Tuesday, September 19, 2006

American Buyers Drawn To Strong Caribbean Real Estate Market

"Property values are low in many areas, but they are appreciating rapidly, so a relatively small investment can yield good returns," said Richard Cardenas, vice president and regional director of RE/MAX for the Caribbean and Central America.

The Bahamas Real Estate Association had already confirmed that real estate locally is a hot commodity for second homebuyers in particular, especially those who are seeking tax breaks.
The government has embarked upon a study to evaluate the impact of the second home market on the economy, particularly on islands like New Providence, Exuma, and Abaco where the sector is doing extremely well.

Mr. Cardenas called second home purchasing in the Caribbean region a relatively low risk process.

"There are few legal limitations on Americans buying homes," he said. "If you plan to use a second property for short vacations, up to 30 days, typically no visa is required. Many islands have a U.S. or British title system and there are no restrictions on full ownership.

Mr. Cardenas identified the growing markets in the region as Turks and Caicos, Belize, Grenada, St. Croix, St Kitts and Nevis, St. Vincent and the Grenadines and the Dominican Republic.

He identified mature and pricier markets as Cayman Islands, St. John in the U.S. Virgin Islands, Puerto Rico and Jamaica, saying that tourism is well established in these areas and five star hotels and other amenities can easily be found.

Real estate in The Bahamas is viewed as an especially hot commodity, particularly by foreign residents who are enamoured with what they perceive to be Paradise.

Investing as much as half a million dollars in a home here guarantees permanent residency status.

For others, the purchase of a second home is used as a tax break.

Paradise Island, near the exclusive Atlantis Resort, Grand Bahama, Exuma, Abaco and Eleuthera are prime locations, ranging from the dainty bungalows that line the waterfront to other lavish homesteads." read more

from The Bahama Journal