Investing in Belize Real Estate
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”.
Take a look at some of the five top reasons why it is smart to invest in Belize real estate.
5 Reasons to Invest in Belize Real Estate
1. Belize Tourism is on the Rise
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;
Belize 2022 Tourism
Belize Tourism 2018 to 2021
Belize Tourism Recovery
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.
For those who own Belize Real Estate & Ambergris Caye Real Estate, the increased awareness, and tourism correlate to a rapidly growing audience of potential renters who may wish to rent a Belize vacation property.
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.
Increased Demand + Limited Supply = Higher Occupancy & Higher Rental Rates = Increased Revenue
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.