Foreign property owners’ and investors’ rights protected in Venezuela

Much has been written in the media about the undeniable investment attraction of Venezuela, and in particular Isla Margarita. After all, Isla Margarita is a stunning and accessible Caribbean island with rapidly expanding tourism and real estate sectors where annual investment returns from property are currently reaching double digits.

However, failing to accompany this positive promotion of Venezuela is sufficient and accurate information about why an investment made is secure and safe against a backdrop of what many incorrectly assume is a less than stable political leadership.

Venezuela is a politically secure country; it is also a nation with a $182 billion economy* that has expanded at an average rate of over 12% in recent years, a growth rate that is the highest amongst the biggest economies in Latin America.  To secure this rate of growth the nation's president Hugo Chávez has committed to creating a transparent environment where domestic and overseas investors can benefit from the growing strength, attraction and appeal of the nation and where their investments are protected.

President Chavez has stated: "you want to invest in Venezuela?  Here we are…this government isn't an enemy of the business person, and we want to let them participate…" A recent article in the International Herald Tribune proved the sincerity of this sentiment and made it clear why international investment is welcome and secure.  According to the report it is thanks to foreign investment and a resultant strengthening of the economy that President Chávez has achieved many of his domestic goals for healthcare, employment and education – for example and he has taken the minimum wage in Venezuela to the highest level in Latin America.

Venezuela welcomes investors and investment – and Decree Number 356 passed back in 1999 should make it clear to would-be investors that not only is their financial commitment welcome, but their rights are protected and their investments are safe. 

According to Mark Andrew, Director of Isla Margarita property specialists Emerging Earth: "Decree Number 356 is the legislation passed by the government to ensure that foreign investors are treated fairly and in the same way as domestic investors in Venezuela, and the most pertinent and significant Article of the Decree is Number 6 which states that: 'international investments will have the rights to an equal and just treatment conforming to the norms and criteria of international laws and will not be subject to arbitrary measures or discrimination that could impede maintenance, management, usage, enjoyment extensions, sales or liquidation.' Would-be investors can take great confidence from the existence of this Decree which basically makes property investment in Isla Margarita even safer than real estate investment in Dubai for example, because whatever you buy in Isla Margarita is secured freehold real estate – unlike in the popular Arab Emirate."

Currently available for sale to overseas investors on Isla Margarita and proving significantly popular and successful is the Caracola Beach & Spa Resort. It comprises of luxury properties with Caribbean Ocean and beach views which are situated in a resort style development with world class amenities and facilities such as restaurants, bars, swimming pools, chill-out areas, a spa, gymnasium, beauty salon, high end retail outlets and beautifully landscaped gardens. The fully furnished properties come with a guaranteed rental return of 7% pa net for 10 years, and this investment purchase is SIPP qualifying and offers tax efficient freehold ownership. Prices start from €79,000/ £63,000 for a one-bedroom apartment.

* (GNP according to Bloomberg)