The Caribbean. Even as the words roll off the tongue we're conjuring up visions of sun-drenched beaches, luxury villas, and a couple dozen episodes of Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous. And it's all true. While The Caribbean is actually a very accessible and affordable holiday destination, and becoming more popular with expats of even modest means, it certainly attracts more than its fair share of the world's elite so-called 'super rich'. |
The Sun Loving Super Rich
In order to qualify for the term 'super rich' an individual's net worth must be valued at least at US$30 million. While the islands of The Caribbean are home (at least on paper) to around 1,155 of the world's super rich demographic, incredibly that represents just 0.55% of the total number spread over the globe. Still, for the size and population of the region it's actually quite a disproportionate number, but there are no secrets when it comes to why the wealthy find this part of the world so appealing.
Why the Wealthy Love The Caribbean
Nearly 70% of the super rich residents of The Caribbean are expats, with those relocating from Canada, America and the UK in the majority. Aside from tax reasons, much of the population growth in terms of high and ultra high net worth residents is attributed to the increase in value of luxury properties throughout the region. Many are attracted to lifestyle investments like The Landings St Lucia, for example, which allow flexible freehold ownership and the opportunity to make money while living the pampered lifestyle of a 5-star luxury resort.
While not back to the dizzy heights of 2008's figures, over the past several years property values have been increasing incrementally, with up to 10% growth in 2014. Whether for a high growth investment like a villa in The Landings St Lucia or a multi-million dollar beachfront mansion in the Bahamas, the super rich love a sunny slice of Caribbean real estate.
Top Destinations Favoured by the Wealthy
Spread over a diverse area, 28 islands in The Caribbean are home to super rich residents, but there are two clear favourites: The Dominican Republic - with 265 ultra rich and a combined net worth of over US$30 billion and Puerto Rico, with over 100 ultra rich and a combined net worth of $US16. (Figures from the 2015 Wealth-X Caribbean Wealth and Investment Report.)
Also with their net worth totalled in the billions, some of the smaller islands, like Montserrat, have a very high proportion in relation to their size. With just 5,000 permanent residents, Montserrat has 10 ultra high net worth individuals, with more US$2 billion of assets between them.
Other islands with a particularly high number of super wealthy residents include Barbados (with 66), Haiti (with 73), and the British Virgin Islands and Cuba (with 46 each).
Lower or non-existent taxes, an easy route to permanent residency or citizenship, and an infrastructure that supports a luxury lifestyle mean that the number of high net worth individuals relocating to The Caribbean has continued to increase over the past few years, despite the effects of the global recession. And, with such a wealth of tropical island paradises to choose from, the trend doesn't look like changing any time soon.
Adam Gobat is a renowned expert on the Caribbean, with a passion for its culture, history, people and places. His in-depth local knowledge and wealth of experience in the luxury property market are key to the marketing and sales of the luxury villas and penthouses in The Landings, St Lucia, a unique freehold opportunity for beachfront property in the Caribbean.
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