USVI Home Buyer & Seller FAQs
Buying or selling a home in the U.S. Virgin Islands requires important information that may differ from common real estate processes in the states. Please find our frequently asked questions about buying and selling real estate in the USVI below:
- What Are Property Taxes on the U.S. Virgin Islands?
Depending on the type of property you own on the U.S. Virgin Islands, you will be required to pay a percentage of the property’s assessed value in taxes. Below are the tax rates by property type.
- Residential Property – .003770
- Land – .004946
- Commercial Property –.007110
- Timeshare – .014070
Find out more about the current property tax rates USVI Tax Collector’s Office website.
- USVI Transfer Tax
The USVI stamp tax works such that higher value properties have a slightly higher percentage tax than their less expensive counterparts. Here is the breakdown of the ranges of the stamp tax as from 2015:
- 2% for property worth up to $350,000.
- 2.5% for property worth $350,000 to 1 million.
- 3% for property worth $1 million to $5 million.
- 3.5% for property worth over $5 million.
- Real Estate Closing Costs
Whether you are buying or selling your property, there will be significant closing costs to consider in any real estate transaction. Your closing costs in USVI may differ depending on the type of property and the loans involved. Typically, the normal closing costs to consider would be the below:
- Earnest money
- Down Payment
- Inspection Costs
- Real Estate Attorney Fees
- First Year of Homeowner’s Insurance
What is WAPA?
An autonomous public utility created by the Virgin Islands Legislature in 1964, the Virgin Islands Water and Power Authority (WAPA) generates and distributes electricity to approximately 55,000 customers throughout the territory. It also provides desalinated, potable water to 13,000 customers in the major commercial and residential centers of Charlotte Amalie (St. Thomas), Christiansted and Frederiksted (St. Croix) and Cruz Bay (St. John) as well as certain subdivisions.
Because of its reliance on fuel oil and continually escalating crude oil prices worldwide, WAPA’s customer rates are generally higher than in most regions of the United States. Monthly bills will vary according to customer usage and the prevailing Levelized Energy Adjustment Clause (LEAC) factor. The LEAC factor (or fuel factor as it is called in other Caribbean islands and at some mainland utilities) is a customer surcharge that allows WAPA to address increases or decreases in fuel prices. WAPA’s customer rates, as well as adjustments to the LEAC factor, are subject to approval by the Virgin Islands Public Service Commission.
How is WAPA different than stateside services?
WAPA charges about .47 cents per kilowatt versus an average of 12 cents per kilowatt state side. Basically, electricity is extremely pricey here in the Virgin Islands, but we have all the tips you need to lower your bill!
- Property Windstorm/Earthquake Insurance
Hazard Insurance can be particularly expensive on the islands considering the amount of extreme whether we tend to get. The cost of your insurance will depend on several factors, including the construction of the property and the presence of shutters and high impact glass. Windstorm insurance can vary significantly for residential vs. commercial properties.
Typically, homeowners may pay somewhere between 1.35% and 2% of the replacement cost per year for a home that is fully shuttered and built with stable concrete construction.
Presently, the population of the major U.S. Virgin Islands is somewhere in the ballpark of the below:
- John – 3,881 (2020 Census)
- Thomas – 42,461
- Croix – 41,004