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Jamaica Real Estate & Property Investments in Jamaica

Why Jamaica Real Estate?

Real estate in Jamaica is very attractively priced compared to property in the rest of the Caribbean region, and as the nation works hard to improve its global image and economic position, investors who buy now could profit exceptionally well over the medium to longer-term.

  • International buyers are permitted to own free title to real estate in Jamaica.
  • Jamaica has a developing economy, and whilst it remains so, its real estate sector will fail to reach its realistic potential.
  • This means the property market is of worthy consideration by investors willing to accept the risk for the potential of strong returns in the future.
  • The Jamaican government is being encouraged and supported to transition to achieve fiscal discipline.
  • The nation faces the dual challenges of maintaining debt payments while simultaneously attacking crime, which naturally hampers international investment and economic growth.
  • High unemployment is an issue: it can exacerbate crime and in turn discourage tourism and investment.
  • Investors need to be reassured that there is national commitment at the highest level to address Jamaica’s challenges, and that the nation has international support towards achieving its desirous status.
  • As in many Caribbean markets the tourism sector drives the real estate sector in Jamaica.
  • Furthermore the tourism sector is critical to the ongoing positive development of the nation’s economy.
  • According to the World Travel & Tourism Council direct contribution of tourism to Jamaica’s GDP is expected to grow by 4.7% pa to JMD178.7bn (10.8% of GDP) by 2024.
  • This bodes very well for the long-term evolution of a successful property market: however investors making a commitment to Jamaica today are buying in to an immature sector.
  • Buyers need to weigh up the risks and potential rewards before making a commitment: but as Jamaica is a Caribbean nation with the natural beauty and climatic appeal synonymous with the region, there are many reasons to consider Jamaica particularly as it is relatively low priced for the Caribbean.

Property Investments, Taxes and Doing Business in Jamaica

Please contact us for prices of real estate for sale in Jamaica, as well as current rental rates.

  • Foreign buyers are unrestricted from owning free title to land and real estate in Jamaica.
  • It is critical to employ the services of an independent lawyer to assist with the smooth transition of the transaction.
  • Prices for real estate vary dramatically across the nation.  An investor is well advised to spend some time getting to know Jamaica and where it is advisable to purchase.
  • Associated purchasing fees in Jamaica are high: round trip transaction costs are between 15 and 21%.
  • A buyer pays between 4 and 5.5%: a vendor is responsible for the remainder including a 4% transfer tax and realtor’s fees of between 3 and 5%.
  • Sometimes a realtor’s fees are passed to the purchaser.  It’s critical to negotiate this before committing to buy.
  • Monies to be remitted from overseas to purchase property have to have approval from the Bank of Jamaica.
  • Additionally it is necessary to have the consent of the Exchange Control Department of the Bank of Jamaica prior to engaging in purchase agreements.
  • A buyer’s legal representative will assist with this.  Furthermore they will be responsible for ensuring clear title to real estate.
  • It is not unusual to pay for a property in stages.
  • Taxes are moderate in Jamaica.  For a non-resident investor renting real estate they will be subject to a 25% rental income tax against which the likes of property taxes, maintenance costs, interest payments, and depreciation are all deductible.
  • Residents are taxed at a flat rate of 25% on their worldwide income.
  • There is no capital gains tax.  There is stamp duty – and a transfer tax of 7.5% is levied on real estate transferred for inheritance purposes.
  • Legally speaking the rental laws appear to be pro tenant, but in reality landlords achieve the upper hand.

Jamaica Property Investment Visa

  • Buyers of real estate do not require a visa to purchase.
  • British and US nationals don’t need a visa to visit Jamaica.
  • Visitors are usually granted entry for a maximum of 90 or 180 days; those who wish to extend their stay beyond this date need to apply to the Jamaican Passport, Immigration and Citizenship Agency.  Overstaying without the proper authority can result in detention and/or a fine.
  • Those who wish to work in Jamaica require a work permit and potentially a business visa.  The former is obtainable in advance from the Ministry of Labour and Social Security; the latter can only be obtained after acquisition of a work permit.
  • Foreign investors, those employed in Jamaica for an unbroken minimum period of five years, and retired persons who have lived in Jamaica for over three years can apply for permanent residency.
  • An application is made to the Chief Immigration Officer in the form of a letter detailing why permanent residence is being sought.  Processing can take 6 months; it will be a requirement to prove solvent financial status.

[Source: Jamaica Information Service Government Website]

Areas of Interest for Jamaica Real Estate Investors:

As stated above, it is critical that any buyer looks closely at the market in Jamaica before committing to purchase.  There are areas of the nation that are more or less appealing from an investment, tourism and even safety perspective.

As the third largest island in the Caribbean there is plenty of choice in terms of location, real estate and even investment approach.

Most investors currently target the tourism rental market; there are also development opportunities available.

Montego Bay: this is the second largest city in Jamaica and the capital of the parish of St. James. It’s a stunning tourism destination, benefitting from beautiful beaches and a low mountain range which acts as a backdrop to the fabulous city. MoBay has duty-free shopping, a cruise line terminal, and all the amenities and facilities you could possibly want from a Caribbean destination.

The higher-end real estate is located east of Montego Bay proper in Ironshore or Rose Hall where the beaches are picture perfect and the leisure facilities are exceptional.

Negril: located on the western tip of the island of Jamaica is the sprawling resort of Negril which is spread along the famous seven mile beach. The resort is famous for its water sports and absolutely stunning scenery, which includes seven miles of coral cliffs. Very well known for its laid back way of life anyway, Jamaica’s resort of Negril is one of the most relaxed and relaxing havens on the island. The charm of the resort and its stunning beauty mean it enjoys one of the highest levels of repeat tourism in the Caribbean – no mean feat.

The real estate offering is gradually improving in terms of quality and appeal; investors can successfully target the strong tourism market.

[Sources: For more information Jamaica Wikipedia]

What to do next if you are interested in Jamaica Real Estate

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