Real Estate Expert Fears for Trinidad & Tobago Real Estate Market

  • 15 years ago
  • Uncategorized
28/12/09 LONDON – Property laws that restrict overseas buyers and the introduction of a new property tax may serve further to dampen the demand from international buyer’s for Trinidad & Tobago real estate fears one international real estate expert.
Nicholas Marr CEO of international property portal “Trinidad and Tobago was very popular with buyers from the UK, Canada and the US. It seems the combination of the global slow down; reports in violent crime and new laws have dampened the appetite from international buyers. T & T has so much to offer foreign buyers and the government would benefit from their money.  I fear the new property tax may further damage the demand from overseas buyers”   
International real estate buyers  are allowed to buy up to one acre of property in Trinidad for residential use, as long as the transaction is paid for in an internationally traded currency, such as the United States dollars, said Nicole Ferreira-Aaron, a partner at M. Hamel-Smith & Co., a law firm based in Port of Spain. The same restrictions apply for leasehold properties. All foreign buyers must also give notice of their purchase with the Ministry of Finance. There is no special filing fee to do so, said Ms. Ferreira-Aaron; a buyer’s lawyer handles the process.
In 2007 by the Minister of Finance stated that foreigners must obtain a license to buy real estate on the island. Since the order passed, no licenses have been issued to foreign buyers.
Now owning a property in Trinidad and Tobago may be more expensive as the government seek to raise more revenue from increased property taxation. A new Property Tax Bill changes the basis on which taxes are levied on property from the annual rateable value (i.e. based on rates) to the annual rentable value.
Trinidadians are confused by the proposals as most are in the in the dark over what their property would be valued at. Home owners will not be informed of the change in taxation until March 2010.
Nicholas Marr who is of Trinidadian decent goes onto says” Trinidad and Tobago is in competition for investment with other Caribbean islands and uncertainty is the biggest killer for investors. Many overseas buyers who have been sitting on their hands in 2009 are looking for places to buy in 2010. I am afraid that the new laws will put Trinidad and Tobago off the investment list if things are not sorted out soon. Investors have a huge choice of places to put their money and it does not take much for them to be put off a particular region.
The bill is causing controversy as the Congress of the People argues that the bill infringes in the fundamental right to own property and therefore it ought to be passed by a special majority. Under the bill, the Government has the right to seize and sell the property of delinquent property-owners, in instances where the property tax is not paid for a period of five years.

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