Monday, Dec. 3, 2007
Tourism in Belize is up. Cruise ship tourism is way up (300% in five years). If these figures are any indication, this tiny tropical paradise could be on its way to becoming the next hot destination for explorers, expats, retirees, and investors.
From its Caribbean shores to its jungle interior, Belize has great natural beauty–blue water, deserted beaches, and inland retreats, where you can explore Mayan ruins, tall waterfalls, rainforests, and rivers. Until recently, Belize was rarely mentioned in the international media…but the European press is starting to take note.
Europeans don’t much visit Belize…but this is set to change.
The government of this tiny English-speaking Caribbean haven is actively encouraging more tourists and there are rumors that direct flights from Europe and Canada will connect to Belize City by late 2008 (right now Europeans and Canadians must fly via the States). With these new flights, little Belize will be opened up to a whole new type of real estate buyer–the European.
Europeans, especially the Irish and the Brits, like to invest in overseas real estate–a trend that has increased over the past 10 years. Europe’s largest low-cost airline, Ryanair, has expanded its European routes every year since its inception in 1985. Ryanair operates 516 routes across 26 countries from 23 bases. Wherever Ryanair flies, the Irish and Brits have been following.
Vacationers find a new destination and decide it would be a great place for a vacation home. With the influx of this foreign demand, prices subsequently take off. This is what’s known as “The Ryanair effect,” and real estate markets all over Europe have already experienced this.
But what if the Brits, Irish, and other Europeans now want to expand their real estate portfolios beyond European borders? We think they’ll head to the Americas, and drive up prices in places like Belize. Property prices in Belize are still reasonable.
Right now you can buy a one-bedroom apartment for $79,000…or a three-bedroom house on 11 acres for $154,900. It’s not too late to position yourself in this market…but you need to act quickly, before the Europeans catch on.
Don Ediger makes his full recommendation on how to best position yourself in Belize, starting on page 24 of the December issue of International Living , out now. If you’re not yet a subscriber to IL, join now and get instant access to Don’s article.
Managing Editor, International Living