WHY INVEST IN UTILA?

For many 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.



5. 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 appeal.

8. 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