Rufus Gobat, Director of Caribbean Lifestyle Services and Pearns Point property development gives an overview of how to buy property in Antigua. Rufus, together with his family, have been behind some of the most popular hotels and property developments across the Caribbean and has lived in Antigua for over 15 years.
Why buy a home in Antigua?
Antigua is the epitome of the Caribbean dream and a world-class destination for sailors and boat owners. It is also a fabulous place to own a home, whether it is for living permanently, or as a holiday home. Its 365 white sand beaches, pretty coves and crystal-clear waters combined with attractive tax benefits, good international access, and a stable political system, make home ownership compelling. Celebrities such as Oprah Winfrey, Giorgio Armani, Eric Clapton and Timothy Dalton certainly thought so, with each having been home-owners in Antigua for many years.
Who can buy property in Antigua?
The good news is that foreigners can buy property in Antigua without restriction and the Government of Antigua welcomes investment from overseas buyers. They need to apply for a Non-Citizens Land Holding Licence (NCHL or NCL) for which there is a fee of 7.5% of the purchase price. Alternatively, purchasing property in an approved real estate project such as Pearns Point will qualify the buyer for full citizenship through the Antigua and Barbuda Citizenship by Investment Program.
Where to Buy in Antigua?
The area you choose really depends on your lifestyle. One of the great things about Antigua, as opposed to some other Caribbean islands such as St Barts and Barbados, is that is still possible to buy a beachfront property. The popular areas in Antigua are Jolly Harbour – which is based on the west coast of Antigua and is home to a wide range of shops, restaurants and many beaches. Pearns Point is a stunning new development that is taking shape on a peninsula, about 15 minutes’ drive away. The development offers the benefit of living on a private island – security, privacy, exclusivity, but residents are not restricted by ferry times so can come and go as they please.
Another popular area, especially with boat enthusiasts, is English Harbour. This area is rich in history and offers beautiful scenery around a pretty harbour and beach. The Sunday night drinks and views from Shirley Heights Lookout are not to be missed.
The Buying Process
Buying property in Antigua is a relatively simple process, which typically involves the following steps:
- Establish which area in Antigua you wish to live, according to your lifestyle, proximity to amenities and the airport.
- Arrange a viewing trip and review several properties
- Appoint an independent lawyer to act on your behalf
- Once you have made your choice and your offer has been accepted apply for a Non-Citizens Landholding License or Citizenship by Investment
- Pay all required taxes to close.
Antigua Tax Breaks and Financial Incentives
The country’s property market has benefited from an influx of investment stimulated by Antigua’s Citizenship by Investment program. The scheme offers qualifying applicants’ full citizenship in exchange for an investment in real estate or alternatively make a financial contribution to the nation’s economy.
Becoming a citizen means buyers can benefit from some very attractive tax arrangements. Antigua has no personal income tax, capital gains, inheritance or wealth tax. The authorities made this move to attract foreign interest to its shores, as well as position themselves competitively among their Caribbean neighbors.
By investing in Antigua and Barbuda you can avoid double taxation in countries that Antigua and Barbuda has taxation treaties with such as the United Kingdom. The foreign tax credit is available to persons in Antigua and Barbuda who have paid or are liable to pay British Commonwealth income tax.