Competitive prices and residency status are boosting investor interest in the Caribbean haven of St Kitts. Laura Henderson reports

Why the tropical getaway of St Kitts isn’t better known to a global audience is a mystery especially when you discover that the island-nation was the ‘mother colony’ back in the 17th century. Fast forward to today and the island remains steeped in the past; a healthy smattering of historic charm topped with natural attractions - coral reef lagoons, verdant rainforests and powder-sand beaches.

For many it’s a compelling combination which sets the island apart from other Caribbean hot spots. Until 2005, the country was reliant on its sugar cane industry but since its closure by the government, the island economy has changed tack to embrace tourism although there is a diversification programme which also includes agriculture, export-orientated manufacturing and offshore banking.

For Ricky Pereira of St Kitts Realty, the opening of the Marriott resort complex in 2004 on the south of the island truly kick-started interest in the property market. “The hotel attracted a lot of first-time visitors to the island,” he explains. “Many were impressed by what they saw and decided to buy.”

Like many emerging markets, the island was badly affected by the global real estate crisis – although it took to 2010 for the effects to truly sink in with a 20% decline in house prices across the board. Since then, confirms John Yearwood of Coldwell Banker, values have stabilised, placing the island in the “middle tier” of Caribbean countries with a price bracket between £450,000 and £1m.

“New resorts are setting a benchmark in terms of value for money propositions,” he adds. “A lot of demand is from cash buyers who are looking to invest or retire. The pace of change is also picking up with the arrival of big brand hotel names including Six Senses and Ritz Carlton.”

A further investment incentive is the decision by government to introduce the Citizenship by Investment programme, in which economic citizenship is granted to international buyers who make investments of at least US$400,000.

“The programme grants full residency status and 0% income, capital gains, wealth or inheritance tax,” confirms local agent Deborah Tewson. “You don’t need to live here, but you can still have dual citizenship for life for you and eligible family members and tax-free status on foreign income, capital gains, gift, wealth and inheritance tax, plus the right to work here.”

Those looking to buy, will find a streamlined purchase process. Local lawyer Lesley Stancombe explains: “Legal services generally cost from 1-2% of the purchase price, but transfer taxes are paid by the vendor. In some parts of the island, non-citizens require an alien holding licence to buy property, which costs 10% of the purchase price and takes about four months to obtain, but most of the resorts and new developments are exempt.”

As to the next stage in the island’s development; Christophe Harbour Marina remains a major draw, feels Pereira: “It’s an attractive alternative to established yachting favourite Antigua and the nearby Grenadines. For affordable and accessible access to the Caribbean sun – it’s a savvy choice.”


Established in 1984, the St Kitts & Nevis Citizenship by Investment programme is the oldest and the most respected economic citizenship programme of its kind. Individuals may become eligible for citizenship of St Kitts & Nevis by making a qualifying investment. The programme allows dual citizenship and is strictly governed by state laws and regulations.

Citizenship of St Kitts & Nevis may be obtained in two ways:

  • By making an investment in a designated real estate project or a donation to the Sugar Industry Diversification Foundation (SIDF).
  • Citizenship of St Kitts through an investment in Real Estate. This option requires an investment in a designated project approved by the St Kitts government. In addition, a number of associated government fees are required. As of Jan 2012, the St Kitts government increased the minimum investment amount in real estate to USD$400,000 for a single applicant.

For more information please visit: www.ciu.gov.kn

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