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Nobody I know has a crystal ball showing the future of our real estate market, but it never hurts to take stock of current trends. With these items in mind, we can make a few future projections and better informed decisions about our own investments. Here are some general observations on some new and emerging market areas and how you can capitalize on them. The rental market is obviously a growing one. When St. Matthews arrived, San Pedro's inventory of nice apartments was very quickly rented. Knowing the school's plans for growth, we can anticipate a steady and reliable demand for rental housing of good quality and located within easy distance of the school.

A second part of the rental market is emerging. This is a group of people who are retired, or semi retired, and who want to spend 4-6 months in San Pedro each year. They tend to want something on the beach, with two bedrooms so their kids can come and visit. They can't spend a lot of money, but they are reliable and take good care of the property. These folks are mostly from North America, and are taking advantage of strong economies in their areas. Many are selling their small businesses and taking early retirement. They tend to be in the 45-55 age range. This part of the rental market is growing and will most likely continue to do so for some time.

The next part of our future market is more upscale. These are people from all over the world who want to have a vacation house on the beach in the Caribbean. They are discovering Belize, and like what it has to offer. They want houses, and are willing to pay the price for top quality. Most will not be renting their homes out when they are not here, so they pose no competition to the local hotel industry. When they buy homes or land they generally pay all-cash and pay a fair price for what they buy. Some of these people don't really want to manage their own homes from afar, so a managed home community is an exciting new approach to consider. For those who want to build their dream home, a large high quality lot is a must. Many buyers are asking for parcels of land with at least 200 feet of sea frontage.

The good news for San Pedro is that these areas of the real estate market produce good returns for San Pedro as a whole. Every segment of the local business community benefits. Greater community affluence brings with it an increase in real estate values for everyone.

How can you benefit from knowing these trends? First, if you own land that is suitable for rental housing, consider building - BUT be sure to check with the rental agencies to see what the tenants are looking for. "Build to suit the market". Second, if you own a large parcel of land and are thinking of subdividing it, don't make it into small lots. Make the lots large and don't be afraid to charge the price you want. Then clean up the land a bit and don't let the palm trees die. Third, if you are considering building condos, maybe think about homes instead. San Pedro has some wonderful condominium developments already - why dilute that particular market when there may be an untapped one waiting for you?

Lastly - something we all need to think about. Ambergris Caye is beautiful. Keep it that way. Pick up garbage wherever you see it. Plant flowers. Don't pollute. And decorate your face with a smile every morning! Belize it or not, that is the way to keep our market healthy, wealthy and wise.

Thanks for reading
......... Diane Campbell

IF YOU WOULD LIKE MORE INFORMATION on buying property in Belize, or to contact Diane or her husband Bob Campbell, click here.

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