Ambergris Caye 2023 Vacation Rental Data

Ambergris Caye Vacation Rentals in 2023

Ambergris Caye has been the epicenter of Belize tourism for years and remains the country’s top tourism destination. Ambergris Caye and San Pedro Town have already seen 53.2% of Belize overnight tourism in 2024. In 2023, Ambergris Caye tourism saw substantial growth and is now at all-time highs! This has led to growth in the investment in Ambergris Caye real estate.

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, which is a value to real estate investors. 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.

Tourism growth, increased awareness, offshore residency, and improved connectivity have all led to higher investment yields on vacation rental properties on Ambergris Caye. Ambergris Caye and San Pedro Town (the municipality on the island of Ambergris Caye) are by far the top destinations in Belize. Below, we look at the updated tourism data and vacation rental data for Ambergris Caye in 2023!

Belize Tourism & Flight Data 2024

 

Ambergris Caye Tourism

Ambergris Caye has seen tourism hitting all-time highs year-over-year as we become a globally recognized destination. From 2010 to 2023 (13 years), Ambergris Caye overnight tourism (people booking rental units) has grown at an annual compounded rate of 18.7% per year increase, with overnight tourism over doubling as it is up 145.1% from 2010 to 2024.

Ambergris Caye and San Pedro Town are the top destination for overnight tourism in Belize. With 53.2% of the Overnight Tourists coming to Ambergris Caye.

 

 

 

 

Belize Overnight Tourism Year-Over-Year

 

 

Belize Tourism Q1 2024

 

Belize Quarterly Tourism Arrivals

Belize Tourism Board Overnight Arrivals

 

Ambergris Caye Vacation Rental Inventory

Even though tourism is growing, the total rooms for rentals have stayed stagnant, with limited new losing inventory and often even a decline in inventory. Tourism is growing, and this usually correlates to added supply; that said, Ambergris Caye, Belize, is at the perfect time for investment as we have unique market conditions that have led to increased demand and a decrease in supply inventory.

Rental Inventory on Ambergris Caye has dropped by -4% from 2022 to 2023. Also dropped -13.9% over the last 3 years. This is largely due to the influx of people moving to Belize and the growing expat community and people who can work remotely.

 

Ambergris Caye Vacation Rental Lodging Inventory

 

For lodging, as a point of reference, Ambergris Caye saw -4% from last year. Lodging inventory for vacation rentals on Ambergris Caye has seen a -13.9% decrease over the last 3 years.

Ambergris Caye has had a compounded annual tourism growth over 12 years at an average of 14.8% per year (2010 to 2023). With Q1 2024, the annual tourism growth rate jumped to 18.7% per year (2010 to 2024).

As you can see, the 3-year trend has been consistent, with many quarters witnessing 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.

 

Increase in Demand + Decrease in Supply = Increase in Price & Rent

 

 

 

Many industry experts predict Ambergris Caye real estate prices and nightly rental rates will continue to increase with the continued growth in tourism and higher volume of direct international flights. 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 does not meet the demand growth.

This has led to higher nightly rental rates and higher occupancy for vacation rentals.

 

 

Ambergris Caye Occupancy

 

 

In 2022, Ambergris Caye had an average vacation rental occupancy of 54.8%. In 2023, the average occupancy of vacation rentals was 61.13%.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Ambergris Caye Monthly Occupancy

 

 

Ambergris Caye Nightly Rental Rates

In 2023, Ambergris Caye saw vacation rental Nightly Rental Rates (ADR) increase by +15% from 2022. The increase in ADR (Nightly Rental Rates) led to increased revenue. In 2023, the average nightly rental rate on Ambergris Caye  was $274 USD per night, which is up from $262 USD per night in 2022.

 

Rates in $ USD

 

 

Rates in $ USD

 

 

Rates in $ USD

 

Rates in $ USD

 

 

Ambergris Caye Investment Revenue

The increase in tourism has led to higher occupancy and higher nightly rental rates (ADR). The increased occupancy and ADR have resulted in higher revenues. On Ambergris Caye, vacation rental gross revenue is up 30% in 2023 (from 2022).

 

Annual Average Rental Revenue

Revenue in $ USD

 

 

Monthly Rental Income Ambergris Caye

 

Revenue in $ USD

 

Revenue in $ USD

 

 

Home vs Condo Vacation Rentals

What is fascinating is the renal income for detached homes over condos (and the % annual growth).

 

Condo & House Rental Revenue

 

 

 

Detached homes on Ambergris Caye had an average annual gross revenue of $58,950 USD in 2023 (Airbnb income). Compared to condos, which saw an average gross yearly earnings of $33,200 USD.

For more information on investing in Belize and Ambergris Caye rental income investment opportunities, contact us at RE/MAX Belize!

 

 

Mayor Wally Nunez Discusses Transforming San Pedro, Belize

San Pedro Belize Mayor Wally Nunez

We sit down with the Mayor of San Pedro Town Wally Nunez and discuss what is happening round San Pedro and the future of Ambergris Caye, Belize.

Wally Nunez and his team recently won reelection in San Pedro Town. He took the time to sit down with us and explains his past and passion for Belize and the future vision for San Pedro.

If you’re wondering what is happening in San Pedro and around Ambergris Caye, Belize, check out this video. As we sit down with Mayor Wally Nunez to discuss everything that has recently happened as well as the future plans on the island of Ambergris Caye.

We get Wally’s insight into the Finance & Revenue Collections, Infrastructure Plans, Current Development, Planned Development, Tourism, Local Economic Development, Foreign Relations, Traffic Management, Human Resources, Staff Development Training, Trade & Investment!

Check out the latest video below;

Transforming San Pedro Belize with Mayor Wally Nunez

 

Wally takes the time to share ideas on the island as well as discuss his past term as Mayor and his vision for San Pedro. If you’re interested in Belize real estate and the future of Ambergris Caye, Belize, you want to miss this!

Contact us to learn more about Ambergris Caye & Belize!

 

Belize Tourism Q1 2024: All-Time High & Record-Breaking Tourism

Belize Tourism Q1 2024

 

Record-breaking numbers for the first quarter in Belize’s overnight arrivals!

2024 has been a record-breaking year for Belize tourism! In Q1 2024, Belize has seen record-breaking tourism arrivals (January to March 2024).

This indicates that year-to-date, Belize Overnight Tourism has had a record-breaking numbers and the highest volume in the countries tourism history.

 

 

Belize Overnight Tourism Arrivals in 2024

 

January 2024 Overnight Tourists: 57,628

February 2024 Overnight Tourists: 59,067

March 2024 Overnight Tourists: 69,202

 

Total Q1 2024 Overnight Tourists: 185,897

 

February was record breaking with 59,067. But March saw an all-time high and new record with 69,202 arrivals. March 2024 first time Belize has had over 60,000 overnight tourism arrivals (with 69,202 overnight arrivals in the month).

Both of the record breaking months (February & March) have made Q1 2024 the highest ever quarter for overnight tourism in Belize! Total Overnight Tourists for Q1 in 2024 was 185,897.

 

 

 

Belize Monthly Tourism Arrivals

 

2024 has seen record-breaking inbound tourism numbers. This has been largely due to the increased number of direct flights and the improved accessibility to Belize (internationally).

February 2024 was a record-setting month for Belize tourism. This record-setting tourism month was quickly superseded by March 2024 which saw an impressive 69,202 overnight tourists arrive in Belize!

March 2024 has now became the highest single month for overnight tourism in Belize at 69,202 tourists. The prior single-month record (before 2024) was in March 2019 at 57,697 overnight tourists.

Total Overnight Tourists for Q1 in 2024 was 185,897. This is 27.9% higher than in 2023 (last year Q1) and 17.5% higher than the prior record set in 2019.

 

January to March Belize Tourism Arrivals

 

 

 

Belize Tourism Growth

 

Q1 2024 saw a 27.9% increase in overnight tourism arrivals from Q1 2023.

Q1 2024 was a 17.5% increase from Q1 in prior peak year of 2019.

 

Annual Q1 Belize Tourism Arrivals

 

 

 

Overnight tоurіѕm arrivals to Belize increased bу оvеr 27.9% іn Q1 2024 (Јаnuаrу to March), compared tо the ѕаmе реrіоd lаѕt уеаr (2023). The trend in Belize tourism is expected to have continued growth, this is seen by the 17.5% increase in overnight tourism from 2019 (Q1). This is expected to result in an оvеrаll 11% estimated growth fоr the Belize tоurіѕm ѕесtоr іn 2024.

Belize Tourism rebounded strongly in 2023 and has continued in 2024. The stats from the early months of 2024 signal that the year 2024 will be a record-breaking year for inbound tourism to Belize!

 

 

 

Веlіzе’ѕ tоurіѕm industry іѕ booming, as seen in Q1 of 2024 and the first few mоnthѕ оf the year setting all-time highs and hіѕtоrіс rесоrd-breaking numbers in overnight tourism. The tourism growth (the largest sector in Belizean economy) is estimated tо gеnеrаtе аn unprecedented $1.4 bіllіоn іn rеvеnuе in 2024, this was announced by Minister of Тоurіѕm Аnthоnу Маhlеr.

 

Belize Tourism Q1 Arrivals 2017 to 2024 (January to March)

Below is the overnight tourism trend from 2017 to 2024 for January to March (Q1 of each year);

Belize Tourism Board Data

 

 

Increased International Flights to Belize

The largest factor to the growth in Belize tourism has been the increased air transport and increase in direct international flights to Belize. In March 2024, there were 511 international flights landing at BZE (Philip S.W. Goldson International Airport in Belize City). 

PGIA Philip S.W. Goldson International Airport BZE

 

Direct Flights to Belize 2024

 

 

 

Direct Flights Washington DC & Baltimore (BWI) to Belize (BZE) with Southwest Airlines

SouthWest Airlines started direct flights from BWI to Belize on March 9, 2024

SouthWest Airlines BWI to BZE

 

Direct Flights New York (JFK) to Belize (BZE) with JetBlue

JetBlue Starts Direct Flights from New York JFK

JetBlue Announces Direct Flights to Belize from New York JFK

JetBlue New York (JFK) to Belize (BZE)

  • Monday
  • Wednesday
  • Saturday

Scheduled flight times are the following (all times are local):

  • JFK to BZE: Departs at 8:29 a.m. and arrives at 12:14 p.m.
  • BZE to JFK: Departs at 1:30 p.m. and arrives at 7:00 p.m.

JetBlue Belize Flight Deals

 

 

Ambergris Caye & San Pedro

Ambergris Caye and San Pedro Town are the top destination for overnight tourism in Belize. With 53.2% of the Overnight Tourists coming to Ambergris Caye.

 

 

Record-Breaking Tourism Leads to Airport Upgrades

The month of March 2024 was record-breaking for Belize tourism. Increased visitors to Belize means an increased demand for the facilities at the BZE Philip Goldson International Airport (PGIA). To address that need there is an ongoing, long-term project for the upgrade of the PGIA. Belize along with the BTB (Belize Tourism Board) are increasing the marketing efforts attracting regional tourism and tourism from Latin American markets.

With the Mayan Train in Mexico and increased travel and tourism from Latin America and South America. That said, the airport upgrades are important since the United States represents the largest percentage of overnight tourism arrivals.

Currently Americans (from the US) make up 69.3% of Belize tourism in 2024.

Record Breaking Tourism Prompts Airport Upgrades

 

 

Future Outlook on Regional Tourism

Belize has shown impressive tourism numbers through 2023 and now record breaking in 2024 due to quick and clever travel regulations and practices put into place. Belize has also improved the accessibility with more non-stop direct flights and increased number of airlines (and destinations).

“The success of the recovery is a testament to the power of collaboration. Tourism leaders, businesses, governments, organizations, airlines, and our hospitality professionals have achieved impressive results by working together. We are grateful for the hard work and close partnerships that continue to allow us to recover and soar to new heights,” says Nicola Madden-Greig, President of, the Caribbean Hotel and Tourism Association (CHTA).

 

The rise and power of the South American market in the region.

 

Tourism in Belize is growing, and the competition is getting stronger now that we can look at the pre-pandemic and post-pandemic trends. Diversifying the attraction and marketing of Belize by widening the net is pivotal. The 2023 data by ForwardKeys shows there is a real potential to convert more international arrivals from Latin America, specifically Colombia and Argentina.

“Through our air ticketing data, we are observing a significant leap from the Latin Markets into the Caribbean and Belize, especially from Central America, Colombia, and Argentina. Even more encouraging is that they are flying in premium-class cabins, more than before the pandemic. A worthy market to tap into,” says Olivier Ponti, VP of Insights at ForwardKeys.

Beyond the main traditional markets, the US and Canada, there are tourism opportunities to be found in the neighboring countries. Latin American markets represent an exciting opportunity for Belize and the Caribbean.

Travel demand for Belize as a destination quickly gained momentum after most regional countries dropped travel requirements. The strong pent-up demand has been propelling visitor arrivals from Latin America beyond pre-pandemic levels, up by 14% in 2023, and with greater growth potential. The best-performing markets in the region are Colombia, Peru, and Argentina.

 

 

Flight Connectivity

 

The restoration of air connectivity is one of the key factors driving post-COVID-19 travel demand recovery, and Latin America is no exception. After years of limited travel activity, now Latin American travelers have fewer options to get to their desired Caribbean vacation. Fewer direct flights, and lower flight frequencies, make it harder and more costly to travel. In this scenario, connections with gateway airports are fundamental to remaining competitive.

Panama City (PTY) has emerged as a key gateway hub for Latin America, particularly, for connecting this region to the Caribbean. This is a result of a decided and successful strategy to transform Panama’s Tocumen International Airport into an intra-regional airport hub. Panama has become the first choice when transitioning to the Caribbean, gaining a share over other regional airports, such as Bogota, Lima and Miami.

While it is not always feasible to develop direct flight connections with emerging markets, establishing regular and frequent connections with the right network airports is fundamental for reaching a more diverse travel audience.

 

 

 

Belize Real Estate & Investment Opportunities

The Belize tоurіѕm ѕесtоr rеmаіnѕ роіѕеd fоr further growth with more development and improved accessibility! This has industry experts орtіmіѕtіс and bullish on Belize as a destination (for tourists and investors).

Tourism growth, increased awareness, offshore residency, and improved connectivity have all led to higher investment yields for real estate and investment properties in Belize. Ambergris Caye remains the the top destinations in Belize for overnight tourists.

Additional Links:

Belize Tourism January & February 2024

Ambergris & Belize Tourism Data 2023

Caribbean & Regional Tourism 2023

If you are looking to learn more about Belize tourism and Belize real estate, contact us!

 

 

 

New Ferry & Water Taxi Route Connects Ambergris Caye Belize to Mexico

Ambergris Caye Belize & Chetumal Mexico Water Taxi

 

New Ferry Route Connects Ambergris Caye, Belize, to Chetumal, Mexico. This latest route is sure to be a Boost for Tourism and Trade between Belize & Mexico!

San Pedro Belize (Ambergris Caye) introduces a new ferry service, revolutionizing travel between Belize and Mexico.

On February 24th, a new means of transportation between Ambergris Caye (San Pedro Town) and Mexico was announced. San Pedro Belize Express unveiled its latest addition, the Three Star Voyager vessel, marking a significant milestone in the connectivity between Belize & Mexico and expanding its service offerings.

This inaugural trip from San Pedro Town, Ambergris Caye, to Chetumal, Quintana Roo, Mexico, signifies a new era in regional transportation. The new vessel enhances connectivity and convenience for residents and tourists visiting the Belize island of Ambergris Caye. This route fills a long-standing gap in direct travel options between Belize and Mexico.

The Three Star Voyager vessel is designed with passenger comfort and safety in mind; the 58-foot Catamaran boasts cushioned seats and bathrooms/restrooms with an advanced septic system. The Three Star Voyager has the capacity to accommodate 104 passengers and offers a comfortable and safe means of travel.

The ferry and water taxi schedule is strategically planned to cater to the needs of both local residents and international tourists. The new Three Star Voyager vessel allows for faster transportation, which provides ample opportunity for day trips, allowing travelers and locals to explore Chetumal or conduct errands with the convenience of a direct return trip.

Pricing varies based on departure points, with special rates for Belizean residents and citizens. This new means of water transportation improves the connectivity of Belize and Mexico, making cross-border travel accessible and affordable.

 

Improving Belize’s Tourism and Trade

The ferry route (water taxi) enhances the travel experience between Belize and Mexico but also holds significant potential for boosting tourism in Belize (specifically Ambergris Caye) and facilitating trade in the region.

This new route also signifies a milestone in connectivity, improving not only transportation for tourism but also logistics. By providing a direct and efficient travel option, it opens up new avenues for economic cooperation and trade. The new ferry route shows the mutual growth between Belize & Mexico.

As this service gains popularity, it could pave the way for further expansions in regional transportation networks in the Caribbean, heralding a new chapter in Caribbean & Central American connectivity.

The trip between Ambergris Caye & Chetumal will take customers quickly and smoothly from Ambergris Caye, Belize, to Chetumal, Mexico. The trip is about 1 to 2 hours each way.

 

Belize & Mexico Connectivity

San Pedro Belize Express introduces the Three Star Voyager ferry service, revolutionizing travel between Belize and Mexico. Explore the comfort and safety features, strategic schedule, and impact on regional connectivity. It not only improves tourism but also opens up new avenues for economic cooperation and trade.

The water taxi service will further increase tourism to Belize and Ambergris Caye, especially with the recent opening of the Tulum International Airport and the Tren Maya (Yucatan Express Train system).

The Tren Maya (sometimes also Mayan Train or Maya Train) is a 1,554-kilometre (966 mi) intercity railway system in Mexico that traverses the Yucatán Peninsula. Construction began in June 2020, and a section began operation in December 2023, with the rest of the line to open later this year.

The railway begins at Cancún International Airport and travels down to Chetumal and the Mexico/Belize border.

 

Maya Train Route

 

Tren Maya Interactive Map

 

 

San Pedro Ferry & Water Taxi Schedule

The boat leaves every day at 8:30 am from San Pedro to Chetumal. And returns from Chetumal to Belize at 3:30 pm.

San Pedro Belize Express Water Taxi Schedule

 

Chetumal Mexico

Chetumal is situated on the Yucatán Peninsula’s eastern coast, right at the border between Mexico & Belize. Chetumal is known largely as a port city. It’s the primary trading station for Mexico and Belize.

Chetumal is located in the province of Quintana Roo – the Mexican state that is home to Cancun, Playa Del Carmen, and Tulum (Yucatán Peninsula). Chetumal is located just north of Belize (at the border) and is a jumping-off point for many traveling down from Cancun to Belize.

 

San Pedro Belize (Ambergris Caye) introduces a new ferry service, revolutionizing travel between Belize and Mexico.

Contact RE/MAX Belize

 

Ambergris Caye Investment & Vacation Rental Data October 2023

Ambergris Caye Vacation Rentals

Ambergris Caye has been the epicenter of the Belize tourism surge and COVID recovery. This has led to growth in the Ambergris Caye Real Estate and investment in vacation rentals.

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.

Tourism growth, increased awareness, offshore residency, and improved connectivity have all led to higher investment yields on vacation rental properties on Ambergris Caye. Ambergris Caye and San Pedro Town (the municipality on the island of Ambergris Caye) are by far the top destinations in Belize. Below, we look at the updated tourism data and vacation rental investment opportunities on Ambergris Caye!

 

Ambergris Caye Tourism

Ambergris Caye has seen tourism hitting all-time highs year-over-year as we become a globally recognized destination. From 2010 to 2023 (13 years), Ambergris Caye overnight tourism (people booking rental units) has grown at an annual compounded rate of 14.8% per year increase, with overnight tourism nearly doubling from 2010 to 2023 (+81.5% increase).

 

Belize Overnight Tourism

 

 

Belize Tourism Board Overnight Arrivals

 

Ambergris Caye Vacation Rental Inventory

Even though tourism is growing, the total rooms for rentals have stayed stagnant, with limited new losing inventory and often even a decline in inventory. Tourism is growing, and this usually correlates to added supply; that said, Ambergris Caye, Belize, is at the perfect time for investment as we have unique market conditions that have led to increased demand and a decrease in supply inventory.

Rental Inventory on Ambergris Caye has dropped by -4% from 2022 to 2023. Also dropped -13.9% over the last 3 years. This is largely due to the influx of people moving to Belize and the growing expat community and people who can work remotely.

 

Ambergris Caye Vacation Rental Lodging Inventory

 

For lodging, as a point of reference, Ambergris Caye saw -4% from last year. Lodging inventory for vacation rentals on Ambergris Caye has seen a -13.9% decrease over the last 3 years.

Ambergris Caye has had a compounded annual tourism growth over 12 years at an average of 14.8% per year.

As you can see, the 3-year trend has been consistent, with many quarters witnessing 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.

 

Increase in Demand + Decrease in Supply = Increase in Price & Rent

 

 

 

 

 

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 does not meet the demand growth.

 

Ambergris Caye Occupancy

 

 

In 2022, Ambergris Caye had an average vacation rental occupancy of 54.8%. In 2023, the average occupancy of vacation rentals has been at 61.3%. This is an increase of +11.9% year-over-year (2022 to 2023).

 

 

Ambergris Caye Nightly Rental Rates

 

In 2023, Ambergris Caye has seen ADR (Nightly Rental Rates) for vacation rentals increase by +15% from 2022. In 2023, the average nightly rental rate on Ambergris Caye has been $284 USD per night, which is up from $262 USD per night in 2022.

 

Ambergris Caye Investment Revenue

The increase in tourism with the lodging and vacation rental supply shrinking has led to higher occupancy and higher nightly rental rates (ADR). The increased occupancy and ADR have resulted in higher revenues. On Ambergris Caye, vacation rental gross revenue is up 30% in 2023 (from 2022).

 

Annual Average Rental Revenue

 

 

What is fascinating is the renal income for detached homes over condos (and the % annual growth).

 

Detached homes on Ambergris Caye have seen an average annual gross revenue of $88,850 US in 2023 (Airbnb income). Compared to condos, which saw an average gross yearly earnings of $44,300 US. Detached homes also saw a higher % growth at 23% annual revenue growth (condos with 14%) from 2022 to 2023.

For more information on investing in Belize and Ambergris Caye rental income investment opportunities, contact us at RE/MAX Belize!

 

Belize Real Estate Financing

Belize Real Estate Financing

Belize is a beautiful country with a lot to offer, including; tropical beaches, tax incentives, a favorable economy, and financial benefits like low-cost properties and tax-free buying for qualified retirees. When considering property in Belize, understanding your financing options may seem confusing and complicated. Thankfully, a few property financing options exist, even for non-residents.

In Belize, we do not have standard mortgages or bank financing that many investors and owners use in Canada or the US. Most real estate transactions in Belize are cash sales, but some opportunities with vendor financing are available. Even though Belize is primarily a cash sale market, there are several advantages when investing in an off-shore market that is not overly leveraged.

It is also important to note that Belize is a predominantly cash market; because of this, we don’t have overlending and real estate bubbles (which create more significant drops and volatility).

 

Advantages of Buying in a Cash Market

As mentioned, Belize is primarily a cash-sale transaction market. Even though investors do not have the same opportunities to leverage their investment, there are a number of advantages to investing in a cash sale market. There are many upsides when making a cash market real estate investment (like Belize). Some of the most notable include:

Diversification

  • Investing in an off-shore market, investors have wider access to innovative projects and more unique opportunities than traditionally in the public or domestic marketplace. Investors are able to look at stable cash flow from a vacation market with growing popularity. For example, a private real estate investor will see that the dynamics of buying and selling in a cash market significantly lower an asset’s volatility potential. Cash sale real estate markets are less susceptible to volatility as they do not have the bank foreclosures of more traditional economies.

Lower Volatility

  • Markets are known to be volatile (especially markets that are over-leveraged); it’s just the nature of an economy reliant on “borrowing money.” While cash market investments aren’t completely immune to recessions and economic fluctuations, the cash sale real estate sectors have less volatility and experience a faster recovery/smoothing out. When the global market is challenging, cash sale market investments minimize the volatility of an investment portfolio. Low-volatility, cash sale markets see less drastic declines in value when economies adjust.

Higher Return Potentials

  • In the investment industry, private markets outperform public ones due in part to the illiquidity risk premium, which is the return an investor requires for investing in something that can’t be quickly sold or exchanged for cash. This remains true in cash sale markets (like Belize). Property liquidity is more accessible as there will be less competition amongst a smaller buyer pool of qualified purchasers. In Belize, a property owned outright (cash) can be leveraged and offer seller/vendor financing, creating passive income and a higher ROI over time.

Unique Opportunities

  • In Belize, investors have access to various opportunities, from rental income-producing properties to appreciating locations, Caribbean beaches to lush jungles. Belize real estate (as it is at the early stages of development) opens the door to the lifecycle of an investment – from its inception through its growth. Investors also have access to rental management options and greater visibility and ability to forecast investment growth. Being a cash off-shore opportunity leads to greater influence and control over the investment/market.

Long-Term Focus

  • Public markets and real estate in the US or Canada have recently been focused on the short term. The short-term draw lead to low-interest rates, quick returns, etc. Belize as a cash investment is a long to mid-term investment strategy. The public market and real estate in the US tend to be more reactive, sometimes very dramatically, during an economic downtown. As an investor, say in Belize real estate, you have your eye on the future horizon and aren’t worried about these short-term fluctuations. One of the most important Warren Buffett quotes on investing that you can take in is, “If you aren’t willing to own a stock for 10 years, don’t even think about owning it for 10 minutes.”

Lower Risk

  • There is a certain amount of risk associated with an investment. People often view investing off-shore as high risk when there are far fewer risks in certain markets. Belize is a perfect example. In a cash market, you have less external risk. With any investment, there will be a risk; even though there is a risk, you can also mitigate the exposure. The cash market of Belize, with the string ownership rights and foreign investment incentives, has less risk, and investment is more protected. When economies turn, people no longer look for Return on Investment; they look for Return of Investment.

Associated Costs

  • Compared to more traditional real estate markets or domestic real estate (that has very high costs of ownership), Belize is very low. Property taxes in Belize are very little. You own land outright without the costs of upkeep and carrying costs. Even rental properties have lower operational costs in Belize.

 

Diversification from Interest & Inflation

American and Canadian real estate markets are known to be volatile – it’s just the nature of an economy reliant on “borrowing money.” Interest and inflation are prominent, uncontrollable dictators of property value in these markets – often leaving property owners vulnerable to unmanageable debt and property values decreasing. This makes these markets REACTIVE, which comes with risk.

Meanwhile, in unleveraged, cash markets like Belize – property values are much more simple, driven by supply and demand. There are rarely foreclosures or defaults since most property is owned outright, in cash. Investing in areas with limited land (scarcity), like islands, means that generally, as time passes and land becomes more limited, property values rise in correlation. This makes Belize much more of a PROACTIVE market – favoring savvy investors to secure their land early; at the current price.

No market is entirely immune to risks of recessions and economic fluctuations, but these days, interest and inflation are extremely high in the USA and Canada.

However, cash sale real estate markets have less volatility and experience a faster recovery/smoothing out.

This is why owning land in a stable, less volatile market like Belize is a great way to diversify with more secure, less volatile, and cash-owned property.

 

Stable & Less Volatile Appreciation

Every property that is sold equals one less lot you can buy. The most strategic investors look to own land in areas with high tourism demand and low supply – like Ambergris Caye Real Estate. This way, the growth next door and in your area steadily increases your property value while you hold your land or cash flow.

This is why most investors seek to own multiple properties – giving them the freedom to build on some and increase the equity value of their others, which they can flip in the future, tax strategically.

Mutually, private real estate investors will see that the dynamics of buying and selling in a cash market significantly lower an asset’s volatility potential. Cash sale real estate markets are less susceptible to volatility as they do not have the bank foreclosures of more traditional economies. This favors a long-term investment mentality – buy, hold, grow, cash-flow, flip.

Investing in an off-shore market like Belize allows investors to look at unique short-term cash flow from a booming emerging vacation market with growing popularity – while their property appreciates.

 

Financing Property in Belize

Belize has become a popular location and destination for retiring expats. Belize is a low tax jurisdiction with a warm Caribbean climate, English Speaking, and retirement incentive programs like QRP. For retirees, Belize makes immigration and relocation easy. English is the primary language, and Belize’s legal system is based on British Common Law. As a result, Belize has a stable, democratic government and a stable and dynamic economy with a strong tourism sector.

Belize also has a lot of draws and appeal to property owners and real estate investors. In Belize, foreigners purchasing Belize land or property in Belize are afforded the foreign owners/investors have the same property ownership rights as Belize citizens. Belize is also a low-tax jurisdiction; there are no capital gains or inheritance/estate taxes in Belize.

There are a lot of appeals to Belize real estate – for residency and investment. Even though financing is not as readily accessible in Belize as in other countries, there are financing options owners, and investors have.

Financing real estate for residency/lifestyle or investment in Belize can be challenging through local conventional bank financing (if you are not a Belizean citizen or resident). However, for non-residents, there are creative ways to get financing. Below you can see some creative options to finance real estate in Belize:

  1. Offshore Financing.
  2. Owner Financing.
  3. Co-Investing.

 

Advantages of Buying Property in Belize

Buying property in Belize can offer several advantages:

  1. Affordable Real Estate: Compared to many other Caribbean or Central American destinations, property prices in Belize can be relatively affordable. This makes it an attractive option for individuals looking to invest in a second home, retirement property, or vacation rental.
  2. Tax Benefits: Belize offers favorable tax benefits for property owners. There is no capital gains tax, inheritance tax, or property tax on undeveloped land. Property taxes on developed land are generally low, making it cost-effective to maintain ownership.
  3. English-Speaking Environment: English is the official language in Belize, which eliminates language barriers for those considering purchasing a property. This factor makes it easier to navigate legal processes, communicate with locals, and participate in the local economy.
  4. Political Stability: Belize has a long history of political stability and a democratic government. The country has a legal system based on English common law, providing a familiar framework for property ownership and the protection of individual rights.
  5. Natural Beauty and Ecotourism: Belize is renowned for its natural beauty, including pristine beaches, coral reefs, tropical rainforests, and ancient Mayan ruins. Owning property in Belize allows you to immerse yourself in these stunning landscapes and capitalize on the country’s growing ecotourism industry.
  6. Retirement and Second Home Destination: Belize is a popular retirement and second home destination due to its warm climate, relaxed lifestyle, and affordable cost of living. Owning property in Belize allows you to enjoy a laid-back Caribbean lifestyle, escape harsh winters, or spend quality time during vacations.
  7. Growing Tourism Industry: Belize’s tourism industry has experienced significant growth in recent years, attracting visitors from around the world. This trend can make owning property in popular tourist areas a potentially lucrative investment, especially if you intend to rent your property to vacationers.
  8. Diverse Culture and Expat Community: Belize is known for its cultural diversity and welcoming atmosphere. Its vibrant expatriate community allows you to connect with like-minded individuals from various backgrounds and enjoy a rich cultural experience.
  9. Ease of Property Acquisition: Belize has relatively straightforward property acquisition processes, with a clear legal framework for foreign ownership. Non-citizens can purchase and own property outright, including beachfront and island properties, without the need for local partnerships or complicated legal structures.

It’s important to note that while there are advantages to buying property in Belize, it’s crucial to conduct thorough research, seek professional advice, and understand local regulations before making any purchasing decisions.

 

Options for Belize Real Estate Financing

As mentioned above, financing in Belize is more complex than in domestic markets. We do not have the same standard mortgages and bank financing people are used to in the USA or Canada. Most real estate transactions in Belize are cash sales.

You can get a mortgage or loan in Belize from the banks. The bank will charge a high-interest rate and require a larger down payment. Because of the conservative nature and banking policies in Belize, the banks are still at a stage where the interest rates are higher than off-shore purchasers are used to. Most banks in the US will not loan to an out-of-country real estate purchase. There are, however, real estate opportunities in Belize with seller or vendor financing. Due to the Belize real estate market conditions, most owners and investors go the route of owner/vendor financing.

Seller/vendor financing (if available) is straightforward. It is a non-recourse loan with the seller/vendor carrying the note on the property (similar to how a bank carries the note on a home mortgage in the US). You take complete control of the property when all parties sign the agreement and the down payment is made.

There are three ways for purchasers to receive financing for Belize real estate:

  1. Local Belize Financing: Local banks in Belize do offer to finance land and/or property, though it is not easy (especially for foreigners). It is also important to note that the interest rates with Belize banks and terms for financing are usually higher than what people are used to at home. Local banks in Belize usually have much higher interest rates in the range of 10-18% interest with fixed terms of only 12 months. When you get financing from a local bank in Belize, the loan is closed every year and renewed at the new rate. When borrowing or lending from a local Belizean bank, it will be in Belize dollars, and most real estate transactions in Belize are in US dollars. Because most of the Belize real estate transactions take place with U.S. dollars, local financing is challenging. Local banks in Belize will also often only lend money to Belize residents or citizens.
  2. Offshore or Domestic Financing: If you are not a resident or citizen of Belize and are looking for financing, you can borrow U.S. dollars through an offshore bank. In Belize, Caye International Bank is one of the only off-shore banks in the country. Interest rates with international banks in Belize are still much higher than people are used to in their domestic markets and are around 12% to 18%, and most offshore banks, when lending to people who are not Belize residents or citizens, require a high degree of collateralization with a high down payment (often 50%). Some people do acquire domestic financing in their home country through a line of credit or refinancing their home/mortgage.
  3. Owner, Seller, or Vendor Financing: This is the most common way foreigners acquire financing for land in Belize. It is also far more common for someone to find land with financing than it is with a home or condo. Belize property owners and/or developers usually agree to property financing at better rates than the local banks. It is also very easy to qualify, as it is a non-recourse loan. The rates through seller or vendor financing are often less than what is available at local banks and financial institutions. Around Secret Beach, you are able to secure property with 20% down. Within Mahogany Bay, you can secure canal-front land with 25% down.

For more information on financing in Belize and Belize real estate opportunities with financing available, contact us at RE/MAX Belize.

 

Using a Self-Directed IRA or 401K

One way to manage costs, minimize the out-of-pocket investment, and ease the burden of taxation is to purchase real estate under a Self-Directed IRA or 401K. These structures are very easy to do in Belize and allow Americans to purchase an off-shore investment property using investment funds. The benefits of ownership under these legal entities include; access to capital for investment, and less taxation on capital gains, thus earning greater profits from the Belize real estate investment.

Real estate investors (from the US) can hold investment real estate in an IRA or 401K to gain access to capital (without paying high taxation) and reduce the tax exposure (as long as the investment capital has not been distributed to the IRA owner).

Under the IRS’s self-directed IRA rules, contributions to Self-Directed IRA accounts can be used to purchase real estate (commercial, residential, or raw land) inside and outside the United States. This allows investors to use Self-Directed IRA funds or a 401K to invest in Belize real estate.

However, contributions to offshore real estate IRAs are subject to additional rules.  For example, while the property in your IRA can be rented to others, you can’t rent it out to your family. The property can also not be used for your own personal use (it has to remain strictly an investment).

Another advantage is that the rental income from an offshore Belize real estate investment through IRA is deferred and can be made tax-free if purchased using a ROTH IRA.  Under this setup, you could, in theory, collect decades’ worth of rental income and not pay US tax.  You only need to worry about taxes when you distribute the income from the property to yourself in the future.

 

Bank Financing in Belize

Bank financing options in Belize can vary depending on the specific bank and the type of property you wish to purchase. Here are some key points regarding bank financing in Belize:

  1. Local and International Banks: Belize has both local and international banks operating within the country. Local banks include Belize Bank, Atlantic Bank, and Heritage Bank, while international banks like Caye International Bank also have a presence in Belize. These banks offer various financial services, including mortgage loans.
  2. Mortgage Loans: Banks in Belize provide mortgage loans for purchasing residential or commercial properties. The terms and conditions, interest rates, and loan-to-value ratios may vary between banks. It’s important to research and compare multiple banks to find the best mortgage options that suit your needs. It is important to note that Belize Bank mortgages are typically in Belize Dollars, while most real estate transactions are in USD.
  3. Eligibility Criteria: To qualify for a mortgage loan, banks in Belize typically require applicants to meet certain criteria. Often a borrower needs to have Belizean citizenship or residency status. International Banks can lend to foreigners, often requiring a minimum of 50% down. The requirements can include proof of income, employment history, creditworthiness, and down payment. The specific requirements may vary between banks, so it’s essential to check with the individual institution for their specific eligibility criteria.
  4. Down Payment: Banks in Belize usually require a down payment for mortgage loans. The percentage required can vary, but it is typically around 50% of the property’s purchase price. It’s important to have the necessary funds available for the down payment when applying for a mortgage.
  5. Interest Rates and Terms: Interest rates with banks in Belize are often higher than what investors are used to in their domestic markets. The interest rates and loan terms for mortgage loans in Belize can vary depending on the bank, the type of property, and the borrower’s financial profile.
  6. Property Appraisal and Legal Process: Before approving a mortgage loan, banks in Belize often require a property appraisal to assess its value. Additionally, they may require a title search and legal, due diligence to ensure there are no liens or encumbrances on the property. These processes help protect both the borrower and the bank.
  7. Currency: The currency used for bank financing in Belize is typically the Belizean dollar (BZD). However, some International Banks may also offer loans in U.S. dollars (USD), particularly for properties that cater to international buyers. It is important to note that most real estate transactions in Belize are in USD. Learn more about Belize currency.

It’s crucial to consult with a Belize real estate professional or financial expert who specializes in Belizean real estate or off-shore investing.

 

Advantages of Not Financing a Property in Belize

There are several advantages to not financing a property:

  1. Avoiding Debt: By purchasing a property outright without financing, you can avoid taking on debt. This can provide peace of mind and financial security, as you won’t have monthly mortgage payments or interest to worry about. Being debt-free can improve your overall financial well-being and provide more flexibility in managing your finances.
  2. Savings on Interest Payments: Financing a property involves paying interest over the loan term, which can significantly increase the total cost of the property. By paying in full upfront, you save on interest expenses, potentially saving you a substantial amount of money in the long run.
  3. Ownership and Equity: Buying a property outright means you immediately become the sole owner with 100% equity. You won’t have a lender with a claim on your property or any restrictions on what you can do with it. You can make improvements, rent it out, or sell it without any restrictions imposed by a mortgage lender.
  4. Simplified Purchase Process: Financing a property involves a complex process, including loan applications, credit checks, property appraisals, and legal documentation. By not financing, you simplify the purchase process. You can negotiate directly with the seller, avoid waiting for loan approvals, and potentially complete the transaction more quickly.
  5. Lower Closing Costs: When financing a property, there are various closing costs involved, including loan origination fees, appraisal fees, and mortgage insurance. By purchasing a property outright, you can eliminate or significantly reduce these closing costs, saving you money during the transaction.
  6. Increased Cash Flow: Without monthly mortgage payments, you have more cash flow available for other purposes. You can use the money for investments, savings, travel, or other personal goals. This increased cash flow can provide financial flexibility and the ability to pursue other opportunities.
  7. Reduced Financial Risk: By not taking on a mortgage, you eliminate the risk of defaulting on loan payments or facing foreclosure. You have full control over your property without the potential stress and consequences associated with loan repayment.

It’s important to note that buying a property outright requires a significant upfront investment and may not be feasible for everyone. Consider your financial situation, long-term goals, and consult with a financial advisor to determine if purchasing a property outright is the right decision for you.

Passport Heavy Buying Property in Belize

Buying Land in Belize for Less Than a Toyota Prius

Passport Heavy is one of the leading travel influencers and media channels on the internet. Passport Heavy is a bespoke travel & lifestyle brand specializing in shifting the paradigm in which people see and experience the world.

Founded in 2010 by Jubril Agoro, the Passport Heavy brand has grown from humble beginnings as a solo travel vlog into a highly recognized media brand and one of the most influential names in the travel content space.

Passport Heavy & Jubril Agoro fell in love with Belize (as many do) when they visited the Central America/Caribbean destination.
After a decade spent journeying globally, Jubril made his first international real estate investment. In BELZE!

 

In the latest Passport Heavy video, learn the ‘why’ and ‘how’ behind the decision to invest in Belize. From the enchanting allure of Belize to the nitty-gritty of navigating the real estate process in a foreign country, the latest Passport Heavy video (see link below) unpacks it all.

 

If you want to learn more about Belize and investing in Belize real estate, contact us at RE/MAX Belize!

We look forward to having you here in paradise.

New San Pedro & Ambergris Caye Hospital

San Pedro Town & Ambergris Caye Hospital

 

Residents of San Pedro Town and Ambergris Caye (along with all those who invest and travel to the island) are excited about the latest development announcement. Residents of Ambergris Caye are finally getting a state-of-the-art hospital and medical facility. Earlier this year, there was a memorandum of understanding between the governments of Belize and Taiwan for the construction of the San Pedro General Hospital. The $33 million needed to construct the hospital will be a grant and not a loan from the Government of Taiwan.

The unveiling of the design of the new healthcare facility for Ambergris Caye took place on Monday, April 3rd, 2023. The state-of-art medical facility in San Pedro will be possible through the people of Taiwan and the site preparation is underway.

This facility fulfills the need for accessible, comprehensive medical services both for residents and visitors to Belize’s most popular tourist destination (Ambergris Caye).

The Belizean Government has been working with a number of specialists on this ambitious project with the help of a team of experts; analyzing data, meeting with health teams/professionals on the ground, planning the execution, and collaborating with partners in order to ensure the construction of a first-rate hospital and medical facility.

David Kuan-Chou Chien, Ambassador of Taiwan to Belize stated “Taiwan has rich experience of building and management of medical facilities and is willing to share it with Belize to better the Belizean people. Therefore we are delighted to work with the Government of Belize to implement the construction project of the San Pedro Hospital. We hope that the hospital  can make a big difference for the residents and tourists of San Pedro Town.”

Presently, the San Pedro Poly Clinic is the primary medical facility on Ambergris Caye. The newly announced San Pedro General Hospital will be located across from Victoria House Resort, on the south side of the island, about 1.5 miles south of San Pedro Town; no start of construction date has been announced yet. That said, the land for the hospital is already being prepped for construction.

This new hospital location is very convenient for residents and investors in Mahogany Bay Village. The new medical facility and hospital are located just a few minutes from the community front gate.

 

Proposed Hospital Site

 

Hospital Location

 

Media

Taiwan Gifts $33 Million to Belize for Hospital

Model for San Pedro Hospital Revealed

 

Biggest Development Announcements & Updates

 

For more information on the new hospital and medical facility, contact us! We look forward to sharing the latest updates and developments coming to Belize.

Belize Investment Residency Requirements

Belize Investment Residency

There are two types of Residency status in Belize. If you are looking for residency status in Belize, you can apply to be a Permanent Resident or Temporary Resident.

Permanent Residency is applied when a person (or persons) wants to make Belize their home and will be staying in Belize for a long period of time. The applicant has plans to reside and live in Belize.

Temporary Residency can also be granted to people looking for status in Belize and show they have invested in Belize. A temporary resident can be a person who has made a substantial investment in Belize (often Belize Real Estate) but, due to commitments outside Belize, cannot meet ordinary Permanent Residence restrictions.

Belize Residency

 

Temporary Residency & Investment Residency

Temporary Residence status is given for a period of only one (1) year and becomes renewable at the end of that given period. If someone is applying for the investment residency, they need to show every year that the investment has remained in Belize.

The “Temporary Investment Residency” allows investors in Belize to obtain residency if they show they have invested over $500,000 BZ ($250,000 US) in Belize. This is most commonly done through real estate. The reason it is called “Temporary” is that you have to show every year that the money has remained in Belize.

For persons applying for Temporary Residence in Belize, you are required to

  1. Show evidence of investments in Belize valued at not less than five hundred thousand Belize Dollars – BZ$500,000 ($250,000 US)

Belize Currency

 

Temporary Residence Requirements

  1. Copy of Receipt of Acceptance (Provided by Immigration Department upon submission)
  2. Completed Application form
  3. Letter stating reasons for applying for Temporary Residence
  4. Complete Copy of Passport
  5. Police Record (From Belize)
  6. Police Record from last country of residence (no longer than 6 months from date of issue)
  7. A medical certificate, HIV, VDRL, and TB results
  8. Evidence of place of residence in Belize, i.e., rental/lease agreement with a current utility bill showing the applicant’s name and same address OR property title with property tax                   assessment
  9. Evidence of investments in Belize officially valued no less than $250,000 US ($500,000 BZ) and where available.
    1. Real Estate Ownership
    2. Business bank statements
    3. An official valuation of equipment and buildings to be used in business/investment
    4. Company Registration Certificate
    5. Articles of Association and/or Summary of Share Capital.
    6. Trade license in Belize
    7. Belize Social Security Registration
    8. Belize General Sales Tax Registration – Belize Business Tax Assessment
  10. Income Tax Letter
  11. Recent Bank Statement (If Applicable) Statement must show transactions to Belize/banking activity in Belize
  12. Marriage Certificate (If Applicable)
  13. (3) Passport-size Photographs
  14. Social Security Card (If Applicable)
  15. Contribution History from Social Security or Declaration stating non-contribution and why.

 

Inclusion of Spouse

  1. Complete Copy of Passport
  2. Police Record (From Belize)
  3. Police Record from the last country of residence (no longer than 6 months from the date of issue) 4. Medical Certificate, HIV, VDRL, and TB results
  4. Income Tax Letter
  5. Recent Bank Statement (If Applicable) Statement must show transactions to Belize/banking activity in Belize
  6. Marriage Certificate
  7. Letter of Financial Support
  8. (3) Passport-size Photographs
  9. Social Security Card (If Applicable)
  10. Contribution History from Social Security (if applicable)

 

Inclusion of Children

  1. Birth Certificate Copy
  2. Complete Copy of Passport
  3. Police record (From Belize. (If the minor is 12+years)
  4. Police Record from last country of residence (no longer than 6 months from date of issue if child 12+ years)
  5. Medical Certificate (All minors), HIV, DRL, and TB results (If the minor is 12+ years)
  6. (3) Passport-size Photographs
  7. School Letter
  8. Letter of Financial Support
  9. Notarized Letter of Authorization/Consent from the parent not making the application and
  10. Notarized copy of ID If not in Belize.

 

Belize is one of the easiest countries in the region to obtain residency. There are quite a few ways you can apply and get residency and the route will depend on your personal circumstances. When you land in Belize, you are issued a 30-day tourist visa. You can stay in Belize as long as you want as long as you renew the tourist visa.

Belize Tourism Visa Information