The weather has hit America hard this winter. And with bitter winds blowing and snow piling up, it’s understandable if some people dream about life in a warmer climate, with palm trees and turquoise waters, somewhere like the Caribbean. Buying a beachside home in these places generally doesn’t come cheap, however. And sometimes local regulations don’t make it easy, imposing restrictions and regulations on foreign buyers. Then visa requirements and the possibility of unstable local politics might also be considered.
When investing in foreign real estate, the stakes are higher and people need good advice like never before. Well, the data team at realtor.com® has identified 10 ideal Caribbean beach-side locations for Americans who want to escape the cold and invest in real estate abroad, either to live there permanently or just for holidays. The locations are reckoned to score highly in terms of safety, affordability, the ease of the local legal requirements, and of course their wonderful beaches. In addition, affordability has been prioritized. All in all, the dream can truly become a reality!
And here are those 10 top locations, ordered by the average cost of property per square foot. See which one appeals to you most!
1. Falmouth Harbour (Antigua)
Price per square foot in Antigua: $325
Falmouth is a village on the southern coast of Antigua famous for its horseshoe-shaped harbor. The place is naturally a magnet for sailing enthusiasts, but there are also splendid beaches for those who prefer staying ashore. Snorkeling is a treat here—the reef near Galleon Beach is particularly recommended—and sea turtles and many exotic varieties of fish can be seen. In addition, lovely views of the place can be had from a walk on nearby Shirley Heights.
Foreigners wishing to own some Antigua & Barbuda real estate can choose from properties in the luxury bracket or cheaper options perhaps further away from the beaches. They should be aware that they will need a license to purchase local property. The whole process can take between three and six months, and they will need to budget for closing costs of around 5% of the home’s value.
2. Kittian Village (St. Kitts)
Price per square foot in St. Kitts: $324
Kittian Village is a community of the east side of the main island and has acquired a reputation for the fine beaches and water sport activities available in Frigate Bay. A good number of cruise ships also stop here. There are many hotels and beachfront apartments for visitors, not to mention restaurants, and the great expanse of the sand ensures that overcrowding is not a problem. For anybody who gets tired of the beach there is also a casino and a golf course.
There is a wide range of property for sale here, from mansions with guest cottages and swimming pools that sometimes cost more than $4 million, to furnished duplexes which can set buyers back as little as $250,000. Foreigners who wish to purchase real estate in St. Kitts and Nevis must usually acquire an Alien Land-holding License, and for this they need to hire a local lawyer. The costs of buying here, aside from the property price, are considered to be rather high.
3. St. John (U.S. Virgin Islands)
Price per square foot in St. John: $300
Covering just 20 square miles, St. John is the smallest of the territory’s three major islands, and access to it is only by water. Over half of its land is a protected national park, which no doubt adds to its reputation for beauty and its thriving tourist trade.
Along with other islands in the area, in 2017 St. John got hit badly by Hurricanes Irma and Maria, which suppressed real estate prices. However, some locals are upbeat and have praised the speed at which the island has recovered.
In places where repairing hurricane damage is still a work in progress, home-buyers may still find lower prices, as long as they don’t mind waiting a while before they move in. Still known as a luxury destination despite the damage, superb villas are offered for prices over $4 million, though apartments can also be found, sometimes for less than $100,000. And being a U.S. territory, buying here is like it would be back home.
4. Crane Bay (Barbados)
Price per square foot in Barbados: $254
Crane Bay and its beach are situated on the southeastern end of the island. The stretch of sand here is considered to be one of the loveliest in the Caribbean, and is recommended as a winter destination. In addition to swimming and sunbathing, a popular activity is to jump off the 20-30 foot high cliffs. There is also a fine selection of restaurants to enjoy.
Perhaps because of the praise the place has received, the real estate here is not the cheapest around. Many properties are near enough to the beach and have fine views of the sea, and may cost from $600,000 upwards, while villas can have price tags approaching $2M.
It is recommended that foreigners wishing to buy homes for sale in Barbados have absolutely all the funds they will need ready and waiting when they make a purchase. But a big plus for Americans and others is that the same taxation and transaction costs apply to them as would apply to Barbadian citizens.
5. Maracas Bay Village (Trinidad and Tobago)
Price per square foot in Trinidad: $216
The idyllic Maracas Bay is just an hour’s drive away from Port of Spain, Trinidad and Tobago’s capital, and the journey there is a scenic treat in itself. On arrival you will find palm trees, a beautiful expanse of white sand and enticing turquoise water.
Many American expats live in the Port of Spain area, while Maracas Bay also sees its share of foreign residents. There is plenty of swimming, snorkeling around the coral reef, or simply chilling on the beach to enjoy. The local food is famous and often strongly influenced by the spicy cuisine of the Indian laborers who came to work here.
In Maracas Bay Village a three- and four-bedroom homes can cost $600,000—but you’ll get an excellent view over the sea for that price. Foreigners who want to buy any form of land in Trinidad and Tobago have to get a license. And as there’s quite a bit of paper work to be done, buyers may need as much as 10% of the sale price to cover closing costs. But don’t forget that you can profitably rent out any home you buy.
6. Caye Caulker (Belize)
Price per square foot in Belize: $215
The country’s barrier reef is probably its flagship tourist destination. Caye Caulker, a few miles off the coast and measuring only 5 miles by 1 mile, is the perfect place for relaxing or for snorkeling, particularly as there are manatees just off the shore. One can arrive here by boat or a small airplane.
This lovely isle is dotted with bright, colorful homes and shops. But another thing that draws people here is its affordability. Backpackers are noticeable among the tourists, which is a sure indication that prices are reasonable, and it’s no surprise that in the last few years the population has doubled to 2,000 and is still growing.
Other great news is that it’s simple to buy a home in Belize, and the process is quite similar to how it is in the U.S. You can get a beachside Caye Caulker condo for around $250,000, something for less inland, or for example this splendid waterfront home for $339,000 USD.
7. Playa Bonita (Dominican Republic)
Price per square foot in Dominican Republic: $193
Playa Bonita is on the Samaná peninsula near the town of Las Terrenas in the north of the country, with beautiful sand, palm trees and clear water. The colorful boats in the water remind you that this is a fishing village, but the quietness is livened up somewhat by an expat community—largely Spanish, French, and Italians—and apparently there are even European-style pastry shops here now.
One gets the impression that this is a place for people who want to relax and settle down. The atmosphere here certainly looks soothing, and this is probably especially true when compared to some other beaches in Dominican Republic.
Condos for sale in Dominican Republic often are very attractively priced—you can pick up a 1-bedroom for less than $100,000, and some are just a walk from the beach! Another great thing for ex-pats is that American home-buyers only need to provide a copy of their passport to purchase real estate here.
8. Dominical (Costa Rica)
Price per square foot in Costa Rica: $180
This place enjoys proximity to the mountains and some areas of jungle, but it’s Dominical Beach’s consistent waves, sometimes as high as 10 feet, which have made it so popular. Surfing is a huge deal here, and it can be enjoyed throughout the year.
With the Pacific Ocean the main draw, home-hunters will be happy to hear that many homes for sale in Dominical are a walk or a short drive from the water’s edge. Spanish Colonial-style houses are said to be particularly popular, and single-family homes can cost anything in a range from $250,000 to over $4 million.
In recent years the town has seen more than just visiting surfers, plus a building boom to accommodate the new expats. Foreign buyers are treated the same as locals when buying property, and the pertinent laws are relatively easy to deal with. The country also scores highly with foreign buyers regarding its property taxes, which amount to around 0.25% annually.
9. Rodney Bay (St. Lucia)
Price per square foot in St. Lucia: $172
Not only is the island beautiful but because it’s volcanic it has interesting features for tourists to enjoy like therapeutic hot mud at the Sulphur Springs resort. There is also renowned Reduit Beach, which is on the island’s northwest side near the popular Rodney Bay with its excellent restaurants and shopping opportunities.
Americans, Israelis, Cubans, Chinese and others have found St. Lucia a wonderful place to live, and they enjoy lazing on the long white-sand beaches and swimming in the clear waters. There’s also a big sailing scene here and the island is visited by many cruise ships.
Anyone who likes what they’ve just read, and has more the $1M to invest, might like to look at this lovely Rodney Bay development with easy access to Reduit Beach. Prices across the island vary: you can get a great home for only $250,000 or mansions for a lot more. However, the process is not as simple as in some other parts of the region, as Americans and others must have a local license, and this requires hiring an attorney, which costs about $5,000.
10. Tulum (Mexico)
Price per square foot in Mexico: $172
Tulum has picture postcard blue waters and beautiful white-sand beaches, but it also has a lot more besides. With increasing fame, its expat community has increased dramatically in recent years, with new residential developments being constructed. Snorkeling is a particularly popular activity here, and the clear waters make it a fascinating experience.
This place was once known mainly for the impressive Mayan ruins that stand along the seashore—these are the country’s third most-visited archaeological site. Now it’s also a popular tourist resort, offering the good fashion shops and yoga practitioners, for example, that you might expect, not to mention the excellent restaurant scene.
You might be thinking that the prices of Tulum homes for sale will be off the scale, but while they’re high for Mexico, you can find something here that suits a wide range of budgets, even if they’re a short drive from the beach. In Mexico, foreigners cannot buy properties directly and have to set up a trust through a Mexican bank. You also might find that you are not able to buy in some areas near the beaches.
Original article published by Realtor.com®