Top 5 Caribbean Islands for Real Estate Investment

Top 5 Caribbean Islands for Real Estate Investment

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Nuwire Investor spotlights five locations worth investigating for overseas property investments in the Caribbean:

  • Trinidad & Tobago,
  • Aruba,
  • The Dominican Republic,
  • Bonaire & Curacao,
  • Roatan (Honduras) and The Corn Islands (Nicaragua)

The article pays particular attention to levels of prosperity and crime and whether or not locations are inside or outside the hurricane belt (Aruba, Bonaire & Curacao, Trinidad & Tobago).

Corn Island Islas del Maiz
Corn Island Islas del Maiz [photo credit to mixedeyes]

These locations vary greatly, not least in size. The Corn Islands (Islas del Maiz), the first of the four we shall look at in more detail, have combined area of 13 square kilometres and a population of 8,000 people compared to the Dominican Republic’s 49,000 square kilometres (slightly larger than Denmark). Although the Corn Islands have undoubted attractions as holiday destinations, it seems that their size is going to limit marketability for serious property investment. Put simply, there aren’t miles and miles of beaches ‘like the one in the picture’. In their favour are a recent reduction in the crime rate and the direct air service from Managua to Great Corn.

The tranquility of the Island of Roatan, Honduras
The tranquility of the island of Roatan, Honduras [Photo credits VideoVik]

Roatan is the largest of Honduras’s Islas de la Bahia islands (which include Utila and Guanaja) is a different proposition. The island has a permanent population of 30,000 but welcomes as many as eight times as many tourist visitors each year. The island is 50 km in length, has an area of about 100 square kilometres and is close to the world’s second largest coral reef. The island has a fully fledged real estate market with properties ranging from modest to extremely luxurious. Investors need to check on hurricane withstanding capability. The island is served by regular flights from San Pedro Sula and Tegucigalpa and a ferry service from La Ceiba. Honduras seems to have an extremely open policy towards foreign direct investment but Roatan is suffering the effects of pollution arising from inadequate sewage and water treatment facilities.

Tobago Cays Beach
Beach on the Tobago Cays [Photo credits to Mjr.Phule]

Trinidad & Tobago with an area of about 4,800 square kilometres and a population of 1.3 million is one of the world’s growth hot spots currently with GDP growing at 12%. However, inflation (8%) and interest rates (11.75%) are high. The government website provides useful information for those considering property investment in the country. As the Caribbean’s biggest oil producer and the links with other parts of the world, Trinidad and Tobago have extra property market strengths in addition to the tourism industry. Rental yields are good, around 4 to 6% in Trinidad and upwards of 10% on Tobago (which is more dependent on tourism. Licensing requirements have recently been introduced for foreign property investors on Tobago.

Beach at Divi Aruba Beach Resort
Beach at Divi Aruba Beach Resort [photo credits to Travelling Pooh]

Finally, the a-typical Caribbean island of Aruba, an overseas territory of the Netherlands, which has an area of 193 sq km.. Like Trinidad (and Curacao and Bonaire) Aruba is close to the coast of Venezuela and also has important oil reserves. Unlike almost everywhere else in the Caribbean, the island has a very dry climate. The island is prosperous, law abiding and heavily dependent on tourism. Inflation at 4.7% is quite high. The island has well developed property and holiday rental markets. The local currency is tied to the US dollar and there is a good range of property at reasonable prices for those converting from sterling or euros. Despite the proximity of Venezuela and the Lesser Antilles, there are no scheduled ferry services. Several US and European cities (Gatwick & Heathrow included) have direct connections to Queen Beatrix airport at Oranjestad.