Real Estate in Belize on a Budget?
If a white sand beach, turquoise water, and green palm trees color your view of the perfect place to live, don’t be surprised that the black ink on the bottom line must also fit your budget. The popular website International Living (www.internationalliving.com) recently detailed an average budget of a family enjoying living full time in Belize offering a rainbow of options to invest, earn, or retire while enjoying life at a simpler pace than city or even suburban life. The cost of Belize Real Estate and living in Belize just may surprise you.
International Living interviewed Duane and Judy, now full time residents of Belize. “I always wanted to live right on the beach, but not in a condo,” says Duane. “I wanted a home, and space around me to roam. For years I scoured Florida’s coasts, looking for an affordable property. But everything was out of reach.”
Duane and his wife Judy visited her sister and husband who had relocated to San Pedro Town, on Ambergris Caye, the most popular island of the string of cayes in the gentle Caribbean waters of Belize. “We fell in love with the island through those many visits,” says Duane. In 1999 the Allens snapped up a stunning beachfront lot south of town, in an undeveloped area. They weren’t yet thinking about retirement. But since Judy’s sister’s family was already living on the island, the Allens moved up their schedule and built their house in 2004. At first they came for vacations, before finally retiring full-time because the cost of living in Belize was so affordable..
Both Allens signed up for Social Security early, when they turned 62. They also receive income from annuities. All told, their monthly costs amount to around $1,300 (excluding medical expenses). To date the couple is pleased with the health care in Belize. Like many expats, they pay out of pocket for medical expenses, which are reasonable in Belize and Mexico. Duane recently had two molars extracted for $30. Judy paid $40 each to have four fillings replaced, and $200 to replace a crown.
Other savings include no need for a car, as the small island has only 5 – 10 miles of roads, including a centrally located town core of shopping and services, with the additional resorts and homes spread up and down the coast. Most people ride bicycles, drive golf carts, or take local taxi vans at less than $10bz ($5.00us per trip). Water taxis and boats offer additional transport for long distances or visiting the mainland for city shopping or going on tourism adventures. In addition to not having to think about the high cost of gas, there are no heating costs, as Belize enjoys a temperate climate from 80 – 95 degrees all year.
Owning property in Belize continues to delight the Allens. International Living highlighted the most popular part of enjoying a small island: “Our view is breathtaking, no matter what time of day it is,” says Judy. “Sitting on our porch watching the sun rise is a daily pleasure. Welcoming each beautiful new day, coffee in hand, as we plan what we want to do that day is probably our favorite time together. Walking our dog on the beach every afternoon is a close second. We meet so many friendly and talkative people—both vacationers and residents, and they always seem to be dog lovers.”
She adds, “Until we moved here, I had no idea that Duane is actually creative. Fortunately, our lot is large enough to accommodate his many coconut and driftwood creations. And he always has several projects going. We’d been living here a year and a half before he even made time to go fishing.”
For more highlights about the financial savings and daily pleasures of owning a home in Belize, visit the International Living website, which states, “Ambergris Caye offers breathtaking views and beachfront property that is still affordable.” From the tip of Ambergris Caye to the beautiful waters of the Belize Barrier Reef, there are still so many opportunities to discover how your budget can support settling into a new life with fewer worries and more personal satisfaction. The cost of living in Belize just may surprise you.