Overseas property: St Lucia

St Lucia is being tipped as the new Barbados – but without the crowds. Laura Latham reports

St Lucia packs a lot into its 238 square miles and has big intentions too. In addition to its beautiful white beaches, banana plantations, coral reefs and tropical rainforest, it has grand plans for regeneration and redevelopment. This looks set to make it even more popular, not least with celebrity fans such as Amy Winehouse and Kelly Brook, both of whom have been spotted frolicking on the island in the last month.

Minister for tourism Allen Chastanet knows that for St Lucia to attract the same crowds and wealth as Barbados and Antigua it needs to protect its natural beauty but not rely on it alone. "As a destination, St Lucia's done well," he says, "but there's a lot of potential for growth." Which means incentives to encourage more hoteliers and resort developers to come to the island, sleek new marinas, and the replacement of nail-bitingly bad roads. This will do away with the tortuous route from the south of the island and Hewanorra International airport (also to be upgraded), to the north, where some of the most beautiful beaches can be found.

There are also plans to regenerate the harbour at Castries, and an ambitious idea to promote villages and artisan communities, creating employment for locals and a bigger draw for tourists. None of this, says Chastanet, will be allowed to impact on the island's rainforest or coastline. "No destination can stay the same – St Lucia can't be a time capsule," he says, "So we need to identify the aspects that make us special and use them as a platform to build on."

Such has the island's tourism increased, that British Airways recently started a direct service three times a week. One of the biggest areas of growth has been in residential development and it's this, along with better hotels and business facilities, that the government wants to capitalise on by giving incentives and tax breaks to overseas investors. The strategy is already making five-star developments more sought after. The Landings, a 230-unit beachfront resort near Rodney Bay, on the northwest coast, for example, has seen its best sales year so far. It's one of a number of high-grade residential developments aimed at the second-home market, though the developers expect many owners will end up living there.

Sales director Oliver Gobat refers to resorts such as his as "private residential communities", and says The Landings is one of the few beachfront developments on St Lucia where properties are freehold, because the land is reclaimed. "It's a very sociable, mixed community and most people have bought here because it's far cheaper than Barbados," he adds. Prices start at £374,000 for a large one-bedroom property, to around £2m for beachfront with three bedrooms, which is consistent with other upscale resorts on the island. You can buy non-resort homes at lower prices but they probably won't have a coastal location or facilities that would make them appeal to the rental market.

"St Lucia is a stunning location," says Gobat. "The island could easily become the outstanding success of the Caribbean."



The Landings: 001 758 452 0422, www.thelandingsstlucia.com

Caribbean Dreams Property: 01708 223 877, www.caribbeandreamsproperty.com

St Lucia: Buyer's guide

* Property investors have no capital gains, inheritance tax or VAT to pay.

* There are plans to change immigration policy in March 2009 to allow non-national owners investing from $350,000 (£237,000) in property to apply for residency.

* Direct flights are operated by BA and Virgin Atlantic and take around eight hours.

* According to the St Lucia tourist board, tourism grew by 10 per cent in the first half of 2008, while property prices are 40 to 60 per cent lower than Barbados.

Discover more property articles at Homes and Property
News
i100 In this video, the late actor Leonard Nimoy explains how he decided to use the gesture for his character
Arts and Entertainment
Secrets of JK Rowling's Harry Potter workings have been revealed in a new bibliography
arts + ents
News
Robert De Niro has walked off the set of Edge of Darkness
news The Godfather Part II actor has an estimated wealth of over $200m
Arts and Entertainment
Fearne Cotton is leaving Radio 1 after a decade
radio The popular DJ is leaving for 'family and new adventures'
Life and Style
The new model would be a “pedal assist” bike in which the rider’s strength is augmented by the engine on hills and when they want to go fast
tech
Arts and Entertainment
arts + ents
Life and Style
fashion
Arts and Entertainment
James Franco and Zachary Quinto in ‘I Am Michael’
filmJustin Kelly's latest film tells the story of a man who 'healed' his homosexuality and turned to God
News
i100
Property search
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Sauce Recruitment: Retail Planning Manager - Home Entertainment UK

salary equal to £40K pro-rata: Sauce Recruitment: Are you available to start a...

Ashdown Group: Front-End Developer - London - up to £40,000

£35000 - £40000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Creative Front-End Developer - Claph...

Recruitment Genius: Product Quality Assurance Technologist - Hardline & Electric

£18000 - £24000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: The role in this successful eco...

Ashdown Group: QA Tester - London - £30,000

£28000 - £30000 per annum: Ashdown Group: QA Tester - London - £30,000 QA Tes...

Day In a Page

HIV pill: Scientists hail discovery of 'game-changer' that cuts the risk of infection among gay men by 86%

Scientists hail daily pill that protects against HIV infection

Breakthrough in battle against global scourge – but will the NHS pay for it?
How we must adjust our lifestyles to nature: Welcome to the 'Anthropocene', the human epoch

Time to play God

Welcome to the 'Anthropocene', the human epoch where we may need to redefine nature itself
MacGyver returns, but with a difference: Handyman hero of classic 1980s TV series to be recast as a woman

MacGyver returns, but with a difference

Handyman hero of classic 1980s TV series to be recast as a woman
Tunnel renaissance: Why cities are hiding roads down in the ground

Tunnel renaissance

Why cities are hiding roads underground
'Backstreet Boys - Show 'Em What You're Made Of': An affectionate look at five middle-aged men

Boys to men

The Backstreet Boys might be middle-aged, married and have dodgy knees, but a heartfelt documentary reveals they’re not going gently into pop’s good night
Crufts 2015: Should foreign dogs be allowed to compete?

Crufts 2015

Should foreign dogs be allowed to compete?
10 best projectors

How to make your home cinema more cinematic: 10 best projectors

Want to recreate the big-screen experience in your sitting room? IndyBest sizes up gadgets to form your film-watching
Manchester City 1 Barcelona 2 player ratings: Luis Suarez? Lionel Messi? Joe Hart? Who was the star man?

Manchester City vs Barcelona player ratings

Luis Suarez? Lionel Messi? Joe Hart? Who was the star man at the Etihad?
Arsenal vs Monaco: Monaco - the making of Gunners' manager Arsene Wenger

Monaco: the making of Wenger

Jack Pitt-Brooke speaks to former players and learns the Frenchman’s man-management has always been one of his best skills
Cricket World Cup 2015: Chris Gayle - the West Indies' enigma lives up to his reputation

Chris Gayle: The West Indies' enigma

Some said the game's eternal rebel was washed up. As ever, he proved he writes the scripts by producing a blistering World Cup innings
In Ukraine a dark world of hybrid warfare and murky loyalties prevails

In Ukraine a dark world of hybrid warfare

This war in the shadows has been going on since the fall of Mr Yanukovych
'Birdman' and 'Bullets Over Broadway': Homage or plagiarism?

Homage or plagiarism?

'Birdman' shares much DNA with Woody Allen's 'Bullets Over Broadway'
Broadchurch ends as damp squib not even David Tennant can revive

A damp squib not even David Tennant can revive

Broadchurch, Series 2 finale, review
A Koi carp breeding pond, wall-mounted iPads and a bathroom with a 'wellness' shower: inside the mansion of Germany's 'Bishop of Bling'

Inside the mansion of Germany's 'Bishop of Bling'

A Koi carp breeding pond, wall-mounted iPads and a bathroom with a 'wellness' shower