While Belize’s real estate and housing market has been booming for the last year or so, travel trends amidst the COVID-19 pandemic have quickly shifted to “space and privacy”. According to Walter Zephirin, the managing director of 7th Heaven Properties, demand has seemingly “surged”, largely due to Belize’s low infection rate of COVID-19. Here’s how house hunting in Belize has changed, thanks to insight and statistics from the New York Times.
Over the past three or four years, interest has been fueled by more inbound flights and Belize’s popular residency program, which offers tax incentives and duty-free import of personal items. Prices also tend to be lower than in “more established destinations” such as Costa Rica, says Zephirin; beachfront luxury homes range from around $450,000 for a condo to $3 million for a house. Transactions may have fallen, but not halted entirely. Particularly, foreigners displaced in Belize amidst border closures have bought properties.
Meanwhile, Century 21 BTAL (Belize) has seen more demand for second homes during the pandemic, with email inquiries up about 30 percent in recent months. Closings for pending sales have continued as planned (though remotely), and new sales have slowed, with asking prices remaining flat, he said. Three regions — Corozal District, the Placencia Peninsula and Cayo District — have seen prices fall and demand rise, said Century 21 BTAL.
Real Estate trends during COVID-19
In the northeast, near Mexico, the town of San Pedro, on the popular island of Ambergris Caye, draws foreign investors with its “stunning Caribbean blue sea vistas, white-sand beaches and a holiday-party vibrancy,” said Amanda Syme, the owner and broker of Sunrise Realty, a San Pedro-based realty.
“We have not yet seen any discounting of properties that are listed on the market for sale. And we are receiving offers and sales from foreigners,” Syme said; adding that her company has had about a dozen ‘sight unseen’ offers and sales during the pandemic. “I literally handled three offers yesterday.”
Thanks to the foreign interest, Ambergris Caye has begun to attract new branded luxury developments from companies including Hilton and Marriott, like the Alaia Resort. In San Pedro, the average price in 2019 fell to $350,000 from about $400,000 in 2018, the result of more transactions, including for more affordable lots; shares Robert Colon, the broker and owner of RE/MAX Island Real Estate shares. When you’re ready to explore Belize’s real estate market, make sure that you have somebody that’s looking out for your best interests, that represents you; such as Vista Real Estate or Sunrise Realty.