Belize: Fire Sale Prices Offer Investors the Ultimate Opportunity
As investors many of us only care about the bottom line. Here it is. A resort in Belize has a debt service it can’t make. We are acquiring the company and are getting rid of just enough inventory to clear the debt. Some of the properties will be sold as low as forty cents on the dollar. These are phenomenal discounts for people with cash, who can be decisive, act quickly, and capitalize on this opportunity.
However, you may also want to consider the “Why” factor. Why Belize? Why would someone want to visit and own property there? We must understand what motivates the ultimate consumer why they will want to own and enjoy the product. Why will they be willing to pay us more than we invested for the use of that property. If we know this, we can make wise decisions.
The main factors that drive the economy of Belize are Tourism and Financial services. The country is right now moving onto the world stage as a major player in both arenas. You should consider this opportunity because there are real consumers for beachfront property there. Your advantage is that you are hearing about this distressed property fire sale first.
Belize was British Honduras until 1981 when it gained independence from England. It remains a British Commonwealth country with English as the official language. The last war in the country occurred in the 1700’s when the British defeated the Spanish Galleons off St. Georges Caye. This tiny Caribbean nation has known peace for more than 200 years.
Located less than 3 hours direct flight from Dallas, Atlanta, Houston, and only an hour and thirty minutes from Miami, scuba divers and fly fishermen have long known about the secret gem that lies along this hemispheres longest barrier reef, over 180 miles in length. Bird watchers and archeologists have flocked to see the rare tropical species, migratory birds, and the awe inspiring Mayan ruins that cover the country’s jungle topography.
Five to eight cruise ships per week now dock in Belize. Fox filmed the Reality TV show “Temptation Island” there and the number of movie stars buying property has skyrocketed. Leonardo DiCaprio owns an island, Francis Ford Coppola owns 2 resorts. Many other well known celebrities and professional athletes own property and visit frequently as well. But even more indicative, when Wheel of Fortune gives a week in Belize as a prize, you know that popular acceptance has arrived. This is one factor that drives the real estate market and property ownership in Belize.
The second factor, and perhaps an even larger one, is the Financial Services sector. Belize arrived recently to the game. Bermuda, the Bahamas, the Turks and Caicos Islands, and the Caymans have long held the top spots as Caribbean banking jurisdictions. As a newcomer to the industry, Belize received the fortune to be able to sort through the various legislations of the world and cherry pick the best parts of many laws. They have crafted some of the most sophisticated and customer friendly legislation for banking, insurance, corporate structures, trusts, asset protection, and retirement residency programs.
Generally, people like to visit and own property where they have their trusts, IBC’s, and bank accounts. It doesn’t have to be that way, but experience shows this correlation. Property prices in the British Commonwealth islands mentioned above have all seen vast appreciation of land values over the past 2 decades. Belize is following fast, but a decade behind. Not often in life do we get a “time machine” opportunity and are able to purchase real estate with 20/20 hindsight.
The property being offered is from a company that is in trouble. By now, we all know the tough times affecting the real estate industry and these folks have been hit hard by the economic crisis. Stunning ocean front homes, villas, and building lots are on the market for as little as forty cents on the dollar. Some of the villas have been branded Cabelas Trophy Properties due to their exceptional quality and location along the reef system. Belize is one of the few places in the world you can achieve fly fishing’s “Grand Slam” and this resort sits in the heart of some exceptionally fine waters.
Our company, ECI Development, is acquiring the assets of the seller and we are liquidating a small part of their existing inventory to clear their current debt. It is a minimal amount, under $6M. As soon as we have sold the necessary properties to pay their debt, these discounts will be gone. You have the opportunity to see them first (after only our shareholders) and make property selections that you’ll be pleased with for years to come.
Michael Cobb is Chairman and CEO of ECI Development, a Latin American real estate holding and development company. Current assets of the company include the Gran Pacifica Beach and Golf Resort, Grand Baymen Community, and 1100 acres along Costa Rica’s golden Caribbean coast line. The acquisition of this new property in Belize would push their holdings to over 7000 acres and 6 miles of beachfront land. More information on the company can be found at their website www.ecidevelopment.com