more Escape Artists arrive the pressure on existing waterfront blocks will
be upward. One of the well known local real estate agents mentioned that
it was the first time he had ever seen luxury houses here sell for up to
A$1.8m. This trend is expected to carry on until property prices in Vanuatu
double to reach the average South Pacific Island price.The other plus factor
is that Vanuatu is considered to be “secure” and we do not suffer the problems
of misguided fundamentalists attempting to force their violent views on
the local community.
majority of real estate enquiries come from Australians or New Zealanders
but for the first time ever European enquiries are outnumbering them.
some highly expensive construction projects underway with one Island alone
being developed for film-star “getaway” holidays. Basically Vanuatu
is an “undiscovered” tax haven paradise and Escape Artist individuals throughout
the world are only slowly waking up to it. Interestingly enough Londerners
have been buying here for quite some time, possibly to escape the English
It is estimated
that within 6-12 months most of the prime property here will be sold and
any resales would be at a vastly higher figure. The fact is the real estate
market here is quite small and the influx of only 50-100 serious investors
would wipe all the prime estate off the market.
here are worried that there might be a massive property boom which they
don’t want as this may destroy the idyllic laid-back nature of the place.
They don’t want it to become another “Bali” or “Phuket”.
The yachting community are arriving in Vanuatu in increasing numbers with
one new annual ocean race from Australia ending up here in Port Vila. Some
of these wealthy individuals have been buying small Islands at a relatively
When I first
arrived here 5 years ago I spent nearly 12 months looking round for suitable
property. I finally settled on oceanfront land in Bukura Estate on Devils
Point Road. This land is protected by a reef in front and a substantial
hill range behind. I felt these would protect me from large cyclonic waves
and strong winds. Also as this estate is inside the actual harbour area
it was somewhat more protected than other estates. In my 5 years here I
have experienced one only cyclone (several bypassed the Islands with little
effect) and I considered the 120mph winds to be not much stronger than
what I got used to when living in Wellington, New Zealand. I sat outside
with a cigar and enjoyed the experience while my terrified local employees
hid under my bed! The Bukura Estate was virtually unaffected but some of
the “outside harbour” estates took a hammering. Also at Bukura we have
our own mountain underground stream that feeds the Bukura water supply.
Beautiful fresh water on tap!
out at this end of Port Vila are within 12 minutes drive to the nearby
Port Vila International Airport and only 15-20 minutes from Port Vila township,
depending on traffic conditions. Almost all land sold here to Expats is
on a 75 year leasehold basis. The banks are totally happy to loan a mortgage
on property as the lease period is so long. In Australia the property leases
in Gympie and Mt. Isa are only 25 years so we have time up out sleeve.
The annual “rental” payment isaround US$200 per year which is vastly cheaper
than the US$3000 yearly rates the local councils charge in Australia and
New Zealand. There is currently some talk in government circles of doubling
this lease period.
It is very
easy to obtain a residency so you can live in Vanuatu permanently if you
wish. This gives you the freedom to come and go as you like. With a residency
permit you can live here permanently or spend only 1 week a year here.
Otherwise as an ordinary tourist you can stay only 4 months per year. Driving
is American style, on the right hand side of the road, which took me a
month or so to get used to. My main problem was in judging clearance distance
on the right hand side of my car, instead of the usual left hand side.
driving itself on the right side of the road took only a day or so to get
used to. There are no traffic lights anywhere and everyone has a highly
relaxed attitude toward driving. The cost of food is about 25% dearer than
in Australia but this is offset by the low wages for house staff and the
zero income/capital gains tax situation.
My only regret
about Vanuatu is that I wish I’d discovered it 10 years earlier.
To email James
To see his
web site go to http://www.mindtech.com.vu
would like to submit an article to Escape From America Magazine Click