We all want a place in the sun and if there’s azure blue water, boating and superb beaches involved we’d all be sold in a second. That’s the allure of life in the Caribbean. Now it’s just a question of where you would be scouting for your Caribbean Home between the 13 sovereign states, 17 dependent territories and languages that range from Spanish and English to French Creole and Caribbean Hindustani. The diversity extends into geography to the point that there is literally an island for everyone’s Caribbean dream.
First ask yourself what your needs and wants are. Amenities like schools, shopping, infrastructure, stability, safety, property values, stable politics, nature, activities, sports, entertainment, art, culture, cuisine and a host of other factors can play a role in your decision.
Once you’ve decided what your lifestyle and budget priorities are, you can start scouting. Keep in mind that every Caribbean country has its own logistics when it comes to purchasing real estate, mortgage lender rates, property and sales taxes so it would be prudent to do your homework, shop around, read the local online newspapers and get a feel for the local news stories.
Let’s take a quick look at the better known Caribbean Islands before we look at the Cayman Islands, one hour south of Miami, because we’re pretty sure this is where you will lay your hat, well sunhat to be precise.
Havana recently hosted the Rolling Stones in concert, a symbolic event that was part and parcel of Cuba’s relationship renewal with the USA. Cruise ships can now call into port, Cuban Americans and Americans can travel freely between the two countries but it will take several decades before Cuba may have the infrastructure and wealth to support its people and its visitors with the level of comfort, hygiene, medical services, safety, and individual home ownership, freedom of speech, technology, financial strength and basic daily needs that you may have come to expect in your own country of residence.
This gorgeous chain of 600+ islands’ is a much loved destination of tourists, cruise liners, wealthy private island owners and avid boaters. Sadly its biggest struggle is finding an effective way to deal with illegal immigrants and drug trafficking as it is virtually impossible to control the islands’ borders. The Bahamas chose independence from the Commonwealth in 1973 and today struggles with intense government corruption, a lack of basic infrastructure and an enormous gap between residents on acceptable wages and illegal immigrants that live hand to mouth yet have access to schooling and basic medical even though they do not pay taxes.
A US territory, Puerto Rico has always been an easy vacation destination for US citizens offering fantastic Latin culture, rich architectural history and music and stunning nature. Sadly the ever growing issue of pollution, corrupt politics and a looming debt crisis of $72 billion now means that the country’s citizens are facing a humanitarian crisis and a dubious future.
Known as one of the Caribbean’s most densely populated island, covering an area of only 167 sq miles, Barbados is home to over 280 000 people which is certainly a contributing reason to this island’s environmental issues. 20% off Bajans live in poverty and 10% cannot afford basic needs.
US and British Virgin Islands
This collection of islands are particularly beautiful when it comes to geography and are a favourite of sailors, island hoppers and vacationing sun seekers. The BVI has a strong emerging offshore financial industry and is tax free whereas the USVI falls under regular US taxation laws. The BVI suffers from a rather poor international reputation due to its high profile and a number of controversial cases of tax evasion and suspected money laundering coupled with unfavourable ratings by organizations like OECD. It has long attracted Chinese companies looking to incorporate offshore but the Caribbean haven is facing pressure in Hong Kong from a global push to tackle money laundering. Even though the BVI is a Caribbean tropical paradise, it still comes with pros and cons; it’s warm, beautiful, peaceful, and friendly but it’s also expensive, remote, and small.
The USVI is struggling with severe gun violence the government has been described as inept and corrupt; violent crime, despite attempts to conceal it, continues to soar regardless of the fact that it is a US territory.
The Cayman Islands has the infrastructure and wealth to support its people and its visitors with the level of comfort, hygiene, internationally acclaimed health services, safety, and individual home ownership, freedom of speech, technology and basic daily needs quite like no other Caribbean country. All this and it’s tax free, no income tax, no sales tax, no inheritance tax, no corporate gains tax and only a one time Cayman Property tax upon purchase. As a proud protectorate of the UK, Cayman practices strict border control, all expatriate workers must be employed under a work permit and be given health and pension benefits. Drug trafficking is actively controlled, all islands are kept clean and all roads, buildings and cultural heritage is passionately cared for by the National Trust. As a protectorate of the UK, the Cayman Islands is overseen by an UK Governor. As the 5th largest offshore financial centre in the world where 67% of the GDP is generated by said industry Cayman practices strong anti-money laundering ethics and zero tolerance for financial fraud.
At just over 75 sq miles Grand Cayman is the biggest of the 3 islands. In contrast Little Cayman plays home to around 200 people. With enough space for its 58 000 residents the Cayman Islands can still provide you with your much deserved peace and quiet whilst offering the choice of private school education, health care services from a private and public hospital and above all a place to call your Cayman home. Cayman Residential Property choices are vast and suits every lifestyle and budget. When you are considering buying a house in Cayman, it’s beneficial to use CIREBA, the Cayman Islands’ only multiple listing system means you have the ease and simplicity of working with one agent who has access to all Cayman condos and Cayman homes that have been listed on the MLS by all Cayman real estate agents and brokers. All things considered, investing in a house in Cayman will be one of the safest investments you could possibly add to your portfolio.