Secret Beach on Ambergris Caye, Belize has been growing and developing fast, and with all the new development there has been even more momentum around the West Coast. Between new homes being built, exciting new communities, and announcements of high-end resorts, the West Coast is really at a tipping point! Because of this, we wanted to update you on everything happening at Secret Beach.
You can see a Secret Beach 2022 Video below;
Everything around Secret Beach (the beach clubs, bars, restaurants, boutique hotels, homes, etc.) happened between 2016 and now. With the recent announcements, the trajectory is starting to take off!
You can see the growth and development of Secret Beach in the image and video below;
Six Senses Resort & Residences
Secret Beach has become one of the region’s most popular beach destinations, and it is also starting to attract high-end developments, including the recently announced Six Senses Resort Belize!
Between the Six Senses, Ixchel Resort, Habitat Belize community, and the other upscale developments coming to the area, you will likely see equity appreciation and property prices rise because of it.
The recent announcement of the Six Senses resort has been the biggest news for the area since Leonardo DiCaprio purchased his island, Blackadore Caye. Six Senses is one of the top internationally recognized luxury hotel brands. It will also be the first official 5-star resort brand on the island of Ambergris Caye and will be located near Secret Beach.
Ix Chel Resort Wellness Resort
At Secret Beach (just north of the beach bars), you have a new upscale boutique resort nearing completion. Ix Chel Wellness Resort is well underway and nearing completion. It brings an exciting new vision and design to the west coast with a vibrant atmosphere. Both resorts will bring more restaurants and businesses to the West Coast, further propelling the desire to live and stay in the area.
You can see photo renderings of the project below;
Belize Secret Beach Real Estate Investment
Off-beach, there are dozens of new homes, with more being added every month. There are also quite a few exciting new projects and communities underway off-beach (within a mile of the West Coast). Our team at RE/MAX Belize is excited to share those with you so you can see how much is happening in the area and the new opportunities available near Secret Beach.
Secret Beach changed dramatically over the last several years (2016 to 2023), and the next 6-years will see an even more substantial leap forward. By 2028, it will see even more development as these are only the first few dominos to fall. The West Coast is really at a tipping point, and there are still opportunities to buy off-beach Belize land for under $50,000 with financing available. Whether or not you build/develop the land, the Secret Beach properties are an amazing opportunity to be part of one of the region’s top emerging destinations!
The property near Secret Beach has a huge upside with little risk. You own an asset in an appreciating market hedged against inflation for less than a bank account annually. The only cost of ownership is the $75 to $90 per year property taxes (paid annually in April). You own the land outright, with a fee-simple title, financing is available, and the cost of ownership is almost nothing.
You are able to purchase a property and build. Or just secure the land and ride the organic momentum that will drive real estate value up.
Our team looks forward to chatting with you and making your Belize real estate dreams a reality!
Every year, more-and-more people are looking at investing and relocating off-shore. Whether it is for lifestyle or retirement, Americans & Canadians are rethinking their lives and where in the world would provide the best future. This is shown by the recent migration stats.
Americans & Canadians are leaving their home countries and seeking foreign visas in record numbers, according to immigration lawyers and expatriate organizations. Belize saw an unprecedented number of Americans not only inquiring about Belize real estate but also following through on their pledge and taking the steps to leave over the last 3-years (2020, 2021 & 2022). This is seen by the growth in the expat population on Ambergris Caye over recent years.
The number of Americans who were recorded as having given up their citizenship or U.S. residency soared to 5,816 in the first six months of 2020, compared with 2,072 in all of 2019, according to data from the Internal Revenue Service.
Dan Prescher, the senior editor of Internationalliving.com, said traffic related to “how to move out of the U.S.” surged 1,676 percent in 2020 and has been a continued trend since.
“Quieter, more stable countries start to look appealing,” he said.
The exodus has been led by not only baby boomer expats, but also young professionals looking for an opportunity and parents looking for countries with open and safe schools that provide futures for their children. No matter the age, the group largely consists of Americans with financial means and the ability to work virtually, or are in a position to relocate.
Why are people leaving?
The U.S. State Department reported in April that there are a record 8.7 million Americans live abroad. This number alone speaks for itself – never before has such a large group of U.S.-born citizens lived abroad. They’ve decided that it’s time for a change, to move to a new location where they are able to not just survive but thrive.
People’s motives for leaving or seeking relocation differ. But overall, the objective is a better life and a more promising future. The IMMI Group analyzed the top 10 motives for leaving the US, the list includes;
Cost of healthcare
Why People Are Looking at Belize & Ambergris Caye
Belize Real Estate & most of all Ambergris Caye Real Estate have seen a boom over recent years. Most of the buyers are people looking at living and/or investing overseas. This is seen by the growth in Belize real estate transactions over recent years;
While there is no nationwide MLS for Belize to track the total sales data and the number of real estate transactions, RE/MAX Belize is the largest real estate company in Belize with over 100 agents in 13 offices and shows a good indication of where the market is at and how it has grown.
Total sales volume increased 8.7% from 2019 to 2020, followed by a staggering 167.7% from 2020 to 2021. Based on current year-end projections, sales volume and real estate transactions in Belize are expected to grow by 301.5% year-over-year from 2021 through 2022.
From the beginning of 2020, at the start of the COVID pandemic, through to 2021, total Belize real estate sales volume has increased by 190.94%.
For RE/MAX Belize, the market has seen the number of sales exceed 2019 total sales volumes by 300% (299.6%).
Potential buyers are increasingly younger with more-and-more buyers being in their 40’s and 50’s (compared to retirees of earlier years). Most of the people purchasing Belize real estate are from the US and Canada. Among the top reasons for considering Belize for second homeownership:
Allows diversification outside the USA or Canada
Provides a safe secure alternative during societal unrest
The only English-speaking country in Central America
Close geographic proximity to the USA
No capital gains tax, very low property taxes
Tropical Caribbean climate
World-class fishing, diving, snorkeling, and watersports
Second home ownership in Belize is like “going abroad with training wheels”. It’s a very safe and easy experience, and the number one comment from those who have done it is that they wish they had done so sooner.
Many countries have restricted accessibility to residency, which makes travel and relocation more difficult. Not Belize. Right now Belize is open and accepting tourists, expats seeking offshore residency, and citizens. Belize is a small country that is very pro-foreign investment with a small population. The country’s agricultural independence and desirable climate make it one of the top destinations for Americans & Canadians seeking relocation.
There are many other thriving places to make a life. This has led to many people seeking a brighter tomorrow, a life that provides freedom, safety, security, and support.
There was an upturn of 3.2% in the GDP figures in the third quarter of 2022, but the change is unremarkable.
Despite indications of growth in some economic activities, most economists suggest the economy will continue to slow for at least the next few months.
Financial markets and other investments in the US, including property markets, remain unpredictable, creating a demand for more tangible assets and the diversification provided by overseas real estate.
The Bureau of Economic Analysis readings for the third quarter showed a +3.2% change in the US GDP in the third quarter, compared to -0.6% in the second quarter. Despite growth in some economic activities like industrial production, retail sales, and job growth, many economists still fear the possibility of a lurking recession. Investors tend to turn to hard assets at times like these, and since the US property market faces a price slump, they look for overseas property opportunities. “There are many reasons why investors turn to overseas real estate,” says Luigi Wewege from Caye International Bank, “but one of the major reasons is seeking a haven from the type of economic volatility we currently face.”
Here are eight reasons to buy overseas real estate right now
1. Discounts Due to Currency Advantages
When buying with USD or another strong currency, you can buy much more property in a market abroad with a weaker currency. Currently, the USD is at historic highs, meaning enhanced spending power.
The current surge in the value of the US dollar is producing unexpected opportunities for property investors holding the currency in many overseas real estate markets. It’s at historic highs against the euro, the pound, and other key currencies.
2. Currency Diversification
Buying a house overseas allows you to gain the benefits of diversifying into another currency. Currency diversification through property enables you to gain the benefits of earning an income or equity gain of the property in that country’s money.
Buying with the current strong conversion rate for the USD can also mean that even if the property value does not increase in local currency, you will have appreciation if the exchange rates return to historical averages.
3. Cheaper Properties
Besides the advantage of currency savings, properties in many overseas countries are highly affordable compared to properties in many US beach towns. “Caye International Bank facilitates real estate loans in five currencies and low-interest rates, with negotiable amortizations and terms,” says Wewege.
4. Earn an Income
Whether you buy a second home or have your eye on investing some money, overseas real estate can generate an income that can help pay for the property running costs and create a nest egg in the local currency. Even if you plan to holiday at your overseas property, you can rent it out short term to others. Remember that most European countries have lower rental net yields for long-term rentals, but these increase with short-term rentals, especially in the coastal areas of the Mediterranean.
5. Privacy And Tax Advantages
Americans don’t have to report their personal or rental overseas property to the IRS. Therefore, your foreign property remains out of reach to lawsuits, your ex, and the US taxman. There are also some US tax advantages when you rent out the property. For example, the interest paid on your mortgage is deductible from your taxable US income, as is the cost of trips to check on your asset.
6. Diversify Your Portfolio
Investing some money on overseas real estate diversifies your investment risk because it’s in another market. But, as we said earlier, you also diversify your exchange rate risk and avoid liability risks.
7. Brings Residency Perks
If you want to fast-track residency to countries like Greece, Spain, and Portugal to access the Schengen Area, you can purchase a property as part of their Golden Visa Programs. In addition, some countries like Northern Cyprus and Montenegro don’t have a price limit on how much you can spend to receive residency.
8. Low-Cost Vacations
Besides investing your money wisely, buying overseas real estate means you can choose a place to holiday without adding expensive hotel stays. As a result, you can enjoy the benefits of holidaying (or even retiring) somewhere with a lower cost of living, and you can escape the cold winters of the US.
As you can see, buying overseas real estate makes perfect sense right now, especially if you want to diversify your investments and create an income in another country. In addition, your investment can provide you with a dream holiday destination and a financially secure retirement. For more information on investing offshore and in Belize real estate contact RE/MAX Belize!
Belize real estate has become a popular topic among investors. Investing in foreign real estate can feel overwhelming and knowing where to invest requires a lot of research. When investing offshore and buying foreign real estate, an investor has nearly endless options and destinations to choose from. With all the options and countries around the world, it is hard to know which location has reached its peak and which has room for growth (especially from an investment standpoint). Investors always want to find real estate with appreciation growth potential.
We’ve all heard real estate investors say, “location matters,” and it is easy to see why destinations in the Caribbean as well as South and Central America are so appealing. The regions are home to some of the world’s most beautiful beaches, a warm climate, and an affordable cost of living. All of these are factors that make an offshore investment appealing, but different locations have advantages. Many foreign investors are realizing that Belize real estate has some untapped potential and that the market is only just starting to “take off”.
If you are looking to invest offshore and in a foreign market, you will likely want to find a destination that is on the rise and has growing tourism (which increases awareness). Luckily, Belize tourism is really booming, with more-and-more people traveling to Belize and visiting Ambergris Caye.
Every investor has a slightly different motive or reason to invest in Belize real estate. Sometimes, buyers/investors just want to have their own slice of paradise, a tropical getaway. You might invest in a Belize vacation property so that you can spend time in Belize, or eventually have your nest for retirement.
However, one of the leading reasons people invest in Belize real estate is the tourism income generated from nightly rentals and vacation rentals. Investors looking at Belize often look at the cash flow and yield potential with plenty of buyers interested in buying real estate as a way to earn a profit. If you want to turn your real estate into an income generator, that produces passive earnings, you will want to invest in a market with growing tourism.
Belize tourism hit an all-time high in 2019, with over 500,000 overnight tourists arriving in the country. In 2022, Belize’s tourism rebounded to nearly pre-COVID numbers. In 2022, Belize’s tourism was at 81% of its peak. If you take Belize’s tourism growth over the last 12 years (2010 to 2022) it grew at a rate of 14.6% annually. That is compounded year-over-year growth. Very few destinations in the world see double-digit annual tourism growth. You can see the year-over-year growth illustrated below;
In 2019, Belize saw more visitors overall, both via the airport and cruises, than any year prior. In 2022, we saw the tourism numbers nearly reach the 2019 peak (81% of peak pre-COVID tourism). Some of this can be attributed to the strong investment The Government of Belize and the private investment sector have made in infrastructure development projects in the region. It is also largely associated with the emergence of branded hotels in Belize like; Hilton, Marriott, Margaritaville, Wyndham, Six Senses & Four Seasons.
Belize’s tourism is on the rise, and that is a strong investment indicator. The more tourists, the more rooms are rented, and the better the vacation rental ROI.
Not only has Belize seen an annual tourism growth rate of 14.6% over the last 12 years, but Ambergris Caye (the #1 destination in Belize) has seen the highest volume of all Belize tourism while also seeing a rise in population. The population of Ambergris Caye has grown by an annual average of 8% over the last 5 years and grew at a rate of 17% the 10 years prior.
A growing tourism industry isn’t just ideal for those who want to generate rental revenue each year. It is also ideal for those who want to see the value of their property grow. The more people that visit, and the higher yield an income property produces, the higher the resale value. As Belize continues to grow, so will the value and price of real estate.
2. Foreign Investors Actually Own Their Property
Most destinations in the region (Costa Rica, Panama, Mexico, etc.) do not grant foreigners the same property ownership rights as locals. One of the biggest risks of investing in real estate overseas is that ownership rights can be confusing, and often a foreign investor will not actually own the real estate. In some destinations, citizenship or residency is required in order to buy and own real estate outright. For a foreign investor investing overseas, this can mean less security and more risky investment. It is not uncommon for countries to have a leasehold or require some sort of trust for a foreigner to own real estate.
It is very common when you buy international real estate, an investor is really only buying a “leasehold” for a set number of years. If you plan to leave the property to your children or dependents in the future, this can again be a concern.
With Belize real estate and Belize property, none of these issues are a concern. Belize is one of the few countries with British Common Law that has full foreign ownership and allows foreigners to have freehold property ownership with a fee-simple title. In Belize, it is rare to hear of disputes over land ownership. A property owner is granted a land title, which they own outright. Anyone, even foreign investors, can purchase property in Belize. To own and invest in Belize, you do not need to be a national, have citizenship, or be a resident. You can truly own property as a foreigner.
Even better, when buying Belize real estate as a foreigner means that you own the property outright, and leaseholds are virtually nonexistent. This gives an investor a greater sense of security and more peace of mind. Belize is one of the best offshore markets to invest in for capital protection. Belize also does not recognize squatting rights.
3. Stable Currency
When investing in foreign real estate, you want to ensure your investment is secure and that the dollar value of that investment appreciates with a stable currency. It is important to ensure you are investing in something with property value retention. Investing in a market with high inflation and owning an asset in a volatile currency is a risk and a valid concern. When investing offshore it is important to consider if the local currency of the jurisdiction you are considering fluctuates and avoid markets with high currency volatility/inflation.
The Belizean currency is the Belizean Dollar which is a pegged currency at 2:1 with USD. In Belize, currency fluctuations are minimal since we are pegged to USD, and the fact that almost all real estate transactions are in US dollars. If you own Belize real estate, you own an appreciating asset in USD. You own the property in a stable currency without the risk of domestic currency inflation.
The Belize Dollar is pegged to the United States Dollar. Two Belize Dollars always equals one US Dollar. The fact that real estate transactions are primarily in US dollars makes it incredibly easy and straightforward. The fact you own the real estate asset in USD means that you won’t see a dip in the value of your property just because the market fluctuates or the currency experiences rapid inflation (like Argentina or Venezuela).
The fact Belize has a pegged currency and real estate transactions are in US dollars is a big advantage, especially if you live in the United States or deal financially in US Dollars. Although property values can, change and fluctuate with the market, Belize real estate won’t drop due to currency issues.
4. Belize Real Estate & Property Taxes
Owning real estate anywhere has a cost of ownership called “holding costs”. Anyone who has ever owned property anywhere in the world knows that there are ongoing costs and expenses to consider. Maintaining a home or property costs money, property taxes can be significant, and the taxation on a property is something someone must consider when investing offshore.
Property taxes in Belize are surprisingly low. Real estate taxes and property taxes are based on the undeveloped value of your land. The property taxes someone pays do not fluctuate with the home or property improvements. This makes property taxes in Belize very low. Canal-front homes have annual property taxes of $108 per year, while other off-beach properties near the West Coast of Ambergris Caye start at $75 per year. Belize is a low-tax jurisdiction, and one of the major draws to owning property and real estate in Belize is the fact that the cost of ownership is so low.
The cost of property ownership in Belize is much cheaper on a year-to-year basis than in many comparable destinations, keeping costs of ownership low and increasing the investment return.
5. Belize is an Unsaturated Market with Low Competition
With all the benefits and advantages of owning and investing in Belize real estate, you might assume that it is a seller’s market or that property options are limited. With the tax advantages, growing tourism, property ownership rights, and the fact you own an appreciating asset in USD (a stable currency) you would assume that Belize is a saturated market. In reality, it is the opposite, and Belize is a very unsaturated market with low competition.
In Belize, it is still very much a buyer’s market, and there is a scarcity in supply. Although there has been growing interest from foreign investors, and a growing expat population, the market is far from saturated.
We’ve all heard the age-old saying, buy low sell high. The vast majority of properties within a saturated market are already overpriced and thus in these conditions, it is much harder to find good, let alone great investment opportunities.
Properties within an infancy market that is unsaturated have the most potential upside in the future. The key: finding something within an infancy market that lies in the path of progress. Examples would be Ambergris Caye Real Estate & Belize Real Estate.
The increase in population and tourism has led to a scarcity of rentals and overall lodging inventory. In Q5 2022, the lodging inventory on Ambergris Caye decreased by 5% (due to population growth) and the lodging inventory has decreased by an astonishing 20% over the last 3 years.
Ambergris Caye Lodging Inventory
In short, there are more people who are eager to spend time in Belize, and there are even more people traveling to Belize. When you take the increase in population and the increase in tourism, you understand the investment and rental income potential.
It is rare to see and have an opportunity to invest in a destination that is growing as rapidly as Belize and Ambergris Caye which has a decrease in lodging inventory.
There is plenty of undeveloped property still in Belize and on islands like Ambergris Caye (which have island economics). Belize real estate is often much lower than investors expect (given all the advantages). Belize is now one of the leading International jurisdictions for offshore banking in Central America and you will discover that investment dollars go further in Belize and yield much higher returns than in many other countries.
There are many other reasons to invest in Belize real estate, these 5 are just some of the top. Overall, there are many other reasons why real estate in Belize is a smart investment, particularly for those interested in diversifying their financial portfolio and investing offshore. Whether you’re searching for a retirement destination, a rental income property, or a vacation home for the family, Belize real estate offers a wide variety of options and opportunities.
Ambergris Caye Real Estate is a hot commodity for both personal use and investment. The investment potential and upside look even more attractive when you look at the year-over-year tourism data and how it correlates to the rental/lodging inventory on the island. Ambergris Caye is the top destination in Belize. Even though tourism has grown, rental inventory has not. This creates a unique investment opportunity. Learn more with the data points and market analysis below;
Ambergris Caye Tourism & Rental Inventory Data Points
Even though tourism is growing and we have seen Belize tourism rebound in 2022 to pre-COVID numbers, the total rooms for rentals have stayed stagnant with almost no new inventory and often even a decline in inventory. Tourism pre-COVID grew by over 60% in 5 years (over double-digit annual growth of 14.6%) but lodging and inventory stayed the same. Even now, rental inventory saw a -5% decrease in Q4 2022.
Rental Inventory: A decrease of -5% in Q4 2022
Below you can see the lodging and rental inventory on Ambergris Caye over the last 3 years;
Ambergris Caye Lodging Inventory
Ambergris Caye saw -2% in Q2 2022, -1% in Q3 2022, and -5% in Q4 2022. With a -20% decrease over 3 years.
For lodging, as a point of reference, Ambergris Caye saw -2% in Q3 2022, -1% in Q4 2022, and -5% in Q1 2023. So compounded tourism growth over 12 years at an average of 14.6%.
As you can see, the 3-year trend has been consistent with many quarters seeing a dip in rental inventory (even with an increase in demand). Over the last 3-years, lodging/rental inventory on Ambergris Caye decreased by 20%. This creates a unique opportunity for investors. With the shortage in supply and increase in demand, there is a need for more lodging and rentals.
The reason you see a lodging or rental inventory decline is due to the fact people are moving to Belize and we are seeing an exodus of people (especially Baby Boomers retiring abroad).
What is interesting is comparing it to other markets. Tulum for example;
Tulum in comparison saw a +6% increase in Q4 2022 and +8% in Q1 2023. With a 47% increase over a full year. And an 88% increase over the last 3 years.
You can see other comparable off-shore markets and their lodging inventory below;
Tamarindo Costa Rica for example saw a +6% increase in Q4 2022 With a +23% increase over 3 years.
Turks & Caicos is a Caribbean island like Ambergris Caye. Turks & Caicos saw a +11% increase in Q4 2022 with a +76% increase over 3 years.
Panama City as another example and comparison saw a +4% increase in Q4 2022 with a +26% increase over 3 years.
All of the above locations are popular tourist destinations (Ambergris Caye, Tulum, Tamarindo, Panama, and Turks & Caicos) and have all seen substantial growth in tourism numbers. That said, very few places have seen a tourism boom without an increase in inventory. Because of this, Ambergris Caye has an A+ Rating based on AirBNB criteria of Rental Demand, Rental Growth, Seasonality & Regulations.
Ambergris Caye Real Estate Investment
Prior to 2020, Ambergris Caye lodging remained stagnant over the years even with tourism growing. Even though Tourism is increasing, rental inventory has decreased by 5% and has remained fairly stagnant over 3 years. You can see the inventory vs the tourism for Ambergris Caye from 2015 to 2019 below;
The number of hotel rooms and lodging inventory for rentals has not seen the same growth and is not meeting the tourism demand.
Therefore, many industry experts predict Ambergris Caye real estate prices and nightly rental rates will continue to increase. This will lead to greater equity appreciation and a higher cash-flow yield.
Even though demand is on the rise, the supply has remained stagnant. With increased awareness comes increased demand but the lodging and vacation rental inventory supply do not meet the demand growth.
Ambergris Caye Investment Opportunity
To give you an idea of the growth and opportunity with Ambergris Caye Real Estate you have to look at the population and tourism growth statistics. Ambergris Caye (as of 2015) had an estimated population of approximately 16,444 people. Since then the population has grown with an even higher volume of foreigners moving to Ambergris Caye. Over the last 5 years, Ambergris Caye has seen a population growth rate of around 8% per year, and in the previous 10 years, prior Ambergris Caye experienced an annual population growth rate of roughly 17%.
It is also estimated that up to 25% more people reside on Ambergris Caye on a part-time basis (vacation or winter homes). Ambergris Caye as a destination for tourism has experienced incredible growth over the last 5 to 15 years. From 2017 to 2022 (the same 5 years) Ambergris Caye has seen tourism grow at a rate of 14.6% per year (over double-digit annual growth).
When you factor in the population growth and the influx of new residents with the growth in tourism, you really start to see the opportunity. As it stands right now, there is not enough vacation or long-term rental inventory to support the growth in tourism and the growing population.
The reason you see a lodging or rental inventory decline is due to the fact people are moving to Belize and we are seeing an exodus of people (especially Baby Boomers retiring abroad).
Ambergris Caye is an island with limited supply. Even though the supply is limited, the demand has skyrocketed over recent years with more-and-more tourists visiting Belie. In 2019, Belize saw over 500,000 overnight tourists, most of which visited Ambergris Caye. These overnight tourism arrivals grew by 60% from 2015 to 2020. With 70-75% of overnight tourists who visit Belize heading straight to San Pedro and Ambergris Caye.
Since 2010 has had an average tourism growth rate of 14.6% annually. That 14.6% growth each year. So compounded tourism growth over 12 years at an average of 14.6%.
The number of hotel rooms and lodging inventory for rentals has not seen the same growth and is not meeting the tourism demand. What is being developed on Ambergris Caye in the next five years will not be able to sustain the increasing tourism demand. Therefore, many industry experts predict Ambergris Caye real estate prices and nightly rental rates will continue to increase. This will lead to greater equity appreciation and a higher cash-flow yield.
Even though demand is on the rise, the supply has remained stagnant. With increased awareness comes increased demand but the lodging and vacation rental inventory supply do not meet the demand growth.
Ambergris Caye luckily has something we like to call “Island Economics”. When investing in an island there is only so much land available. The limitations on available land create scarcity, not only scarcity of property but also a scarcity of land and completed resale homes. There is only so much land on an island. Island economics means that you see greater property appreciation on an island due to scarcity of property and limitations on how much can be built.
Areas and destinations along the Yucatan Peninsula or other areas with nearly endless developable land eventually have an over-supply that is caused by the fact there is nearly unlimited room for development. Investors rarely see the same equity appreciation they see when they invest on an island. One of the difficulties of investing in a property that has nearly endless room for growth is the fact that developers continue to build, so real estate investors don’t see the same level of appreciation that they see on an island, where the availability of land is limited.
This is basic economics, Ambergris Caye has higher demand and less supply. Mainland destinations in Central America have less demand and nearly unlimited supply. On Ambergris Caye, you have far more amenities (with the reef 400 yards off the coast), with beaches on the East & West Coast.
The reason so many investors choose Ambergris Caye over mainland Belize destinations is largely due to the growth and investment potential. Ambergris Caye is the #1 tourist destination in Belize by a large margin. It also delivers the highest Average Daily Room Rate for an income property. It is also important to note that as an investor, you will have much higher margins, as resale properties on the island sell have more demand and higher returns on investment.
Belize’s tourism has over tripled since 2010, as it has grown by 208%. In 2022, over 11 months (January to November) Belize had a total of 362,628 overnight tourists. That is 81% of the pre-COVID inbound tourism numbers. This shows strong tourism recovery for Belize and Ambergris Caye.
Belize 2022 Tourism
When you factor in the population growth and the influx of new residents with the growth in tourism, you really start to see the opportunity. As it stands right now, there is not enough vacation or long-term rental inventory on Ambergris Caye to support the growth in tourism and the growing population.
A recession and inflation are not new things, they are part of any economy. The US just came off a long bullish market. Just because inflation and recessions happen, doesn’t mean investment stops, strategic investors look to new avenues and leverage cost-effective ways to place capital.
When economies turn, people no longer look for Return on Investment, they look for Return of Investment. They start looking for investments and strategies around;
When looking at a real estate investment, there are generally 2 elements cash flow and appreciation. Savvy real estate investors and people investing in offshore markets like Belize tend to dive a little deeper and there are essentially 4 pillars strategic real estate investors look for;
Yield (Cash Flow),
Luckily, when you invest in Belize Real Estate, you are in a position to check all 4 boxes. You also have the added benefit of limited supply and scarcity, in a market with growing demand.
When looking at a strategic investment strategy, it is important to remember that money doesn’t just “go away” it moves. A recession, by definition, is;
“a macroeconomic term that refers to a significant decline in general economic activity in a designated region. It had been typically recognized as two consecutive quarters of economic decline, as reflected by GDP.”
In times of globalization, markets are more dependent on each other but are also still independent. What happens in one country, does not mean the same will happen in another. Just because one region is experiencing economic decline does not mean that another region will see the same effects.
In 2021, the US economy is seeing the highest inflation rates in over 40 years. This is largely fueling a lot of what is happening in the global economy. Real estate, however, is one of the only assets and investments that is pegged against inflation. When looking at an investment that is more resilient to inflation, you want something that has price adjustments that meet or are pegged to the rate of inflation. If you have an investment asset that adjusts with inflation, while still producing cash flow, you are well-positioned and diversified.
Typically, the more inflation-resistant investments are able to pass price increases along to their customers. This remains true in Belize. I am not by any means saying we are recession-proof, but Belize (especially real estate) is well situated, all things considered.
One important thing to note is that property values and rental income both tend to keep up with inflation over time, and the investors that invest in real estate tend to outperform the market during inflationary periods. For example, in 2021, inflation reached its highest level in 40 years, and real estate (both rental income and asset appreciation) outperformed the S&P.
Generally, real estate assets and investments perform their best when inflation rates exceed 7% (which they do now). The inflation-hedging capability of real estate stems from the relationship between GDP growth and the demand for real estate. As economies expand, and people relocate or reallocate, the demand for real estate drives rents higher. When you have a combination of residents looking for rentals combined with the vacation rental market, you are able to adjust. Higher rents with better occupancy, in turn, translate into higher capital values. Therefore, real estate tends to maintain the buying power of capital by passing some of the inflationary pressure on to tenants and by incorporating some of the inflationary pressure in the form of capital appreciation.
Real Estate Investment & Inflation
When compared to other investments, real estate tends to hold up well against inflation. But it’s important to realize that there are many different types of real estate investments, and not all have the same inflation resistance. When looking for more inflation-resistant real estate assets it is important to look for;
Short-term lease durations: This allows you as an investor to quickly adjust rents (market rent and net rent) to meet the demand and inflation. A vacation rental market is perfect for this. Typically, the average rental on Ambergris Caye is 6 days, and prices can very quickly be adjusted. You can also offer monthly rental rates, which avoid locking in at below-market rent for a year.
Price powering: Can you control and quickly adjust the price when needed to match inflation? Vacation rentals give you high control as you can continuously adjust rates to meet inflation and/or demand. A lot of other rental markets have vacation rental restrictions (controls), or rent controls in place. Belize does not, which makes it a great investment when it comes to ownership control.
Resilient or increasing demand: Belize has seen double-digit tourism growth every year except in 2020 (COVID restrictions). The country has just entered the world’s radar and has frequently been at the top of the list when it comes to emerging vacation destinations.
Fewer Regulations: Belize does not have rent controls. This allows you to manage your rentals as needed. We are also one of the very few “pro-landlord” countries in the region. We do not recognize squatters, and as the owner of the property, you can dictate who stays there and for how long.
Favorable Taxation: Belize is a tax haven. Belize has very low property taxes. Low corporate tax. No capital gains tax. And no estate tax.
Recessions and inflation are not permanent. Real estate investors make money through rental income and appreciation. Good real estate investments offer passive income, stable cash flow, tax advantages, diversification, and leverage. It is important to invest not only for the short term but for the long term as well. Even though Belize real estate is counter-cyclical when compared to other real estate investments, we still see the boom in bullish markets when people have more accessible capital. After a Bear market comes a Bull market which will see all real estate (especially vacation markets) have a more substantial appreciation.
In regards to investment, Belize is unique as it is both Central America & the Caribbean, the mainland has more similarities to the Yucatan Peninsula (Cancun, Playa Del Carmen, Tulum, etc), while Ambergris Caye is more comparable to the Cayman Islands, The Bahamas, British Virgin Islands, Etc. The fact Ambergris Caye is an island, there is far more scarcity of property than being on the mainland. As a real estate investor, scarcity works to your advantage for both rental income and property appreciation. The fact that Ambergris Caye is one of the few opportunities with high tourism growth and land available, makes it a unique opportunity in today’s market.
Ambergris Caye (being the largest island in Belize and #1 destination), luckily has island economics. Island economics means that you see greater property appreciation on an island due to scarcity of property and limitations on how much can be built. The island economics of Ambergris Caye creates scarcity, not only scarcity of property and rental accommodations but also in completed resale homes.
Belize also has growing tourism with unprecedented COVID tourism recovery. Ambergris Caye (the #1 destination in Belize) and the island where the popular San Pedro Town is located see over half of all tourists coming to Belize. Even though Ambergris Caye is experiencing tourism growth, the destination has not seen rental accommodations meet the demand.
Even though tourism is growing and we have seen Belize tourism rebound in 2022 to pre-COVID numbers, the total rooms for rentals have stayed stagnant with almost no new inventory and often even a decline in inventory. Tourism pre-COVID grew by over 60% in 5 years (over double-digit annual growth of 14.6%) but lodging and inventory stayed the same. Even now, rental inventory saw a -5% decrease from Q4 of 2022 to Q1 of 2023. Below you can see the lodging and rental inventory on Ambergris Caye over the last 3 years;
Rental Inventory: From Q4 2022 to Q1 2023 lodging inventory decreased by -5%:
Ambergris Caye Lodging Inventory
For lodging, as a point of reference, Ambergris Caye saw -2% in Q3 2022, -1% in Q4 2022, and -5% in Q1 2023. Over the last 3-years, Ambergris Caye lodging saw a decrease of 20% in inventory though tourism has increased by 14.6% annually. So compounded tourism growth over 13 years at an average of 14.6%.
As you can see, the 3-year trend has been consistent with many quarters seeing a dip in rental inventory (even with an increase in demand). This creates a unique opportunity for investors. With the shortage in supply and increase in demand, there is a need for more lodging and rentals.
Belize has a unique offering when it comes to real estate investment. We have a market that is not overly leveraged (due to a lack of traditional bank financing), and we are a growing destination that produces cash flow and can quickly adjust. The lack of inventory of rentals and resale properties creates a unique opportunity. If you combine that with the fact we are not as susceptible to real estate bubbles (due to most real estate being owned outright with cash) we are one of the most well-positioned markets.
Low Carrying & Holding Cost.
With Fee-Simple Title You Own the Property Outright as a Tangible Asset.
Belize is a Tax Haven.
An Appreciating Asset in a Desirable Destination.
Primarily Cash Market Making Les Susceptible to Real Estate Bubbles.
Growing Demand with Limited Supply
It is also important to note that you own a tangible asset when you buy a property in Belize. Belize has full foreign ownership with the ability to own a property with a fee-simple land title (outright ownership). Unlike stocks, bonds, or cryptocurrency; if the value goes down (or even has no value/defaults), you still own a tangible asset in Belize that you are in control of and can use. Belize is also a tax haven, and property taxes are very low, which means the cost of ownership is next to nothing.
Benefits of Off-Shore Investing in Belize
Diversification: It is always important to diversify investment, but that is even more true during economically challenging times. Diversifying across asset types, markets, and even currencies is essential for wealth preservation and hedging your investment. Diversification into a hard asset like real estate protects your investment and hedges against the stock market’s volatility.
Find Deals in an Unsaturated Market: Belize does not have a formal MLS. Though this makes the property search process more difficult (and a realtor almost essential) it also creates opportunities. As a reactive market, you can find great deals that fly below the radar. By expanding your reach and your investment in an emerging market (like Belize), investors can broaden their opportunities and find diamonds in the rough, and undervalued assets.
Less Saturation & Competition: A relatively new market, like Belize, has less competition. One reason I love Belize is the fact you don’t have to be a genius to be successful. There is a very low level of competition (in almost all industries in Belize) which allows an investor to take success from more competitive markets. Real estate in Belize is a tangible offshore asset that can help shield an investor from the volatility of market swings.
Bigger Upside: Growth in offshore emerging markets has the potential to outpace growth in developed economies like the US, where populations are getting older and growing slowly.
Taxation: Property taxes are low (almost nothing). For property around Secret Beach, for example, the property taxes are $75 to $90 per year. Canal-front homes in Mahogany Bay have property taxes of roughly $108 per year. Belize has a corporate tax rate of 1.75% (offshore) to 3% (domestic). With no capital gains tax and no estate tax.
Residency: Property ownership can grant residency. In Belize, you can qualify for an “Investment Residency” through real estate investment. With the state of the current market, Belize can provide a safe haven for those hoping to escape the current state of uncertainty. Through the residency, you can protect your current assets and help secure your future.
People assume that real estate values in the US reflect the global market; when in reality, there are many markets that thrive during inflation and a recession. Generally, when people lose in the domestic markets, they look to alternative investments (like Belize). When money leaves one country for another, it is an “Exodus of Capital”. When investors lose trust in domestic systems and institutions they often look for tangible assets offshore. It is also important to note that Belize is also predominantly a cash market, because of this, we don’t have overlending and real estate bubbles. Right now, Belize is not only seeing tourism growth but also experiencing an influx of expats looking to relocate, this is an “Exodus of People”. When a population is experiencing a growth of high net-worth individuals, you see even higher property appreciation. As economies expand, and people relocate or reallocate, the demand for real estate drives rents higher. When you have a combination of residents looking for rentals combined with the vacation rental market, you have a favorable real estate investment.
The global inflation rate is why so many people are investing even more in Belize real estate. The reason they are doubling down on Belize real estate when inflation is on the rise is that you have an asset hedged against inflation, in a market that is not as susceptible to bubbles (due to lack of over-leveraged real estate), with a low-cost of ownership.
In 2009 RE/MAX in Belize had more transactions than any year prior. At this time, the US had the subprime mortgage crisis and global economies saw a downturn. When inflation comes, there is more money in circulation, the money does not “go away” it is often just reallocated. Diversifying your portfolio is always recommended, and there are a lot of opportunities off-shore in markets like Belize. History has a tendency to repeat itself, and if history is any indication of what will happen, Belize is sure to see more real estate transactions and be a great investment vehicle for years to come.
During economically slow times, many investors look at tangible assets like real estate and gold. During periods of uncertainty and economic stress, it is important to look at getting not only a Return on Investment but also a Return of investment.
Property in Belize is a cost-effective way to get both. Ambergris Caye Real Estate provides investors a means to own a finite commodity that is a tangible real asset with future demand. We often like to view Belize real estate as counter-cyclical, when other markets go down, Belize generally stays stagnant or increases.
If you are looking to learn more about the Belize market and investment opportunities in Belize let us know! Our team and RE/MAX Belize look forward to chatting with you.
Buying Belize Real Estate is very easy and the process is much like in North America (USA & Canada). Belize is one of the few countries in Central America & the Caribbean where foreigners enjoy the same property ownership right as nationals in land ownership and tenure. When a foreigner buys property in Belize, they own it outright with a fee-simple land title. The preferred practice of owning Belize real estate is through a fee-simple title which is clear title freehold ownership.
Foreigners can own property in Belize as an individual or through a Belize Chapter 250 (Limited Liability Company) or with an International Business Company (IBC). A property (like Belize land) will have a title that would be issued by the lands department. Condominiums in Belize are purchased through a “Strata” title or co-op share ownership. There are a few types of property ownership in Belize and it is important to learn the differences.
Belize Real Estate Purchasing Process
The property purchasing process in Belize is similar to Canada or the US (countries with fee-simple titles). Before you purchase property in Belize or buy Belize real estate it is important to know and understand the process.
Belize Property Search
Before buying in Belize, make sure you know the area that is best suited for you, your lifestyle, and your investment goals. Check out the different areas and districts in Belize; Ambergris Caye, San Pedro, Caye Caulker, Cayo, Placencia, etc. Belize has a robust landscape from the island beaches of Ambergris Caye to the jungle mountains of San Ignacio. When searching for Belize property, decide what is most important to you; the beach, mountains, inland, river, etc.
Ambergris Caye real estate is popular due to the fact that the island and San Pedro Town is the country’s most popular destination with the highest level of growth. Let the Remax Belize team help you with your Belize property & Belize real estate search. We can help go over the different options and opportunities available in Belize.
There are a lot of opportunities in Belize and a diverse real estate market. In Belize, we do not have a formal MLS, so a real estate agent’s job is a little different. If you are looking at buying or investing in Belize, a Remax Belize real estate agent can help with the search.
Offer to Purchase Belize Property
After the Belize real estate search, and once you find the property you want to purchase, the next step is to put in an offer or draft up an agreement of sale. The real estate agent will require your full name and address to be able to draft up the agreement/offer.
Most real estate transactions in Belize are cash sales. That said, there are opportunities with financing available. Most real estate opportunities in Belize with financing available are through seller or vendor financing. Belize does not have the standard bank financing or mortgages people are used to in the US or Canada. If you are wanting to purchase Belize real estate with financing, talk to your agent and find opportunities with financing. Or include the financing terms in the offer/agreement.
When writing an offer or agreement, make sure you add any contingencies, clauses, or addendums you require. Or include details required for the closing and include any additional services needed for the property transaction to go through.
In Belize, we do not have traditional home Inspectors or property appraisals. If required, you can an hire engineer or trusted home builders to inspect the property of interest and write up a report. If you are purchasing raw land, you can request a copy of the land title and/or a property survey.
You are also able to purchase Belize real estate through a Self-Directed IRA or 401K. Be sure to let your RE/MAX Belize real estate agent know if you want to use a Self-Directed IRA or 401K when you are purchasing the property. After the agreement is signed by the purchaser and the seller, a color copy of your passport will be needed as well as a utility bill matching the address on the offer to purchase.
Escrow Down Payment or Deposit
If you are purchasing a property with financing, you will have to send the down payment to an escrow account or escrow agent. Even cash sale transactions it is suggested to use an escrow account and closing company.
After all the documentation is signed, everything will go to a Closing Company for the due diligence and transfer of property. When buying any property in Belize you want to ensure the process is done correctly. That includes initiating a title search and ensuring there are no liens or encumbrances on the property. When buying Belize real estate you also want to make sure that the seller is legally able to sell the Belie land.
The property history as well as corporate and IBC registration is also something that the Closing Company will take care of. A Closing Company will make sure past transfers of ownership were done properly and that the whole process is done correctly.
You also want the Closing Company to look over the proposed purchase agreement, making sure the information is correct and ensuring it’s in full compliance with the local and governing laws of Belize. A Closing Company is particularly important if you are choosing to finance a property with the seller because a payment processing company is often needed.
It is also common in Belize for a closing company to use an Escrow Agent and/or Escrow Account. This helps to protect the buyer and the seller during the real estate transaction. Since most real estate transactions in Belize are done in USD it is common for the Escrow Account to be in the US and with a US Bank account.
Real estate transactions in Belize are in USdollars and use a USescrow agent or account (a US account or US intermediary is needed for any transaction in USD). The closing costs are paid by the buyer. The seller is responsible for the real estate fee and commission. All money is sent to a USescrow and a closing company releases funds upon closing.
When an offer or sales agreement is submitted a down payment for escrow is required. If it’s a cash sale, it will be the entire balance on the property which will go to escrow during the closing process. If it is a financing agreement, the down payment (20% to 25%) will be sent to escrow during the closing process.
The closing costs are between 1% – 1.5% of the sales price. Due diligence consists of a title search and a company search if the property is in a company name. This is all handled by the Closing Company.
Property Closing & Transfer
Once all the legal processes and closing have been completed along with a title search and closing documents. The legal documents are signed by all parties and original copies are sent to the purchaser. With a financing agreement, the seller will carry the note on the property (similar to a bank in the US). If it is a cash sale agreement, all original documents will be sent to the purchaser (the new owner of the property).
If the property is not in an IBC there is a one-time Stamp Duty Fee of 8% paid to the Government of Belize (GOB). Stamp/Transfer Tax is a tax of 8% on the total sale price and the Government of Belize gives you the first $10,000.00 USD exemption. GOB reserves the right to reassess the Stamp Tax and if they feel you paid too little for the Belize property, if this is the case the purchaser will require you to pay the difference.
If a property is held in a corporate entity like an IBC all the shares will be transferred to the purchaser. IBC property ownership means there is no stamp/transfer tax and the transfer of ownership is much faster.
To learn more about the closing process for land and properties held in an IBC vs not in an IBC contact us at RE/MAX Belize. In Belize, you own a property outright with a fee-simple title. Foreigners have the same ownership rights as locals.
If you are interested in Belize property and/or buying Belize real estate, contact us at RE/MAX Belize! We are here to help with your Belize real estate search. We can help find your dream home in paradise or investment property in Belize!
Belize is a very easy country to travel to and US & Canadian travelers do not require any visas when traveling to Belize. Actually, most countries and passports are able to travel to Belize freely and without a visa for 30 days.
If you are visiting Belize as a tourist, you do not require a visa. When you enter Belize, you are issued a 30-day tourist visa in your passport. If visitors planning to stay longer than 30 days, they must have their passport re-stamped by a local immigration office. If you are extending your Belize stay longer than 30 days, the passport must be issued a new stamp, and pay an additional fee for every additional month they wish to stay. Visitors are able to continue to renew their tourist visa if they want to stay in Belize, without restrictions on length (as long as they get their visa renewed).
This makes it very easy for people planning on relocating to Belize as they have no restrictions when it comes to the length of stay and duration. You can continue to renew your Belize tourist visa every month or have a new stamp every time you leave Belize and travel back.
Do I Require a Passport to Travel to Belize?
If you are visiting Belize as a tourist, you must have a valid passport and the passport must be valid for more than 6 months.
Do I Require a Visa to Travel to Belize?
There is no Visa or Travel Visa required when traveling to Belize. When you enter Belize (by air, land, or sea) you are issued a tourist visa for 30 days. You can renew this visa every month at a local immigration office. Some countries have a maximum of 30 days without a visa and no visa is required for Belize travel.
Please keep in mind that while a visa is not required, travelers to Belize must have:
Hold a valid passport that is still valid for at least six months on entry
The passport must have one blank visa page
Hold proof of onward/return flights
Hold all documents required for the next destination (if you are connecting to somewhere else)
You may be asked for proof of sufficient funds relative to your intended length of stay
Visitors and travelers to Belize from the US & Canada will learn how easy travel to Belize really is. Canadian & American travelers must possess a passport valid for a period of a minimum of 30 days if the person is not traveling in transit to a third country that requires six months validity. This is attractive to many tourists as North Americans visiting Belize are only required to have a passport for 30-day validity.
In addition to a valid passport, tourists visiting Belize must have a return ticket with sufficient funds to cover their stay. When arriving in Belize, visitors are given a one-month stay, after which an extension can be applied for with the Immigration Department. Most of the top destinations and municipalities have a local immigration office that can renew tourist visa. For example in San Pedro & Ambergris Caye, the office is right across from the Tropic Air terminal.
Visitors who are citizens from the United States and its territories, Canada, the United Kingdom and its territories, European Union, Caribbean, and Central American countries do not require any visas when traveling to Belize. For visitors driving/boating into Belize from Guatemala or Mexico, a temporary importation permit for the vehicle (boat or vehicle) must be secured at the point of entry. This permit is valid for 30 days. No specific immunizations are required for visitors to Belize.
If you will be staying and visiting Belize longer than 30 days, you will need to visit an Immigration Office to extend your stay in Belize. Most towns and destinations have a local immigration office that can facilitate the process and renewal. The permit required to extend your stay in Belize beyond 30 days is the ‘Belize Visitor’s Permit Extension.’
Exemption for Belize Entry Visa:
If you hold a valid multiple entry visa or Permanent Residence Card from the United States of America.
If you hold a valid multiple-entry Schengen visa
If you hold a valid multiple entry visa or Permanent Residence Card from Canada
American Entry / Exit Requirements to Belize
All U.S. citizens traveling to Belize must have a valid passport. Belize does not require US Passport Holders to apply for or have a visa. There are no visas required for citizens of the United States for tourist visits of up to 30 days.
U.S. citizens traveling with a minor may be asked by Belize immigration officials to show U.S. birth certificates. When children and minors are not traveling with both parents, immigration officials (in any jurisdiction) often request signed documentation to establish the children are traveling with the permission of both parents. Examples of documentation may include notarized letters from the parent(s), custody or adoption papers, or death certificates in situations where one or both parents are deceased.
Visa Requirements by Country
To learn more about Belize visa requirements and if you require a Visa to visit Belize. Check on your country of nationality to see if you require a visa to visit Belize in the link below.