Jamaica Real Estate

The third largest island in the Caribbean, Jamaica has long been a popular destination for tourists, holidaymakers, honeymooners, and more recently, digital nomads who are lured by the breathtaking magic of its natural wonders, as well as the intoxicating vibrancy of its unique cultural experience.

Known as one of the world’s most romantic destinations, the very mention of Jamaica conjures visions of brilliant colors — powdery white sand beaches, crystal blue waters, lush verdant landscapes filled with mountains and rainforests, and a luscious rainbow of exotic tropical flora that provide a veritable feast for the eyes!

Aside from these natural attractions, Jamaica is also renowned for its culinary and cultural traditions which have greatly influenced the international food, fashion, music, and entertainment scenes for generations.

Its laidback and easygoing lifestyle draws visitors to stay a little bit longer, enjoy the warm hospitality of its people, and revel in the wide array of recreational activities available on the island. 

Thus, it is not surprising to find many travelers returning time and again, with some of them eventually investing in their own piece of paradise in Jamaica.

Well-established real estate market

The Jamaican real estate market is stable and well-established, with a wide range of choices available to both local and foreign buyers.

Recent reports indicate that the value of real estate transactions in Jamaica has already exceeded J$13-billion in the first half of 2023, with significant figures coming from the luxury market. These preferred properties include private luxury homes in prestigious gated communities, sprawling beachfront villas, and posh condos in modern apartment or resort complexes that not only offer hotel amenities but also opportunities for income as holiday vacation rentals.

Consistently voted as among the most popular places to live in Jamaica are the scenic coastal communities within and around Montego Bay, Negril, Ocho Rios, Runaway Bay, Treasure Beach, and Port Antonio, to name a few. Countryside areas like Falmouth and its environs are popular among home buyers who prefer a more secluded hideaway, while for those who wish to stay close to the city center, the capital of Kingston would be a top choice.

Hot new developments

With the continued popularity of remote work and the renewed accessibility of travel, the Jamaican real estate market has seen an increase in demand for holiday homes, as well as those that can be used as vacation rentals. Real estate experts predict that this growth is likely to carry on in the next few years and property developers have been quick to respond with exciting new projects.

Just recently, Norbrook Realty Limited announced its J$ 11-billion investment in the Jamaican real estate industry by way of three major development projects — two luxury residential communities in Ocho Rios and a commercial real estate tower in Kingston.

Its first project, the Bohio Villas, is a luxury beach enclave near Mammee Bay whose 14 villas have already been sold out pre-construction. The second residential project, Banbou Cove Resort Residences, will feature 20 high-end villas and 36 luxury condos across 20 acres of beachfront property and has received reservation inquiries even before its official launch. The third project will be a commercial tower for corporate offices and short-term rental luxury condos, with spaces for retail shops and restaurants as added features.

Meanwhile, Proven Properties also unveiled its SOL Harbour Residential Complex, whose two 7-storey buildings will look out over the Ocho Rios coast on the north, and the verdant mountains on the south. The complex will consist of 140 studios and 12 two-bedroom apartments designed with broad balconies, large windows, and high ceilings for an abundance of natural light and soft tropical breeze, all set amidst lush landscaped gardens.

An 8-acre seaside and riverfront property along Jamaica’s north coast of Oracabessa in St. Mary, Bessa is another fairly new development that is targeted towards the upscale residential market. Its 86 well- appointed units are divided into a choice selection of 50 river condos, 24 ocean suites, and 12 pool villas, all with stunning views of the vast Caribbean Sea. A project of the KLE Group and Sagicor Group Jamaica, Bessa prides itself in being a conservation-oriented development that does not disrupt the natural habitat of its neighboring wildlife.

Is Jamaican real estate available to overseas buyers?

Definitely! Foreigners are eligible to purchase property in Jamaica with no legal or other restrictions.

However, it is important to note that if the purchase of property involves foreign currency remittance, the buyer needs to obtain permission from the Exchange Control Department of the Bank of Jamaica before proceeding with the transaction.

Finding your ideal property

Owning real estate in Jamaica begins with searching for the ideal property. One way of doing this is by going online and scouring through numerous websites that offer Jamaica property listings — or you can do it the easy way and work with a trusted local real estate agent.

There are many advantages to working with a realtor, foremost of which is efficiency. Working with a licensed professional will save you valuable time and effort in the process of finding your dream home.  Once you’ve agreed on your requirements, your realtor will do the initial house hunting for you, provide you with pre-selected options, and organize viewings for the properties you are most interested in.

Since 2010, licensed realtors in Jamaica have been using the Multiple Listing Network (MLS), an online platform where properties for sale can be viewed along with important details such as location, size, year built or remodeled, amenities, conditions of sale, and proximity to various facilities and services. With access to this comprehensive list of available properties, your realtor can easily recommend prospects that will match your specifications.

Even after finding your dream property, your realtor remains to be one of your best allies throughout the transaction process. An experienced real estate agent is trained in the art of negotiation so having one by your side will ensure that you will get a better deal and avoid spending more than is necessary to obtain your desired property.

Under the guidance of a competent and detail-oriented realtor, you are likely to avoid costly complications and oversights that sometimes occur during real estate transactions.

One of the best resources in finding a reliable and trustworthy realtor is through the Realtors Association of Jamaica which represents some 1,200 active real estate professionals and affiliates and ensures that its members uphold the highest standards of ethical and business practice.

Ready to buy?

Once you have set your heart, mind and budget on a particular property, you are ready to begin the buying process.

While the process itself is pretty straightforward, the conveyance of real estate in Jamaica is marked by the absence of standardized contract. For this reason, it is highly recommended that anyone buying or selling property in Jamaica should work closely with a reputable property lawyer who will guide you through the process, take on the cumbersome amount of paperwork involved, and ensure that your best legal interest is served throughout the transaction.

Once you have hired a lawyer, the process becomes pretty straightforward and can be summarized in a few simple steps.

The first step is to make an offer. It is during this stage that negotiation may occur and the assistance of a licensed realtor could prove invaluable.

Should the vendor accept your offer, your lawyer will assist you in conducting a land survey and title search to ascertain if there are any other claims or conflicting interests registered against the property. (Some experts advise the buyer to lodge a caveat on the property to rule out any other interest from being registered against it until the transfer is  complete.)

If all is green and go at this point, the vendor’s attorney will prepare an Agreement for Sale and submit it to your lawyer for review. Make time to discuss the terms of contract with your lawyer to determine all of the inclusive costs and to seek any amendments, if necessary.

When fully satisfied with the terms, you may sign the contract and pay the agreed deposit which is typically 10% to 15% of the purchase price. It is an accepted practice to pay the rest in installments.  

You will also be required to pay all the mandatory taxes and fees, which include Stamp Duty, Transfer Tax, Registration Fee and Property Tax, as well as legal fees and agent’s fees.

We are here to help

Are you in the market for a residence, a holiday home, or a vacation rental property in Jamaica? Our team of trusted ERA real estate professionals would be more than happy to assist you!

For more information about working with ERA and for interested franchisees, please inquire below. We look forward to hearing from you!

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