Belize Real Estate News

July 10, 2016 - Belize Real Estate - Market Overview, Tips, and More

Buying a Home in Belize

Ahhh, Belize! We cannot tout the benefits of Belize enough ... although we certainly try! Belize is one of the few countries in the world where foreigners enjoy the same right as natural-born citizens in land ownership and tenure, including beachfront property. Besides a Government Stamp Transfer Tax which is only 5% of the purchase price, no other taxes apply to Belize land purchases.  In fact, there is no capital gains tax in Belize, so even if you buy property in Belize and sell it for a profit (near term or long term), all profit stays with you.  Learn more here about why Belize is such a great place to buy property and land.

The majority of foreign home buyers in Belize arrive from Norther America.  Direct flights to Belize have been increasing in recent years and are now available from many United States cities, including Houston, Chicago, Dallas, Miami, Charlotte, Atlanta, Los Angeles and Newark, which has raised the appeal for American and Canadian buyers.  Of course, many other expats arrive to Belize from Europe and elsewhere around the world, drawn to all the factors that make Belize a great place.

Current Market Overview

Among those many factors that make Belize a great place, the affordability of property and housing is high atop the list for many expats.  

Home prices in Belize fell around 25% during the global recession beginning in 2008, and they have generally been slow to rebound to pre-2008 prices.  Most analysts agree that going forward prices will continue to increase and that now is a safe time to purchase land and a home in Belize.

Ambergris Caye generally has the highest home prices in Belize, with an oceanfront house with two to four bedrooms costing around $1 million, and a typical oceanfront condominium priced at around $500,000.  Inland homes are valued substantially less than oceanfront properties, typically costing about $200,000.

Placencia, a gorgeous peninsula in the Caribbean Sea in southern Belize, has continued to grow in popularity with second-home buyers, as have other small, developing areas.  Prices in southern Belize, though increasing, are about 40 percent lower than those on Ambergris Caye. Though there has been a lot of condo development, a two-bedroom oceanfront condo can still be purchased for between $350,000 to $450,000.

In southern Belize, many potential home buyers choose to build their own homes, with oceanfront lots priced from $150,000 to $250,000 and building costs starting at about $100 per square foot; these costs can rise to $175 per square foot depending on the quality of construction materials being used.

To learn more about options for buying homes in Belize, keep reading below.

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Your Options for Buying a Home in Belize

Our Belize law office receives variations of this question often from seasoned expats, vacationers, and people overseas doing their research. Naturally, the best location for your purchase is contingent on exactly what you’re searching for.

Some questions to ask yourself include:

  • Do I want to be close to an expat community in Belize?
  • Do I want a rural or more urban home in Belize?
  • How much Belize land do I need?
  • Is the rainforest or the beach more appealing to me?
  • Do I want a permanent residence or Belize vacation home?

Belize has a variety of desirable districts offering different attributes for your money. Why not see them all before making your Belize real estate decision?

Here are a few favorites, along with links to more information:

  • The Cayes - located off the coast of Belize, Ambergris Caye real estate and Caye Caulker real estate are popular with expats and lovers of water sports.  San Pedro is the main town in the area. (Read more here.)   
  • Placencia - located south of Belize City in the Stann Creek District, the beautiful peninsula of Placencia caters to tourists with its plush resorts and beachfront property on the Belize real estate market. (Read more here.)
  • Corozal - in Northern Belize, Corozal real estate is less expensive typically than the options above, while boasting high quality of life and similar pristine beaches. (Read more here.) 

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Belize Real Estate Tips

Our Belize law firm also recommends taking time to make your decision. It’s never a good idea to be so enthralled during a week-long vacation that you decide to buy Belize property as a long-term residence or investment. Take your time.

There are three ways to receive financing for buying real estate in Belize: 1) local financing; 2) offshore financing; 3) owner financing.

Local financing - Local interest rates are usually in the range of 10-18% interest with fixed terms of only 12 months.  Every year the loan is closed out and then renewed at the current lending rate.  Local borrowing is only permitted in Belize dollars, and because many Belize real estate transactions take place with U.S. dollars, local financing is not applicable in many cases.  However …

Offshore financing - Non-residents can borrow U.S. dollars through a Belizean offshore banking institution.  Effective interests rates are around 12% and most offshore banks require a high degree of collateralization.  

Owner financing - Belize property owners usually agree to property financing at 10-15% interest. The rate is negotiable and often less than what is available at local financial institutions. 

To learn more about Belize offshore banking, click here.  To learn more about the Belize offshore sector in general, including Belize international business companies (IBCs), Belize offshore trusts, and Belize offshore foundations, please visit our Belize offshore page.

Our Belize law office has heard many horror stories of unsuspecting people purchasing title to Belize real estate only to find out the title is fraudulent.  Scams of this nature are all too common in Belize, unfortunately, a fact that is exacerbated by little regulation over whom may market themselves as a real estate agent.  This makes obtaining a qualified Belize real estate attorney essential to navigate the process.

To learn more about Belize real estate scams and how to avoid them, please read Part I and Part II of our recent blog posts on the subject.

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Belize real estate is ideal for foreign retirees but is also attractive as an investment opportunity (because remember that no capital gains tax will slow your investment). Our Belize law firm often gets calls asking questions such as varied, “where is the best place to buy property in Belize?” and “how do I know if the property has a clear title?” To the former, we say: visit! To the latter, we suggest visiting our Real Estate FAQ page.

And if you need assistance from a Belize lawyer, please contact us today.

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