Guide for Canadians Buying Real Estate Property in the Caribbean

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Parrot Cay, Caribbean

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Last Updated: 28 Oct 2023

Lush islands, beautiful beaches, and cruises on true-blue crystal-clear water – what's not to love about the Caribbean? Here's how to invest in Canadian islands in the Caribbean as they are undeniable, offering a unique blend of natural beauty, cultural richness, and the promise of an idyllic escape.

One thing that comes to your mind when you hear about the Caribbean is "tropical paradise." Imagine your dream retreat, the "house of the Caribbean," nestled in the heart of the tropical paradise. Picture yourself surrounded by vibrant colors, gentle breezes, and the laid-back island lifestyle.

The region is also a popular hotspot for Canadians looking to buy Caribbean property based on a report¹ compiled from average Google monthly search volumes. It offers many options, whether you want a place to call "home" in a stunning beachfront location or an excellent investment that generates good income.

The big question is where to start as a Canadian looking to buy house in Caribbean.

Use this guide as a first step to find the right direction before investing in the Caribbean.

Buy affordable Caribbean real estate

If you’re a Canadian, your foreign investment is readily welcomed in the Caribbean. More and more Canadians are buying property in the region mainly because of the attractive lifestyle and potential financial opportunities. The rising popularity of Caribbean property among Canadians has made it one of the most sought-after international investment locations.

Why buy property in the Caribbean real estate?

There are many reasons why Canadians might want a slice of Caribbean real estate. Here are some of the top reasons:

  • Strengthening Canadian dollar: The outlook is good for the Canadian Dollar, which is expected to strengthen², thus making buying property in the Caribbean more affordable for Canadians.  
     
  • Geographical location: Buying property in the Caribbean has its appeal, the proximity of the Caribbean is such that the small Caribbean island country, Turks and Caicos, has been on the list of proposed provinces and territories of Canada. 
     
  • Pleasant weather: If you're coming from a cold country like Canada, the Caribbean's tropical climate provides many opportunities to sit back, relax, and soak up the sun while enjoying the clear blue skies. 
     

What are the best Caribbean islands to invest in real estate?  

The Caribbean is a wide and varied region with a host of countries, territories, and dependencies, all of which have many naturally beautiful destinations. Your options include the Bahamas (beautiful sunsets, amazing blue sea, and gorgeous scenery), Cayman Islands, Puerto Rico (authentic Caribbean experience), Aruba (big open white sandy beaches), Barbados (lovely reefs), St. John (incredible and breathtaking national park), Jamaica (amazing scenery, plants, and wildlife), St. Barts, St. Lucia properties for sale and more.

5 essential steps to buying property in the Caribbean

The Caribbean property market is very open to Canadians, so follow these five basic steps to make the most of the opportunity.

Choose a prime location

Since the Caribbean is a varied region, you'll find an assortment of homes, real estate, and Caribbean Islands for Sale. The right location depends on a wide range of factors, such as your preferred lifestyle, landscape, amenities, property type, and whether foreign investments are welcome.

Learn more about the islands and countries of the Caribbean to determine if you're interested in buying a beachfront home, villa, townhouse, cottage, or high-rise condominium in Grand Cayman, the Dominican Republic, Antigua, Belize, or other prime locations.

Buying a house in the Caribbean is a glamorous idea, but be sure to pay attention to the mundane aspects, such as the resale market, ownership structure, tax laws, and other red tape requirements.

Calculate the cost of buying property

The prices of properties for sale in the Caribbean vary from location to location, generally ranging anywhere from several thousand dollars to a million or more. The crucial consideration is to assess both the initial price tag and ongoing costs. For instance, one must factor in building maintenance costs for a beachfront home, as salt exposure can accelerate wear and tear, thereby increasing repair expenses. Additional costs typically include utilities, mortgage payments, insurance, and taxes.

Secure financing

You can skip this step if you're paying for your Caribbean property upfront. But if you're wondering whether Canadians can get mortgages in the Caribbean, the answer is yes. Several Canadian banks like RBC offer cross-border mortgages for properties in the Caribbean, though you may still have to make a down payment.

You can also secure an international mortgage via traditional or private banking services, depending on your net worth, personal background, and financial situation. This option generally requires a larger down payment and is secured against the property.

Find a suitable money transfer service

Transferring funds to the Caribbean is one of the most critical steps because it can make or break your budget.

Whether you need to pay a reservation fee, put a down payment, or cover real estate agent fees or additional purchase costs, finding a money transfer service with great exchange rates, reasonable transfer fees, and speedy processes is essential. International money transfer specialists like MTFX can provide this service, making it economical and convenient to transfer money to the Caribbean.

Hire local professionals to help facilitate the purchase

The best thing you can do when making a Caribbean investment property as a Canadian is to work with reputable local professionals. First, you'll need to find a local real estate agent familiar with the market to help you locate the right property.

In addition, it's best to find a local attorney to walk you through critical issues, such as costs, country regulations, and tax and legal implications. You'll also need to engage a local insurance agent and find a competent property manager to cover property maintenance.

How to pay for property purchases in the Caribbean?

The U.S. dollar is the currency of choice when buying property in the Caribbean, so there’s generally no need to investigate other exchange rate pairs.

Most islands peg their currency to the US dollar. Canadian buyers can easily and quickly calculate the cost of potential purchases in Canadian dollars using the MTFX live rate converter.

Where to find the best exchange rates?

Finding the best exchange rates is essential if you need to transfer funds to the Caribbean and make payments in foreign currency. This ensures you can squeeze every ounce of value from your money. Unfortunately, banks have a culture of offering unfavourable exchange rates and expensive transfer fees that increase the cost of the property you're buying.

That's why it's better to work with a high-volume foreign exchange provider like MTFX that shares profits and protects you from currency exchange fluctuations. As a result, you can expect bank-beating rates that are 3-5% lower, meaning you can save as much as $25,000 when you purchase a $500,000 townhouse in Barbados, for example. This great deal also comes with fast turnaround times of 24-48 hours, expert guidance and support, and the ability to automate your payments.

Paying online without going to the bank

Buying property in the Caribbean remotely is easier than ever these days for Canadians, thanks to innovative foreign exchange services. For instance, MTFX provides a secure online platform you can access 24/7.

That means you can send money and snap up your dream property without going to the bank or setting foot in the Caribbean. Paying online without going to the bank is one of life's greatest conveniences, especially if you need to make regular automatic online payments to pay for your mortgage and other ongoing costs.

Invest more in your property with MTFX exchange rates

The prospect of buying a Caribbean island opens up new horizons for financial opportunities. If you're part of this unique endeavor, seamless money transfers are crucial. Whether it's a dream home or a picturesque retreat you're eyeing, MTFX is committed to ensuring that more of your funds are invested, minimizing concerns about currency conversion losses. This service is ideal for anyone in Canada buying a Caribbean island or looking to secure a piece of paradise.

You can open your account easily to convert currency, send money abroad, and set up automated payments for mortgage payments and other associated costs. 
 

 
 

Buy property in the Caribbean – FAQs

Can I get residency after investing in a Caribbean vacation property?

Yes, you can use Caribbean investment properties as a gateway to obtaining residency. For instance, Antigua & Barbuda, Dominica, Grenada, St Kitts, and St Lucia are all Caribbean countries with citizenship by investment Caribbean programs³.

Any tips for Canadians looking for homes, real-estate and Caribbean Islands for Sale?  

It's always a good idea to travel, explore, and discover your options before you buy. Investigate the seasonal weather, the infrastructure, visa requirements, security, tax laws, healthcare, the ex-pat community, etc.  

The Caribbean relies on imported products, so costs can add up. This is why specialist affordable foreign exchange services are recommended when importing your money to the Caribbean. For instance, MTFX offers favorable exchange rates when converting Canadian dollars, so you have local currency in your pocket to ease your budget.  

The best tip that covers everything is to research, research, and do more research. Get an idea of property prices in the Caribbean, run the numbers to see if the investment makes financial sense, and check out the property ownership or rental laws to know what you're getting into. In short – make a fully informed investment decision. 

What is the best Caribbean island to buy a house?

Determining the best Caribbean island to buy a house depends on individual preferences, lifestyle, and investment goals. Popular options often include Barbados for its stable real estate market, the Cayman Islands for financial stability, and the Bahamas for its picturesque surroundings. 

What is the best way to transfer money to the Caribbean for my property purchase?

With MTFX, you can send large amounts of money overseas and save with competitive exchange rates and low transfer fees. If you’re set on buying a Caribbean real estate property, MTFX can help you manage your payments with ease as you make your dream a reality.

What are the best Caribbean islands to buy property?

Determining the best Caribbean islands to buy a property depends on individual preferences. Islands like the Cayman Islands, Barbados, and Turks and Caicos are often considered for their stability, amenities, and real estate opportunities. You can conduct thorough research and consider personal priorities to find the ideal location.

What is the cheapest and safest Caribbean island to live?

Many areas in the Caribbean are generally considered safe, though this comes at a cost. Do your research to find a location that meets your safety standards. St. Barts and Montserrat are great options though other places like Anguilla, the Cayman Islands, and the Virgin Islands are also considered relatively safe destinations in the region. In addition, destinations like Dominica, Grenada, and Nicaragua are considered more affordable, with lower living costs and welcoming communities.

What is the Canada Caribbean relations?

Canada-Caribbean relations are longstanding connections between Canada and the Caribbean states, dating back to the era of European colonial policies. Evolving through phases of self-government, these relations are marked by diplomatic ties in various international organizations like the Commonwealth of Nations, Organisation internationale de la Francophonie, Organization of American States, ParlAmericas, the United Nations, and the World Trade Organization.


Sources:

  1. Home Buying Destinations in the Americas
  2. Canadian Dollar to Strengthen as BoC Moves 'Aggressively
  3. Citizenship By Investment Caribbean Programmes

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