International property news

Antigua: Antigua and Barbuda: revamped Citizenship by Investment program is luring foreign investors.

25/10/2019 20:57:56

Antigua and Barbuda's property market is thriving and construction is everywhere, thanks to increased interest from real estate developers and foreign homebuyers. That's partly because the government announced big changes to its Citizenship by Investment Program (CIP) in April 2018:

  • Joint Real Estate Investment: A Limited Time Offer (LTO) effective from May 1, 2018 to October 31, 2018 allowed two applicants to jointly purchase qualifying real estate, each applicant investing a minimum of US$200,000 (instead of the US$400,000 per applicant previously required).
  • Dependents Age Reduction: The age of parental dependents has been reduced from 65 to 58 years old. Also, the requirement for dependent children under 18 years of age to visit the nation for a minimum of 5 days in the first 5 years has been removed.
  • Removal of Due Diligence Fee: The due diligence fee of US$5,000 during the first five-year passport renewal stage has been removed.

Late last year, the government also officially reduced the National Development Fund (NDF) contribution from US$200,000 to US$100,000, effective from November 2017.

Renowned as a luxury holiday and wedding destination, Antigua and Barbuda has 365 beaches – one for every day of the year. With gorgeous views, landscape and good property values, it is an ideal location for a second home, attracting celebrities like Oprah Winfrey, Giorgio Armani, Richard Branson and Eric Clapton. It is now being promoted also for family-oriented vacations.

The opening of a US$45 million Airport Terminal at the VC Bird International Airport in 2015, and the completion of the US$15.9 million Barbuda Codrington Airport in 2017, helps make Antigua and Barbuda super-attractive both for tourism and business.

An amazing number of construction projects are underway - amazing, given that the islands' population is only 92,000. For instance, the US$1 billion Singulari development, Antigua and Barbuda's first mega-resort, is expected to create 1,000 jobs. This 1,600-acre multi-hotel, residential and commercial project is being lauded as a major feather in the country's tourism cap. Singulari spans 900 acres of land in the north of Antigua and 700 acres of tiny islands. It includes several luxury hotels, hundreds of private homes, a school, hospital, marinas, golf courses, an entertainment district, horse racing track and the Caribbean's biggest casino.

Other resort and residential development projects:

  • The Bau Panel is building around 5,000 homes across Antigua and Barbuda at a cost around US$200 million.
  • A brand Sandals Beaches Resort will be built on the Grand Pineapple Resort.
  • Sandals Resorts International (SRI) is expected to build a new 250-room hotel in Dickenson Bay, next to the Sandals Grande, and will begin building Beaches Resort this year.
  • A new residential complex with over 200 condominium units costing US$400 million is expected to open this year.
  • Sunwing Travel Group is developing a 500-room resort under the Royalton Luxury Resorts brand at Deep Bay, Antigua.
  • A high-end residential development is being built on Maiden Island.
  • A hotel resort is being built on Pelican Island.
  • Replay Resorts intends to build a five-star hotel, along with oceanfront and hillside villas, cottages and estate lots at Half-Moon Bay.
  • A new hotel resort at Long Bay is being built.
  • Yida International has started building 50 three- and four-bedroom villas on the mainland as part of the Guiana Island development project.
  • A US$250 million hotel project on Barbuda is being developed by Hollywood actor Robert De Niro.
  • South Point, a boutique hotel, is to be situated in the Falmouth Harbour.
  • There is also continued development of resort and residential tourism projects at Pearns Point Harbour Island Hodges Bay Club Morris Bay, and Tamarind Heights.
  • Massive reconstruction activity is also ongoing in the island of Barbuda after Hurricane Irma hit it in September 2017, leaving about 90% of its housing stock destroyed.

There are no official house price records in Antigua and Barbuda, and reliable information is hard to come by. But based on recent research by the Global Property Guide, not a lot has changed recently. Two-bedroom houses still average around US$350,000 while three-bedroom and up houses might cost about US$600,000.

During the boom years, house prices in Jumby Bay increased 60% to 100%, according to the Global Property Guide. However, the market was hit by the global financial crisis in 2008, halting construction of several residential developments. Tourists stayed away – and since the nation's economy is largely driven by tourism, real GDP went down and construction and foreign direct investment declined.

The twin nation's economic growth slowed to 2.8% in 2017, after GDP growing 5.3% in 2016, 4.1% in 2015, and 5.1% in 2014, according to the International Monetary Fund (IMF). The economy is expected to expand by 3.5% this year and by another 3% in 2019.