Monday, November 15, 2010

Cost-of-Living In Belize

sailboat Belize
A Sailboat In Belize
Source: Flickr via Creative Commons.  Photo by Dena Hayes

For people contemplating purchasing land in Belize and buying a home it can be challenging to find decent information on the cost-of-living.  Lan Sluder has written an outstanding book called "Living Abroad In Belize" which helps answer many of the basic questions that potential investors have about starting their life in Belize; including an overview on the cost-of-living.  The following is an extract from Sluder's book that I think you may find valuable:

Average Middle-Class Monthly Budget

  • The couple has paid for their 150K home already.
  • The couples Ford Explorer is also paid for.
  • The couple chooses to buy health insurance, which includes medevac coverage, from and international insurer.
Example of Monthly Budget ($US):

Electricity (750kwh): $158
Telephone (incl. long distance): $110
Butane: $35
Groceries: $250
Cable TV: $25
Internet: $50
Entertainment and dining out: $200
Property tax: $24
Auto insurance: $20
Health insurance: $400
Out-of-pocket medical expenses: $150
Home insurance: $150
Gasoline (40 gallons): $160
Auto maintenance: $100
Clothing: $75
Householder help/caretaker (part time): $250
Misc. personal expenses: $275

Total: $2,432

Although personal spending habits need to be factored into any budget I hope that Sluder's estimates shed a bit of light on the cost of living in Belize.  If you have other sources of information that others can benefit from please add a comment.


Sunday, November 14, 2010

Top 2 Questions I'm Asked About Sanctuary Belize

I've spoken to a number of potential Sanctuary Belize investors over the past year and two questions consistently come up at some point during our conversation: 

1. Have I seen evidence of the community progressing according to the plan?
2. Do I trust the management team to deliver?

For anyone contemplating investing in Sanctuary Belize I thought that it may be worth while sharing my perspective on these two important questions.

1. Have I seen evidence of the community progressing according to the plan?

The answer to this question is "Yes" and here are a few examples of the progress:

Opening of Phase 2
Although the recent financial crisis has shaken the US real estate market the Sanctuary Belize community has continued to flourish.  Prices for lots have continued to steadily increase since I invested in my property (lot 13)  and the Sanctuary Belize management team has been able to stick to their original plan and open Phase 2 of the development.   Phase 2 includes waterfront properties that look simply awesome.  Some factors that I think are contributing to the strong demand and their ability to stay on plan with Phase 2 are:
  • There is continued demand for properties nestled in outstanding locations.  To me, proximity to the Caribbean Sea, the rainforest, and the near by mountains is the essence of the phrase "location, location, location". Based on the natural elements of Sanctuary Belize the community has high intrinsic value and people realize this despite the economic downturn.
  • Americans and Canadians are looking abroad for sound real estate investments beyond the borders of the US due to the instability in the US housing market.  Many are turning to the Caribbean and Latin America and are discovering countries like Belize and finding communities like Sanctuary Belize.  This is creating strong demand for premium properties like Sanctuary Belize.
Coupled, these factors seemed to have enabled the Sanctuary Belize team to continue to expand according to the Sanctuary Belize Master plan.

Homes Are Being Built
Several months ago the Sanctuary Belize team released a series of home designs and I was impressed with what I saw.  The bamboo designs seemed to be a good compliment between luxury and eco-friendliness and I look forward to being able to customize one of these designs over the coming years. If you haven't seen the designs let me know or contact the Sanctuary Belize team.  Already one private home has been constructed and I was informed that five other orders for homes have been received and construction will begin this year.  The community is GROWING.

The Marina
The Sanctuary Belize Marina is going to be nothing less than amazing!  The plans for the Marina are top notch and the good news is that the management team is bringing these plans to life.  As can be expected, the plans for the Marina span multiple years and the team is making good progress.  Recently, the development team successfully carved a 30 ft wide channel connecting the Marina to Sapodilla Lagoon and now people can navigate a boat between the Lagoon and the Caribbean Sea. With this milestone in place the team is going to be expanding the channel to 60 ft.  The dredging of the Marina Basin continues to progress and it is scheduled to be completed within the next quarter. 

All the major roads where in place when I visited Sanctuary Belize and recently I learned that the roads to Marina Island and Waterway Village have been completed. The roads within Waterway Village are currently in development.

So from my perspective, I've seen the Management Team create a vision, build a plan, and achieve some significant milestones.  In addition, while executing the plan, Sanctuary Belize has continued to generate strong demand for properties and I've seen the value of my land increase.  

2. Do I trust the management team to deliver?

The answer to this question is "Yes" as well.  For those of you who have met John Usher - you'll know what I mean - but the owner is fully committed to making Sanctuary Belize a resounding success.  John and his family live on site and he is personally managing the day-to-day operations of the project.  I think the milestones listed above are an indication of John's commitment to bringing the vision to life and his ability to get the job done.  I'm sure there are going to be some bumps along the way - there always are - but John and the team seem to be able to navigate the project well and keep the Community progressing.

If this type of information is of value to you please let me know by posting a comment or emailing me and I'll continue to provide some updates like this one.  Just let me know!

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Belize Is On My Mind!!

Oh sweet Belize you're on my mind!!!

For many of us in the United States and Canada autumn has arrived and winter isn't too far behind.  It's times like this when I take comfort in knowing that my wife and I purchased some land in southern Belize in an area called Sanctuary Belize and we plan to build a home there over the next few years.

I invested in Sanctuary Belize -a beautiful up-and-coming community- in 2009 and I started this blog a month or so afterwards. It's been several months since I posted new content and it's looooong overdue (blush).  For many of the people who read my blog you'll understand what happens when you're a Dad of an energetic 3 1/2 year old.....  Time flies!  .... That being said, I've missed blogging so I'm working on a series of four stories that I'll release over the next two weeks:

Upcoming stories:
  1. What's new in the Sanctuary Belize community
  2. Home designs
  3. Some great places to visit when in Belize
  4. What does it cost to live in Belize?
    I'm eager to hear what type of content would be of interest to you, so feel free to email me or post a comment to this story and share your ideas.

    You can look forward to these updates (and more) over the next few days.  Here's my little gift to everyone!  Take a moment and think about Belize!

    Laughing Bird Caye, Belize
    Source: Flickr: A photo by Chuck Taylor via Creative Commons.

    All the best!


    Friday, November 27, 2009

    President Obama and Belize!

    Two recent events relating to US President Obama underline the growing importance of Belize. One is his desire to visit Belize expressed at the Summit of the Americas dinner in Port of Spain. Belize’s Prime Minister Dean Barrow seems to have established a good rapport with the President at the summit and he quoted the latter as expressing his wish to visit Belize. President Obama is photographed welcoming the Prime Minister’s wife, Kim Simplis-Barrow in the accompany photo. The visit will be further facilitated by the recent appointment of the President’s friend as the U.S. ambassador to Belize.

    Vinai Thummalapally, apparently a very good friend of President Obama, was recently appointed as the ambassador to Belize. Ambassador Thummalapally was a college mate & close confidante of the President for a many years. He is a mechanical engineer by qualification and was president of MAMA Inc, a maker and distributor of recordable optical disks. He formally presented his credentials to Governor General of Belize, Sir Colville Young and also paid a courtesy call to the Foreign Affairs Minister,Wilfred Elrington, last September at Belmopan, Belize’s capital city.

    The fact that President Obama has chosen one of his close confidantes as ambassador to Belize can only help raise the profile of Belize and his future visit to Belize will no doubt attract international media attention and put Belize firmly on the world’s tourist map. Exposure like this is great for all investors in Belize.