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Virginia Krohn of Villa Cayo Belize – Best Places In The World To Retire User Account
Bungalow in Cayo, Belize – Best Places In The World To Retire – International LivingYou can buy an average little house on one lot in an average neighborhood in Cayo for between US $125,000 to $150,000. For $150,000, you can get a two-bedroom, one-bathroom home with wood frames and wood floors. It would be a finished home between 1,000 and 1,200 square foot.  There are some houses that have three bedrooms and two bathrooms priced between $250,000 US and $600,000 US on a 1/4 to 1/2 acre lot.  
 
Another option would be buy an inexpensive prefab Mennonite home and finish it yourself.  Mennonites build little wood houses that can be brought on a truck and set up on your lot. You can have it put on wood or concrete posts or on a concrete pad and finish it yourself as you have time and money.  However, you do need to exercise some oversight because the quality of the wood they use is not always very good. In their haste to build cheap and quick they might use soft wood that could have dry rot. If they don’t put the studs on 24-inch centers when you put your 4 x 8 sheet of finish material you will have to add studs. In short, what they build is cute little wood houses that you can get into quickly and inexpensively if you can finish it yourself or hire a Belizean to help you.   
 
(Bungalow in Cayo, Belize, pictured.)  
Franklin Syrowatka of Better Homes Belize – Best Places In The World To Retire User Account
Vanilla Hills Lodge, Cayo, Belize – Best Places In The World To Retire – International LivingThere are two markets here in Cayo: the market for locals, with simple houses that are build to the local standards and the expat market, which is geared more towards the Americans and other expats. There is a big difference between these markets in price, quality and size of houses.
 
The price of real estate largely depends on the location, the agent, and the size of the house of course. You can buy property that is very cheap here if you find a local seller. You might get a little house on a small lot for around US $50,000. It won’t be on the river and it won’t have 11' high hardwood ceilings, but it could be a decent dwelling in a nice village neighborhood. 
 
On the other hand, homes that are more geared towards the US buyer start maybe at $100,000. This would be a two-bedroom / one and a half bathroom home, and it’s size would be around 1,200 to 1,500 square feet or so. It won’t be in a prime spot like on the river or on a hilltop. But it could be on a smaller lot in a village or just further out on a larger property.
 
For a really nice house, you would end up in the $200,000 to $300,000 range. This could be a three-bedroom home on a nicely fenced property. The smallest lots you can usually buy here in Cayo are a quarter of an acre but most properties are larger. There are some areas like Bullet Tree where you pay around 30% to 50% more because the place is popular amongst expats. 
 
Another factor that influences the price and the quality of living is how far you are located from paved roads and civilization. If you go out 5 or 10 miles on a dirt road, real estate prices will be significantly lower because it is harder to get there. Also, houses will be hooked up to utilities only if you are in a township like San Ignacio or Santa Elena or if you live directly in a village.
 
Many expats prefer to live a little outside of the towns because it is prettier and they have their privacy. Most likely you will have to drill a well or collect rainwater in a cistern and use solar power.
 
Solar power works fine here in Belize. I am from Germany, which has the largest installed solar base in the world. There we have extensive experience in using solar power although we only get half the solar radiation compared to Belize. So if you want to go solar, Belize is the place. But of course, solar power is not cheap and especially down here because we have to import all the equipment. There are lots of energy conscious people here in Cayo and some of them even live in one of the eco-communities that completely rely on solar power.
 
(Vanilla Hills Lodge built in Cayo, Belize, pictured.)
Wilana Oldham of Hot Mama's Belize Limited – Best Places In The World To Retire User Account
Off-the grid technologies available in the Carmelita Gardens development, Cayo District, Belize – Best Places In The World To Retire – International LivingI am not an expert on the prices of homes here in the Cayo District but I can report that the price depends on where the property is located, what it is built out of and how old it is. The homes here could run from around US $50,000 and up. For $50,000, you could buy a one-bedroom or two-bedroom, one-bathroom house with a fenced in yard but it would not have a whole lot of extras. I asked somebody once and he told me that the cost to build is around $100 per square foot. 
 
If you have a budget of around $200,000 then you could get something nice, around 2,000 to 2,500 square feet. It would be a big house, a two-story, with two or three bedrooms, a living room, kitchen, pantry, verandas, and with lots of amenities in it. It would be in a nice neighborhood. If you are in the town you could get a 75-foot by 100-foot lots. If you buy a home in the towns or in the cities, you are not going to get a lot of land. It will be a small or medium-sized lot. But if you go to the outskirts of the city there is more opportunity to get land. 
 
When Howard and I were looking for a place, we ended up with 15 acres on a highway but our house was an itty-bitty little shack.  We made it into a two-bedroom, two-bathroom house and still with 15 acres of land. We also added two additional buildings.
 
Here in Belize, we have a saying, “Never tear down…” You would always want to renovate. You might get something that looks like it is about to fall apart but then when you start looking at it a little bit closer, you realize that the wood is actually in pretty good condition and it just needs to be shored up a little bit and you can expand on that. 
 
For $200,000 you could get a 2 to 4-acre lot slightly out of town but not in the boonies, either. It would be around 2,000 to 2,500 square feet. I live on the highway between two villages and two major towns in the Cayo District. There are some people around us who have smaller pieces of property, or larger pieces of property. I do not consider myself to be out in the boonies because I am on a major highway and I have all the services of being on a highway. I am just not right in town and I prefer it that way because if you are right in town, you are going to have more congestion and you hear all your neighbors, etc. That is one thing that you have to think about if you live in town. There is not going to be a lot of room around you. For the most part, you are going to be in a very small yard because would be just a single lot.  
 
(Off-the grid technologies available in the Carmelita Gardens development, Cayo District, Belize, pictured.)
Jonathan Lohr of Ceiba Realty Ltd. – Best Places In The World To Retire User Account
Terraced walls of a home in Cayo District, Belize – Best Places In The World To Retire – International LivingIn the Cayo District / San Ignacio, Belize, for about US $100,000 you can get a nice, well-built, well-finished, 2-bedroom, 1 or 2 bathrooms, wooden cabana-style building, which would be around 2,000 square foot with a galvalum roof with a good amount of land. For this amount, the house will be in a good, safe location, located close to restaurants and shops. This would not be a North American style home. Instead, it would be tropical construction. We don’t have winters so you don’t need insulation.  You would have a single hardwood wall and you might have a cathedral ceiling. It’s not bad. That’s actually what a lot of people are looking for because it is basic, simple, but it’s good enough because half the time, you are going to be outside anyway. You don’t lock yourself up inside your house. 
 
For $200,000, you could get a bigger house with a bigger lot in a better location or with a cement construction. 
 
In Belize, you can’t find a home in a selection with a set price. They are all over the place. People try to get the maximum they can so you have to look around and see what is available. If you don’t see what you want, consider building your own because sometimes, you just won’t find what you want. I sell mostly raw land and farmlands. We don’t sell many homes. Often, we encourage people to build their own homes because, that way, you get what you want. 
 
A fifth of an acre of land can be as inexpensive as $10,000 to $15,000 on the low end, while in a good location, it would cost around US $25,000. Obviously, there are more expensive options but if you come to me with $20,000, I could sell you a decent lot around town with utilities such as pipe water, electricity, and probably cable. For an acre of land, I have options in very good neighborhoods. For half acres, the price could start at $35,000.  Whole acres start at $70,000 in a high-end neighborhood with good views; something nice. And I can get a whole acre in another location starting at $38,000. All of these prices are for lots that are serviced.
 
There are no condos in the Cayo area. We have been talking about building some but we are still exploring the market and haven’t built any condos yet. Part of the reason is because, unlike Placencia or Ambergris Caye where land is a real premium, we have a lot of land out here in Cayo. There is a lot of space so there is no need to cram people into one little location. 
 
(Terraced walls of a home in Cayo District, Belize, pictured.)

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