Ah, the Caribbean real estate market. It’s up. It’s down. Mostly, it’s up these days. What’s fueling this phenomenon? Three dynamics: More disposable wealth following the 2008 financial debacle that impacted more than just North America, the urge to leave stressful cities to the north for a healthier lifestyle, plus the financial benefits reaped by folks moving to Belize thanks to generous government incentives and perks.
Who started the trend? Consumers recovering from the economic collapse that froze the purchasing ambitions of those who might ordinarily have been in the market for Central American real estate. But unlike neighboring nations, the burgeoning ex-pat community of North Americans is literally making Belize a relocation superstar, fueled by interest from people from all walks of life. If Leonardo DiCaprio thinks it’s worth building in Belize, some conclude, perhaps we should look at buying property there, too.
Does money always drive migration? It did once upon a time. But with every passing year, North Americans report feeling more alienated from “community” as extended families move from coast to coast, job chasers aren’t hesitant to pull up stakes, and a generation addicted to smart phones 24/7 has impacted the amount of human contact we receive, say psychologists and sociologists watching nations like the U.S. become more insular. This fact has made northerners less fearful of migrating south than they were even a decade ago.
Typical of the trend to abandon one lifestyle for a better one are communities like San Pedro in Belize. This residential corner feels familiar to newcomers—the result of so many U.S. and Canadian citizens putting down roots in this residential community and adjusting quickly. It’s easy to see why: Everyone in Belize speaks English, property is affordable and there’s very little fear of relocation or loss of property value, especially when compared to other Caribbean neighbors.
But don’t take our word for it. Moody’s Investors Service is forecasting at least 5-percent growth in 2015 for the Caribbean rim, hotel and resort construction starts in the area are nearing the 200 mark and other communities modeled on San Pedro are springing up to meet demand. Air traffic verifies this growth: Direct flights to Belize via major carriers like United, Delta, Southwest and American are populating the skies like wildflowers during the green season.
Further, ex-pats are opening new businesses in Belize at a surprising rate—even those who came to retire—because the nation is financially welcoming. What can you expect if decide to move here? Instant community. Real estate value growth. All of the infrastructure you enjoyed back home. Unprecedented tax incentives and that slow pace.
If the idea of purchasing a house for $150,000 USD sounds good, you’ll probably adore the $24 monthly tax bill that comes with it. Lots of ex-pats start out in 800-square-foot prefabs costing $16,000 USD to build. With land prices going for about $200 an acre, your dollar doesn’t just stretch far—you may even hear it groan!
Not every Caribbean nation is experiencing the dramatic growth found in Belize, which is why Belize real estate and other investments are projected to flourish in the years ahead as more people escape to a warmer climate and an environment that closely replicates what northerners enjoyed back home.