Real Estate St. Maarten / St. Martin


St. Maarten/St. Martin appeals to international buyers looking to own a piece of paradise.


By Harrison Drouin-Reed


The real estate sector on St. Maarten/St. Martin is experiencing a strong increase in demand from buyers looking to divest and invest as they see the island as a viable investment for the future. This is true for both commercial investors and people seeking a second home or planning a retirement in the sunshine.


As interest rates are rising in North America and Europe, investors are focusing their attention here. This is the engine driving significant construction activity on the island starting in the last two years, covering new residential construction, renovations, and new commercial developments on both sides of the island. The spin-off presents more investment opportunities for buyers looking to tap into new development projects more than in the past.


The island’s infrastructure also makes it even more attractive to home buyers. Its good regional and international air connectivity (get anywhere in the world via a direct or one-stop flight every day), shipping (air and ocean freight), and telecommunication infrastructure allow for remote work and cross-border business. The real estate offerings are diverse and attractive, spanning from a one-bedroom pied-à-terre to a family vacation villa. These factors are not easily found in other Caribbean islands, making St. Maarten/St. Martin a preferred destination for digital nomads and people looking to combine a better work/life balance.


The thriving vacation rental industry is another plus for home buyers. If a buyer decides to invest, they can tap into a mature market allowing them to profit immediately from an investment when they are off island. This is a viable option to sustain an investment over the long term, as secondary homes are often only used for a couple months of the year. While long-term rental is a possibility, this restricts property use by the owner. Thus, short-term rental is the best solution to generate revenue when a property is not in use by owners. Working with the right property management company is a serious consideration when seeking to benefit from the vacation rental market. Local professional property managers can advise on how to maximize revenue and protect the property.


The COVID-19 pandemic changed dynamics worldwide, and these changes have favored the local real estate market. Travelers experienced St. Maarten/St. Marin in those days of limited travel, as it was one of the few islands to receive visitors, with strict protocol, in the end months of the pandemic. These travelers are returning to the island to invest. This is another factor pushing the island’s real estate market.


Each side of the island has its benefits for investing, giving home buyers many opportunities. Purchasing property on the French side presents benefits similar to buying in France, while buyers looking to capitalize on tax benefits can choose the Dutch side of the island. The Dutch side has no real estate taxes; however, rental income is subject to taxation. Additionally, there are no capital gains taxes when property is sold. Both sides of the island have an easy and safe sales process through the use of a neutral notary for both the buyer and seller.


With so much to offer in this cosmopolitan destination, St. Maarten/St. Martin is an excellent investment choice and the time to invest is now.


Harrison Drouin-Reed is the managing director and owner of St. Martin Sothebys International Realty. He has been in the real estate industry from a young age, as his mother, Lesley Reed, started the business in 1999. Both have guided discerning investors in the search for the perfect property, and they also provide full-scale services through their property management and vacation rental business.


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