Turks and Caicos Real Estate Buying Guide
The Turks and Caicos Islands, through its status as a British Overseas Territory, is a stable Caribbean country, and there are no restrictions on purchasing real estate in the country by foreign individuals. However, if the owner is not an individual, the land must be held by a local corporation or trust (foreign corporations cannot own land directly). It's not required to obtain permission from the Government beforehand.
Islands and Price
Real estate price varies considerably based on the island and location. As expected, beach-front properties demand a premium. Providenciales land is significantly more expensive than other islands, and the differences in government tax reflect this.
Taxes and FeesThe following fees are typically applicable:
- Stamp duty of 0-10% is payable to the government (paid by the purchaser).
- A real estate agent's fee is between 6-10% (normally paid by the seller). 6% for developed parcels, 10% for undeveloped parcels (commission rate set by local real estate association).
- Additional legal fees will be payable.
Stamp Duty Rates
For properties under $25,000, no stamp duty is charged. There are also exemptions on property conveyances as gifts to a spouse, parent, or child. On conveyances to brother, sister, grandparent, or grandchild, the Permanent Secretary of Finance to certify that the gift is not for valuable consideration (in order to obtain a 0% rate). The tax band applies to the whole value, not the difference between bands. For example, a purchase on Providenciales of value $245,000 incurs stamp duty of $15,925 (6.5%), whereas a purchase for $255,000 incurs a stamp duty of $20,400 (8%).
It's important to note that stamp duty isn't applied to the chattels (furniture and appliances) when purchasing a property.
|Stamp Duty Rates by Value and Island|
|Under $25,000||All Islands||0%|
|$25,000 - $100,000||Grand Turk, North Caicos, Middle Caicos, South Caicos, Salt Cay||5%|
|More than $100,000||Grand Turk, North Caicos, Middle Caicos, South Caicos, Salt Cay||6.5%|
|$25,000 - $250,000||Everywhere else (including Providenciales)||6.5%|
|$250,000 - $500,000||Everywhere else (including Providenciales)||8%|
|More than 500,000||Everywhere else (including Providenciales)||10%|
It's possible to purchase real estate without having any sort of legal permission to reside in the country. In the past, it has been possible to obtain (mostly) automatic Permanent Resident Certificates (PRCs) depending on the purchase price (which varies depending on the island).
If you are considering purchasing land, you are highly advised to confirm what status you will receive. Depending on the purchase price, you may be eligible for a Permanent Resident Certificate (PRC), a 25-year residence permit, or nothing.
Citizenship and Investing
Turks and Caicos Islander Status is a locally conferred status that is normally equated with 'citizenship' in the other countries. It is possible to obtain British Overseas Territory Citizenship (Turks and Caicos), which gives you a physical passport, but this is different from Turks and Caicos Islander Status. It's possible to obtain British Overseas Territory Citizenship (the physical passport) after residing 5 years in the country, *and* having indefinite leave to remain (which means a PRC). However, holding a 'Turks and Caicos Islands' passport, without the extremely difficult to obtain 'Turks and Caicos Islander Status', does not allow you to operate restricted business categories or vote in elections.
If you are not a British Overseas Territory Citizen (by virtue of a connection with the Turks and Caicos Islands, or hold Turks and Caicos Islander Status or a PRC), you may encounter difficulty obtaining a driver's license.
The Motor Vehicles (Driving Licenses) Ordinance (2009) does not state that an applicant must be a resident in order to obtain a license. However, the Road Safety Department does require applicants to provide 'proof of status'. This is normally citizenship, a PRC, or an annual residence permit.
Some people who have purchased condominiums did not meet the required threshold to obtain a PRC. As a result of not having any legal status in the country, they were unable to obtain a driving license. It is only valid to drive in the country for a maximum of 3 months on a foreign license, but again the law is unclear if this is within a 1-year time period or what duration.
Foreclosures and Defaulted Property Sales
Vacant property and house bank foreclosure sales due take place occasionally in the Turks and Caicos, and the purchase of these properties are typically conducted on a closed-bid process by financial institutions. Contact the local banks for listings and availability.