They know the little beaches away from it all; they know all the restaurants, but patronise the ones with the freshest seafood or other island specialties. Who are they? They might be from England or New England, Canada, France, Germany or Venezuela, Belgium or Boulder, Colorado. They are the people who have fallen in love with St. Lucia and bought or built a second home here. We like to think there is something for everyone - read on and see. We have put your options in three general groups and offered some initial guidelines on procedures and costs.
HOMES AND LOTS
There is no doubt that St. Lucia is a beautiful place. Having come on vacation once, or twice, the passion for this great land may just become unbearable and you cannot get rid of thoughts about purchasing a home. For those seeking the privacy of a home or vacation villa, many well-established areas still have lots available or homes for resale in some very scenic spots.
Once a sprawling sugar estate, Cap Estate is now in a mature stage of development. Land prices vary according to the location within its 1,500 acres. The views range from the Caribbean side and Pigeon Island, to centre island looking toward the Pitons, to the wide expanse of sea northward toward Martinique, to the wind-swept beaches of the Atlantic. Many lots on the hill overlooking the old plantation portion have sweeping panoramic views. Most are a generous half- or one-acre in size. Although some of Cap Estate's roads leave a lot to be desired, the lots on sale are good value for money.
Special amongst these is the newest sub-division called Mount Hardy. Here, at a higher elevation, and enjoying the best of the cooling trade winds, the views are quite spectacular including both Atlantic Ocean and Caribbean Sea, and also North across the channel to Martinique. The first section has 27 plots, most averaging around 1/3rd acre, in a price range of US$55,000 to US$130,000 per plot.
A few homes are usually available for resale, so check with one of the island's real estate agents.
Conceptualized in the early '70's for residential living, Rodney Bay, regarded as St. Lucia's premier leisure community has over the years re-defined the nature of developments to include a wider cross section of living, shopping and entertainment.
Expected to come on stream during the next twelve months is Rodney Estates. This 45 acre development sits alongside the main highway and entrance to the Causeway Bay and Pigeon Point. According to the Master Plan, this development will include large plantation style homes looking down on the sparkling blue waters of the Caribbean Sea, while along the perimeter a mix of business and entertainment will also be a part of this development.
This development lies to the east of Rodney Bay. It offers wonderful views of the Caribbean side, including the marina, and the Atlantic coastline. Lots here are of a reasonable price and size. Again, existing homes are sometimes available for sale.
Marigot Bay's setting epitomizes the word "tropical." The quiet bay is surrounded by lush, green, undisturbed nature and is a favourite with yachtsmen because of its seclusion and safe anchorage. The recently resurfaced highway makes the site just a 10 to 15 minute drive south of Castries. Contact a local estate agent for help.
DISCOVERY AT MARIGOT BAY
If you have fallen in love with St Lucia, you can now have a place of your own in one of the most beautiful locations on the island, stunning Marigot Bay.
Discovery at Marigot Bay is St Lucia's newest and most luxurious spa, marina and apartment resort. Even before the start of construction, buyers have been snapping up the beautifully appointed one-, two- and three-bedroom apartments for their hassle free investment potential.
A total of 58 apartments will be built each designed with special lock-off facilities which allow them to be converted into around 118 hotel units offering a range of options including one bedroom suites, two bedroom suites and conventional hotel rooms.
In a unique arrangement, the net profits from lettings to hotel guests will be shared between apartment owners and the hotel on a 50/50 basis. There are absolutely no management fees to be paid. In addition, the developer, Doubloon International Ltd, guarantees owners a minimum 6% cash return per annum for the first two years - a clear reason the project has proved so popular with international investors. Other benefits include up to seven weeks free use each year for owners generating a composite return of around 11%, half in cash and half in fun!
Discovery at Marigot Bay is also part of World's Finest Resorts which means owners can enjoy their weeks in their own apartment in St Lucia or at a number of other affiliated resorts around the world.
Scheduled for completion early 2005, the project, which was designed by international award-winning architects Denton Corker Marshall, will include a fully equipped fitness centre, top notch spa, yacht mooring facilities, a fine dining restaurant and a dockside café.
To view a site model and detailed plans for Discovery at Marigot Bay, visit the Discovery Information Centre on the ground floor of the Scotia Bank Building in Rodney Bay or telephone (+1) (758) 458 0790.
CONDOMINIUMS & TOWNHOUSES
If a private home is more than you're looking for, St. Lucia has several condominium and townhouse developments. These have proved to be good investments. Most are located near beaches and on the lagoon and marina-front in Rodney Bay. The benefits of common management appeal to many. Re-sales are sometimes available, check with your real estate agent. The following are new developments that are either planned or under construction.
The Latest Marina-front development in Rodney Bay by experienced local developer Bernard Johnson, the last twelve (of 18 total) townhouses are now approaching completion. Every unit faces out over the Marina, and dock space is available. All units will be fully air-conditioned. There are nine 2 bedroom, 2 and one half bathroom units, and three very spacious 3 bedroom, 3 and one half bathroom units in this last phase. Prices from US$275,000.00.
ST. LUCIA GOLF & COUNTRY CLUB
With their superb 6,815 yards, Par 71, 18-hole golf course completed and open, the Owners/Developers are now in the final planning stages of what should be a total of 400 Condominium units and villas. Spread mainly alongside the fairways of the Golf Course, and in an "Island" surrounded by them, target prices for these 1-3 bedroom units is US$175,000 to US$375,000 to include Club Membership.
A growing trend for those who may not visit every year, or only for one or two weeks when they do come, is to buy/lease into a resort complex. Some (like Marigot) are small and intimate; others are much larger hotel-type complexes.
Persons from overseas require a government license in order to purchase property in St. Lucia. Each license is for a specific property so purchasers must secure their land or house with a deposit. License applications are handled by a local lawyer who also carries out title searches and draws up the deed of sale. A government license fee of 10% is payable and other charges such as legal fees and stamp duties amount to 6 - 7% of the property price. Land must be developed within two years of purchase. Thereafter, there are no restrictions on renting or selling.
REAL ESTATE AGENCIES
Home Services Ltd., in Rodney Bay, an independent real estate agent, offers a variety of services, including property management, real estate sales, appraisals, rentals and property development. Twenty years' experience in the real estate business in St. Lucia. 452-0450;
VILLA SALES AND RENTAL
Tropical Villas Ltd. Property management, sales and rental. 450-8240, Fax: 450-8089.
The developments listed here are not meant to constitute a complete listing of the properties available in St. Lucia. To make sure you have the opportunity to explore all the options, contact a local real estate agency to assist you in selecting your St. Lucian home.
© 2001-2004 Island Visions Ltd.