After a few days in Barbados, many visitor’s thoughts turn to the idea of staying here permanently. Although covering an area of only 166 square miles Barbados real estate has some of the most magnificent properties to be found anywhere. From a seventeenth century plantation house to brand new luxury villas and condominiums, from timeshares starting at about $12,500US to luxury villas running to millions of dollars, Barbados real estate has something for everyone. Barbados is a safe place to invest in real estate as unlike other Caribbean islands it is relatively unaffected by hurricanes which usually pass well to the north.
Barbados has been recognized by the United Nations as having the highest quality of life anywhere in the developing world. A stable U.S. dollar based currency, social and political stability, a low crime rate, a growing economy, world class telecommunications, a well educated and skilled labour force, an excellent health care system, a good road network, dependable public utilities and great weather all year round make it a favourite destination for everyone from budget travellers to rock stars and royalty.
Buying Barbados real estate is not difficult but there are things you need to be aware of. There are no restrictions on non-Barbadians owning property, but there are certain formalities including getting permission from the central bank. Financing is available to non-Barbadians but you must register any money you’re bringing in with the Central Bank so you can repatriate the funds if you decide to sell your property later.
Title conveyance must pass, and deeds and certified survey plans must be registered. Purchasers require a registered Barbadian to search the register and establish title to the property prior to the completion of the sale and it is essential that you use a reputable Barbados real estate agent and lawyer to handle these transactions.
Vendors pay a transfer tax of 7.5% on any value over $125,000 plus a sales commission of 5%. Legal fees for both the vendor and the purchaser usually run at about 1.5-2%. Once an agreement is signed and a 10% deposit is paid, the deal must proceed or the deposit is forfeited.
Owners pay an annual property tax of:
On the first $125,000 = 0%
Next $350,000 = 0.10%
Next. $500,000 = 0.65%
Excess = 0.75%
(All prices Barbados Dollars)
As with real estate everywhere the three most important things are location, location, and location, which means properties on the west coast are usually the most expensive, the south coast is next and the east coast and inland properties last.
If you don’t plan to spend all your time in your villa, rentals can provide a good return and cover your regular maintenance and management costs. Prices have risen steadily over the years, although with the financial crisis high-end properties have seen a drop in prices by as much as 30%r.
There are always new developments being built and depending on your tastes you will probably be able to find something close to a beach, a golf course, a tennis facility, a marina, a polo field or just about anything else you can imagine.
If you are interested in purchasing Barbados real estate there are a number of well established local and international agencies who can provide information about available properties and purchase requirements.