St Lucia Star, 13-Aug-09
Foreigners investing $350,000 to become permanent residents?
New direct flights from the US and UK to St Lucia combined with the country’s tax friendly regime could potential boost demand for property in St Lucia to both buy and rent.
In the UK, British Airways are increasing their direct flights to St Lucia from three to five times per week from October 2009. There is also a new service from Frankfurt, operated by Condor from 1 November of this year.
In the US, Jet Blue has announced a new service from New York to St Lucia with three weekly flights from 26 October.
The increase in the number of flights from the US and UK is likely to increase the number of tourists visiting the island and is a boost to the tourism industry and is great news for investors who rent out their second homes in St Lucia.
In an effort to accelerate tourism projects after the decline of its banana trade, the St Lucian government stepped in to provide a rental income ‘tax holiday’ to St Lucia property investors, who let out their properties.
Also attractive for property investors on the island is the fact that there is no VAT charge on St Lucia property, no capital gains tax and no inheritance tax.
Currently going through Parliament are changes to the immigration law that will allow foreigners who invest in St Lucian property over $350,000 (£213,000) to become a resident of St Lucia, which will bring with it further tax benefits.
The Independent (8-Mar-09)
An Island of Prosperity as Storm Ravage World Housing
As property investors and people hoping to retire abroad struggle to find a safe haven in the slump, St Lucia could offer a solution.
The credit crunch has put paid to property booms around the globe, right? No, not quite. While the US, UK and European property markets are in price freefall, the Caribbean, and in particular the holiday island of St Lucia, seems to be holding its own – for the time being at least.
“Property prices have remained robust throughout the financial crisis,” says Allen Chastanet, St Lucia’s minister for tourism. “The key is we didn’t have a boom to begin with, so building levels were at sustainable levels. Therefore, we’re not having a bust.
“The only price softening that has taken place has been reflective of the pound weakening against the dollar,” he adds, with reference to the fact that St Lucian property is priced in dollars. “Sellers have been willing to bend prices a bit for British buyers to reflect this currency shift.”