Written by Geoffrey Pidduck
Antigua is famous for its 365 white sandy beaches, crystal clear waters, sun and the constant cooling trade winds. Our tourist product is associated with guests staying in hotels, arriving on large cruise liners and or luxury yachts, and a growing sector known as Residential Tourism.
Retirement and self catering vacation properties, apartments, condominiums, attached and stand alone homes and high end luxury villas constitute this second home market. From the Mediterranean countries to Thailand, Africa, the Caribbean and North America, residential tourism is very much in demand and popular with investors and retirees alike. Antigua too is targeting this sector and attracting attention from all over the Americas and Europe due to the easy access and direct flights and of course our hillside properties with gorgeous views and many harbours and beaches offering waterfront property.
These include properties where hotels extend their rooms by offering self catering accommodation. Property owners may use the amenities of the hotel while enjoying the privacy of their own homes. Some property owners enter a rental programme when not using the property themselves. Management and maintenance services can be contracted from the hotel or these properties can have their own managers, gardeners, maids and cooks. Jolly Harbour is the largest gated community offering from one bedroom apartments to large villas at this comprehensive marina, golf and beach resort. On Long Island, Jumby Bay, A Rosewood Resort, is one of our top residential tourist products – owners or their guests can combine their vacation package to include catering in their home or at the hotel. Sugar Ridge Hotel opened in 2010. The small 32 room boutique hotel with spa, shops and restaurants is now concentrating on selling and developing its 54 fully serviced building plots. At the opening in May 2010, both the Prime Minister and the Finance Minister recognised what was achieved at Sugar Ridge, and proclaimed the Government’s support for the Residential Tourism aspect of development. Many of our second home owners prefer to live amongst the local population and have settled in all parts of the island.
THE NORTH WEST
Always popular has been the north west section of the island which includes the capital St. John’s, the Cedar Valley Golf Course and the V.C. Bird International Airport. This popular residential area includes Paradise View, McKinnon’s, BlueWaters, Hodges Bay, Cedar Valley and Coolidge. The north of the island has seen major expansion in amenities such as
the new Multiplex Cinema, two very impressive supermarkets and new malls with an excellent variety of stores and restaurants. The new state of the art Mount St. John’s Hospital, the American University of Antigua and several new private health service facilities and clinics are also important to Antiguans and of special interest to retirees, residents and visitors alike. Certainly the north west is the location of choice for many Antiguan residents, including those returning to work or retire. Antiguans living aboard are also investing in Antigua wishing to own a ‘piece of the rock’, as are ex-pats, business persons and retirees who choose the north west for their Antiguan home.
THE EAST COAST
Many residential tourists chose Antigua’s east coast. The most notable development in this regard is the Mill Reef Club, established in the late 1940s by east coast Americans. High-end villas are located on this coast, taking maximum advantage of the cooling trade winds. The south east, encompassing the historic national park of Nelson’s Dockyard and the many surrounding fortifications, is popular and growing steadily. Visitors arrive on yachts and end up making Antigua their second home. These types of people are attracted to, Non Such Bay, Half Moon Bay,St. James’s Club, English and Falmouth Harbours and Turtle Bay. Adjacent to the Antigua Yacht Club Marina is Antigua’s newest, tasteful hotel/apartment complex, South Point.
THE CARIBBEAN SIDE OR WEST COAST
In recent years, the west coast, or Caribbean side, has become the hotspot of Residential Tourism, providing the added bonus of calmer waters, sunsets and excellent boating. There is a wide selection of property both in gated communities and on the hills and beaches along the coast. Tamarind Hills is one of the newest gated communities developing a combination of up-market villas and apartments. This property straddles two of the best beaches in Antigua, Darkwood Beach and Fryes Bay. For fractional ownership Tranquility Bay offers 64 fully furnished suites on one of Antigua’s premier beaches, Jolly Beach.
THE WORLD ECONOMY
There is no better time to purchase property in Antigua and Barbuda than now, with an excellent selection of building plots, pre-built property and motivated sellers. The property market in Antigua has reacted to the effects of the world wide recession creating this opportunity, so be sure to find out what is on offer. For the best results, contact a real estate agent who can offer a full range of professional services and one stop shopping for all your real estate needs.
1. For non-citizens a licence is required to purchase property. The cost
is 5% of the value of the property.
2. For vacant land, building must be completed in compliance with the
non-citizen’s licence terms.
3. Government transfer fees to the buyer are 2.5% and to the seller is
4. Property taxes/rates are based on rental value and are reasonably set.
5. Most property is fee simple or freehold. Leaseholds are rare and usually
held by the Crown.
6. Legal cost 1% to 2% depending on the value of the transaction.
7. There is no title insurance. Properties are registered at the Land
8. Real estate agent commissions are from 5% to 7%.
9. The property management fee is usually 10%. Rental commissions
8.33% of the value of the lease.
10. Withholding taxes are 25% of net rental income for non-residents.
11. Insurance coverage is approx. 2.0% of insured risk; deductible of 2%
includes earthquakes and named storms.
12. Bank financing is available but interest rates are high by world standards.
13. Most houses are serviced by septic tank. Water cisterns are required.
14. Most properties are serviced by government electricity and water,
cable TV, telephone and broadband.
15. The Antigua & Barbuda Investment Authority offers attractive fiscal
incentives to developers.