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Can Foreigners Buy Property in Jamaica?

Can I buy property in Jamaica as a Foreigner? Yes you can but…

If you want to buy property in Jamaica, in the West Indies, you better be careful. Sure, the island is a gem, the real estate offer is tempting, but there are many stumbling blocks on the way to own a home in Jamaica.

Lots of foreigners and particularly tourists are coming to the beautiful Caribbean island. Many of them would love to buy a house. Either as a holiday home or to settle in the Caribbean after retirement. Therefore, we have been asked the same question many times “Can I as a foreigner buy property in Jamaica?” that we’ve thought to write this article. We guide you through the basics and explain you in detail, how foreigners can buy real estate in Jamaica.

Facts & Figures about the Caribbean island of Jamaica

The Caribbean island country of Jamaica is the fourth biggest in the West Indies. Covering a region of 4,240 sq mi with a population of 2,898,677 (2018). The capital city of Kingston houses a populace of around 937,700. Various expats live and work here in various ventures going from the travel industry to manufacturing. It is also very simple to start a business in Jamaica. A factor which has prompted numerous foreigners landing at its shores throughout the years.

Overview of the Jamaican Real Estate Market

The Jamaican real estate market is very strong and continuously growing. Foreign investors dominate the high-end market. Jamaicans and especially young first-time buyers demanding cheap properties. The growth in tourism is pushing the real estate market up and up.

Vacation homes become more and more popular. The hotspots are located in Montego Bay, Ocho Rios, Negril, and Port Antonio. The prices of vacation homes vary from US$ 250,000 to US$ 10 million. According to a market study, Jamaican citizens rather buy properties in the price range between J$ 20 million to J$ 25 million. Locals prefer to buy in the capital city of Kingston, while the north coast is popular among foreigners to buy a property.

How Can Foreigners Buy Property in Jamaica?

It’s in fact very easy for foreigners to buy real estate in Jamaica. The market is open to anyone. Foreigners are qualified to purchase property in Jamaica with no confinements. The procedure starts when the purchaser makes an offer to buy real estate. All you need to buy property is a TRN (Taxpayer Registration Number) and a lot of money of course. The reason why you need a TRN is that you will have to pay an annual property tax.

How Much do I Pay for Property Taxes in Jamaica?

According to TAJ (Tax Administration Jamaica) and since April 1st, 2019, all properties with an unimproved value up to J$ 100,000 will be charged a flat rate of J$ 1,000 (US$ 7.35) per annum. Properties with values exceeding J$100,000 up to J$ 1 million will attract an additional 1.5 % for every additional dollar above J$ 100,000. Properties with values exceeding J$ 1 million will attract an additional 2.0 % for every additional dollar. Compared to other countries, the Jamaican property tax is in fact very low.

How Do I get a TRN Number if I live Overseas?

Everyone can apply for a TRN number. The process to get a TRN is very simple. Visit the TAJ website, download the form to apply for TRN as an Oversea Individual, fill it out and send it back. Jamaica Tax Administration made it easy for you.

How Can Foreigners Find Real Estate to Buy in Jamaica?

Finding real estate in Jamaica is not a big deal. While Jamaicans usually buy from someone they know, foreigners usually stick on a Jamaican real estate agent. Commissions are high and up to 5 % of the total price. Hence, you should always watch out for less expensive offers. A good way to find reasonably priced real estate in Jamaica is to take a look at Jamaican real estate property ads.

How to Buy Property in Jamaica as a Foreigner?

As mentioned before, the procedure starts when the purchaser places an offer. When the seller acknowledges it, a land study is done. A title seek is likewise done to check if some other cases exist or if there are clashing interests engaged with the property. After clearing this progression, the purchaser can hold up a provision that limits the enrollment of some other enthusiasm against the specific property, until the exchange procedure has been finished.

Land titles in Jamaica fall under two classifications. Unregistered properties are given a custom-based law title, which can likewise be moved up to an enlisted title. Enlisted titles are legitimate and official. Purchasers are required to get the first title archive of the property from the Office of Land and Titles. This should be possible with the help of a legal advisor.

A deal understanding is then arranged, generally by the vender’s legal counselor, and is marked by purchaser and merchant within the sight of a legal advisor. The consented to arrangement makes the exchange official and authoritative. The purchaser should likewise make a reservation payment, identical to 10 % of the selling price.

How Much are Closing Costs for Buying a House?

Closing costs to finalize a real estate deale are approximately 4.5 % of the total purchasing price. This includes a sales agreement, stamp duty, and registration. If you need a lawyer, then you have to add another 3 % for attorney’s fee. An endorsement from the Bank of Jamaica is essential. Together with a copy of your Passport, you need to prove where your money is coming from. The Exchange Control Department of the Bank of Jamaica must give assent before any buy understandings can be directed.

The whole process, including the application at the Office of the Registrar of Titles, can take up to one month.

The deal is esteemed finished once the exchange of the title happens. On the off chance that you as the purchaser want to take a mortgage, the procedure needs another 3 to 12 months. The whole process of enrolling a property does only take 40 days.

Conclusion

It is really easy to buy property as a foreigner in Jamaica. If you’re aware of the rules & regulations as well as of the Jamaican culture you’re good to go.

The only concern that foreigners have to buy property in Jamaica have is to find trustworthy people who accompany you in this process. If you prefer to pay a fee of 5 %, then you can find hundreds of licensed Real Estate Agents. As most people don’t like to waste money you can always contact us to find a beautiful property in Jamaica.

Do you have further questions? Can we improve this article? Something incorrectly? Tell us by leaving a comment below!

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We are a team of graduated Architects, Economists, Real Estate Sales & Marketing Specialists. Since 1990 we're studying the market development in Jamaican. We write about trends and how to sell or buy the perfect property.

This Post Has 18 Comments

  1. Nicole

    Quite an informative article, thank you. There is one further question. Can a foreigner purchase a property in Jamaica through Mortgage ( The foriegner in fact is a Jamaican Spouse)?

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      Hi Nicole, thanks a lot for asking back. The answer to you question is: YES! A foreigner can purchase a property in Jamaica through Mortgage, no matter if one of you is a Jamaican or not. Every single bank in Jamaica will be happy to give you more details about the process and the costs. Actually, the interest rates have been going down the last few years. Banks we can recommend are: https://www.jnbank.com, https://www.jncb.com, as well as https://jm.scotiabank.com/. If the spouse is Jamaican, then you might be able to apply for a mortgage at https://www.nht.gov.jm. The National Housing Trust offers by far the lowest rates. Don’t hesitate to contact us if you need further information. Blessing, Marcel

  2. Harry B. Posey

    Hey Guys
    Ya’ll have done excellent job
    Thanks so much
    Buying a condo in Jamaica
    Developers has a person selling property
    If we get a Realestate Agent it will cost us 5% more. Do we really need one?

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      Dear Harry, thank you so much for your kind statement. We’re flattered about your compliment. Much appreciated. Honestly? NO! No one needs a real estate agent, unless you have no time at all to do everything yourself. If you sell yourself, all you need is a sense of Marketing, high quality images and even better a video on top. A good photo/videographer you can get for 25k to 60k JA$. Advertising is for free on our website. If you’re a buyer, all you need is an experienced banker. They know the real value of most properties as they usually finance it.

  3. Vinyl Nahali Scrach

    I was looking for a house to buy in a Rastafari village where would be the best place to buy one ????

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      Not sure what you are looking for in detail. There are many Rasta communities all around the island of Jamaica. Most of the good folks tend to live in the hills, away from the tourist spots, and do farming.

  4. Sheila

    Hi! Does buying a home in JA affect US credit score?

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      Hi Sheila, this is depending on where you store your money and how you pay for the home. Regular bank transactions will affect your US credit score for sure, as your cash position will drop. Still, if you buy prime land, for example, it could be taken as a good investment and therefore, not hurting your credit score at all. In case it is important for you, you should contact a tax specialist in the US. They can tell for sure.

  5. Geri

    This site is informative but I still need some clarification. I am a Jamaican living in the states. If I need to buy a property with mortgage , what is the process ? meaning , how much would be the deposit ,plus closing say for instance a house for US $500,000 ?

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      Hello Geri, the only way to find an answer to your questions is to ask a Jamaican bank. The conditions for a mortgage are individual and vary extremely from provider to provider. Therefore, it is recommended to contact as many banks as possible. In the footer of our website, you will find addresses of Jamaican banks (watch out for “Financing Partners”). You will have to contact them and find out for yourself.

  6. Mark

    Can I use a bank in the US to finance a property in Jamaica? Or, Do I have to use a bank in Jamaica?

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      Hi Mark, the answer is “it depends…”! If you’re a private buyer in need of a mortgage, you always need a local bank. In your case a Jamaican bank. No bank in the world is financing a mortgage in another country. If you are an institutional buyer or a company, purchasing commercial real estate, it could be possible that your US bank is willing to finance it.

  7. Audrey

    Thank you for this article. I would only add, even though a realtor is not needed in order to enter into a contract, please get a real estate attorney to look over the documents. We live in the US and signed a contact for a new construction home in Ocho Rios and trust me it has been a nightmare. We were hit with an “Escalation Fee” which amounted to an additional $19,500 USD afterwards. They claim this “escalation fee” is due to the increase in construction and labor material; this is after the final price of the house. My fellow Ja-Americans, please beware of the words in these contracts. I am not an attorney or a realtor, it is easy to buy a property in Jamaica, yes. Please protect yourself and your hard earned money.

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      Hi Audrey, thanks for your comments and yes, we fully agree. An attorney is very much needed. You’re signing a contract, you’re paying a lot of money, and therefore, always make sure you have an experienced lawyer by your side. If someone is in need of finding a good and affordable lawyer, then send us an email. We’re always happy to help. Stay safe!

  8. Kelly

    Do you need a realtor when purchasing from a developer? To be exact the development is called pyramid point in ocho Rios. If I don’t need a realtor would I still need a lawyer? I’m a us citizen of that helps. Thanks

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      Hi Kelly, thanks for asking this important question. No, you don’t need a realtor, unless the seller hired one. Then the realtor will be your point of contact. Just make sure you don’t pay the realtor fee (usually 5%). A lawyer is always recommended! Be aware, you’re signing contracts, you’re paying a lot of money. So it makes real sense to have a trustworthy lawyer on your side. If you need one, send us an email. We’re happy to recommend a very good and experienced one. Blessings and good luck.

  9. Miki

    Hi,

    If I buy a property in Jamaica, can I get residency too? Or if I buy a few properties and rent some of them out for income, is that recognized as a business/income and get a residency?

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      You could get residency too but it’s another subject and you have to check it with your local Embassy of Jamaica beforehand. Renting out properties is not recognized as a business, but sure as income (Tax). Jamaica’s Business Name Act of 1934 makes it illegal to start a business without first registering it. Check “Companies of Jamaica” on how to set up a business in Jamaica.

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