Click here to go back to News and Q & A Page

Retirement Legislation
The Effect on Real Estate

Recently Government passed special legislation that is designed to make it attractive for non-Belizean retirees to move to, and live in Belize. It is hoped that the presence of these retirees will result in more money going into our day to day economy and create more jobs in the private sector. According to some international attorneys, Belize now has the most progressive and "user friendly" retirement residency legislation in the world.  

    How does this legislation affect us in San Pedro? What will be the effect on real estate values, trends and development? The first thing we will see is probably a little increase in tourism overall, as people with foreign-destination retirement in mind come to explore Belize - and as tourism becomes stronger, property values go up. Secondly, when and if these retirees decide to come here and live, there will be an additional increase in property values due to scarcity and due to an overall strengthening of our local economy. 

    San Pedro is already the preferred residential destination for foreign retirees. Retirees tend to be older people with concerns for the "second half" of their lives. If we are to benefit from this event, then we must continue to be the best place in Belize for these folks to live. Just because retirees have chosen to be here in the past does not mean they will automatically choose to be here in future. This new legislation may bring to us a slightly different resident profile, and we need to be aware of that. If we are to capitalize on this immigration trend then we must understand what these people want, and then we must be conscious of providing it. Another benefit of providing the things retirees want is that these are things we ALL want...comfortable, safe and affordable lives. 

    The most consistent and important issues for immigrant retirees are COST OF LIVING and HEALTH CARE. The location that can provide the "best deal" in these areas is the location that will end up benefiting the most from this legislation.

    COST OF LIVING - The legislation allows for a retired individual to be granted retirement residency if she/he can show an income from a fixed out of country source of $2,000US per month. Most of the retirees applying under this legislation are anticipated to be North Americans. Most North Americans have been taught that housing costs should be about 25% of their net income. If these retirees arrive with the intent to rent, then that means a single person will likely want to spend no more than $500US/$1,000BZ per month in rent. Remember they will still have water, power and phone to pay for beyond that target rental amount. If Belize is your year-round home, this sounds like a pretty high income for one person to live on every month - but these retirees are going to have different priorities and we have to keep them in mind. The biggest "different" expense item is travel. Most of these folks will make fairly frequent trips "home". Think back to the last time you bought a plane ticket to Chicago, rented a car, etc.  Suddenly your budget has a great big hole in it. So we must remember these are not "rich gringos" - they are people with enough to live very comfortably, but they are people who will look hard for a bargain and true value when they spend. These folks will be looking for rental housing that is different from the kind that students and workers will find appropriate. The retiree isáretired. That means they have no job to go to every day, and that "being home" needs to be a spacious and pleasant experience. They will want room to "putter", room to lay about outside and more than anything, they will want a view of the sea or lagoon.  Being older, they will probably find air conditioning important too - not because they cannot live without it, but because they are most likely used to it.

    COST OF LIVING - here is what it means to you as a property owner and potential property developer looking to provide housing for this group or individual. Apartments or cottages with water view, courtyards or gardens, air conditioning, television, telephone and a quiet location (no adjacent sources of loud noises), are the ones that they will ask for. The easier the access to town for these folks the better too.  Andáin almost every case they will want, if they can find it, two bedrooms - one for themselves and one for "the grandkids to visit."  Can you build to suit this profile? Sure you can. Think it over - perhaps this is your next real estate opportunity.

    HEALTH CARE is a very serious concern for the immigrant retiree. We have several good doctors here. We have alternative medicine available too, and of course the hyperbaric chamber. Our new hospital is a wonderful development for San Pedro. It will have a very positive impact on the health care issue hereábut we all know we have a long way to go. For the sake of good health, and consequently greater prosperity for all, we need to encourage and support continued improvement in our community's health care.

    Will this retiree legislation have as great an impact on rental housing as St. Matthews? The student at St. Matthews has to live in San Pedro if she/he wants to attend the college.  The retirees will only come if they like it here more than anyplace else.  For that reason, the answer to the question is, "It dependsá". It depends on us, San Pedro. 

    As San Pedro Town grows, provided it keeps the charm for which it is known, our prosperity should naturally grow too. There are excellent real estate opportunities waiting for the creative and well-informed person who wishes to address the needs of the retirees that this new legislation will bring to our shores. If you find a need and fill it well, the customers will come.

Thanks for reading ..... Diane Campbell

on buying property in Belize, or to contact Diane or her husband Bob Campbell, click here.

Home | Finding Property | Deeds, Titles, & Paperwork
Financing Considerations | Building in Paradise | Upkeep | Latest News

Commons Island Community History Visitor Center Goods & Services Search Messages AIM Info

Copyright by Casado Internet Group, Belize