For several decades, the Belizean real estate market has remained a favorite of expats and retirees seeking to pursue a different type of wealth. This Central American nation is a haven for those seeking relatively inexpensive living costs combined with an abundant natural landscape in a country where English is the official language.
Global interest in Belize real estate increased at the dawn of the 21st century as the tourism industry began to flourish. While exact numbers are difficult to calculate (since there are no official housing figures), prices increased approximately 30% in coastal areas and 15% inland on a year-to-year basis through 2007, according to the January 7, 2015 edition of The New York Times. During the global economic crisis opinions on the Belize market very with some claiming home prices declined around 27%, while others believe demand remained flat.
Belize real estate professionals say the tide started to turn again in 2012, largely spurred by renewed interested in Ambergris Caye and the Placencia Peninsula in southern Belize. Prices have again increased steadily along with demand in recent years
Today the Belize real estate industry is seeing increasing investor interest. Five recent events seem to provide clear indication that the Belize real estate market is poised to catapult into the luxury category.
Indicator #1 – Spotlight from The New York Times
On January 7, 2015, The New York Times real estate section ran a feature story focused on House Hunting in … Belize. This story focused a bright spotlight on the Belizean real estate market. To read the full story, visit //www.nytimes.com/2015/01/08/realestate/real-estate-in-belize.html
Just a few months later on April 3, 2015, the newspaper again brought attention to Belize by highlighting actor Leonardo Dicaprio’s plans to build an eco-resort on Blackadore Caye, a former pirate hideout located due West of Ambergris Caye. To read the full story, visit //www.nytimes.com/2015/04/05/realestate/an-idea-hits-the-beach.html
Indicator #2 – Notable celebrity interest in Belize
In addition to DiCaprio, several celebrities have been spotted house (or private island) hunting in Belize in recent months. Beyonce, Harrison Ford, and guitarist Slash are just a few of the famous names who have been seen. NBA Legend Kareem Abdul-Jabbar toured Belize in August 2015 looking for potential real estate opportunities.
For some celebrities, the affinity for Belize has gone well beyond simply looking. Director Francis Ford Coppola has built two eco-friendly resorts in Belize. Dee Snyder, former lead singer of the Heavy Metal group Twister Sister is presently constructing a home on the Placencia Peninsula.
Indicator #3 – Increased real estate development
Several new real estate development projects are now underway including Coco Plum and Itz’ana Belize Resort and Residences on the Placencia Peninsula, Mahogany Bay on Southern Ambergris Caye, and Xtan Ha on North Ambergris Caye.
This is just the tip of the iceberg. Besides the several new beachfront home development presently under construction, there is an abundance of waterfront property ripe for the many new projects that are currently being touted for the Belize real estate market.
Indicator #4 – Additional airlift
Major airlines have steadily increased direct international flights into Belize over the past several years. Several additional direct flights were announced in 2015, including direct service from Los Angeles (United Airlines), from Houston (Southwest Airlines), and from Panama City, Panama (Copa Airlines).
The Los Angeles flights open the gateway for visitors from Southeast Asia while the Panama City flight further opens the gateway from South America. Houston service is expected to increase the number of wealthy Texas oil and cattle barons visiting Belize. The increase in visitors to Belize is projected to further boost real estate investment in Belize driving demand for the luxury category. Air Canada recently got the green light in 2017 to start direct flights to Belize.
Indicator #5 – Sotheby’s International Realty and Christie’s International Real Estate – the luxury franchise real estate guys.
These two luxury brands have spun off real estate arms in recent years playing off their well-known names in the celebrity and high-end customers. While these two companies do not offer anything much beyond astronomical prices in the Belize Real Estate market, their presence indicates that for customers that are comfortable with luxury brands and paying top dollar, these brands are here in Belize. These name brand real estate retailers operating in Belize are individually owned franchises, and like pioneer Belize Travel writer Lan Sluder is wont to say, your mileage may vary – considerably.
But if you wish to save maybe 20% or more on your real estate purchase, it may be advisable to cut out the middle man and deal directly with the seller. That is were local market intelligence comes into play. Check out our How To Buy Belize Real Estate page, and our list of recommended and vetted Belize Attorneys At Law.
You may also consider our advice on How To Retire, Live or Work in Belize.