Buying a House or Condo on St. John
Expect to pay around $350,000 for a “handyman special” home; super luxurious homes can top the $10,500,000 mark. The average home goes for $1,250,000. Condominiums range from around $300,000 for a studio to $1,500,000 for a two-bedroom unit. The average condo goes for $675,000. Homes and condos are often bought for use as short-term rental, providing an income as well as an island getaway for the owner.
The Virgin Islands offers an economic and tax incentives program through the Economic Development Commission (EDC). By moving to St. John and locating part or all of your business in the Virgin Islands can be very beneficial. Some of these benefits may include a 901 Exception on income taxes, 901 exemptions on S Corp, Corporate Dividends or Partnership distributions, 100% exemption on gross receipts taxes, property taxes, etc.
Buying Land on St. John
Most home sites are half-acre sites with 5,000 square foot to quarter-acre lots available in denser areas. Location, view, access and grade are factors you should consider when selecting a homesite. Building sites on St. John start at about $150,000 up to $1,500,000 for a waterfront parcel, or go as high as $8,500,000. Your Realtor can show you a variety of parcels that fit your needs and price range.
Building on St. John
Land owners should depend on the experts when it comes to building on St. John. Your plans must be prepared by an architect, engineer or draftsperson licensed in the Virgin Islands.
At present, new construction costs range from $350. and up per square foot, and ranges upward depending on design and finish materials selected. Prices are higher on St. John than most stateside areas, as most building materials are imported. Additional structural requirements and site preparations may be necessary for steep or uphill building sites. All homes have cisterns for water storage and septic tanks. The cistern may account for almost 10 percent of your final building cost. Your Realtor can recommend local architects, designers and contractors to assist you with the building process.
St. John Public and Private Schools
Public school students attend the Julius E. Sprauve School in Cruz Bay, which runs through the ninth grade, or the Guy Benjamin School in Coral Bay, for kindergarten through grade six. Public school students take the ferry to Ivanna Eudora Kean High School at Red Hook. Ferry service is free to all students with Government issued passes. Many parents elect to enroll their children in private schools.
The private school on St. John is The Gifft Hill School which accommodates children pre-k through 12th grades. There are also two schools with religious affiliations: The St. John Christian Academy (Grades K to 3) and the Methodist Pre School catering to ages 2-5 years. Private schools in St. Thomas are Antilles School (Grades Pre-K to 12) and the Montessori School (Grades Pre K to 12).
The University of the Virgin Islands in St. Thomas offers both bachelor and master degree programs.
There are several financial institutions doing business in the Virgin Islands – Interest rates are slightly higher than those in the States and the normal down payment is 20 to 30 percent.
Whether you rent, buy or build, you need coverage. Virgin Islands banks require earthquake and windstorm insurance with the mortgage. The insurance cost is approximately 2% of the value for stone and masonry construction. The percentage may by higher for wood frame homes.