Appreciation of Belize Real Estate in 2020
I want to start off this post with a quote;
“Never Waste a Good Crises”
Over the last ten years, the typical land parcel in Ambergris Caye has appreciated by approximately 850% in value. This is no exaggeration. In fact, it’s not uncommon to hear a local resident remark about the days when you could buy an acre of land for around $4,500USD, which would roughly equate to the cost of a golf cart in today’s market. (Golf carts are the preferred mode of transportation for residents.) Now, a typical serviced lot in Ambergris Caye sells for roughly $64,000.00 USD on average.
The biggest difference between now and ten years ago, is that ten years ago we did not have any of the clues that we have now to project future growth in the real estate market. Based on everything that we know today, it’s a near certainty that ten years from now people will look back on today’s market and wish they had invested today. Year by year, we have consistently seen growth and appreciation in a market where the land supply is limited, and there has been a constant influx of baby boomers, tourists, expats, and retirees.
That is until the emergence of COVID-19 in March of 2020. For the first time in the history of Belize, there has been a mandatory and temporary halt in tourism and travel in and out of the Country. The result of this is that many who had been employed in the tourism and travel industry have found themselves temporarily out of work. Because of this temporary ban on travel, we are now beginning to see deals in the market that we have not seen for years.
Regardless of what is happening with the current travel restrictions, the reality is that there are still just as many baby boomers retiring each day, and a percentage of those retirees will choose to relocate to Belize, as it is the only English Speaking Country in Central America with full foreign ownership rights. COVID-19 is not going to change that. In fact, the RE/MAX Belize team has reported a sharp increase in inquiries from foreigners who were on the verge of retiring, and now because of COVID-19, have decided that now is the time to finally pull the trigger and make their retirement dreams a reality while the world economy is on pause.
This is what really drives the real estate market Ambergris Caye. Every time a retiree or expat moves to Ambergris Caye and purchases a property that was previously in the rental market, this property is removed from the rental market, driving the average nightly rental rate upwards. As a result of this, the average nightly rental rate in Ambergris Caye is much higher than the vast majority of other markets in Central America.
So we find ourselves in a very unique situation, where on one hand there are property Owners willing to dispose of real estate at a significant discount in order to cover their short term expenses. That being said there is no reason to assume that, in the long run, Belize will cease to be a destination for tourists, expats, and retirees. In fact, of all Countries on the American Continent, Belize was the very last to confirm a case of COVID-19, and remains one of the least affected countries in the region.
This crisis will pass, and the window of opportunity to secure a property at a discount will close as soon as travel resumes. Thousands of individuals and families had been planning trips to Belize, and those trips have been put on temporary hold due to the current restrictions of travel. Those individuals and families are now counting down the days until they can safely leave their confined spaces, and enjoy the beautiful beaches, year-round perfect weather, laid back lifestyle, and freedom of Belize.