“Baby boomers are looking for a place where prices are affordable and they can feel comfortable and safe,” says Dayan. “Over the next 10 years, Belize is going to have a huge capital gain as a result of more people entering and leaving the market.”
No Canadian investor is an island, but several have been looking to the Cayman Islands. There are plenty of properties in this region that are sure to keep portfolios afloat with steady profits.
Canadian buyers looking to expand into international markets will find that there is far more to the Cayman Islands than waterskiing, tanning, and the vacation lifestyle. The British colony’s property inventory is affordably priced, leading to increased business from foreign buyers.
Economic forecasts are favourable for the Cayman Islands, with the GDP expected to increase 1.8 per cent this year and by another 2.3 per cent the following year, according to the IMF. Analysis from TradingEconomics. com is even more optimistic, with growth of 3.44 per cent and 3.53, respectively.
“The Cayman Islands are not overpriced like some countries where they saw 60 to 80 per cent (fall) off their prices,” explains Heidi Kiss, broker and owner of Capital Realty in Grand Cayman. “We have slow and steady gains year after year.”
The Cayman Islands’ rules for international transactions are relatively relaxed, which has attracted more foreign business to the country. “There are no restrictions on foreign ownership, (and) the Cayman Islands (government) encourages foreign investment,” Kiss says. “The title can go into your own personal name or company name.”
Also comprehensive is how the colony’s government deals with land purchased for development. “We have a very sophisticated lands and survey system where the Cayman Islands government guarantees titles,” says Kiss. “So there are no worries that someone will come along and take back your property.”
George Town, the colony’s capital and largest metropolitan centre, is among its best markets. The properties in this market are generally affordable, and provide good rental returns.
“A two-bedroom condo generally sells for $350,000,” Kiss says. “You can rent them out for $2,500 net, and you can earn a 7 per cent ROI from them over time.”
As many Cayman Islanders are on short-term work permits, they prefer to rent. “We have a work force consisting of people who are here on two to three year work permits,” she says. “This means that they usually rent a condo or home for anywhere between $3,000 and $5,000 a month.”
While other countries in the Caribbean region have strict rules for foreign transactions, Canadians find that the rules in the Cayman Islands actually work to their advantage. “There is no income tax, property tax, or capital gain tax on any properties,” says Kiss. “Additionally, there are no onerous landlord legislations.”
The Cayman Islands did not become a real estate hotbed overnight. It took several years for the colony’s markets to reach their current state. Kiss chalks this up to the stability of the market.
“There are no surprises here, just consistent income,” she says. “We have a small population of slightly over 50,000, (and) about half of those are foreigners on work permits or retirees from all over the world.”
The Cayman Islands are primed to continue their steady growth. As the colony’s employment market grows, the demand for new housing will naturally grow alongside it.
“We have been seeing a few very large projects across the country, and employment is on the rise,” says Kiss. “So there is a definite need for more housing.
“The Cayman Islands only started to be developed in the late 70s, so there are is a lot more land to develop,” says Kiss. “The infrastructure of roads, power and reverse osmosis water treatment, along with many upscale buildings, proves that there is a huge upside still to investing in Cayman.”
Riches in Costa Rica
As one of the most economically and politically stable countries in Latin America, Costa Rica is viewed as a safe bet. We examine why now is the best time to get a slice of the action.
From its political to natural landscape, there are many reasons why Costa Rica is viewed by investors as one of the safest emerging markets to expand their real estate portfolio.
Its exports remain strong, tourism numbers are at record levels while the country has one of the highest levels of foreign direct investment per capita in Latin America. Historically, Costa Rica has been a profitable real estate investment with 15-20 per cent returns recorded year-on-year from 2000 to 2008. The financial crisis did have an impact on the market, but prices have stabilized in recent years.