Country guide - Emirates24|7

Country guide

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Foreign investors in St Lucia require an alien land holding licence to purchase real estate and must apply for this when a sale agreement has been completed. Unfortunately, the process is as bureaucratic and riddled with red tape as they get. Four departments – planning, the attorney general's office, the prime minister's office (or cabinet for properties larger than one acre) and the governor general's office – process licence applications, which must be registered by a local lawyer.

The licence is not transferable and is granted only for the specific property you wish to purchase. The only positive is that the licence doesn't require renewal.

With the right lawyer and correct documentation, applications can be processed in six weeks, but many have been known to drag on for six months. In order to safeguard your property and ensure no one else steps in to buy it you can register an official 'caution' that notifies others that the 'agreement of sale' stage has been reached.

When you finally receive the licence its number and details are entered on the deed of sale and the actual conveyance occurs. To register the deed, stamp duty of two per cent of the purchase price is levied – this is paid by the purchaser.

Legal fees range between three and five per cent of the purchase price and can be paid in two installments. Each development selects a panel of lawyers who, for an agreed fee, offer their services to purchasers.

The fees depend on the cost of units and the number of potential purchasers each panel lawyer deals with. So far their fees have ranged from $5,000 (Dh18,000) to $8,000.

Licence fees 

Up to one acre of land $1,859
Over one acre and up to 10 acres $3,718
Over 10 acres and up to 20 acres $7,435
Over 20 acres and up to 50 acres $11,153
Over 50 acres and up to 100 acres $14,870
100 acres and over $18,588

Why Invest?

- St Lucia is one of the most reasonably priced islands in the Caribbean for property acquisition with prices 60 per cent lower than those in Barbados. Property prices have increased by around 40 per cent per annum for the last two years and are projected to rise for the next five years

- St Lucia has a stable economic and political environment with a high probability of price appreciation over the next 10 years

- The World Bank recently placed St Lucia in the top 30 countries in the world for investment, making it the only Caribbean island to make the top 30, ahead of Barbados and Antigua

- Favourable tax concessions for property buyers from overseas: No rental income tax, no capital gains tax, no inheritance tax and also no repatriation tax

- The island is still unspoiled and undeveloped. The government sees expansion of tourism as a key objective and the growing popularity of the island means there is excellent rental potential

 

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