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Caribbean real estate: prices, income and expenses

Turquoise waters, white sandy beaches, year-round sunshine, exotic wildlife and villas immersed in greenery which welcome a continuous stream of guests. Are you looking to invest in real estate within an exotic country? Look no further than the islands of the Caribbean.

Caribbean real estate: prices, income and expenses

Property prices in the region are constantly growing. Now the price per square meter of modernourist apartments range from $5,000 to $8,000. The rental yield at these year-round resorts are stable, averaging around 3-5% per year. In the high season of winter, the yield per month can reach 9-10%.

The peculiarity of the region is the economy's dependence on tourism. Therefore, governments are trying to attract investment in tourism infrastructure. As an incentive, five countries grant citizenship to private investors. As a result, the investor receives a lucrative asset and a Caribbean passport and with it, the freedom to travel to more than 140 countries around the world.

The investments in real estate for citizenship programs start at $200,000. An investor can buy an apartment or a villa in a tourist complex or a share in a project. Investments can be returned within three to seven years after receiving the passport.

Citizens of the Caribbean countries visit the Schengen area, Great Britain, Hong Kong and Singapore without visas. It is easier for them to obtain a long-term visa to the United States.

Saint Kitts and Nevis citizenship for traveling around the world

Our client wanted to ensure himself and his family the freedom of travel around the world, primarily in the Schengen countries. In addition, his daughter wanted to travel and choose a university in the UK.

See how Denis and his family solved the problem with the help of St Kitts and Nevis citizenship.

Client's story

Dynamics of the Caribbean real estate market

Analytical reports, like the Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce, show a steady increase in tourist flow. Simultaneously, the tourist's "wallet" is growing; the amount spent by one guest during the rest. Nevertheless, the economy of the Caribbean countries suffered two big blows.

The hurricanes of 2017 caused great damage. Antigua and Barbuda and Dominica suffered the most out of all of these islands. The destruction led to a reduction in the tourist flow, but quickly recovered. Falling property prices began to rise after a few months.

In the spring of 2019, the fall in the British pound led to negative dynamics in property prices. They fell by an average of 5-10%. However, since the summer of 2019, the Caribbean real estate market has shown increased positive dynamics. Demand from American, British and Canadian investors for rental villas by the sea grew.

By early 2020, prices had recovered by about 90%, said Bradley Esty, executive director of Stanley Real Estate in Antigua.

The pandemic has reduced the flow of tourists. During quarantine, demand for rent fell but will recover quickly when the borders open. Experience has shown that prices in the Caribbean real estate market are rapidly returning to pre-crisis levels.

Caribbean property prices

The range of objects is expansive; from apartments to luxury villas. For example, in Antigua, prices range from $250,000 for a two-bedroom townhouse in Jolly Harbor on the west coast and up to $10-25 million for a seaside home in nearby Pierce Point.

We provide approximate prices for furnished and fully equipped real estate. Estimates are from major agencies and are adjusted based on the experience of Immigrant Invest:

  • 60-120 square metres costs 0.4 to 1 million dollars.
  • Small villas with one to two bedrooms are estimated at $1 to 2 million.
  • For a large oceanfront villa with its own dock, you will have to pay 2 to 10 million dollars.

You don’t have to buy the whole real estate object. You can buy a share in the project and then the amount of investment will be less. Large hotel complexes are offered for equity participation. The price per square meter of living space is from $5,000 to $8,000.

$5,000 to $8,000
Price range per square meter

The peculiarity of such projects is that they are approved by the government to participate in the citizenship by investment program. As a bonus, investors get the opportunity to relax at the hotel for 7-14 days free of charge.

Keep in mind that some apartments and villas which are purchased as part of investment programs must be leased to guests of the country. If the investor does not plan to rent out the property, it is necessary to select an appropriate real estate in advance.

Caribbean real estate investments under citizenship programs

CountryInvestment amountOwnership period
Antigua and Barbuda$200,000+5 years
Grenada$220,000+5 years
Dominica$200,000+3 years
St Kitts and Nevis$400,000+5 years
$200,000+7 years
Saint Lucia$200,000+5 years

Rental yields in the Caribbean

Investors usually buy properties in the Caribbean for renting and less often for holidays. Few people move to the Caribbean for permanent residence. Therefore, it is important to estimate the rental yield in advance.

The Caribbean has high and low seasons but the difference in rental prices is small; less than 1.5 times smaller. There is a tourist flow all year round.

Approximate annual rental yield

Antigua and Barbuda4%
St Kitts and Nevis5,11%
Saint Lucia3,57%
Source: Global Property Guide

The cost of renting apartments or villas in hotel complexes approved for citizenship programs is much higher — from $1,500 to $2,500 per week. For an investor, the yield is 3-5% per year.

Average cost of renting a three-bedroom apartment in the Caribbean

DistrictMonthly cost
Antigua and Barbuda$4,200
St Kitts and Nevis$4,300
Saint Lucia$2,267
Source: Numbeo

How to choose a property in the Caribbean

Objects with two to three bedrooms are often purchased for rent. This is a family-friendly property very close to the beach. Not only can you buy a specific apartment or villa, but a share in the project, as previously mentioned. Equity participation is cheaper than buying the whole object. It is possible to purchase a building plot or a yacht dock.

Approved projects are considered a reliable and more profitable investment option. Let us explain in detail why:

  • The license to participate in the program confirms the reliability of the project. This is guaranteed protection against fraud.
  • These are five star hotels. Therefore, the rooms are never empty and are booked in advance.
  • For such projects, sites are better allocated — near beautiful beaches and local attractions. Their availability also drives demand.
  • In 80% of cases, shopping centers and highways are located next to these hotels. Convenience dictates demand.
  • Private investors are being attracted even at the construction stage. The earlier investments are made, the more loyal the conditions for entering the project.
  • Only large international companies are involved in the construction of such projects. This is a factor of reliability: the project will be built and put into operation.
  • It is convenient not only for hotel guests, but also for investors. The management company is responsible for the care and expenses of maintaining the property and renting it out. Yes, these expenses are deducted from rental income but the investor does not have to puzzle over everyday problems.
  • The management company is a representative of the developer, an international hotel holding. This means certain standards for the management and maintenance of the hotel.
  • A private investor as a co-owner of the project can spend 1-2 weeks a year in a hotel apartment or a villa for free.

The most common transaction for an approved project is an initial sale during the construction phase. Antigua and Barbuda, Dominica, Saint Kitts and Nevis programs allow the purchase of resale real estate. These are shares in the same licensed projects.

That is, the investor who made the first purchase can sell his share to the next investor after five years. The second investor will also be able to obtain citizenship. The third investor will not be able to participate in the program.

Restrictions on purchase and resale of the investment property

Some countries restrict the types of real estate that private investors can purchase. For example, Dominica does not allow the purchase for plots of land for the construction of custom houses and marinas.

Under the Antigua and Barbuda program, a licensed property can only be sold twice. On the third deal, the object is removed from the program.

At the stage of selection, it is important to check the property clean title. It is better to entrust this to a professional lawyer. Services will cost 1-3% of the cost of the object. Immigrant Invest cooperates with developers and provides detailed and verified information about each property.

If there is no time to fly to the Caribbean, you can select an object remotely. If we are talking about a large developer, then you can ask to organize a video broadcast of the inspection.

Investment property examples in the Caribbean

Procedure of the real estate purchase in the Caribbean

Getting a license. If the investor is not a citizen of the country, he or she needs to purchase an Alien Landholding License (ALHL, land ownership license).

An agreement on the property reservation is concluded. The buyer transfers the developer 10-15% of the total transaction amount. The property is withdrawn from sale.

A sale and purchase agreement is drawn up, the investor transfers the funds to the developer's account. On average, it takes a week to complete a purchase. All contracts can be signed in person in the presence of a notary or remotely through a lawyer by power of attorney from the investor.

If the buyer participates in the citizenship program, the sales contract is signed and paid after the approval of the application.

The processing time for an application is from 2 to 6 months, depending on the program. The investor receives the passport by a delivery service to a convenient address.

Once purchased, the property is registered with the local land department.

Accompanying expenses when buying real estate

A foreign investor acquires an ALHL license for 5-10% of the transaction amount. It is important to take into account the license processing time. For example, in Antigua and Barbuda, this can take up to six months. In fact, during this time, you can get a passport of the country.

The buyer will have to pay taxes and agency fees. If real estate is purchased for citizenship, some programs require you to pay special government fees.

The commission to the selling agent is negotiable and amounts to 3-6% of the transaction sum. It is more profitable to buy projects directly from the developer, there is a choice. If real estate is purchased under the citizenship program, this expense item is absent.

Taxes and fees when buying real estate

CountryALHL costStamp dutyOther taxes, totalCitizenship program fee
Antigua and Barbuda5%2.5%None$30,000
transfer tax for properties over $7,500
St Kitts and Nevis10%None0.2%$35,000
Saint Lucia$2,300 to $4,200
depending on the site area

How much does it cost to maintain a Caribbean property

Taxes. Property tax ranges from 0.002 to 5%, the minimum rate is in St. Kitts. Land tax is calculated on a progressive scale, but the amount is small for residential development. Owners of real estate in Dominica pay council tax of only 1.25% of the cadastral value of the property.

Utility bills including water, electricity, telephone and internet are the lowest in Grenada, from $83. The highest costs are in Saint Kitts and Nevis from $200 to $260 and in Antigua and Barbuda — $150-250. The figures are given for apartments with an area of ​​60-80 sq. m.

Real estate insurance costs about 0.2% of the value of the property.

The service cost of the management company depends on the type of property. For villas and apartments costing from $200,000, they can be 1-2%.

Buyers of shares in resort complexes, participants of citizenship programs do not bear direct costs for the maintenance of real estate. The management company deducts them from the lease payments.

Renting out: profitability and features of the legislation

Real estate acquired by investors through citizenship by investment programs is rented out immediately after the facility is put into operation. The process is managed by a management company.

The developer and the private investor share the rental income, usually in equal shares. The investor’s share is specified in the contract with the management company. The rental yield is usually 3-5% per annum. The same rental yield on real estate that is acquired outside the citizenship program.

3-5% per annum
The rental yield amount

There are different tax regimes on rental income for tax residents and others.

To pay taxes, a non-resident gets a tax ID, an analogue of TIN. Having a Caribbean State ID can help investors in business.

Income tax rate for the lessor

CountryFor a tax residentFor non-residents
Antigua and BarbudaNone20%
DominicaNoneUp to 35%
St Kitts and NevisNone10%
when withdrawing funds received from income abroad
Saint LuciaNone10—30%

Sale of Caribbean real estate including associated costs

The possibility of exiting the investment project is planned before the investment. The same is with real estate: the liquidity of an object (the ability to quickly sell at a market price) means no less profitability. From this point of view, tourist property in the Caribbean is a profitable asset.

Mandatory ownership period. Citizenship program participants can sell real estate after 3-7 years of ownership. Considering the dynamics of price increases, the sale can generate income. The investor sells the property or goes through a management company.

Term of real estate ownership under the citizenship program

CountryMinimum term
Antigua and Barbuda5 years
Grenada5 years
Dominica3 years
St Kitts and Nevis5 years
Saint Lucia5 years

Taxes and fees on sale. The real estate seller pays stamp duty, which is a certain percentage off the value of the property. The rate of stamp duty differs from country to country. In Grenada and Saint Lucia, the tax rate for foreigners is much higher than for residents.

Stamp duty for the property seller

CountryFor a tax residentFor a non-resident
Antigua and Barbuda7.5%7.5%
St Kitts and Nevis5 to 18.5%
depending on the property location and value
5 to 18.5%
depending on the property location and value
Saint Lucia0 to 5%10%
Source: GlobalPropertyGuide

If the property is sold for an amount greater than the acquisition cost, capital gains occur. Many countries are obliged to pay the corresponding tax. But there is no capital gains tax in the Caribbean.

The seller pays for the services of a real estate agent which is 5-7%.

Which Caribbean country to buy property in?

In addition to income and expenses, other factors also influence the choice of an object. The density of the tourist infrastructure, natural and historical attractions, the quality of the beaches, the wealth of the underwater world. Below, each country is evaluated.

Antigua and Barbuda. The state of Antigua and Barbuda consists of three islands: Antigua, Barbuda and Redonda. Sparsely populated Barbuda is famous for its wildlife and Redonda is a favorite destination for yachtsmen, a rocky uninhabited island that has preserved the flora and fauna of the tropics in their original form.

Antigua is the main tourist center of the country. Most of the hotels, restaurants, bars, casinos, clubs and shops are located here. Antigua is home to private villas worth from hundreds of thousands to millions of US dollars. Two thirds of the population work in the service sector and are very hospitable to tourists. The island has an atmosphere of serene relaxation.

Antigua is popular with water sports enthusiasts. Fans of windsurfing, scuba diving and deep-searnfishing fly to the island from all over the world. The island's largest harbor, the English Bay, is a renowned international yacht port. Every year at the end of April, a week of sailing competitions is held here.

The business center of the country is the capital of St. John's. Most of the sights are also located here. The city's trademark is a unique eclectic style of architecture, which is expressed in a combination of multi-colored sturdy stone buildings and dilapidated huts.

This island state can be called the focus of tourism, water sports and culture. Real estate here is well bought and rented by those who prefer an active lifestyle and proximity to infrastructure.

Real estate in the Caribbean. Antigua and Barbuda - the capital of St. John's
Eclectic style in St. John's in Antigua

Grenada. The island was discovered by Columbus in the 15th century and has largely retained its original appearance to this day. The sand on the beaches is white. The sea is very calm as Grenada is surrounded by coral reefs that protect the island from the winds.

The main type of recreation on the island is diving. Diving enthusiasts come to Grenada for a variety of fish, rare sea turtles, various species of dolphins and sharks, as well as for excursions to sunken ships.

The most interesting dive sites are the south coast of Grand Anse Beach, Dragon Bay, Tyrrel and Grand Mal Point, and Bose Reef. Jenny's small island is popular among divers: it is considered one of the places with the cleanest water in the world.

The main city of the country is the capital of St. George's, the cruise port and tourist center of Grenada. Here you will find shops, restaurants and attractions. For example, Concord Falls, Grand Etang Forest Reserve with a mountain trail to Seven Sisters Falls, Crater Lake, a botanical garden with Annandale Waterfall.

Real estate in Grenada primarily attracts lovers of nature and the underwater world.

Real estate in the Caribbean. Grenada – Grand Mal Point
Grand Mal Bay

Dominica is called "The Nature Island", wishing to highlight the pristine beauty of this country. The island's volcanic activity is manifested in the form of black sand, geysers, hot springs and lakes with boiling water. Dominica is home to the world's second largest Boiling Lake.

Dominica is a green and ecologically clean country: electricity is produced using hydropower, solar and geothermal energy. Attractions include one of the largest waterfalls in the Caribbean, hydrogen sulphide springs, a botanical garden and the Waitukubuli National Trail, an 184 km long hiking trail.

The capital of Dominica is the cruise port Roseau, the oldest city on the island and the cultural center of the country. There are many architectural monuments in the city, for example, the Catholic cathedral of the 18th century. It is also home to the largest motorway that connects Roseau to another large city, Portsmouth.

Dominica real estate is interesting for lovers of outdoor activities and pristine nature.

Real estate in the Caribbean. Dominica - waterfall
Emerald Falls in Dominica

Saint Kitts and Nevis. The state consists of two islands. Saint Kitts is almost twice the size of Nevis, and it is here that tourists prefer to rest. There are many leisure options: sports complexes, golf courses, tennis courts, horse riding, yachting, surfing, diving, excursions and spa treatments in hotels.

The island has many salt lakes and coves with sandy beaches, some of which are dark, almost black in color. Saint Kitts attracts diving enthusiasts: about four hundred sunken ships rest near the island.

The island is home to a UNESCO World Heritage Site — Brimstone Hill National Park and Fortress at the top of an ancient volcano, also known as the Gibraltar of the West Indies.

Nevis lies three kilometers away from Saint Kitts. Excursion routes around the island which almost entirely consists of volcanic rocks from ancient eruptions are very popular with tourists.

The largest city in the country is the capital Basseterre, which is located on the island of Saint Kitts. It is one of the oldest cities in the West Indies, founded in 1627. Basseterre is home to the bulk of the country's population.

Many St. Kitts hotels cater to high-income visitors. Property on the island is bought and rented by wealthy guests.

Real estate in the Caribbean. St. Kitts - the beach
Black sand on the beaches of St. Kitts

Saint Lucia is one of the most beautiful and greenest islands in the Caribbean: there are no such forests like Saint Lucia’s anywhere else.

The visiting card of the country is two cone-shaped mountains, which are called Pythons and are located 45 km from the capital. It is worth visiting the picturesque Marigot Bay, Sulfur Springs Park with hydrogen sulfide springs, Toraille Botanical Gardens and Diamond Gardens, a black sand beach and the local cathedral.

The main economic and tourist center of the country is the capital of Kastri, which is home to a third of the total population of the island. The city is a major cruise port and is famous for its Central Cathedral and quirky flearnmarkets.

Tourist property in Saint Lucia is in demand primarily among lovers of tropical wildlife.

Real estate in the Caribbean. Saint Lucia - Pythons
The Pythons mountains in Saint Lucia

Choosing a profitable and liquid asset in the Caribbean

When choosing real estate, it should be kept in mind that the largest number of respectable apartments and villas are concentrated in five-star hotel complexes in Antigua and Barbuda, Saint Kitts and Nevis. Accordingly, the rental income will be higher, and the rental yield is likely to approach 5%. The yield on renting more modest objects in cheap Caribbean real estate will be closer to 3% per annum.

On the other hand, all Caribbean states live off tourism. Therefore, on many islands there is an active construction of large resort complexes. And at the development stage, prices are lower than after commissioning, that is, for the same amount, you can purchase an object with a higher potential profitability.

If you plan to come on vacation, you should consider investment options in hotel complexes.

Frequently Asked Questions

How to choose a Caribbean country for real estate investment?

The Caribbean is an almost year-round tropical resort, a paradise for boaters, divers and nature lovers. The rental yield of tourist infrastructure is about the same everywhere and on average brings 3-5% per annum.

Some governments license large tourism infrastructure to foreign investors and offer citizenship as a bonus. Therefore, it makes sense to pay attention to five countries in which programs for the provision of citizenship by investment are operating: Antigua and BarbudaGrenadaDominicaSt Kitts and Nevis and Saint Lucia.

What benefits does an investor gain for purchasing Caribbean real estate?

The governments of five Caribbean countries are giving investors the opportunity to obtain citizenship. With a passport of a Caribbean state, an investor can visit more than 140 countries without visas, including the Schengen countries and Great Britain. A Grenada passport allows you to visit China and apply for a long-term US business visa.

Another nuance is that an investor in resort complexes gets the opportunity to relax for a week at his hotel for free. Therefore, when choosing an investment object, you can start from personal preferences. Antigua and BarbudaSt Kitts and Nevis are places for peace seekers. Dominica and Saint Lucia are more suitable for yachtsmen and lovers of discos and casinos.

What is the average rental price in the Caribbean real estate market?

The market has several peculiarities. Prices are quite high for a week of rent in modern equipped apartments and villas. The cost of renting a typical private house ranges from $2,000 to $5,000. The cost of renting an apartment in a five-star hotel per week is the same price. Stable demand ensures stable income.

Read more about the performance of the Caribbean real estate market

What taxes does a Caribbean real estate investor pay?

The tax system of the Caribbean countries is aimed at ensuring long-term investment in the economy. Therefore, the conditions for investors stimulate the acquisition of citizenship.

For example, a foreign investor must acquire a special license, the cost of which is 5-10% of the transaction amount. It can take up to six months to process such a license.

What is required of a real estate investor if he decides to purchase a property under the citizenship program?

The program of each country differs by the opportunities for the investor. This is the age limit for family members of the applicant, the investment period and the duration of registration. Also, most importantly, a list of countries that can be visited without visas with the passport of a Caribbean country.

How is the Caribbean real estate market responding to crises?

Like any market, the Caribbean reacts negatively to crises, prices are falling. However, due to the high tourist flow and year-round rental demand, the Caribbean real estate market is recovering rapidly. For example, after the fall of the British pound sterling in the spring of 2019, prices recovered in the summer of the same year.

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Caribbean real estate: prices, income and expenses