What a year for Belize realtors
A year ago, Belize Real Estate sold more than $1 billion in assets, more than any other country in the world.
Today, Belmopan’s wealth has soared even higher, and its real estate market is more crowded than ever.
That’s because the country has become a center of the world’s money transfer network, a world in which many wealthy countries are now making their money on the backs of their poor neighbors.
In Belize, as in other wealthy countries, the money transfer market is being reshaped by the new digital technologies that make it easier for wealthy buyers and sellers to get their transactions done online.
But Belmopans are getting a glimpse of the future when they look to the future.
“I think it’s going to be a very vibrant and dynamic country,” says Alex Ponce, a Belmopanian who oversees the real estate division of the Belmopani Association of Belmopanes.
Ponce says the world is going to get more connected.
“We’re going to have many different digital services and more opportunities to make money,” he says.
“Belize is in the middle of a lot of things.”
Belize’s economy is booming.
A year and a half ago, the country’s economy was estimated to be worth just over $200 billion, but today it’s estimated to have reached $1.5 trillion, according to Belmopania.com, a website that tracks the country.
In 2017, the real-estate market was worth $3.6 billion, up more than 20 percent from the year before.
But that number has more than doubled since 2015, as the country developed a digital payment system, and as Belmopano real estate has surged.
The digital revolution has allowed buyers to bypass traditional intermediaries such as banks, which often charge fees and are subject to oversight by the United States Treasury Department, and instead pay directly to their clients, through the Belizean Bitcoin Exchange.
The process of paying for a home, for example, is now entirely automated, and the realtor can send an invoice directly to the buyer.
The market for Belmopannias homes has grown exponentially, with nearly 100,000 units sold last year.
“The number of homes sold last December alone was almost 100,0000,” says Ponce.
“But it is the beginning of the end.”
As Bitcoin has become more popular, many buyers have taken to using it to pay for goods and services, and Belmopanaans are being more selective about who they accept.
For example, one buyer, known only as L, was able to send L a $5,000 deposit from her Bitcoin address in a matter of minutes.
She paid the deposit to a Belo, Beloia, Belogan, or Belocan company, which then sent L a bill that totaled $4,000.
When the Belo-Belo bank was able for the first time to process the transaction, L was able buy a $20,000 house in Belmopany for $1,600, and L spent $20.
L says that she has now taken out $15,000 in mortgages and is considering using the new BeloCoin as a way to pay down her debt.
Pleased with the recent surge in home purchases, Ponce is confident that Belmopanan’s economy will continue to boom.
“It’s a good economy,” he tells National Review.
Sources: National Review, The Belo Association of Business, The National Bureau of Economic Research, The World Bank, National Center for State and Local Economic Research”
As long as there’s demand, I think Belmopamans economy will take off.”
Sources: National Review, The Belo Association of Business, The National Bureau of Economic Research, The World Bank, National Center for State and Local Economic Research