Building a new home in Belize
Why you should choose Belize as your new home and common building questions answered by real people.
We've put together some resources that we hope will provide value to anyone considering to build a new home in Belize.
Bill Lockwood is a retired physician from Louisville, Kentucky who moved to Belize in 2009.
John Combe was an auditor in the United States before he retired and moved to Belize.
Please note that featured guests have not endorsed or done business with Fabro's Ltd. unless specified.
John Combe and Bill Lockwood both moved to Belize in 2009. We asked them what it was like to build a new home in Belize.
- Why retire in Belize in the first place?
Bill: Actually, my first choice was Hawaii, second was Costa Rica, then Belize. There was no way I'd survive in Hawaii on retirement money. At the end, Belize was most economic. I ended up purchasing property in Progresso Heights.
John: I had been to Belize a few times before. I already knew I wanted to move to Belize. I did some research and ended up buying property in Northern Belize.
Why Progresso Heights? Progresso Heights is the community they live in located in Northern Belize.
Bill: Northern Belize is cheaper than the Cayes or down south around Placencia. Plus there's too much rainfall down south for my liking.
- What's the estimated time to build a house in Belize?
The estimated time to build an average 2 bedroom house is about 6 to 8 months. However, we've seen some cases where a house took over a year and a half depending on weather or your contractor.
Bill: It took approximately 12 months to finish my (2 bedroom) house, and another 4 months to complete the pool and landscape.
John: Mine took a year and a half, mostly because I had a crappy contractor.
- How much does it cost to build a house in Belize?
If you ask a Belizean what a house cost...US$50,000 should build you a decent one bedroom house. There are also "Mennonite houses", built from wood, for an estimated US $10,000-US$15,000.
But the fact is, this will be different depending on location and contractor. John Combe and Bill Lockwood both built houses up in Northern Belize.
Bill, John: From our experience, it costs about the same to build in Belize as it does the US. Labor is cheaper but materials are more expensive. There's a limited variety of building materials, and it also takes long for the materials to arrive on-site. The quality of the house construction will depend on the quality of the contractor and subcontractors used.
- What about utility services in Belize? How accessible are they?
Water and electricity are accessible in most areas. Internet access while less accessible, is expanding to even the most remote areas. Cable TV is probably the least accessible utility so you might have to get a dish if you're in the less populated areas of Belize.
- What types of houses are most suitable in Belize?
Concrete houses are the norm in Belize mainly because of wet season also known as hurricane season. But don't let this stop you from building your dream home. High land or inland areas are less prone to the effects of storms.
- What are the best places to live in Belize and why?
You'll get a lot more rainfall down south versus in the north of Belize. It's also cheaper to live up north than in the Cayes or Placencia area.
Cayo, an inland district, is often the prefered choice to live by retired people. There are two towns in Cayo, San Ignacio/Santa Elena, which are a few miles away from the capital of our country, Belmopan City, also in Cayo. Belmopan also provides a very calm environment to live, and is located on Belize's highlands which makes it a safe place to live during rainy/"hurricane" season.
Living in the coast is also a beauty. Belize comprises of about 386km of coastline, and you can build anywhere along the coastline as long as land is accessible.
Villages are also a nice place to live. Villages can be found all along the country. These places provide the tranquillity of nature. For more recommendations on where to live in Belize visit http://www.belizefirst.com/where.html
Top reasons to retire in Belize
We've highlighted our top 5 reasons:
Low cost of living. Labor is cheaper compared to the U.S. Minimum wage in Belize is about BZ$3 or about US$1.50. While fuel prices may not be, taxes are low.
Climate. Belizean climate is very favourable. We have subtropical climate which is very warm and sunny. Belize only has two seasons: wet and dry season.
People. Belize's population is about 345,000, the smallest population in Central America. What really makes the populaiton unique is its numerous ethnic groups and cultures.
Nature. A lot of Belize is rainforest. It also has a low population density which promotes the country's level of nature preservation.
Low Pollution. Since it is a developing country with a small population, the noise, air, and water pollution levels in Belize are low.