position between The Pitons – next to Lord Glenconner’s former home – is set in a tropical valley that drops down to a small beach. Its faded old cottages have been turned into chic villas on a resort run by the trendy Tides hotel, the sea views are exquisite and prices for two-bedroom villas start at $2 million.
In the north of the island there’s the Cap Estate, with some stunning coastal scenery dipping down to the Caribbean, and the luxury Cap Maison hotel. You can buy properties within gated communities on the estate from just under $300,000, although new villas are substantially more.
The south is more rural and local in feel; comparatively undeveloped and uncommercial. For others keen to escape a resort community and get value for money, close to the capital Castries and overlooking the city and harbour, you can find historic colonial houses set in acres of grounds with palms and mature hardwood trees, or elevated houses with views, sea breezes, space and privacy for under $700,000.
How to Buy Property in St Lucia
Apart from the need to obtain an Alien Landholding Licence buying in St Lucia is reasonably simple, but does require the services of a lawyer (and that is also well advised). The buyer and seller each sign the Agreement For Sale, which details the terms of the sale. At the same time, the buyer pays a 10 per cent deposit, usually into an escrow account.
The Deed of Sale is prepared when all searches have been done, which the buyer signs in person (or the lawyer signs if the buyer has granted them power of attorney) to take possession of the property.
At the same time the balance of the purchase price is paid along with other fees and taxes. Stamp Duty is two per cent on the purchase costs and legal fees are around three to five per cent of the purchase price - though some may accept less in the current economic circumstances. There is also 10 per cent tax for non-residents when they come to sell.