St Barts villas are an amazing piece of real estate to own; just ask anyone that has one. Once, one of the most destitute islands in the Carribean, a building boom by the Rockafellers jump-started both its growth and popularity. It has now become the “St. Tropez of the Carribean.” Before you go out and drop a few million on a villa though, there are a few things you should know.
As of February 2007, St Barts became an “Overseas Collectivity” or collectivité d’outre-mer, meaning that it is part of the French Republic. As such, it is primarily French law that applies, although each “collectivity” (similar to a US municipality) will have it’s own specific laws in place; this also means that euros are the currency, and with the recent lag in the US dollar, it makes everything a bit more expensive for Americans.
There are no restrictions on who may buy property in St Barts, if you can afford it; however, if you are a non-French buyer, the bank will only loan you 50% of the value of the property. If you need to finance the entire thing, you will need to speak to a major financial institution. Oh, and there are no private sales going on in St Barts; realtors are the only professionals allowed to sell property on the island, per French law.
Expect to wait a bit too; property on the island is in high demand. Not only can you not find a 2 bedroom villa with a view for under $1.5 million, you can’t find property to build on either. This is one of the ways we keep the island small and comfortable; if we make too much property available, we’d have people building all over the place – it would destroy what makes the island so great.
So, if you’re serious about buying on St Barts, check out St Barth Realty. They have a variety of villas to choose from, and they’re organized really well, by price. Even if you’re not yet in the market for a villa here on the island, have a little fun “window shopping.”