Caribbean Project Offers Luxury and 'Freedom of Travel'

Caribbean Project Offers Luxury and 'Freedom of Travel'

Residential News » Latin America Residential News Edition | By Francys Vallecillo | February 19, 2014 12:18 PM ET

A new Caribbean residential project provides luxury living spaces, with a bonus incentive for investors. 

Tamarind Hills is located on the island of Antigua and offers a variety of villas, apartments, cottages, and townhouses in beach, oceanfront and hillside locations. 

The entire project will offer 80 oceanfront units, developed in various stages. So far, 12 units have been built, only three of those remain unsold. 

The project started in 2009 and is now getting a new breath of fresh air, says Camille Duvall-Hero, managing director and associate broker at Warburg Realty Partnership, which markets the project. 

"People are thinking of second homes again," she says. 

The homes in Tamarind Hills range in price from $450,000 for a one-bedroom to $2.75 million for a four-bedroom. The project's architect, Lane Pettigrew, created uninterrupted views by including retractable walls of glass leading to infinity edge pools, private terraces and gazebos. 

Antigua, the larger island of the two-island nation of Antigua & Barbados is attracting buyers again. Property values on the island dropped 30 to 50 percent during the financial crisis in 2008. As economies recover, international buyers are finding renewed reasons to buy in the "paradise" location. 

Last October, the island introduced the program called Citizenship by Investment, which offers citizenship and freedom of travel for minimum levels of investments; a real estate investment of at least $400,000, business investments of $1.5 million or a $250,000 contribution to Antigua's National Development Fund. 

Tamarind-Hills-Sea-Ray.jpgThe program is one of a number of programs introduced by countries competing for investors. Other countries offering visas for investments include Dominica, St. Kitts and Nevis, Portugal, Cyprus and Greece. Spain also passed a visa bill last September.

"Island Heights Ltd, developers of the project of Tamarind Hills, has received the highest levels of concessions available from the Antiguan Government," according to the listing. "This includes passing on a 75 percent waiver of purchase taxes to first time buyers of Tamarind Hills properties, reducing the 7.5 percent tax to 1.875 percent."

The annual property tax for the island is 0.03 percent. 

Tamarind Hills offers amenities for first-home buyers but offers investment opportunities as well.

"It has a very robust rental program so you can buy it for yourself or get it managed," Ms. Duvall-Hero said. "For people that are forward thinking, it's good for them."

The number of buyers from the U.S. is growing, accounting for approximately 45 percent of the market, mostly due to the ease of getting to the island. The majority of buyers come from the states of Florida, New York and Texas, but the buyer demographic is becoming increasingly diverse.

"One buyer was an Egyptian and [another] an Italian, so it is an international island...and I think that at the end of the day our homeowners will reflect that," Ms. Duvall-Hero said.  

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