Dedicated to providing you with credible information about living overseas
Best Places In The World To Retire Community Questions and Answers about living and retiring abroad

Questions & Answers

Q & A Menu Q & A BY TOPIC
To navigate, use menu bar to the left
Josh Buettner of Ambergris Seaside Real Estate – Best Places In The World To Retire User Account
Beachfront home in Ambergris Caye – Best Places In The World To Retire – International LivingThe cost to build quality, concrete construction in Ambergris Caye, depending on the location, ranges from about US $100 to $200 per square foot, without the land.
 
If you are in an area of Ambergris Caye where you could only bring in goods via boat, it is going to add a little bit to the cost as opposed to a place where people can drive and drop off things.
 
The other element is the type of foundation. Most people here do piles to bedrock and concrete pier and beam construction. If you are doing something other than that like a floating foundation, you may be able to reduce the cost but there is very little of that done here in Ambergris Caye because there are only a few areas on the island that would lend itself to that type of construction.
 
For a 2,000 square foot house, you can count on around $200,000 to $400,000 to build it to high-end American standards. You would get granite countertops, hardwood floors or tile. Most people use tiles in Ambergris Caye. They have some tongue and groove work on the ceiling. You would generally have a poured concrete roof because that is the standard that most people are using here now. You would have quality light fixtures and plumbing fixtures. Most of the homes that they are building here on Ambergris Caye now are well above the standards that most people have in the US, where you can just put up a home with a brick facade. Here, you are going to have concrete blocks and poured concrete and things of that nature that it would take an Act of God literally to do any kind of damage.
 
People nowadays are also installing either impact windows or they are building built-in roll down hurricane shutters. They do that because of the threat of hurricanes since we live in the Caribbean here so it is always an issue and something that you should always keep in mind. Hurricane shutters also provide additional security for those homes (and there are a lot of them) left vacant for a good portion of the year.
 
(Beachfront home in Ambergris Caye, Belize, pictured.)
Bob Hamilton of Century 21 Coral Beach Realty – Best Places In The World To Retire User Account
Renovated condo bathroom in Ambergris Caye, Belize – Best Places In The World To Retire – International LivingIf you are going to build a concrete house to American standards and the location is around San Pedro Town in Ambergris Caye, then that might cost around US $200 per square foot. If you are going to bring your materials by barge off the beach, you are going to add maybe another $20 per square foot. That would be a nice concrete house with nice tiled floors, granite countertops, mahogany cabinets, which are all up to American quality. Fixtures might also be included, such as fans.
 
I just helped renovate one of the condos of one of my clients. I am not a contractor but I kind of got roped into it. We used granite countertops and bathroom vanities. We used nice ivory bowls that sit on the countertops. They had old fashioned water spouts that puts the water into these old fashioned bowls. You can get anything out of the States down here to Ambergris Caye now. There are also some big hardware companies such as Benny’s in Belize City that bring in things from all over the world. Finestein is the family that owns Benny’s. They have everything you need.
 
(Renovated condo bathroom in Ambergris Caye, Belize, pictured.)
Lisa McCorkle Guerrero of DIAMANTÉ – Best Places In The World To Retire User Account
cabinetry being installed in Diamante development, Ambergris Caye, Belize – Best Places In The World To Retire – International LivingSome people buy land on Ambergris Caye but it’s not in a development per se, like in a gated community.  There are lots of people who buy beachfront lots or individual lots not on the beach and build their homes.
 
The prices for lots on the beach in Ambergris Caye didn’t really go down when the recession in the US happened. They pretty much held their price and that’s slowly coming up again.  The price could run anywhere from US $5,000 to $8,000 a linear foot of beachfront depending how close or far from town you are. Most of the properties go by how many feet you have on the beach and the price may fluctuate just a little depending on the depth of the property.
 
The cost to build on your land depends on the standard you’re building. For example, with Diamante, we are one of the highest standards in town right now and most of our things are imported – like our tiles, fixtures, granite – but not the woodwork. All the woodwork is done locally. There’s an amazing cabinet shop, Graniel’s Cabinet Shop, and he’s one of the oldest contractors and cabinetmakers on the island.  His work is just spectacular. Anything else like fixtures, faucets, sinks, and anything like that, which you import, is going to be a lot more expensive than if you buy something of a lesser quality already in Belize. Our import duties here are anywhere from 20% to 50% of what it cost you to buy it overseas, which changes your cost per square foot tremendously. I would say an average price to build here on Ambergris Caye would be anywhere from $150 to $250 a square foot, depending on what quality you want to build.
 
(Cabinetry being installed in Diamante development, Ambergris Caye, Belize, pictured.)
David Drummond of Georgetown Trust – Best Places In The World To Retire User Account
Ambergris Caye beach – Best Places In The World To Retire – International LivingTo ask how much it is to build a house in Ambergris Caye is like asking how much does a bag of groceries cost. The cost of the bag of groceries depends on what you put inside the bag of groceries, and the cost of the house also depends on what you put inside the house. I’ve seen anything from US $135 per square foot to as high as $225 to $250 a square foot.
 
Americans and Canadians come from a world where houses are built with timber and paper. They do not do a lot of timber and paper building here in Belize. They build out of steel and concrete. Steel and concrete building costs a little bit more for the external structure, and including the niceties inside of it, those also cost more money. For example, a stainless steel refrigerator here will cost more in Belize than what you would pay for it in the United States and a large screen television here is going to cost be more in Belize than what you pay in the United States.
 
A well-constructed steel and concrete building would probably be costly to build in the United States.  In Ambergris Caye, I would expect to pay around $150 to $250 per square foot to get myself what I would expect in a concrete building and probably not much cheaper to get some type of wooden structure.
 
We use concrete and steel in Belize because we are still in a hurricane zone, so they build these structures so they don’t disappear. To build a concrete house here in Belize is going to be less from a labor perspective than it would cost to build in the US. Materials are probably going to be about the same, or perhaps they might actually be a bit higher here because Ambergris Caye is an island and anything that comes out to this island has the expense of being shipped here. So you are going to see the cost of materials to be the same, if not higher compared to the US, but you are going to see labor being substantially lower, which is where you are going to get your cost savings.
 
The prices I quoted are without land. The houses here in Ambergris Caye are American style homes, except that they are built better because they are built with concrete and steel. The common labor you find here in Ambergris Caye is more accustomed to building concrete and steel, so they are skilled in doing that.  In contrast, if you build with drywall and two by fours, you need construction workers who are good with finishings, because there is a lot of taping and sanding and mudding. Here in Belize, I would say the skillset is more leaning towards laying blocks and putting a nice cover coat over that block. That is the big difference.
 
It is not that you cannot build a house made of wood here and it is not that you cannot find it; it is just that the vast majority of the structures here in Ambergris Caye were built from concrete and steel. A majority of the labor pool are familiar with that, so they can give you more options if you use these materials.
 
The cost to build a 2,500 square foot home in Ambergris Caye would be anywhere around $375,000 to $550,000, depending on how you build it, how you finish it, what fans you pick out, what air-conditioning units you bought, how many light fixtures you put in it, etc. The cost adds up for all those little things that we take for granted in the US.  For example, there is not a Home Depot down the street, where I just go and get a fan and I can pick out as many as I want for $350. That luxury of selection and cost is just not here in Ambergris Caye.
 
A lot of people pack everything they want into a container and they will ship it down here and pay the tax on it. Doing this helps lower the construction cost a little bit. But if you came here and ask most of the builders, you will be looking at something around $150 to $250 per square foot in Ambergris Caye.

Go Here Next

Go Here Next

 
Best Places In The World To Retire Expat Stories contains text, video, and photos by people just like you who are already living abroadUse the menu on this page to go to categories of Stories.
Best Places In The World To Retire Community Questions and Answers about living and retiring abroadUse the menu on this page to go to other categories of questions.
The Best Places In The World To Retire Location Advisor makes personalized recommendations for where to live and retire overseasGet matched to your ideal location to live abroad.
Best Places In The World To Retire Community Questions and Answers about living and retiring abroadAnswers about living, working or visiting abroad.
Best Places In The World To Retire Expat Stories contains text, video, and photos by people just like you who are already living abroadStories by expats & others about their life aborad.
Best Places In The World To Retire - MarketplaceFind for profit, non-profit and religious organizations.
 

Go Here Next

 
Best Places In The World To Retire Expat Stories contains text, video, and photos by people just like you who are already living abroadUse the menu on this page to go to categories of Stories.
Best Places In The World To Retire Community Questions and Answers about living and retiring abroadUse the menu on this page to go to other categories of questions.
The Best Places In The World To Retire Location Advisor makes personalized recommendations for where to live and retire overseasGet matched to your ideal location to live abroad.
Best Places In The World To Retire Community Questions and Answers about living and retiring abroadAnswers about living, working or visiting abroad.
Best Places In The World To Retire Expat Stories contains text, video, and photos by people just like you who are already living abroadStories by expats & others about their life aborad.
Best Places In The World To Retire - MarketplaceFind for profit, non-profit and religious organizations.
 

Our Pledge To You

Best Places will present information from the Community in a transparent way, unedited, except to conform with our Conditions of Use.

You can trust that Best Places does not manipulate content to sell you anything. All opinions in the Community Q & A and Expat Stories are those of its authors, not Best Places.

Get Known To The Community

Those who contribute to the Best Places Community are our heroes! And being a Best Places hero is fast, fun, and easy. Just go to Questions & Answers, find your first question to answer, click on it, and then click the Contribute Your Answer To This Question Button. If you’d rather enter a Story, go to Expat Stories and click the Contribute Your Story Button".

Contact/Support

Please contact us. We would love to hear from you! Customer Service
Technical Support
Business Development
Suggestions
Press
Phone: (US) 520-940-0481