Belize………. Where is it? That was one of the first questions I heard when I decided to come for a visit. Belize is a small country with only about 330,000 people that live here. Belize is on the Caribbean tucked between Mexico and Guatemala. Belize has all different types of cultures and people living here. You can be on the beautiful crystal blue waters of the Caribbean Sea and then 1 hour later at the tallest mountain in Belize called Victoria Peak and then a few more miles and you can be at any one of hundreds of Archeological Mayan Ruins throughout the country. Belize is part of the British Commonwealth and operates under British Common Law just as in Canada and other British Commonwealth countries. Also because of the many US ex pats in Belize, there is a little US culture here as well. You can drive the whole length of the country in about 9 hours.
Belize is experiencing a countrywide real-estate boom. In Placencia we have the best drinking water from artesian wells piped to Placencia and you can drink right from the tap. There is a new international airport under construction, a 200- slip mega yacht marina under construction, and marina village, 18-hole signature Trent Jones Golf Course planned, high end casino planned, and more coming to Sunny Placencia. Placencia has just obtained funding for a waste water treatment plant; funding for a revitalization project of Placencia Pointe, and the funds are in for a new health center by the Municipal airport in Placencia. The Village is just cutting through some red tape and then they will start looking for a contractor and commence construction. There are many other infrastructure projects going on to make Belize real estate and Placencia real estate an excellent investment opportunity. Many of our clients have made remarks about moving their funds from the stock markets or other investments to offshore investments. This is a growing trend especially here in Belize with its full title ownership; Belize is English speaking, low property taxes, no capital gains tax, and some of the best diving and fishing at the world’s second largest reef. As Belize gains popularity as a world class Caribbean destination there is no end in sight. There are hot new areas such as Placencia, Hopkins, Caye Caulker and Ambergris Caye and other more private areas as Gales Point, Punta Negra, Commerce Bight and the like.
Everyone asks how much does it cost to live in Belize? That is a tough question because it depends on where you live in Belize and what you like to do for entertainment, food, travel, etc. Rent can be anywhere from a couple hundred USD to three or four thousand USD per month. Your electric bill depends on how much you use the A/C. We pay .51 per kwh here in Placencia so if you are careful not to use the A/C a lot you can spend about $200 BZD for a 2 bedroom house. Water in Placencia is about .01 BZD per gallon with a $10 BZD minimum but most of the time water is included in rent if you are renting. Garbage pickup is $22.50 BZD per month. Cable is normally included with rent but if it was not it would be like $45/month BZ. Your cellular phone depends on how much you use it but it is pay as you go. The phone companies have double and triple so if you buy like $50 BZ and more on those days you get $150 but anything under that is double. The most expensive is food especially if you want to eat like a North American. I spend like $800- $1,000 USD per month on food, paper products, dog and cat food, hair products, prescriptions etc. If you want imported cheese, steaks and things like that, you can. Car insurance and house insurance is cheaper compared to some places in the US. I pay $390BZD per year for liability-only car insurance for my 2002 Suzuki Grand Vitara and $190/ year BZD for my golf cart. This is cost of living in Placencia. Living in Cayo will be cheaper all the way around. Lunch Specials in Belize run about $8BZD- $10BZD per plate- that is a meat, rice and beans and coleslaw, what a steal!
Another question I get a lot is where is the best place to live in Belize. The best thing I say is visit each one and you will know. My first trip here about 5 years ago that is what we did and we fell in love with Placencia. Here is a very brief overview of different areas to live in Belize.
Placencia- Placencia is a 25 Mile Peninsula with the Caribbean Ocean on one side and the Placencia Lagoon on the other side with beautiful Maya Mountain Views. Placencia is laid back and quant, where everyone knows everyone. Placencia is home to the newest paved road and best road in Belize. It was finished August of 2010. Then at mile 5 in the Placencia Road is where the new International Airport is currently under construction. Then Placencia just receive funding to install a waste water treatment plant and a $4 million dollar revitalization of Placencia Point where they will redo the docks and add landscaping and things like that. Placencia has some of the nicest beaches in all of Belize and has some shopping, banks, restaurants and quant hotels. With all this development going on and more planned, there is still room for property values to go up, way up. With Placencia real estate, you will get your investment back in property values and rental if you choose to do so. Placencia runs around 35%- 45% Occupancy rate right now but will go up as the airport opens.
San Pedro, Ambergris Caye– San Pedro is about a 25 mile Island in the northern part of Belize. Ambergris Caye properties are in demand and San Pedro is the hottest tourist destination in Belize right now. Occupancy rates run about 45%- 60%; and some resorts like Coco Beach run around 78%. San Pedro is nice for diving as well because the reef is so close to shore. San Pedro is a little more city life, and night life. You will make pretty good money on rentals right away. There are a few condo developments that you can get at preconstruction to get some good deals. Most of San Pedro will be condos – I would say 75% of the market is condos and the rest is houses. Since the reef is so close there is not a lot of wave activity so the sea grass is more and the beaches are not good swimming beaches.
Corozal- Is in the northern part of Belize and is tucked beside Mexico, Corozal is close to Chetumal Mexico, where you can get all the comforts of North America like McDonalds, Sam’s Club, Wal-Mart, Pizza Hut and so on. Corozal is pretty close to San Pedro for day trips if you like. Real Estate prices are reasonable still. Corozal is like a bay and the beach is rocky.
Cayo Area- Is made up of San Ignacio, Benque, Belmopan, and all kinds of little villages in between. This area is more mountainous and a few really nice rivers. Many things in Cayo are cheaper than in San Pedro or Placencia. The Cayo area is really nice and peaceful but a little more spread out. Real Estate here in Cayo is cheaper than Placencia or San Pedro but costss more than Corozal.
I hope you enjoyed my little overview of Real Estate in Belize and Placencia.