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USVI Home Buyer & Seller FAQs

Get Answers to Common Questions about Buying or Selling a Home in the US Virgin Islands

Are you ready to navigate the complexities of the real estate market in St. Thomas, St. John, and St. Croix? At Sea Glass Properties, we’re dedicated to guiding you every step of the way.

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 is the current real estate market trend in St. John, US Virgin Islands?

The real estate market in St. John, US Virgin Islands, has been experiencing steady growth in recent years. Demand for properties remains strong, particularly for waterfront homes, luxury villas, and vacation rentals. Prices have been increasing gradually, reflecting the island’s desirability and limited inventory.

What types of properties are available for sale in St. John, St. Thomas, and St. Croix?

Whether you’re seeking a luxury retreat, investment property, or vacation home, there are options to suit every preference and budget. St. John offers a variety of properties for sale, including beachfront estates, hillside villas, condominiums, and undeveloped land. As a smaller island, there are fewer properties on St. John then there are on St. Thomas or St. Croix. Because of smaller inventory, homes on St. John tend to have a higher average price than the other islands in the USVI.

What are the average property prices in St. John and St. Thomas?

Property prices in St. John vary depending on factors such as location, size, amenities, and condition. The average price for single-family homes in 2023 on St. John was $1.8 million. Waterfront properties and luxury estates command higher prices. St. Thomas has more property and a wider range of options. The average price for single-family homes in 2023 in on St. Thomas was $770,000.

What are the residency requirements for property ownership in the USVI?

There are no residency requirements for foreign nationals to own property in St. Thomas, St. Croix or St. John, US Virgin Islands. However, non-US citizens may need to obtain certain permits or visas for extended stays or employment on the island.

What are standard rates for property taxes in 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.

What is the 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.
  • 5% for property worth $350,000 to 1 million.
  • 3% for property worth $1 million to $5 million.
  • 5% for property worth over $5 million.

What are additional real estate costs in the USVI?

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
  • Appraisal
  • Real Estate Attorney Fees
  • First Year of Homeowner’s Insurance

Are utilities in the USVI similar to the states? 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 39 cents per kilowatt versus an average of 12 cents per kilowatt state side. Basically, electricity is pretty 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? How much is hurricane insurance in the USVI?

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 a number of 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.

How many people live in the US Virgin Islands?

Presently, the population of the major U.S. Virgin Islands is somewhere in the ballpark of the below:

  • John – 4,170 (2010 Census)
  • Thomas – 51,634
  • Croix – 50,601

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