Top Caribbean property for 2009

Belize on the list of top Caribbean investments in 2009

The global economic downturn has seriously affected the world's property markets. Many countries are reporting a sluggish turnover of property and decreased value on previously purchased real estate.

However, keen investors are finding that there are still some areas which are riding the storm and flourishing. Caribbean Land and Property have been monitoring the markets in the 26 Caribbean countries they serve and are now sharing what they feel are the top locations for purchasing property in 2009.

International Property advisor for Caribbean Land and Property, Wini Dean, states that "It is simply not true that everything is in decline, in fact I am as busy as ever with clients seeking property in the Caribbean region. Of course some areas are doing better than others and we feel obligated to let people know where they will get most value for their investments."

One of the countries remaining popular with buyers is Belize. As it is the only English speaking country in Central America, there is an increased ease of conducting both personal and business affairs for expats and investors. Real estate is readily available as Belize is the least populated country in Central America and has one of the lowest population densities in the world. Belize is popular with those who enjoy pristine environments with rainforests and exotic wildlife. In addition the coastline of Belize is lined with tropical beaches which offer snorkeling and diving into the 2nd biggest coral reef in the world.

Retiring to Belize is made more appealing through government incentives for qualified retirees. These include tax-free income status and duty free concessions to import all household items, a car and even boat or a light aircraft. They have also recently reduced the stamp duty tax on real estate title transfers. The new rate is 0% up to US$10,000 in purchase price and 5% for any amount above US$10,000.

Another country in the region that continues to flourish is the Dominican Republic. As one of the most stable countries in the Caribbean and Latin America, the Dominican Republic has been able to attract overseas business with a favourable Foreign Investment policy. Property prices within the Dominican Republic remain very competitive when compared with other Caribbean locations and offer very good value for money, especially when coupled with the low cost of living.

The ease of travel to and from the Dominican Republic makes it ideal for anyone doing business or needing to stay in touch with family. There are 10 International airports in the country and many direct and regular flights to and from destinations in Europe and North, Central and South America. Santo Domingo is accessible by air from New York (3 hours), Miami (less than 2 hours) and San Juan (45 minutes). The Dominican Republic continues to be the Caribbean's most popular tourism destinations and Caribbean Land and Property currently has over 100 properties including hotels, resorts and residential properties that are ideal for personal use or as a vacation rental.

Costa Rica is also on the list of recommendations of where to buy property in 2009. This country is well known for its ecotourism and peaceful environment. With many direct and quick flights from USA, it is an ideal location for US residents who wish to experience a piece of Caribbean paradise whilst retaining their connections to home. Costa Rica boasts of the longest standing democracy and highest literacy rate in Latin America. The country's banking system is stable and the country is often referred to as the 'Switzerland of Latin America'. A wide range of properties for residential or business ownership are available through Caribbean Land and Property who predict that this location will remain popular throughout 2009 and beyond.

The small island of Dominica is also recommended as an investment arena in 2009. The property market remains healthy and it is an alternative option for those seeking to live a more sustainable and simple lifestyle. Property advisor in Dominica, Lisette Stevens, explains that "Dominica is more rugged than many of the other Caribbean islands and appeals to those with either a sense of adventure or a desire for a quiet life."

Whilst all of these Caribbean countries are popular with retirees, Wini Dean adds a word of caution to prospective buyers of working age. "It is important to realize that there are few job opportunities within these countries and anyone who wants to live there should be prepared to create their own avenues for employment. Setting up new business which brings new jobs for locals is also a way of giving back to a country that has embraced you."