Buying a piece of paradise

Today's economic state may mean buying a dream home in a sunny tropical paradise may be more affordable… but it's still not cheap…

Property prices on the more popular and developed islands reach over one million US dollars for a house and lot near the beach.

In its latest survey of Caribbean property prices, the Global Property Guide reports that prices in highly-developed areas such as Bermuda and Bahamas exceed £4,800 per square metre.

Coastal properties in Barbados are also expensive, at around £4,600 per square metre, while in the British Virgin Islands (BVI) and the US Virgin Islands (USVI), real estate prices are around £3,400 per square metre.

Allen Chastanet, Minister for Tourism in St Lucia says, "Property prices have remained robust throughout the financial crisis."

The cheapest Caribbean properties are found in Jamaica, Aruba and Dominican Republic, with prices ranging from £890 per square metre to £1,030 per square metre for houses near the beach.

Despite these high prices, Caribbean properties are now considerably cheaper than coastal properties in Mediterranean Europe. Apartment prices in Barcelona are around £6,800 per square metre – more than twice the price of apartments in Bahamas or Cayman Islands.

Relatively new features in the Caribbean property market, apartments in Jamaica and Aruba are among the least expensive in the Caribbean at around £1,030 per square metre.

It should be noted, however that some islands impose restrictions on foreigners intending to purchase properties. Licenses are required and this adds to the overall purchase cost.