The short answer is: yes! Belize has a very welcoming attitude towards foreign investment, and American property owners have all of the same rights as locals do, including the right to sell, buy, or rent property anywhere in the country.
Belize is rapidly becoming one of the hottest foreign markets for retirees, dream homes, and investment properties. Excellent year-round weather, a business-friendly climate, and dream properties with outstanding views still available at affordable prices have caused the property market to heat up in the past few years.
Belize is also the only country in the region where English is the official language, meaning you’ll never have to rely on a translator to read documents, property deeds, or contracts. Belize also has a robust judicial system inherited from the British that vigorously defends property rights. And perhaps best of all, Belize imposes very low property taxes, and these are assessed on the undeveloped value of the land, not any later improvements.
Fueling the property boom in Belize is the increased range of non-stop flights to the country from major cities across the United States and Canada. Southwest, Delta, American, and Southwest now compete to offer low-cost airfare to Belize while Canada Air and WestJet are in a price war to bring Canadians to Belize for historically low fares.
Belize is also quietly becoming a refuge for the rich and famous. Hollywood heavyweights like Leonardo DiCaprio and Francis Ford Coppola already own several properties in Belize, and celebs like James Franco, Nicolas Cage, the Trump daughters, Simone Biles, and Nick Jonas regularly visit Belize.
Belize imposes no capital gains taxes, and property taxes are around 1.5% of the assessed value of the undeveloped property. New purchases are assessed a tax of 10%.
Belize’s popular QRP program allows qualifying individuals age 45 or older and their families can gain permanent residency in Belize for a small fee. The QRP program allows qualifying individuals to import all of their personal items tax-free, including vehicles (cars, boats, and even light aircraft), and there are no taxes on any income derived from outside of the country.
The Purchasing Process
To buy property in Belize, the seller and buyer sign a sales agreement and the buyer puts down a 10% deposit. After the title search clears the property, the buyer will place the rest of the money in an escrow account. Once everything clears, the buyer will get three documents: a transfer of certificate title, the deed of conveyance, and a land certificate.
The buyer will then have to pay a government stamp duty, calculated at 5% of the purchase price, but the first $10,000 is tax-exempt. Add in a registration fee for the new title deed ($15) plus any lawyer fees and the property is yours.
For more information about buying property in Belize, contact Cerros Sands, a great place to live, retire, and invest.