With its vibrant flora, crystal clear waters and laid back lifestyle, who wouldn’t want to live in Antigua and Barbuda? Locals call it the land of 365 beaches, saying that there’s a beach for every day of the year. The islands have become increasingly popular amongst both tourists and elopers. But what if you like the island so much, you want your visit to last longer than just your honeymoon?
Finding a property in Antigua and Barbuda
The process of moving to Antigua and Barbuda can be relatively simple, but first you need to find a property that you like enough to want to live in. There are numerous ways you can search for a property in Antigua and Barbuda. First and foremost, we recommend using a local real estate agent.
Real estate agents will know the local areas, will be able to help you narrow down your search, and will know whether a property is listed above or below market price. If you’re looking to rent, they’ll also be able to help you with arranging the paperwork, such as your rental agreement.
There are numerous estate agents available in Antigua and Barbuda, many of whom have their own websites, which often include up-to-date property listings. For example:
• ACME Real Estate
• Stanley's Estate Agents
• Richard Watson and Company
• Paradise Properties
• One Caribbean Estates
• Island Living
• Blue Palm Real Estate
• Luxury Locations
How much does property cost in Antigua and Barbuda?
Property prices in Antigua and Barbuda can be pretty high. This is down to the amount of demand from the booming tourism industry, and to the size of the islands – only so many properties can be built on them. Plus, there isn’t a way to compare or assess property prices, or whether they’re reasonable, because there isn’t a public central repository of property data. Therefore, when it comes to prices in Antigua and Barbuda, you have to pay what you feel the property is worth.
Antigua and Barbuda is an island nation. The island of Antigua is divided into six parishes: St George, St John, St Mary, St Peter, St Paul, and St Philip. Barbuda island and Rodonda island are called dependencies.
There isn’t a specific area that houses the expat community on Antigua and Barbuda. Instead, you’ll find that the most popular places for foreign nationals to reside are as follows:
Falmouth and the English Harbour are the most popular places in this area and, whilst property prices can fluctuate, you can expect to pay the following:
For rentals: between $900 and $1300 per month for a two-bedroom apartment, or between $2,000 and $5,000 per month for a three-bedroom house.
For purchases: between $365,000 and $700,000 for a two-bedroom property.
Jolly Harbour and Fryes Beach are the most popular places in this area and, whilst property prices can fluctuate, you can expect to pay the following:
For rentals: between $1,500 and $2,000 per month for a two-bedroom apartment, or between $1,500 and $3,000 per month for a two-bedroom house.
For purchases: between $240,000 and $800,000 for a three-bedroom property.
Half Moon Bay and Browns Bay are the most popular places in this area and, whilst property prices can fluctuate, you can expect to pay the following:
For rentals: between $7,000 and $10,000 per month for a four- to six-bedroom house.
For purchases: between $700,000 and $2,000,000 for a four-bedroom property.
Cedar Valley, Hodges Bay and Galley Bay are the most popular places in this area and, whilst property prices can fluctuate, you can expect to pay the following:
For rentals: between $1,000 and $3,000 per month for a two-bedroom apartment, or between $2,000 and $5,000 per month for a three-bedroom house.
For purchases: between $450,000 and $900,000 for a three-bedroom property.
Renting property in Antigua and Barbuda
Once you have found a property you like, you’ll need to complete some paperwork. Due to the nature of the tourism industry, you may find that properties have flexible rental terms, and so there are numerous things you should find out from your letting agent, before you sign on the dotted line. For example:
• Does the property operate with weekly or monthly pricing?
• When is rent due and who is it payable to?
• Does the rent include the cost of maintenance, such as cleaning or gardening?
• Who is responsible for the payment of utilities?
• What is your notice period?
You’ll also want to discover how much is due as a security deposit. Typically this will be priced between one and three months’ rent for long-term stays.
Buying property in Antigua and Barbuda
There are no limitations on foreign residents buying property in Antigua and Barbuda, but you must follow a different process to the one for renting. If you’re investing over $400,000 and are not planning to sell the property (once you’ve bought it) for five years, you may be eligible for the citizen by investment programme. However, this programme requires a large investment (the property cost, plus $30,000 in fees for a family of four or less). As a result, it isn’t always the most suitable option.
As a foreign national, you may be able to get a mortgage, but these are often hard to obtain, and so it may be a more suitable option to get one from an overseas lender. If you’re looking into mortgage options, we recommend you get advice on whether you pre-qualify, and how much for, before you begin your property search.
Once you’ve secured your funds and have found a property you’re interested in purchasing, it’s time to make an offer. From there, you’ll need to apply for a Non-citizens Landholding License. The Alien Landholding License (ALHL) can take around four months to be approved, and it will cost you 5% of the property’s sale price.
Once you’ve got your license, it’s smooth sailing, and you’ll simply need to action your attorney and pay the required taxes. It’s important to note that there may be additional fees, including:
• Stamp duty: 10% of the property’s value (7.5% of this is paid by the seller, and the remaining 2.5% is paid by the buyer)
• Legal fees: these are negotiable, but will often set you back around 1% to 2% of the property price; in addition, there are assorted fees, such as the registration costs for the ECD20 and the ECD50 Land Certificate fee
• Estate agent commission: this fee will vary depending upon who your realtor is, but typical prices for this range from 4% to 7% of the property cost