PROPERTY TAXES: Levied at 1.25% per $1,000.00 of assessed value of the property. Assessed value is 60% of actual value.
MORTGAGES: Available through banks and lending institutions; including First Bank of Puerto Rico, CitiBank, Banco Popular, Scotia Bank & Merrill Lynch. Most banks require the buyer to pay for the tile search, title insurance, property appraisal, written certificate of surveyors property, perimeter survey and the bank‘s attorney fees. Second homebuyers can qualify for up to 70% loan to value mortgages.
TITLE INSURANCE: Available and recommended.
TRANSFER TAX (Stamp Tax): There is a sliding scale government transfer tax (stamp tax) on residences and land at closing and is based on the purchase price.
A.) 2% for property valued up to $350,000
B.) 2.5% for property valued from $350,001 to $1,000,000
for property valued from $1,000,001 to $5,000,000
D.) 3.5% for property valued over $5,000,001
WINDSTORM / EARTHQUAKE INSURANCE: About 2% to 3% of property value for masonry/stone, more for wood frame construction.
VI ZONING, BUILDING AND HOUSING LAWS AND REGULATIONS: May be obtained from the office of the Lieutenant Governor, Accounting Section, 18 Konens Gade, St. Thomas VI 00802 Tel. 340-774-2991.
BUILDING SPECS: All new buildings must withstand a minimum wind speed of up to 110mph and zone 4 earthquake provisions.
BUILDING COSTS: From $300.00 a sq. ft. to $450.00 a sq. ft. A VI licensed architect or enginner must sign off on house plans. Building specs may be obtained from Planning and Natural Resources (DPNR) at (340) 774-3320. Permits take 3-6 months for approval.
ELECTRIC: Supplied by underwater cable from St. Thomas . A backup generator is located on island that supplies Cruz Bay only.
WATER: Collected from the roof and stored in a cistern. Required capacity is 10 gal. of cistern for every sq. ft. of roof on single story homes and 15 gal. for a two story home.
TAXES AND BUSINESS INFORMATION: USVI residents taxed on worldwide income according to standard (IRS) tax code. Non-resident US citizens taxed on income from USVI sources only. Corporations have a 10% surcharge on income with the exception of those enjoying investment incentives. Businesses pay 4% gross receipts tax on money earned from all transactions including services and may not deduct expenses. Ask about IDC and other tax incentives.
DUTY: A maximum of 6% of invoice value of foreign goods, there is no local duty on US made products.
EXCISE TAXES: The range is from 2% to 15% of the net invoice value plus a markup of 5% on items brought into the islands for business use or resale. 1993 government imposed 4% excise tax on imported personal goods (large appliances and furniture) valued at $500.00 or more.
HISTORY: The US government purchased St. John from Denmark in 1917. A Naval governor ruled until 1931 when the Dept. of Interior assumed control. We are an unincorporated territory. Residents of the Virgin Islands vote for a local governor. We cannot vote for
president of the United States . We do receive all other benefits awarded the (mainland) United States.
NATIONAL PARK: In 1950 Lawrence Rockefeller purchased more than half the island from the Dutch West Indies Company, developed Caneel Bay Resort and donated the remaining acreage to the US Government as public park land. Over the years the Park Service has purchased more land. The National Park is 7200 acres of land plus 5650 acres offshore.
LOCATION: The island is 1075 miles East South East of Miami, 50 miles East of Puerto Rico, 3 miles East of St. Thomas. To the North is the Atlantic Ocean, to the South the Caribbean Sea . St. John is 19 sq. miles - 9 miles long and 2 miles wide. The highest elevation is Bordeaux Mountain at 1277 ft.
POPULATION: The 2000 census was 4,200. The St. Thomas census was 48,166. That number is probably up to 55,000.
CLIMATE: The average rainfall is 43 inches, this coming mostly through Sept.-Oct. and May-June. The winter temp. is 77-84 degrees and the summer temp. is 82-93 degrees.
SCHOOLS: The private schools are the same tuitions as on the mainland. Parochial schools are less.
Schools on St. John : Coral Bay to 6th grade and Cruz Bay to 9 th grade (public). St. John School on Gifft Hill, Pre-K to 12th grade (private), St. John Christian Academy Pre-K to 4th grade .
Schools on St. Thomas : There are 4 private schools and 7 religious schools. The University of the Virgin Islands is located on a 175 acre campus with both bachelor and master degree programs.
MAIL: Service provided through the US Postal Service as well as UPS, Fed Ex, DHL and American Airlines.
CELLULAR PHONES: Cellular service is available from Sprint, ATT/Cingular, and Centennial.
INTERNET: Connections can be made through AOL, ATT, Worldnet, CompuServe/AOL, and Virgin Islands Paradise Freenet (free online service). Western Union, World Communications and AT&T provide international telex and telegraphic services.
MEDICAL: Air Service insurance is $260.00 annually for a family. Myrah Keating Smith Clinic on St. John (with helicopter pad) and Roy L. Schneider Hospital on St. Thomas (via ambulance boat).
NEWSPAPERS: The Daily News, The Tradewinds, St. John Sun Times and the St. Croix Avis are the local papers. USA Today, The Wall Street Journal and several US metropolitan and Puerto Rico newspapers are flown in daily.
VEHICLE SHIPPING: From West Palm, FL to St. Thomas costs approximately $1,000. Cars made in the US are duty free, if made outside the US there is a 6% duty, if made with foreign parts there is a 3.5% duty.
MISC: Grocery prices are 25% higher than in the Washington DC area and 20% higher than in Puerto Rico.
INVESTING ON ST. JOHN
Buying real estate on St. John is a dream come true for many people. At Tropical Properties, we are helping more people realize that dream every year and we'd like to work with you.
Real estate prices for land covers a large spectrum. You can still find high quality (good view and breeze) building sites for around $300,000. In general, building sites range in size from 1/4 to 1/2 acre. Price is more a reflection of the location than size in the lower price ranges. As demand for larger sites has increased over the past few years, several developers have designed developments with acreage that affords privacy. Most new developments have covenants and conform to building codes that are intended to insure high quality development in your area. Waterfront starts approximately at $500,000 and up per site and sandy beachfront is rare and, needless to say, in high demand and very expensive.
Real estate on the North Shore is a rare and valuable product. The development at Peter Bay demands the highest prices. You can expect to pay $1,750,000 and up for a site in lower Peter Bay . Tropical Properties has several exclusive listings at Peter Bay and we would be happy to show these to you. In addition to Peter Bay , there are several other "in holdings" within The National Park that are available or that we can make available for you. Look for our “For Sale” signs on some of our North Shore properties.
Our approach to real estate sales is very basic: Look for value. It exists in all price ranges.
In the event that you decide to purchase land, you will want to build. All agents at Tropical Properties have built their own homes on St. John . As you might imagine there are ups and downs associated with construc- tion and you can benefit from our collective experiences. We know the market in rental homes and in owner-occupied homes and we can show you what works and what does not. Building is actually getting to be easier and we can steer you towards people who are capable of making your building experience a very pleasant one.
Prices range from around $400,000 (for a fixer-upper) to over 6 million dollars. The average price range in today's market is from $800,000 to $950,000. Homes in this range represent a dwelling with wood frame construction and some masonry or possibly all masonry construction. Some homes feature exotic hardwoods, stone walls, pools or Jacuzzis. Almost all homes for sale on St. John take advantage of water views and depending on the location, constant breezes. Again, depending on the location, a significant portion of the properties currently for sale make excellent short-term rental homes and this market is strong.
Tropical Properties has experience in the sale and management of businesses on St. John . We have a strong track record of sales of successful businesses that have continued to succeed under new ownership. All of our agents have or continue to own businesses on "the rock" and we can help you develop new businesses that we believe will prosper. We have commercial and residential tracts available for sub-division as well.
We have a wide selection of units available to suite every style and budget. On St. John prices range from $135,000 for an "in town" studio, to $825,000 for a two-bedroom unit overlooking the ocean.
If you'd like to explore real estate ownership on St. John , or just talk about trends in the market, feel free to call the Tropical Properties office or one of our agents directly. As members of the MLS, we have a wide range of properties to show you. We can assist you in arranging for financing, insurance and construction, too. Tropical Properties can help make your dream of investing on St. John become a reality.