Selling Property in Antigua
It is most important that you receive reliable professional advice when selling a property or land in Antigua. There are no rules and regulations governing estate agents or realtors in Antigua and sellers should satisfy themselves that their estate agent has professional qualifications which require them to act in accordance with accepted ethical standards
Richard Watson & Company is governed by the Code of Conduct and professional ethics of the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors. Richard has been a full member of the RICS for 35 years.
Every seller wants the highest price possible for their property but please do not be mislead by agents who claim to have buyers who will pay unrealistically high values just to get the instruction, every property has a market value at which it will sell. Over-pricing your property will not help it sell and it will remain on the market for a very long time, often selling for less than it might have done if it had been listed at market value to start with.
We advertise extensively, across a broad spectrum of media and although you will find our For Sale boards throughout Antigua, the majority of the properties we represent are in English Harbour. Our offices are conveniently located in historic Nelsons Dockyard, we live in English Harbour and we have local knowledge.
Buying Property in Antigua
There are no restrictions on foreign nationals buying property in Antigua although non-nationals are obliged to obtain a Non-Citizens Land Holders Licence (NCLHL) unless purchasing through the Citizenship by Investment Programme (CIP).
All prices are in U.S. dollars and properties are available in Antigua from under US$200,000 to almost US$10 million in a wide range of locations. As with most property purchasing, location is everything and prices will vary according to whether or not the the property is waterfront or has a sea view.
Most overseas enquiries for second homes are from buyers who are interested in English Harbour or Jolly Harbour.
English Harbour is on the south coast, the yachting hub of the Caribbean which includes the historic Nelsons Dockyard National Park, a UNESCO World Heritage Site extending from Turtle Bay in the west, around Falmouth Harbour and English Harbour across to Mamora Bay in the east. It boasts two fine beaches, many restaurants, bars and boutiques and the marinas are the winter home to many of the worlds superyachts.
Jolly Harbour is a purpose built resort from the 80’s, backing onto a fine beach on the west coast, with many waterfront townhouses and a selection of luxurious beachfront residences. There is a marina, golf course, gym, and a commercial centre with most amenities.
There are also a handful of other smaller residential estates scattered around the coast; in Nonsuch Bay, Willikes, Long Bay and Galley Bay for instance.
The north coast of Antigua is home to the business community, many of whom live above Dickinson Bay or in Blue Waters, Fitches Creek and Hodges Bay. The largest golf course in Antigua, Cedar Valley, is also in the north of the island.
Buying land or property in Antigua is a relatively straightforward process and easier than in many other countries provided you are being well advised and we work with a handful of lawyers who we are happy to recommend.
Having made an offer and had it accepted you will be required to sign a conditional contract and pay a 10% deposit. For most overseas buyers who are not Antiguan Citizens the contract will be conditional on the grant of a Non-Citizens Land Holding Licence (NCLHL see below) which can take 2 to 3 months to obtain.
If you are a non-citizen and you are buying land to build a house you need to be aware that construction must usually be completed within 2 years otherwise you can be charged Undeveloped Land Tax and Land Appreciation Tax if you decide to sell the land without building.
Costs and Procedures
The cost of a Non-Citizens Land Holders Licence is currently 7% of the value of the property (or the land if you are buying land to build, it is not charged on the building costs)
The government transfer fee (stamp duty) is currently 2.5% for the buyer and 7.5% for the seller. Property taxes/rates are based on rental value and are low. Legal costs for the buyer are generally 1% of the value of the transaction.
Land ownership, transfers and any restrictive covenants on the land are all recorded at the Antigua Barbuda Land Registry which is well organised. Copies of Land Certificates can be obtained for a small fee, as can cadastral Surveys.
Vendors are now required to confirm that their boundaries have been surveyed within the last 10 years as historic boundaries were not always accurate.
Estate agents commissions are usually paid by the vendor unless you employ an agent to search for you.
Insurance policies which include hurricane and earthquake risk are available, premiums are generally 1-2% of reinstatement value with a 2% deductible.
Citizenship v Residency
At the time of writing, a Digital Nomad Residence Visa is currently available, for 2 years at a a time. It is designed to attract overseas investors who can work remotely and details can be found here:
After 4 years in Antigua, permanent residency is available, details here:
and, after 7 years in Antigua, citizenship is available. Alternatively Citizenship by Invenstment (CIP) is available to those who are willing to pay for it and which can be obtained in 2-3 months.
There are a few approved properties that are eligible for CIP under the residential option, they cost a minimum of US$ 400,000 and are mostly hotel rooms although one of two larger villa developments have also been approved.
If you are interested in Citizenship you will need to consult a Citizenship Agent and we are happy to make recommendations.
Mortgages and Banking
Bank financing is only available to Antiguan citizens or those with an income in Antigua, interest rates are high by US or European standards and 30% or more cash deposit will be required. If you are looking to buy a holiday home in Antigua and require finance you should seek it in the country where you live prior to making any offer in Antigua. It is convenient to have a bank account in Antigua but the banking laws are very restrictive and highly regulated to avoid money laundering. In addition to high street banks, Antigua has an offshore banking system.
As there is no mains drainage most properties are serviced by a septic tank and a water storage cistern as mains water can be intermittent. Although the electricity supply is generally reliable, solar arrays are allowed and a standby generator is useful particularly in the hurricane season. Cellular 4G telephone coverage is island-wide as is WiFi which is getting faster all the time, currently speeds up to 40MB are available and the expectation is that Starlink may become available in 2023.
Richard Watson are the longest established firm of Chartered Surveyors in Antigua who are regulated by the RICS, with more than 30 years experience of all aspects of residential and commercial real estate development and sales.
When engaging Richard Watson our clients are assured they will receive advice from qualified professionals regulated by the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors, the mark of property professionalism worldwide.
We are able to offer our clients the broadest spectrum of advice, from development appraisals and valuations; through construction management and quantity surveying; to asset disposals, residential and commercial sales, and business transfers.
Thinking of moving to Antigua to start a business here ? Many of our clients wish to sell their businesses quietly so they must remain confidential. Just let us know what you wish to do and lets see if we can help. We have already helped many clients through business start-ups in the Caribbean.
Looking for second citizenship ? We can also help through our associated registered agents.