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Flourishing in the Shade: Real Estate in Belize

The national motto of Belize translates to: "I flourish in the shade." This conjures up images of a Caribbean coast lifestyle, of sipping a cool drink under a palm thatch palapa while watching the waves roll in. But it also applies well to the nation itself.

A small nation with a relatively peaceful history, nestled in a curve of the Caribbean coast south of the Yucatan peninsula, Belize has only received substantial notice from international tourists since the 1990s. Belize has also joined the ranks of some other Central American nations whose low cost of living, rich natural and cultural resources, and mild climates make them a top choice for those seeking a second home, investment property, or retirement home.

Those considering a move to this small country of just under 9,000 square miles will find many different types of Belize real estate for sale. The most well-known vacation destination in Belize is Ambergris Caye, one of the largest islands off the coast. The condominiums, homes, restaurants, and shopping opportunities found here are the most upscale in Belize. Many expatriates choose to live here, and this is also the area where the country's most famous part-time residents can be found (including Hollywood star Leonardo DiCaprio, who owns an island west of Ambergris Caye).

Corozal is another popular residence for expatriates, yet the Belize real estate for sale here is much more affordable, as is the overall cost of living. This area offers a high quality of life at a relaxed pace, and is also right across the border from the shopping and cultural opportunities easily accessed in the Mexican state of Quintana Roo.

North American or European homebuyers are by no means limited to these two areas, however. Those who investigate Belize real estate for sale by owner will be able to find affordable homes all over the country. A comfortable, attractive, and contemporary home can be found in the interior for as little as US $50,000. And building a similar home with a water view or in a development by the Caribbean can be accomplished for anywhere from $125,000 to $300,000 – less than the price of a home in many U.S. suburbs.

Living in Belize is affordable, thanks to relatively low costs of living and a fixed exchange rate that favors the U.S. dollar. Although imported groceries are expensive, local brands and fresh-grown produce are quite reasonable, and food at Belizean restaurants, even in the tourist areas, is both delicious and affordable. Searching for Belize real estate for sale, and purchasing in the country, is made much simpler by the fact that English is the country's official language. Ample real estate agencies, many run by North American or European expatriates who fell in love with the country themselves, are able to help homebuyers locate property or negotiate the purchase of Belize property for sale by owner.