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.
Foreigners and Non-Belizeans are able to purchase land, real estate, and property in Belize. The full title of the land and property is granted to non-Belizeans just the same as it is given to Belizean nationals. Belize is one of the only countries in the region with fee-simple land title ownership and full-foreign ownership. Even though Belize has full foreign ownership and foreigners are able to own Belize land with a fee-simple title, there are a few types of Belize property ownership that buyers and investors should be aware of and not all types of property ownership in Belize are equal.
In Belize, when you buy land that has a title, the original or certified copies of Belize land documents registered with the Lands Department are issued as proof of ownership. The land title will have either the owner’s name or a corporate entity (like Chapter 250 or IBC). In Belize, for a land transaction to take place proof of ownership is required.
When buying Belize Real Estate, it is advised to work with a Belize Real Estate agent and Closing Company. When buying land or property in Belize the real estate agent will draft a formal offer of purchase or agreement of sale and present it to the land owner. The Belize real estate agent will require the full name and address of both the “Purchaser” and the “Seller” with the legal name of the property (Lot Number & Parcel Number). The property will have an identification number which is given by the Department of Lands and Survey Office. Standard land and real estate agreements include a property title search.
The Closing Company and Real Estate agent will request records for the land with the Department of Land and Survey. This office provides information on who the land title is registered to (the owners), whether it is held in a corporation or individual name, and checks if there are any restrictions on the use of the land. They will also ensure there are any liens or encumbrances on the property.
Belize Land Laws
Belize is a British Common Law Country and with that comes strong real estate ownership laws. The land and real estate ownership laws in Belize are derived from the Common Law and English Statutes of the 19th century. The Law of Property Act, Chapter 190 in Belize is based on the Real Property Act 1925 of England. Other relevant statutes and laws in Belize include the Registered Land Act, Chapter 194 (1977) which is a statute that governs all land transactions in Belize.
There are mainly two categories under which land in Belize can be classified. These categories include;
Declared Land transactions in Belize are much easier as the property itself already has a title issued. Transactions done on Undeclared Land have to be recorded at the Titles Registry and require a much longer process. If the land is “Declared Land” the title is registered at the Land registry. Most real estate transactions and property purchases are in “declared land” with a real and absolute title.
Belize allows for full foreign ownership and freehold property ownership. Property purchasers can take title to freehold property in Belize in three different ways. They are:
Deed of Conveyance
Transfer of Certificate
Fee Simple Land Ownership
Owning land or Belize real estate with a fee-simple title is the strongest form of property ownership. A Fee-Simple Title and Freehold Ownership is the highest possible form of property and land ownership. It means that you own the property outright.
If you’ve bought land or a house in Belize, it’s likely you own the property outright with a fee-simple title. If you own a property with a fee-simple title you will have a physical copy of the land title from the Belize Department of Lands. A fee-simple title is the strongest form of property ownership and means that you own the “real property”. Belize is one of the few countries in the Caribbean & Central American region that allows for full foreign ownership with a fee-simple title.
In Belize, not all properties and real estate have “fee-simple titles.” A lot of condos will use Strata Title or Co-Op Share ownership which is a less desirable form of property and real estate ownership in Belize.
Belize Property Taxes
When buying land or property in Belize, you will be shocked to learn how inexpensive and cheap the property taxes are. Most property taxes are 1% to 1.5% of their assessed value. What is even more appealing is that property or land assessments are usually far less than the actual resale value. For example, property taxes for land around Belize Secret Beach start at $75 per year. Property taxes in Mahogany Bay are $108 per year.
Property taxes in Belize are paid annually in April and are to be paid each year. Property taxes in Belize for land and real estate are assessed and determined by the Department of Natural Resources. Belize is a low-tax jurisdiction and the property taxes in Belize are some of the lowest of any of the Commonwealth countries. Property taxes in Belize are almost unbelievably low for most off-shore owners and investors.
Stamp & Transfer Tax
When buying a property in Belize Belizeans pay 5% of the purchase price in Stamp Duty or Transfer Tax to the Government of Belize. Foreigners and non-nationals pay an 8% Stamp Duty or Transfer Tax to the Government of Belize when buying real estate or property in Belize. This is why so many foreign owners and investors purchase Belize real estate in an IBC. When you buy real estate in Belize that is in an IBC there is no stamp or transfer tax. Learn more about owning Belize property in an IBC.
For more information on Belize Real Estate, Owning Belize Land, & Land Titling in Belize contact our team at RE/MAX Belize! We look forward to helping you with your Belize Real Estate Search!
Belize Secret Beach on Ambergris Caye is one of the top emerging destinations in Central America & The Caribbean for tourism and investment.
WHY HAS SECRET BEACH AND AMBERGRIS CAYE’S WEST COAST BECOME THE TOP GROWTH AREAS WITHIN BELIZE?
Ambergris Caye Belize
Thirty years ago, the main industry on Ambergris Caye was the same as it had always been. A sleepy fishing village built along the island’s eastern coast only a few hundred yards from the world’s second-largest barrier reef, the fishermen would rise with the sun and set out in their boats before the dawn had even reached the island’s barely populated western side.
In the time since then, the island of Ambergris Caye has changed dramatically, with its primary industry switching from fishing to tourism as more and more people discovered Belize and word got out. San Pedro Town (the island’s central hub entirely contained on the east coast and interior lagoon of the island) has grown to become a fully developed municipality, with a bustling downtown and booming tourist economy. Unlike those fishermen who lived along the eastern shore, the tourism market values sunsets over sunrises, and this tendency has shifted the path of progress toward the west coast of Ambergris Caye.
Originally a Sleepy Fishing Village, Ambergris Caye, and San Pedro Town had no plans to become the tourist hotspot it is today. In the beginning, there was no master plan for future development. San Pedro & Ambergris Caye grew organically as awareness increased.
With the Tourism Growth, available land in San Pedro Town is now fully developed, and the East Coast is parceled off. Where will the growth continue?
This led to the evolution of the west coast and Secret Beach. With land in San Pedro developed and the East coast becoming overly expensive, the next logical point of development was along the western coastline where road infrastructure was put in place in 2014.
Belize Secret Beach
The logical area for future development and investment had become the West Coast. With just a single road connecting the island’s eastern shore to its westernmost point, that western area (known as Secret Beach) has become the focus and epicenter of west coast development. Because of this, it is the area of Belize with some of the greatest investment opportunities and upside.
Only a few years ago, the beach really was a total secret; the only person you could count on seeing there was your own reflection in the water. Today we see that dozens of bars and restaurants have popped up alongside other new tourist-focused commercial development. Residential investment, development, and infrastructure are also booming in the area.
When assessing an area from an investment standpoint these are all key indicators that show us that Secret Beach is on the path of progress.
Secret Beach Timeline
2010: Lots subdivided and available for sale.
2012: East to West Road Connection Established.
2014: Awareness increases first signs of development.
2016: Government paves northern portions of the road.
2017: The term “Secret Beach” is coined.
2018: Major Spike in commercial & residential development.
2019: Development spikes in inland areas off-beach.
2021: New road infrastructure going south from Secret Beach behind the West Coast.
As the building boom continues along the West Coast of Ambergris Caye, infrastructure development to support that boom continues as well. Roads are being built to connect Secret Beach with the southern tip of the west coast, in addition to the creation of a route running right along the western shore. To put this into perspective, the biggest shift in lot values over the past decade occurred when the infrastructure was put in place to connect the West and East coast. A major new road project is underway again for the first time since 2014, and there’s no reason to believe the effect on property values will be any different.
Real Estate Investment at Secret Beach
So why is this big boom? It all started with the area’s natural beauty. Looking over the caye’s western coast there are some important distinctions from the east, the most notable difference being those shallow and glimmering turquoise waters that cross the twelve miles to the mainland. Inlets consisting of beautiful pearl-white sands live up to and often exceed the beauty people envision when they think of the Caribbean.
As if that beauty wasn’t reason enough, there’s also the lack of room for further eastern development which has caused this westward push. As the economy and popularity of Ambergris Caye continue to grow, more and more people have chosen to invest, making the land an increasingly scarce commodity on the island. There’s only so much to go around. While the success of the East has left little space available, the west is just beginning to take off, and investment opportunities still abound there. As the Great One, Wayne Gretsky said, “skate where the puck is going.”
Violet and coral-painted sunsets falling over pristine beaches of ivory sand; restaurants and bars serving food and drinks ranging from the simple to the complex and all crafted with the freshest island-grown produce; a finite amount of available land; and the fast-increasing popularity of the destination have all come together to create an earthly paradise where stress cannot survive. The investment opportunity is here, and it is clear.
Belize is an amazing place to live and there are tons of opportunities for people not only looking to retire but also invest and/or start a business. Moving to Belize is much easier than in other countries with a lot of incentive programs in place. But there are a few things everyone should know before moving to Belize (to avoid any surprises). The lifestyle in Belize & Ambergris Caye is amazing and it is easy to see why so many people are making the move every year.
Here are the 5 biggest misconceptions about moving to Belize! If you’re considering moving to Belize from the US or Canada be sure to give this video a watch before doing so. We break down some of the key things you should know before making a move to Belize and 5 misconceptions people have before making the transition
Misconception 1: Belize is All the Same
Belize has a very diverse landscape ranging from the Caribbean Islands of Ambergris Caye & Caye Caulker to the lush Rainforests in Cayo & San Ignacio. If you have visited Belize, you know how different each area of the country is. If you are looking to be near the beach and reef, you will likely want San Pedro or Ambergris Caye Real Estate. If you are looking to live near Guatemala and enjoy the rainforest, you may prefer Punta Gorda or Cayo. Belize has a lot to offer, and it is important to know that not all of Belize is the same.
Misconception 2: How Quickly Things Can Move
Things sometimes move a little slower in Belize and the different departments handle different areas of permitting. Belize does have a slower and less stressful pace, which is one of the reasons so many people love Belize. That said, the slower lifestyle sometimes requires a little more patience and a different process. You are able to get things done in Belize, but be prepared to go through the due process.
Misconception 3: Everything in Belize is Cheap
A lot of things in Belize are less expensive. Anything made locally is a fraction of the cost of what you are used to in the US or Canada. That said, there are things that are more expensive. If something is imported, you will notice that you are paying more. Also, if you are on an island, there are additional logistics that are needed.
Misconception 4: You Need Residency or Citizenship to Move to Belize
You do not need to be a resident or citizen to move to Belize or to buy property in Belize. There are also no restrictions or time constraints on how long you are able to stay in Belize as an American or Canadian. You can stay in Belize as long as you want, as long as you renew your Tourist Visa every month.
Misconception 5: Finding Property in Belize is Easy
Belize does not have an MLS or standard listing platform. There are a lot of opportunities in Belize and a diverse real estate market. We do not have a formal MLS in Belize, so a real estate agent’s job is a little different. This makes it important to work with a real estate professional who knows and understands the market. We also do not have the same licensing for realtors or a standard real estate association. Make sure you are working with a realtor who has licensing and/or is a member of the different Belize Real Estate associations like AREBB (Association of Real Estate Brokers of Belize) or BNAR (Belize National Association of Realtors) or have a brand like RE/MAX which holds its brokers and agents to the highest standard.
There are a number of mistakes people can make when investing offshore or purchasing a vacation home in a market outside the US or Canada. Belize Real Estate has become increasingly popular for investors and people looking to relocate to a warm tropical climate. There are far more than 5 mistakes people make when investing offshore, but we are going to touch on 5 of the most common. Here are the 5 Mistakes people make when investing offshore & how to avoid making them yourself.
5 Mistakes People Make When Investing Offshore
Buying Real Estate Without Using an IBC.
Buying or Selling Property Without Taking Advantage of “Owner-Carry Financing”
Buying for Personal Use & Investment without a Strategy.
Buying Property in an Overly Saturated Market.
Buying Without a Reliable Ownership Structure
1. Buying Without Using an IBC (International Business Corporation)
Owning property in an IBC (an entity structure separate from yourself) will protect your personal assets and give you numerous advantages. Setting up an IBC takes less than 96 hours.
Advantages of using an IBC
Protection from Lawsuits
Save Thousands of Dollars
Higher Return on Investment
Simplicity of Ownership
TIP: Look for properties already in an IBC!
2. Not Planning an Exit Strategy
Selling Your Offshore Investment
Many offshore markets have expensive bank financing, giving you the opportunity to maximize your profitable return by offering your buyers owner carrier financing, at terms you set.
For example, you purchase a lot for $200,000 & now it’s worth $300,000.
You add a traditional cash sale:
$300,000 (sale price) – $200,000 (cost of property) = $100,000 ROI (Return on Investment).
You offer the buyer financing with 20% down, 10% interest, and a 5-year term
= $100,000 profit
+ $82,000 in interest.
= $182,000 ROI (Return on Investment)
As you can see, this structure adds significant percentage points to your ROI. When you offer to owner finance a property you not only improve your ROI, but you also improve the liquidity as you greatly increase your prospective buyer pool. The larger the buyer pool, the easier and faster you sell a property. It is difficult for foreigners to obtain financing in most offshore markets. If you offer seller financing on your property you maximize your return. It is also important to consider your “exit strategy” on any investment property.
3. Buying for Personal Use & Investment
What to look for in a personal use property
Close to Downtown
Who are the neighbors
Is the area quiet
Is the land fully developed
What to look for in an investment property
Is it the path of progress
Is there a potential upside
Where are the value adds
What can be improved
What is the ROI
How long do I want to hold
What financing terms can I obtain
Look deeper and identify what type of property is going to meet your needs.
4. Buying Real Estate in a Saturated Market
Infancy Markets Competitive Advantages
Buying within an infancy market isn’t always a great investment opportunity. With that said, properties within an infancy market 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.
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.
5. Buying in a Market with Poor Ownership Structure
When you are buying real estate offshore you want to make sure that you are buying in a country/market that offers full foreign ownership and fee simple title, You also want to buy and invest in a market where the government is in favor of foreign investment. An example of this would be, Belize.
Belize is a member of the British Common Wealth and practices British Common Law, as such its systems are nearly the same as Canada, Great Britain, and the United States. The fee simple title owner has the right to possess, use the land and dispose of the land as the owner wishes-sell it. In Belize, you own your property outright and can give it away, trade it for other things, lease it to others, sell it, or pass it to others upon death.
In countries like Mexico, Panama, Costa Rica, and Honduras, owning property as a foreigner is far more difficult and there are restrictions in place. Mexico does not directly allow for foreign property ownership and forces investors to jump through hoops to “own” their property. You must incorporate through a Mexican corporation with a Mexican Director and sift through the confusion and grey areas to do so. When buying or investing in Mexico, it is hard to tell if you ever truly own anything.
It is also important to note that most offshore markets have squatting rights. This is not the case in Belize. Belize does not recognize squatters and squatting rights are not a concern.
Advice: Before you invest in an offshore market, invest in your education.
When making an offshore investment take the time to attend webinars, read investment guides, talk to the right people, and research everything you need to know before pulling the trigger.
Investing in Belize Real Estate
Belize is like foreign investing on trainingwheels; everything is in English, we have full foreign ownership, practice British Common law, fee-simple land title, etc.
Belize Real Estate is becoming more and more of a hot topic for Americans, Canadians & Europeans as more learn about the tremendous benefits of owning real estate in Belize. Whether it be for investment or lifestyle purposes, Belize stands out amongst other countries in the Caribbean & Central America region for several reasons. These are the cornerstones of relocation to the county and are as follows:
When you consider that 90% of the U.S. only speaks English, this is a huge benefit of Belize. People love the fact that when they go to their doctor in Belize they can communicate in their native tongue or when they go to fill out legal documents they can read them in English.
British Common Law
Belize is the only English-speaking country in the region, this is a direct result of British influence over the years. The British also left something else extremely beneficial behind, their legal system. Other countries in the region (Mexico, Guatemala, Costa Rica, etc.) adopted the Spanish legal system, Napoleonic Civil Law. When it comes to Belize real estate there is a key difference between the two. That is, with British common law there is full foreign ownership. When Americans, Canadians, or any foreigners for that matter invest in property they receive a fee simple land title along with their property and truly own it.
When you invest in property somewhere with Napoleonic Civil Law there are two-tier ownership rights where residents can own, but foreigners must do so through a corporation with local directors or other grey area strategies. This is not the case in Belize, where foreigners have full ownership under British Common Law.
Proximity to the U.S.
Belize is 750 miles from the nearest point in the U.S. and has direct flights from L.A., Miami, Fort Lauderdale, Denver, Dallas, Houston, Atlanta, Newark, Toronto, Chicago, & more locations being added. The flight from Miami is roughly an hour and a half making it very easy for Americans and Canadians to get down in a very short period.
Fun Fact: Belize is within five hours of 82% of the U.S.!
Below you can see the direct flights to Belize;
46% of Belize is National Park & Marine Reserve
One of the things about Belize that most don’t know is that the official name of the territory was changed from British Honduras to Belize in June 1973, and full independence was granted on 21st September 1981. Given that Belize as a nation is relatively young, it has had the opportunity to model policies and characteristics from other countries that it feels are beneficial to the country.
One of the biggest things Belize has done in this regard is dedicated 46% of its land to a national park and marine reserve, one of the largest portions of a country in the world to be a national park. Not only is this beneficial from an ecosystem perceptive, but it’s also highly valuable from a real estate investment perspective. When you put a 46% restraint on development, you increase scarcity, which as we all know leads to appreciation.
In Belize, there are no capital gains taxes and property taxes are extremely low compared to what many are used to in the U.S. and Canada. For example, property taxes on a 60’ by 75’ piece of land would be roughly $75 per year paid annually in April.
Tourism & Rental Market
Belize is going through a state of high nightly rental demand with increasing tourism (44% over the past 5 years) without an equitable increase in the supply of nightly and monthly rentals leading to increasing rental rates and higher returns for investors. 2019 was the all-time high in tourism that Belize had ever seen, and the trend is showing absolutely no sign of slowing as Belize’s tourism in 2022 rebounded strongly after the pandemic.
The Belize Real Estate Market and Tourism are also looking promising in 2023. In fact, with the airlines adding as many flights as they have in recent years, Belize is expecting the growth to not only continue, but increase. With 70-75% of all tourists who visit Belize going to Ambergris Caye (San Pedro) during their stay, Ambergris Caye is the standout location for relocation and investment.
Ambergris Caye Real Estate
Ambergris Caye is the largest island in Belize measuring 27 miles long. Ambergris Caye is located at the northern point of Belize’s coastline with the Belize barrier reef just off the east Coast. Ambergris Caye is the top tourist destination in Belize and sees hundreds of thousands of tourists visit every year. Here are some quick facts about Ambergris Caye;
The largest of all Cayes and Islands in Belize, Ambergris Caye is widely known as the “Jewel of Belize”.
Belize’s largest island is 24 miles long and 3 miles wide
70% of overnight tourism comes to Ambergris Caye
12 miles from the mainland
#1 tourism destination in Belize
One of the best-kept secrets in tourism-driven markets is the distinct correlation between the change in tourism numbers and real estate appreciation. As tourism increases, we tend to see a proportionate increase and appreciation in property values.
Baby Boomers & Belize Real Estate
As many of you may know (or maybe going through the process) more baby boomers are looking to relocate from the U.S. every day. About four million people will retire every year, as of 2014. From 2014 to 2034, about 80 million people are expected to retire. This equated to roughly 10,000 people retiring per day for 20 years. Obviously not all these people will choose to relocate however, according to an AARP life survey, roughly 28,121,000 people will be relocating outside of the U.S., and the area with the largest expected growth is the Central America & Caribbean Region.
When you factor in our list of retirement benefits (English speaking, Proximity, Legal System, Etc.) it is more than safe to say that Belize will receive its fair share of baby boomers. This is only leading to more scarcity in the rental market, as when baby boomers move down, they generally take inventory out of the rental pool as they will live in it year-round as opposed to previous owners who would rent the majority of the year. When you factor these aforementioned thoughts together, you have the “perfect storm” for rental rates to increase and investor returns to increase.
There are many other benefits when it comes to Belize real estate. For the most part, Belize is still underdeveloped and sparsely populated so there is still plenty of room for growth, and property values haven’t come near adjusting to where they should be given the growth in tourism we discussed in the previous section of this post.
Another benefit of Belize is its economic and political stability. The economy here in Belize isn’t a one-legged stool, there are many facets to the GDP including agriculture, energy, transport & tourism. The government has shown it is a pro-foreign investment country by facilitating the process for foreigners and even bringing in the QRP program to reduce the costs and expenses of relocation to Belize.
If you have any further questions on Belize and looking to buy Belize Real Estate we are happy to chat via email or phone, feel free to reach out to RE/MAX Belize to chat and discuss your Belize real estate goals in further detail and get all your questions answered.
In regards to investment, Belize is unique as it is both Central America & the Caribbean, the mainland including San Ignacio & Placencia has more similarities to the Yucatan Peninsula (Cancun, Playa Del Carmen, Tulum, etc), while Ambergris Caye Real Estate 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 in destinations like Placencia. 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.
Why Ambergris Caye Belize?
Ambergris Caye is the largest island in Belize measuring 27 miles long. Ambergris Caye is located at the northern point of Belize’s coastline with the Belize barrier reef just off the east Coast. Ambergris Caye is the top tourist destination in Belize and sees hundreds of thousands of tourists visit every year. There are a number of reasons Ambergris Caye and San Pedro Town are so popular, but the leading reason is the fact that less than a mile off Ambergris Caye’s eastern shore, you’ll find the Belize Barrier Reef, the largest barrier reef in the second largest reef in the world and the largest barrier reef in the Western Hemisphere. The natural beauty of Ambergris Caye and the fact that the island has seen drastic increases in tourism every year make it the no-brainer choice when investing in Belize.
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.
Ambergris Caye Real Estate Supply & Demand
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.
Top Reasons to Invest in Ambergris Caye Real Estate
High Demand & Limited Supply
As we touched on above, 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.
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.
Just to illustrate the popularity of Belize real estate, you can see the transaction volumes for RE/MAX Belize (all offices & agents in Belize) below (most of which have been on Ambergris Caye);
Ambergris Caye has become a top destination and as the tourism sector continues to boom and popularity increases there is a need for additional lodging and/or rental inventory. 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 does not meet the demand growth. You can see the tourism growth in Belize from 2014 to 2019 below;
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 -2% decrease from Q2 to Q3 of 2022. Below you can see the lodging and rental inventory on Ambergris Caye over the last 3 years;
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 is English-Speaking
The official language in Belize is English. Belize is one of the very few English-speaking countries in the region. Not only does the population speak and use English, but English is also used for all real estate transactions, legal matters, and business contracts. Being an English-speaking country with British Common Law makes Belize an easy place for Americans & Canadians to invest and do business.
Belize is a Low-Tax Jurisdiction
When you buy Belize property or invest in Belize Real Estate you will first notice how low the property taxes are in Belize. If you are investing in Ambergris Caye Real Estate you will have a property that appreciates in value. In Belize, there is no Capital Gains Tax or Estate Tax, so when you sell the property in the future for a profit, the Belize government does not tax your earnings. Belize also enjoys low corporate taxation which makes doing business in Belize even more desirable.
When looking at the income tax rate in Belize on passive real estate rental income the taxation rate is at the corporate tax rate of only 1.75%. The property taxes are also below 1% of the property value. Most property taxes are around 1% of their assessed value. What is even more appealing is that property or land assessments are usually way less than the appraised value or resale value of the property. For example, property taxes for land around Belize Secret Beach start at $75 per year. Property taxes in Mahogany Bay are $108 per year.
It is also important to remember that Belize is governed by British Common Law, which for real estate investors and people investing offshore that as a foreigner you have full property ownership with land title, just as in the US and Canada. In other destinations in the region like Mexico, Panama, Honduras, and Costa Rica foreign citizens cannot own property as easily and have more restrictions on investment.
Ambergris Caye is a Vacation Rental Market
Since Ambergris Caye is such a popular tourist spot and vacation destination, the market demand is for nightly rentals, as opposed to long-term or monthly rentals. With nightly vacation rentals, owners and investors see a much higher yield on their investment and multiply the income potential of many investment properties. vacation rentals also give an owner or investor more flexibility and control, allowing them to occupy a residence for their own personal use. Ambergris Caye (due to the high demand and limited supply) sees a much higher nightly rental rate than other destinations, it is not uncommon to see $400+ per night rental rates on properties that would otherwise rent for under $2,000 per month on a long-term lease.
Being in a short-term and vacation rental market, you are able to control the rates and adjust more quickly making it a perfect real estate investment during periods of high inflation.
Why Ambergris Caye Real Estate?
Belize is at a tipping point and at RE/MAX Belize we like to make a hockey reference. As Wayne Gretzky famously said, “I skate to where the puck is going, not where it has been.” Over the last few years, Hilton, Marriott, Wyndham, Margaritaville, Four Seasons, and Six Senses have all started on projects here on Ambergris Caye. There is a reason these brands choose the locations they do and why they are betting on Ambergris Caye over any other destination in Belize. The due diligence team of these large resort brands is much more thorough than an individual investor.
To put it more simply, “success leaves clues.” These brands essentially do the heavy lifting, building a brand around an area, which leads to more development and allows owners to reap the reward. These brands and resorts funnel millions of dollars into marketing and building awareness, which will continue the upward trajectory of Belize most of all Ambergris Caye. As JFK famously said, “a rising tide lifts all boats.”
As San Pedro Town and the island of Ambergris Caye continue to grow and expand (both in population and tourism), there is an increased need for more services. One of the newly proposed services includes an easier and more affordable way to get around the island. This is the newly proposed public transportation system. A private entity, Taly Corporation, has been actively working on a public transportation system and route for San Pedro & Ambergris Caye going from Mahogany Bay through San Pedro Town, continuing north and heading west to Secret Beach. The Taly Corporation is looking to invest in and set up the Ambergris Caye public transportation system to make it easier and more affordable for people to get around the island (both locals and tourists). The proposed plan will have a portion of the public transportation profits go to a non-profit organization and charities on Ambergris Caye until the initial capital investment is met.
The proposed public transportation project would be under the San Pedro Public Transport Company Ltd. The proposal for the public transportation system is yet to be approved. The plan is to offer island residents and tourists public transportation options besides only taxis or golf cart rentals. Below you can see the current types of transportation used in San Pedro with the % of total use;
San Pedro Ambergris Caye
San Pedro Town on Ambergris Caye, Belize, as of 2015 had an estimated population of approximately 16,444 people. Since then the population has grown with an even higher volume of expats and tourists. Ambergris Caye as a destination (for tourism and residency) has experienced incredible growth over the last 5 to 15 years. From 2017 to 2022 (5 years) Ambergris Caye has seen tourism grow at a rate of 14.6% per year (over double-digit annual growth). Over the same 5 years, Ambergris Caye has seen a population growth rate of over 8% per year, and in the previous 10 years, prior Ambergris Caye and San Pedro experienced an annual population growth rate of 17%. It is estimated that up to 25% more people reside on Ambergris Caye on a part-time basis. The growth in population and tourism has led to the proposed public transportation system.
The public transportation proposal will not require any public funding from the Belizean or the municipality of San Pedro Town. All profits will be donated to local charities and non-profit organizations.
The public transportation system proposed by Taly Corporation will include multiple pricing options, with reduced fares for students, seniors, and people with disabilities. There will also be monthly public transportation passes available as well as single-ride fares.
The vehicles proposed for the public transportation project are 14–16-seater shuttle buses. The plan is to have the shuttles operating 24/7.
The Public Transportation Routes
The proposed public transportation route will include 20 designated bus stops. The stops will go from Mahogany Bay Village in the south and up to the North at the turnoff to Secret Beach and over to the West Coast. The proposed route will go to and from Mahogany Bay to Secret Beach with 20 total stops. You can see the proposed stops and route below;
The fleet size, the number of vehicles, and the frequency of trips will increase over time as the demand grows. For more information on Belize and Ambergris Caye infrastructure or to learn more about Belize Real Estatecontact us at RE/MAX Belize!
As 2022 comes to an end and we look towards 2023, Belize real estate continues to boom as Belize is now very much on the world’s radar. When looking at the Belize market (considering we do not have an MLS), we have seen Belize real estate demand and prices trend upwards over the past 10 years. Going into 2023, demand is still on the rise. Properties on the islands that are popular tourist destinations like Ambergris Caye continue to be an excellent investment, for both appreciation and passive rental income. The tourism sector is booming and we saw 2022 Belize tourism rebound, nearly reaching pre-COVID numbers.
Belize is a great place to live and invest. The lifestyle on Ambergris Caye has a very laid-back Caribbean vibe. If you are looking at Belize from an investment standpoint, rental income-producing properties are in high demand for both vacation and long-term monthly rentals. Belize properties and vacation rentals on Ambergris Caye (San Pedro) rent out quickly and for a high nightly rental rate. Whether you are planning for a long-term investment to buy and hold or a short-term source of passive income, you can’t go wrong with Belize and owning Ambergris Caye real estate.
Just to illustrate the popularity of Belize real estate, you can see the transaction volumes for RE/MAX Belize (all offices & agents in Belize) below;
What Makes Belize Real Estate So Attractive?
Compared to a lot of places Belize offers an outstanding quality of life. The quality of life exceeds the warm tropical climate (which is very consistent year-round). Ambergris Caye is a perfect location for a young family looking for a better lifestyle, or an investor/business owner who wants to get in on Belize’s growing tourism industry or diversify their investment portfolio. Belize is also the perfect destination for individuals looking to retire in a warm, affordable place to call home. Whether you are looking for personal use or investment, Belize real estate has a lot to offer.
If you are on Ambergris Caye, the weather is warm year-round, and you can enjoy sunny skies and a tropical Caribbean climate almost every day of the year. If you enjoy outdoor activities and being active you will be mesmerized by the water-based recreation, and endless hiking trails. Belize has all of the charms of the Caribbean.
People in Belize and Ambergris Caye (locals and expats) live a relaxed, stress-free life. One of the most charming things about Belize is the fact there are no chain restaurants, skyscrapers, or fast-food restaurants. This also shows the opportunity in Belize and where the country is at in the scheme of time. When living or visiting Belize you will quickly notice are no traffic jams and no blizzards. Ambergris Caye is also incredibly safe, for both visiting and investing.
Why is Belize Real Estate so Popular?
Living and investing in Belize allows you to stay close to home and quickly get to your investment property. Belize is a short flight from the US or Canada with direct flights from most major airports. Belize is also English-speaking (one of the only English Speaking countries in the region). Along with being English-speaking, Belize also practices British Common Law and allows for full-foreign ownership and some of the strongest property ownership rights in the world.
Belize has also grown in tourism popularity without new lodging inventory. With increased awareness comes increased demand but the lodging and vacation rental inventory supply is behind the tourism and vacation rental demand.
You can see the tourism growth in Belize from 2014 to 2019 below;
Even though tourism has grown (and continues to grow post-pandemic) the total rooms for lodging have stayed stagnant. 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 -2% decrease from Q2 to Q3 of 2022. Below you can see the lodging and rental inventory on Ambergris Caye over the last 3 years;
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). The opportunity for a better lifestyle and a high-yield cash flow property is the driving factors on why Belize real estate has been so popular and continues to be in demand for years to come.
Where To Look for Property in Belize
Like anywhere, there are certain areas of Belize that attract more tourists, expatriates, and retirees. There is a reason why the popular areas are popular. Every year, Ambergris Caye and San Pedro are the top tourist and investment destinations. Ambergris Caye provides the best lifestyle and investment upside. As an island, there is a scarcity of property which improves the rate of property appreciation. Ambergris Caye also sees the highest volume of tourists, which increases investment potential and improves infrastructure.
Ambergris Caye Real Estate
Ambergris Caye is an island on the western coast of Belize and on the northern Caribbean side. Ambergris Caye is the most popular tourist destination in Belize. San Pedro is the main municipality on Ambergris Caye and is a well-developed town with all the amenities and infrastructureyou could need. San Pedro boasts high-end, luxurious resorts and real estate opportunities for personal use or investment. With its scenic surroundings (with the reef just off the East Coast and sandy West Coast beaches) and lively nightlife, it is easy to see why Ambergris Caye is so popular for tourists and expats and why it is the #1 destination in Belize.
Belize Real Estate for Foreign Investment
When it comes to owning off-shore, Belize is one of the only countries in the region with full foreign ownership where foreigners have the same ownership rights as locals (nationals). Belize is one of the few countries in the world that has full foreign ownership and foreigners have the same real estate and land ownership rights as citizens. Other tropical destinations like Costa Rica or Mexico do not allow for full foreign ownership and when purchasing property a foreigner has to take extra steps.
Even with the extra steps, when investing in another off-shore market (like Costa Rica, Mexico, Panama, or Honduras) a foreign investor does not physically own the property. If you are investing in a market outside Belize, you can own property, but additional work is required. Other countries in the Caribbean as well as Central and South America make it even more difficult to buy property as a foreigner. This is not the case in Belize where foreigners have the same ownership rights as locals and when a foreigner buys a property they own it outright with a fee-simple title.
In Belize, you can buy property as easily as you buy property in the US or Canada. This is due to Belize sharing the British Common Law system. When you buy Belize real estate you can purchase a residence to live in, a home to rent out, commercial/business properties, industrial buildings, and raw land all as a foreigner.
Belize also offers a lot of investment incentives for foreigners looking to buy and/or invest in Belize. These are further reasons to invest in Belize.
Tax Incentives for investing in Belize
There are a lot of benefits when it comes to owning and investing in Belize. Belize is a low-tax jurisdiction. One amazing benefit of buying Belize real estate is the fact that there are no capital gains taxes or estate taxes. If you purchase land, develop it, and then sell it for a profit, or even flip a property for more money you are not obligated to pay any capital gains tax in Belize. You keep all the money. Also, if someone inherits your property or Belize asset, they are not subject to estate tax or inheritance tax.
One of the other major draws of Belize is the fact that property taxes are very low (almost shockingly low). Belize property taxes are affordable and the cost of land/property taxes is next to nothing. The low taxation and cost of ownership are one of the driving reasons so many investors and owners are investing in Belize.
Most property taxes are 1% to 1.5% of their assessed value. What is even more appealing is that property or land assessments are usually 10-30% of the property’s actual resale value really is. For example, property taxes for land around Belize Secret Beach start at $75 per year. Property taxes in Mahogany Bay are $108 per year.
When you compare property taxes in Belize with other countries you will see why so many people are buying and investing in Belize real estate and Belize land.
Language & Laws
Belize is English-Speaking and one of the only English-speaking countries in the region. The fact you do not have to learn a new language to live or do business in Belize is very appealing. When owning or investing in Belize you will find that it is very easy for a foreigner to do business in Belize. Having the official language English helps with more than day-to-day communication, it also means that all legal documents are in English as well. This is from Belize’s former history as a British colony, and practice of British Common Law. Having the language and legal system in place makes dealing with contracts and other legal matters much easier.
It is also important to note that the property and real estate contracts in Belize are similar to the real estate contracts in the US, UK, and Canada. There are some cases with corporate tax optimization programs like IBCs. But for the most part, a transfer of ownership and land title certificate is very similar to the US & Canada. When buying real estate in Belize you won’t have trouble understanding the process or the documentation.
Compared to other Caribbean & Central American real estate markets, Belize is still very affordable. Even though our real estate prices are on the rise, they are still a fraction of what you will find in the Cayman Islands, the Bahamas, Costa Rica, & Panama. The affordability of property and the affordability of lifestyle are major reasons people keep flocking and investing in Belize.
It is important to note that the real estate market in Belize has not stayed stagnant, prices have gone up over the years, but it is still affordable compared to the Cayman Islands, the Bahamas, the British Virgin Islands, Costa Rica, or Mexico. For retirement and vacation homes, Belize is a fraction of the cost of the coastal areas of Florida and California. Belize also does not have the red tape and restrictions on rent controls other markets have in place. When buying land or real estate in Belize it is an amazing deal when compared to other destinations.
The cost of living in Belize is also less expensive than you are likely used to in your domestic market.
Belize has a stable government. The Belizean political system is a British Parliamentary Democracy. The democratic system in place makes Belize one of the more stable emerging countries with a democratic government. Belize also has the growing tourism industry which is strongly supported by the local government, which can be seen through the amenities and stronger safety measures. When compared to a lot of the world Belize has a low crime rate and is not subject to riots or terrorism. The crime in Belize is concentrated to a small area of Belize City. The island of Ambergris Caye (the #1 destination in Belize) is very safe.
The government in Belize supports economic growth, foreign investment, and the popular tourism sector. The currency controls in place also prevent corruption on a federal level as we have a pegged currency (2:1 with USD) that is not subject to localized inflation rates.
Ways To Own Belize Real Estate
There are a variety of ways to own property and real estate in Belize. Belize has a lot of incentive programs in place to make purchasing real estate easier and remove some of the tax obligations. When buying real estate in Belize you can property in your personal name, a corporation (like and IBC), or a Belize trust. Belize is an excellent choice if you want asset protection.
When you are looking at investing in an offshore market like Belize, there are 4pillars a person should look for regarding real estate investment;
Capital Protection: How safe is the investment? In Belize, there is full outright ownership. Belize is also pro-landlord and does not recognize squatting rights.
Capital Growth: The appreciation of an asset. Belize is growing, and with growth comes increased demand. Belize is an appreciating market.
Yield (Cash Flow): Can you produce passive income from the property? In Belize, you can rent out a home or condo with ease. You have passive real estate income from vacation rentals.
Favorable Taxation: Belize is a tax haven with no capital gains or estate tax. Property taxes are also low and corporate taxes are 1.75% for international companies and 3% for domestic companies.
Luckily, when you invest in Belize, 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 investing on an island like Ambergris Caye.
Buying Belize Real Estate
Hiring a reputable Belize real estate agent can help you navigate the process and find a property that is inline with your needs and/or investment goals. Our team at RE/MAX Belize are here to help answer your questions and aid in your property search. It is important when making a purchase and investment off-shore that you work with a professional real estate office. Also having someone who understands the Belize market that can steer you to the right areas and the best properties.
When buying real estate in Belize it is important to rely on your realtor for your property search. We do not have a standard MLS in Belize, which makes a real estate agents job even more important. Your RE/MAX Belize Real Estate Agent can explain the process to you and expedite the purchase process.
Belize has a lot of advantages and offers owners and investors affordable prices, high rental income, and low taxes. The ease of purchasing real estate in Belize is very similar to the US & Canada but without as much bureaucracy and red tape. Belize is a very easy country to invest in and do business. In Belize the real estate contracts are quite easy and we use English as an official language make Belize an attractive real estate option.
The official currency used in Belize is the Belize Dollar (BZD; symbol BZ$). The Belize Dollar has a fixed exchange rate of 2:1 with USD ($2 Belize = $1 US Dollar). The Belize currency at an exchange rate of $2 BZD to $1 USD can be exchanged at most banks and hotels in Belize. There are not as many ATMs in Belize as people are used to at home. The ATMs in Belize generally accept most foreign cards (Canada & US). It is also important to note that when you are in Belize that the majority of businesses accept Credit Cards (MasterCard, Visa, and some AMEX). US dollars are also universally accepted in Belize at a rate of $1 US to $2 BZ, MasterCard. Tourism is the number one industry in Belize and most of our tourists are from America. Because of this, almost every business accepts USD, and having a pegged currency makes it easy. If you are traveling to Belize, you are able to use your US cash everywhere and there are ATM machines available that dispense in Belize Dollars.
The first notes issued under its name were dated 1ST JULY 1983.
Just like the US dollar, the Belize dollar is divided into 100 cents. Currency Bills & Bank Notes in Belize come in $2, $5, $10, $20, $50, and $100 denominations. Belizean coins are one cent, five cents, 10 cents, 25 cents, 50 cents, and a $1 coin. Belize currency and Bank notes are the latest-generation currency with distinctive security features including watermarks this makes it very difficult to counterfeit Belize currency.
One thing that is important to note is that it can be very difficult to exchange Belizean dollars for other currencies once you leave Belize.
Symbols: BZ$ or BZD
Exchange Rate of 2:1 with USD
Bills: $2, $5, $10, $20, $50, $100
Coins: 1, 5, 10, 25, 50 cents and $1
History of Belize Currency
Belize was originally British Honduras and until its independence, the Spanish Dollar was in circulation.
In 1894, the government (of British Honduras) issued banknotes in denominations of 100, 50, 10, 5, 2, and 1 Dollar.
In 1973, British Honduras has renamed Belize.
The first 100 Dollar banknote was introduced in 1974.
In 1976, the printing of banknotes was taken over by the Monetary Authority of Belize.
In 1981, Belize became an independent country.
The Central Bank of Belize was established in 1982. It produced banknotes in 1983.
What Currency is Used for Belize Real Estate?
When you look up Belize real estate and property online, the prices are almost always in US Dollars. This is because the majority of real estate transactions and property purchases in Belize are done in USD. Most of the Belize vacation homes, Belize property, and Belize real estate are made using U.S. dollars. The Belizean local currency is used for local transactions while USD is used more frequently for real estate transactions.
Since almost all real estate transactions in Belize are done in USD, a US intermediary bank is needed. This is why almost every Escrow Agent or Escrow account for closings uses a US bank account (even for Belize real estate transactions). All payments (down payment and payment processing on financing) are generally made in the US.
Since Belize real estate is largely done in USD and people are paying in USD the bank and payment processing have to go through an American intermediary. From anywhere in the world, to use US dollars you need a corresponding bank in the US. The escrow accounts we use at RE/MAX Belize are typically in the US. This is also helpful for the purchaser as it is often a domestic wire, since the majority of buyers/clients are Americans or Canadians, and it is safer and cheaper for both the sending and receiving parties using US dollars and a US bank. Doesn’t matter where you are conducting business in the world, a US-based intermediary bank would be required if a transfer is done in US dollars.
The Escrow Agent is a US bank account. Since almost all of the real estate transactions, we do at RE/MAX Belize are in US dollars and either a US bank or US intermediary bank is needed when doing any transaction in USD. This makes it easier for the transaction but also protects the purchaser as well with a domestic bank transfer.
Because payments are being sent and received in the US and in USD the escrow agent and account are in the US. This is for the safety and security of the purchaser and the seller.
Belize has currency controls in place (which is why we have a pegged 2:1 currency) this prevents corruption from the government and rapid inflation in an emerging country. Because of the currency controls, real estate transactions are done in US dollars, which as mentioned above requires a US account or US intermediary bank.