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Barbados: an affordable place in the sun with a British flavour

The property market offers a surprising range of prices, making Barbados a popular destination for British expats

Barbados is out of the main hurricane path, and its currency is pegged to the US dollar

Barbados is considered to be one of the most British of all the Caribbean islands, a legacy that dates back to the establishment of a 17th-century colony that thrived on slavery and sugar cane.

Nowadays the island is democratic, prosperous and, according to a United Nations human development report last year, second only to the Bahamas for quality of life in the Caribbean. As a member of the Commonwealth, the Queen is head of state.

Modern Barbados – where the property market offers a surprising range of prices – is a popular destination for British expats whether they are bankers, builders, retirees or holiday homeowners.

If they wish to buy a holiday home and do not intend to work, Britons can stay in Barbados for up to six months at a time with no special permit. Taking up permanent residency without employment is typically related to an individual’s income and global assets.

While the island’s west coast is known for its millionaire beachfront properties, the hinterland typically offers more affordable fare, similar to other regional destinations such as the Cayman Islands.

“Land prices in Barbados are undervalued and property prices inland are 30 to 60 per cent cheaper than the coast depending on location among other factors, but always at least 30 per cent less,” said Marcus Clarke, Unna Luxury Resorts sales executive.

Andrew Mallalieu, CEO at Blue Sky Luxury, pointed out that those who buy inland are more interested in Caribbean weather than in a raft of amenities. An example of affordable inland Barbados property includes Boarded Hall Green, a new gated development in the central parish of St George where studios to four bedroom apartments are priced from US$134,250 (£88,738).

Boarded Hall Green

In landlocked St Thomas parish a development of 37 houses with countryside views features traditional Barbadian style woodwork and covered porches. Three-bedroom homes cost from $336,000 to $579,540 (£235,596 – £406,357). Both of the above are available through Savills international affiliate Altman (altmanbarbados.com).

Prime coastal properties are more expensive, although compared with Monaco, for example, they can represent good value for money. The average square foot cost in Monaco is US$4,000 compared with US$500 in Barbados, according to Paul Tostevin at Savills Global Research.

Port Ferdinand is a newly completed marina where phase one of 46 ultra hi-tech apartments average US$1,000 (£700) per sq ft. The upmarket west coast development overlooks a horseshoe-shaped harbour and the turquoise waters of the Caribbean beyond.

Amenities include a golf simulator, health centre, spacious children’s clubroom and fine dining restaurant.

Two- to five-bedroom apartments from 250 to 600 sq m each with a berth, are priced from US$2.15 million and up (portferdinand.com).

Although Barbados is outside of the hurricane belt, it does have tropical storms and the occasional hurricane. The marina at Port Ferdinand is fitted with ‘wave attenuation’ that stops any wakes that might occur in a major storm. “Janet in 1955 was our last major hurricane, although Tropical Storm Tomas in 2010 caused a lot of damage,” said Nicole Gibson, sales executive at Port Ferdinand.

Another upmarket west-coast development, with a full complement of water sports activities, is St Peter’s Bay, where a palm-fringed beach features a patch where turtles spawn. Three-bedroom/bathroom apartments of 270 sq m cost US$1.89 to US$2.65 million (£1.32 – £1.85 million) – seestpetersbaybarbados.com for information.

In between prime coastal and more affordable hinterland properties, there are price variations throughout the island that mean there is something for everyone. At one end is the US$124 million (£87 million) palatial residence Palazzate (telephone +1 246 262 8112). At the other, a limited annual use freehold fractional ownership property at the Royal Westmoreland Golf Resort (www.royalwestmoreland.com) costs US$53,600 (£37,500).

Palazzate, a 75,000 sq ft villa has 20 bedrooms and five pools near Speightstown in Barbados

Whatever the price, there are no restrictions on the foreign purchase of property except that a non-Barbadian must obtain pre-purchase permission from the Central Bank of Barbados. But for a minimum property investment of US$2 million, the government introduced in 2013 a fast track residency scheme.

Global tax and immigration specialists Henley & Partners stress the importance of seeking independent legal advice for all matters relating to residency and property (see foreign.gov.bb andbusinessbarbados.com/investor-guide for information).

“That the Barbadian dollar is pegged to the US dollar is favourable news for sterling buyers as long as the pound remains strong,” observed James Burdess, head of Savills Caribbean desk.


Useful information

  1. The population of Barbados is just under 300,000.
  2. It never takes too long to get anywhere on the island. The journey from the northernmost tip to the southernmost takes about an hour by car.
  3. There are no restrictions on the purchase of property in Barbados by non-nationals and they are treated the same as locals in terms of taxation and property transaction costs.
  4. It is wise to take advice from a chartered town planner to ensure planning considerations are addressed before entering into any property contract.
  5. It is also prudent to consult a local tax advisor on matters such as whether there is a double taxation treaty between Barbados and the purchaser’s country of residence (as has been the case between Barbados and the UK since 2012.)

article By Saundra Satterlee for dailytelegraph.co.uk



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