INVEST IN UTILA?
expatriates, investors or people looking for a beachfront home,
Utila offers the most for the money in the entire Caribbean. Where
can one find a prime beachfront home only two hours from Miami in
a wonderful tropical paradise with secure title (& title insurance),
a stable, safe and friendly environment, excellent & fast improving
infra-structure and a booming local economy for as little as $300,000.
Add to the mix a tax free business environment, English speaking
locals, an easy going lifestyle with a very low cost of living and
it becomes clear that Utila offers some of the best investment opportunities
to be found anywhere in the Caribbean at this time.
Here are some great reasons that we feel make Utila an ideal place
to invest your money right now:
1. Great value for money:
You can own the tropical getaway you've always dreamed of for a
small fraction of what it would cost you elsewhere in the Caribbean.
Think what it would have cost you to buy a home in the Caymans 10
years ago. Realtor's report that the average home-sale price in
much of the Caribbean is around $1,000,000. In the Bay Islands,
you can own a comparable property for less than one-third of that;
and property values continue to rise.
The Bay Islands today call to mind the Bahamas in the early 70's
or the Caymans just 10 years ago. Sufficient infrastructure such
as phone lines, paved roads, regular flights in and out, restaurants,
dive shops, grocery stores makes life here comfortable. But the
beaches remain pristine and not overrun with tourists. Vast acres
of land sit lush with greenery with not a home in sight. The expatriate
population, somewhere around 1,000, is just big enough to provide
friends and business partners but not so big that you feel the place
has been invaded. Virtually all the beaches here are accessible
by boat only and as a result have remained untouched and unspoiled.
Land prices have been rising steadily; however, many believe that
prices are ready to skyrocket.
2. Low cost of living & wonderful lifestyle:
Utila offers 100% Caribbean lifestyle at a fraction of the cost;
it is relatively unknown and, therefore, still inexpensive. The
growing size of the ex-pat community in Utila stands as a clear
testimony to the popularity of the island lifestyle. Easy-going,
relaxed and friendly are commonly used descriptions. The climate,
the lush gardens, the Caribbean Ocean and clean air are also popular.
Another popular aspect to life here the cost of living is affordable.
Many ex-pats value highly the fact that they can afford full time
help at home for a fraction of the cost in the West. For example,
you can hire a live-in maid who will cook and clean for you full-time
for just $40 a week, a masseuse for $2 per hour and a doctor's visit
costs $15 or less. You can buy fresh-caught fish for $1.80 a pound,
shrimp for less than $4 and lobster for less than $6. A loaf of
bread costs 60 cents, grapefruit sells for 10 cents a piece and
oranges go for 6 cents each. Excellent home construction, to standards
well over U.S. code, costs $50-$135 per square foot. Construction
is also cheap; a good carpenter, plumber or electrician can be hired
for as little as $25 a day.
3. Stable government and secure environment:
For starters, a pro-business, pro-investment president took office
in January 2002. Ricardo Maduro, a businessman fluent in English
and with an economics degree from Stanford, won on a campaign that
promised his government would fight crime and corruption, find new
ways to encourage tourism, and help businesses prosper. Plus Maduro
owns a property development in the islands, so he has a personal
interest in seeing tourism numbers and property values increase.
Honduras has been safely under the wing of the US for many years
now. Some of the largest companies doing business in Honduras are
American such as Dole and Chiquita. who is married to an American
first lady, is very popular. The Bay Islands themselves have their
own local Governor and municipal structure seeing to it that the
islands are ever improving. Crime levels are low and local laws
work to keep the communities stable and happy.
4. Many attractions and excellent long term prospects:
Utila shares the second largest barrier reef system after the Great
Barrier Reef in Australia, this means great diving and snorkeling,
great fishing and great eating! Utila also happens to be one of
the best places in the world to swim with the ever so popular whale
shark. The creation of the reef protection zones around the island
means that the long term prospects for the area are excellent. The
islands are becoming more-and-more marketing savvy, and have launched
a targeted campaign to increase awareness for the Bay Islands. This
includes marketing, events and promotions activities in the US,
Europe, Central and South America Utila is an English-speaking island,
which makes vacationing, living, and doing business here easy. Fishing
is still a major source of revenue for the local economy but tourism
is fast catching up as the divers, fishing tourists, sailors and
other adventurers keep on coming. There are approximately 81 million
baby-boomers retiring in the US in the next five to ten years, which
translates into an enormous potential market, and a greater resale
value for you. Many people believe that Utila's real estate market
is on the cusp of taking off which can be seen in recent activity.
Being a mere 2-hour journey from the US, the Bay Islands are perfect
for people relocating and looking for convenience and safety.
Ease of residency:
Retiring or moving to Honduras is easy. You can apply for a residency
and receive it in less than 2 months. It's never been easier to
live and work completely legally in Honduras. The retiree legislation
allows you to bring in your car and household goods duty free
and to receive your Social Security and pension income tax-free.
The Tourism Incentive Law provides 10-year tax holidays for qualifying
businesses like hotels, restaurants, and other tourist-related
services. Unlike many Caribbean islands, you can move to the Bay
Islands to live and work with relative ease. Residencies are easy
to come by and foreign nationals can own and operate businesses
without any trouble.
6. Utila's new airport:
It was not long ago when you would have landed on a small dirt
runway. The new airport's runway is now large enough for small
jets to land and makes Utila easier to get to, even in bad weather.
Utila is just a 2 hour flight from Miami. Airlines are increasing
their presence in Honduras and the Bay Islands, which will increase
competition and decrease the cost of flights.
7. Improved infrastructure and amenities:
In conjunction with the new airport, Utila now has good roads
linking town with the North side and East end of the island. The
latest and biggest news is the arrival of the Utila Power Company
(UPCO) based in Tennessee, which is now providing the island with
dependable 24 hour power from a brand new wind generated power
system as well as back up generators. If you didn’t know
already, Utila had no power from 12am to 6am every day except
for those who owned generators. With the addition of satellite
TV, well-stocked supermarkets, new restaurants & hotels opening
all the time, life for the tourist & ex-pat is becoming increasingly
more comfortable. Telecommunications are state of the art in Honduras.
The telephone lines are excellent and Internet connections are
reliable and cheap with High Speed Internet now available. Working
via the net is now a popular option for ex-pats who wish to earn
money while living in paradise. A new cell phone tower is operational
and cell phone service is now on the island. Medical help, schooling,
shopping and prescription medication is a fraction of the cost
of the U.S. and other countries. There is also a new Desalinization
plant ready to deliver up to 100,000 gallons of potable water
per day. Utila is quickly becoming a modern boutique island &
these added improvements are very positive for the island’s
Security of purchase with land law reform:
Unlike some other countries such as Mexico, foreigners can purchase
and own land and the improvements on them in Honduras. The reform
of the land ownership laws in Honduras inrecent years has created
a much safer environment for investment in real estate. Central
registration of deeds and the incontestable domino pleno status
mean that you can now buy with absolute confidence. We purchased
title insurance for our home just to be safe from First American
Title. First American Title can also suggest some excellent Honduran
lawyers which are the most important decision in making your purchase
go smoothly, safely and in a timely manner.
9. Tax free status:
Decree 98-93 of Honduran law allows for the creation of special
tax-free status or ZOLT status for a wide range of business activities.
The ZOLT status allows businesses to operate with tax-free imports
and zero sales tax as well as a total income tax exemption for
a period of 20 years.
10. Fantastic Weather:
Utila is warm and sunny but with the trade winds keeping the edge
off the heat, the Bay Islands is famed for its friendly climate.
The short rainy season runs from October to January, otherwise
the weather calls for blue skies during the day and star packed
skies at night.
11. Multiple uses of your property made easy & inexpensive:
You can't be in two places at once, after all. So why not rent
or swap your vacation property when you're not there? Today, the
Internet makes it so easy to do so; and very inexpensive. You
can use your property as a primary residence, vacation home, rental
or all three. Internet sights like www.vrbo.com and www.vacationrentals.com
are just a few that have made it possible for anyone to acquire
quality short and long term rentals at a low yearly membership
cost. You can also turn your home into a timeshare by listing
it on www.HomeExchange.com and never pay for a rental again. You
have access to thousands of privately owned properties from around
the world in which you can trade your home with; an excellent
way to travel. Rental income and home swapping are only a part
of the financial return equation. Potential second home owners
would also be wise to consider the potential appreciation when
choosing a second home location.
12. Utila is a port of call for Windstar Cruises:
Windstar Cruises, the premier luxury 5-star cruise line, announced
it is calling on Utila as a port of call starting in January 2005.
The Wind Star is a luxury cruiser and handles a maximum of 200
passengers. One can only imagine the benefit to the local economy.
This will obviously impact island property values much like it
did when Roatan’s real estate market exploded with the advent
of cruise ships. world in which you can trade your home with;
an excellent way to travel. Rental income and home swapping are
only a part of the financial return equation. Potential second
home owners would also be wise to consider