Barbados Property Buying Guide
Butterfly Residential specialises in luxury property for sale and rent from all areas of Barbados. This guide is intended to provide you with an introduction to the various areas of the Barbados real estate market. Contact us with any other questions or to begin a bespoke search for your perfect property.
Where are the best places to invest in real estate in Barbados?
The true essence of Barbados living is found in and around the West Coast. Here you will find the best Caribbean beaches, lined with palm and pine trees, with an interesting combination of luxury villas and traditional small wooden “chattel houses”.
The West Coast is also where you can find the island’s principal towns (after the capital Bridgetown), so in terms of location you are never far from shops, bars, restaurants and local amenities.
St James on the West Coast, otherwise known as the “Platinum Coast” is one of the most prestigious and popular luxury real estate locations in Barbados and the world.
The highly luxurious Sandy Lane is one of the top choices for those who require the utmost seclusion, luxury and quality. Beautiful beachside villas and intimate luxury beachfront apartments provide the best of the Barbados lifestyle.
Slightly more affordable, but still with a sea view, is Royal Westmoreland. Until recently it was purely reserved for those wealthy client who could afford to buy a plot and build their dream property. The Royal Westmoreland has in the past attracted celebrity sports professionals including the Rooneys and Joe Calzaghe. The resort now has a selection of luxury apartments which are more affordable.
The South Coast has a very different feel. While the Platinum Coast is famed for its opulence and celebrities, the South Coast attracts the younger, party crowd. Full of bars, nightclubs and restaurants, especially at St. Lawrence Gap, the streets are lively day and night. A mixture of the Caribbean and Atlantic, the South Coast offers a great combination of lively waves, beautiful white beaches and stunning reefs.
In the north-west of the island, Speightstown has always been a place with great untapped potential and following the global crisis, foreign investment is again starting to appear with new residential developments offering luxury apartments to foreign buyers, including outstanding beachfront apartments.
The wild, protected East Coast, with its crashing Atlantic waves, long, empty beaches and rugged beauty, is more akin to Cornwall or New Zealand and offers little in the way of property for home buyers.
How easy it for foreign buyers to purchase property in Barbados?
There are no restrictions on foreign buyers acquiring real estate in Barbados. All non-residents must obtain permission from the Barbados Exchange Control Authority prior to purchasing a property.
As in anywhere, the first step is finding a Barbadian lawyer (see more information on Butterfly Residential’s recommended law firms) before you start searching for property. When you have found the perfect property for you, your lawyer will receive an Agreement for Sale from the seller's lawyer. If this is in order, you'll pay a 10 per cent deposit into an escrow account and sign a binding contract.
After your lawyer has conducted all necessary searches, generally taking around three months, title is transferred by the Conveyance, the balance of the money is paid and the property is yours. You do not need to be in Barbados throughout the sale process.
What are the buying costs for property in Barbados?
In Barbados the seller is required to pay a transfer tax of 2.5% and stamp duty of 1%. Both buyer and seller are responsible for their own legal fees which typically amount to approximately 1.5%.
There is also an annual Residential Land Tax which varies according to improved value up to 0.75%, but is capped at USD $300,000. As a foreign buyer you need to register foreign currency brought into Barbados, or when you sell you won't be able to take it out.
Individuals with a minimum net worth of USD $5,000,000 can apply for a Special Entry Permit for Barbados, which is typically granted for 10 years for those under 60 and an indefinite duration for those over 60. Royal Westmoreland introduced a special entry permit service to carry out paperwork for NHWI’s buying property worth more than US$2million to qualify for the scheme.