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Latin America Investment News on Viva Tropical

What Do You Know About Belize’s Retirement Program?

Article Summary:

The Caribbean English-speaking country of Belize is seeing an increasing expat population as retired people are moving there to benefit from the nation’s retirement incentive program.

Photo Credit: Tropical Daily

Original Article Text From Expat Forum:

Retirement investment programme attracting expats to Belize

The Caribbean English speaking country of Belize is seeing an increasing expat population as retired people are moving there from Europe to benefit from an incentive programme, it is claimed. Only a few years ago the number of foreign retirees living in Belize amounted to a few dozen but now there is an expanding community of expats attracted by the Retired Persons Incentive Programme.

They are also attracted by the location and lifestyle which includes the Belize Barrier Reef, the world’s second largest, nature and water sports. The country is bordered to the north by Mexico, to the west and south by Guatemala and to the east by the Caribbean and the country considers itself to be both Caribbean and Central American. According to Luke Smith, managing director of Crystal Investment and Real Estate, the Retired Persons Incentive Programme permits people to live tax free. To qualify the individual can come from any country, must have a minimum age of 45 and should have a qualifying non-Belizean based income of a minimum US$2,000 US per month.

‘The tourism, agriculture and construction sectors are progressing rapidly in Belize. Among Central American countries it has the largest foreign population who enjoy a low cost of living. Water, electric, telephone and local goods are inexpensive, however imported goods are costly,’ said Smith.

Quote from ExpatForum.com : “Currently living in U.S. Seriously considering moving to Belize. Anyone with words of wisdom or advice? Any would be appreciated.”

He added that real estate is very affordable too. It is difficult to say how much house prices have changed in Belize recently, as there are no official house price figures. They declined by as much as 25% to 30% after the global economic crisis in 2008, according to Michel Chebat of local firm Chebat & Company. He said that the real estate market saw significant improvement in 2012 after slow sales in 2010 and 2011 as a continued reaction to the financial situation in the US. Despite problems selling their homes in the US, Americans found ways of purchasing property in Belize. This trend is continuing in 2013.

‘In Belize, there are two prices for everything, the local price and the rich foreigner price. Since the majority of properties for sale are not advertised, the best way to get a feel of the difference between the Belizean price and the non-Belizean price is to travel to the country and spend time there,’ said Smith.

He gives, as an example, plots of land at The Palms at Corozal, in Northern Belize some nine miles from the Mexican border starting at $15,000 which are minutes from the sea. ‘The Palms offers the opportunity to buy and own real estate in a prime Caribbean location, with land plots from plots of between a quarter and a third of an acre and the ROI is between 25 to 30% due to capital appreciation of land values,’ explained Smith.

He added that there are tax and residency breaks to foreigners with the status of a Qualified Retired Person (QRP). These include being exempted from all taxes on income and receipts and from all import duties and taxes on personal and household effects upon first importation into Belize up to a maximum value of US$15,000. It also means that people can conduct business within Belize if their business activities are mainly outside the country, and not with Belizeans. QRPs can also own rental properties.

Link to Original Article:

From Expat Forum

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