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:
Can US citizens buy property in US Virgin Islands?
Yes, US citizens can buy property in the US Virgin Islands and move to USVI without a visa or work permit, just like in any other US territory or state. The only thing you may need to obtain is a local driver’s license and register to vote in local elections. The USVI real estate market is open to both local and non-local buyers.
Which USVI is best to live on?
The best USVI island to live on depends on your preferences and lifestyle. St. John is known for its natural beauty and outdoor activities, while St. Thomas is more urban with a bustling tourism industry. If you are looking for a slower pace of life with plenty of fascinating historic sites nearby, then St. Croix has you covered.
Is it affordable to live in the Virgin Islands?
Living in the Virgin Islands can be expensive, with higher costs for utilities, groceries, and transportation compared to the mainland US. However, the USVI also offers tax advantages & incentives for businesses & corporations that can help offset some of these costs. This includes a 90% reduction in Corporate Tax, according to the EDA. It can be especially affordable for those who work remotely because of the savings that come from cutting your commute. Contact us for more information about how this can apply to you!
Which Virgin Island is the most affordable to live on?
St. Croix is generally considered the most affordable of the USVI islands to live on, with a lower cost of living and lower property prices compared to St. Thomas and St. John. However, prices can still vary widely depending on the location and type of property.
Do you pay property taxes in USVI?
Yes, property taxes are levied in the US Virgin Islands. The exact amount will depend on the assessed value of the property, but it is generally lower than in many US states. Additionally, the USVI offers a homestead exemption for primary residences. Below are the USVI property tax rates:
- Residential Property Tax Rate – .003770
- Land Property Tax Rate – .004946
- Commercial Property Tax Rate –.007110
- Timeshare Property Tax Rate – .014070
Find out more about the current property tax rates USVI Tax Collector’s Office website.
Are the U.S. Virgin Islands a good place to retire?
The US Virgin Islands can be a great place to retire for those looking for a tropical climate and laid-back lifestyle. Just like any other potential retiring location, it is important to consider the average cost of living, healthcare options, and travel considerations for family members. Many major cities like New York, Miami, Atlanta, Boston & more have direct flights to the US Virgin Islands. Why not consider living near an airport for your visiting family members’ convenience?
What are the tax advantages to living in the US Virgin Islands?
The US Virgin Islands offers a range of tax incentives for residents, including exemption from US federal income tax, exemption from USVI income tax on income earned outside the USVI, and reduced tax rates on income earned locally. Check out our full article on the tax advantages of living in USVI to learn all the tax advantages that apply to you.
How do I become a USVI resident?
To become a resident of the US Virgin Islands, you will need to establish a physical presence on the islands and meet certain residency requirements, such as owning or renting a home and paying local taxes. The exact requirements can vary depending on your circumstances.
How much is the rent in the US Virgin Islands?
Rent in the US Virgin Islands can vary widely depending on the island, location, and type of property. On average, a one-bedroom apartment in St. Thomas can cost around $1,500-2000 per month, while a similar apartment in St. Croix may cost closer to $1,000 per month. Learn more about long-term rentals in USVI.
What is the USVI Stamp Tax?
The USVI stamp tax, also known as the Transfer Tax, works such that higher-value properties have a slightly higher percentage of tax than their less-expensive counterparts.
Here is the breakdown of the ranges of the stamp tax as of 2023:
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.
What are the real estate costs associated with the US Virgin Islands?
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:
Real Estate Attorney Fees
First Year of Homeowner’s Insurance
Similarly, factors like Earnest money & Down Payments are no additional fees as they would be in the states.
What is WAPA? What does WAPA do?
The Virgin Islands Water and Power Authority (WAPA) is an autonomous public utility created by the Virgin Islands Legislature in 1964, that 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!
Do I need Property Windstorm/Earthquake Insurance in the USVI?
The amount of extreme weather we tend to get makes it necessary to have property windstorm & earthquake insurance. 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.
What is the Population of the US Virgin Islands?
Based on the 2020 Census, the population of the entire US Virgin Islands is 87,146. The breakdown based on major U.S. Virgin Islands is as follows:
St. John – 3,881
St. Thomas – 42,461
St. Croix – 41,004