Spice-Up-Your-Life-With-a-Move-to-Grenada

Spice Up Your Life With a Move to Grenada

04.05.18

The Caribbean has a new player in town. Stephen Penn finds out what gives the bounty island of Grenada that extra bit of investment ‘spice’

For years, Barbados and the Bahamas have been magnets for those seeking a sun-soaked tropical pad in the Caribbean. In recent years however, buyers’ profiles and tastes have diversified, with seclusion, privacy and a more bespoke cultural experience high on the list for high net worth second-homers.

Grenada - dubbed the ‘Spice of the Caribbean’ - is one such destination racing to the top of the roster of vacation hotspots, with a 30% increase in arrivals within the past 12 months. In January 2018 alone, numbers hit an all-time high of 100,654.

Boasting a breathtaking topography, a plethora of scenic beaches and with a year-round temperate climate, the island is hitting all the right notes with visitors, and, as to be expected with a boost to tourism – there’s a burgeoning interest in residential property investment.

“We’re thrilled with the recent upturn in visitor traffic,” says CEO of the Grenada Tourism Authority, Patricia Maher. “Everyone is enjoying the results of their collaborative work with the key tourism stakeholders. As a result, we’ll grow our room stock by 32% in the next two years, hitting almost 3,000 licensed and certified hotel rooms which is a marked increase in volume for the island and an encouraging indicator of things to come.”

Improved airlift is also easing the transition of growth with a major expansion of Maurice Bishop International Airport, backed by a $66 million concessional loan from China. The project will include a parallel taxiway, loading bridges, a bypass road, as well as a new passenger terminal.

“It’s a dynamic time for Grenada; we’re on the cusp of ushering in several ultra-luxury resorts and St George’s University continues to grow and expand, driving a range of commercial real estate developments,” says Paula LaToucheKeller, director of Century 21. “All the while, our tourism product continues to diversify, with an increasing number of visitors opting for non-traditional accommodation by staying in private homes and villas.”

Real estate sales have broken records year on year, with 2017’s total sales exceeding $50million. The popular Parish of St George made up 74% of total sales values for the island, followed by St David at 10% and St Andrew with 8%.

In the past, the majority of real estate sales were from domestic buyers, due to an unattractive tax on foreign buyers and sellers, but the numbers of expats securing holiday homes and even full-time residences is on the increase.

In 2015, international investors only accounted for just over 10% of total sales, but by 2017 this number has risen to 19%. A key factor influencing this growth is the Citizenship by Investment Programme which opens the door to residency status to wealthy individuals.

“There’s increasing competition worldwide to attract wealthy and talented global citizens as more governments realise the considerable benefits these type of programmes bring,” explains Hakan Cortolek, CEO of Verica Immigration. “Grenada has a great deal to offer, especially in terms of unrivalled visa-free access to the world’s biggest consumer markets. It also requires one of the lowest capital investments compared to other Citizenship initiatives in the Caribbean.”

In order to qualify, individuals need to either invest in an approved real estate project for a minimum of $350,000 or make a minimum non-refundable contribution to the National Transformation Fund (NTF) of $200,000, which finances various projects on the island for the benefit of its industries, including tourism and agriculture. Infrastructure in Grenada is also improving, with the Tyrell Bay Marina moving closer to becoming a reality – boasting retail and business opportunities - as well as the Break Water in Sauteurs, which is re-establishing a stable coastline to prevent further impact on frontline development. “We expect projects like this to have a profound and sustained impact on general economic and real estate markets,” adds Paula. “Now is the time to invest.”

GRENADA – MUST DOS

  • In many ways, Grenada is hard to beat for a Caribbean holiday. Boasting a bevy of gorgeous, soft-sand beaches and a mountainous and lush rainforest-covered interior, its elegant little capital, St George’s, is a strong contender for the prettiest in the region. There are no high-rise developments, and even the most popular beaches are quiet.
  • Prime activities include sailing, particularly around the protected bays of Grenada’s deeply indented south coast, and diving: as well as reefs and wrecks, there is a unique underwater sculpture park to explore.
  • The main focus for tourism is on the island’s south-west corner, where the best beaches – most notably Grand Anse – hotels, restaurants and bars can be found. It’s also worth making forays into the interior to explore the rainforest and take in waterfalls, and to head up to the slow-paced north of the island where you can take a tour of nutmeg factories and rum distillery.

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