The complete guide to Vanuatu real estate

Picture shimmering turquoise blue waters and tropical birds chirping as the sun rays peek through palm trees. That’s Vanuatu for you. Vanuatu is a small Oceania island-nation surrounded by the South Pacific Ocean. It attracts a ton of expats over the years from all corners of the globe. If you’re thinking of relocating or investing in this nation, the good news is that Vanuatu real estate is an extremely viable way of accomplishing your goals. In this complete guide to Vanuatu real estate, we cover everything you need to know about buying property here. 

Why consider buying real estate in Vanuatu island?

Buying real estate in Vanuatu island is a fantastic option for expats looking to own a holiday home or second nest for their lifestyle needs. Likewise, foreign investors will be pleased to hear that the Vanuatu real estate market is stable, with plenty of affordable property types on offer. Making a return out of your investment is a very real possibility in Vanuatu.

  • One of the few countries in the world where waterfront properties are cheaper than 1-bedroom properties in the city or suburbs 
  • Range of property and land available to suit all budgets and tastes
  • No property tax
  • Warm climate
  • Unspoiled beaches and lagoons
  • Friendly local population
  • 2-4 hour flights from Brisbane, Sydney, Auckland, Melbourne, New Caledonia, and Fiji

Buy Vanuatu real estate and enjoy:

  • A range of real estate options offering an exceptional value for money
  • Affordable and equally stunning beachfront sections 
  • Coastal properties with comfortable modern living facilities and stunning views over the Ocean

Can foreigners buy real estate in Vanuatu?

Absolutely yes! There are no restrictions on foreigners buying property.  A non-citizen may be asked to supply a financial reference and a professional reference from a local firm for urban purchases but that’s it. Secondly, there is no requirement for property owners or legal residents to live in Vanuatu. So it’s perfectly possible to purchase property and not live on the island.

Can foreigners live in Vanuatu?

Foreigners can definitely live in Vanuatu. Thanks in part to Vanuatu’s Citizenship by Investment Program, for a $130,000 non-refundable donation to Vanuatu’s development fund, you can obtain a Vanuatu passport in two month’s time. 

Vanuatu property investment

Investing in Vanuatu property is a solid way to diversify your portfolio, protect your assets, and even make an income on the side.  There are various properties to pick from, including waterfront bungalows, beachfront villas, and apartments, as well as buying land. In fact, land prices have increased over the years, making real estate investments in land highly attractive. 

Most investors buy property on the island and then sub-let or rent the space to holiday goers. Earning rental income from the tenanted property is actually realistic, since Vanuatu’s tourism sector is booming, attracting a large swathe of visitors to its shores. Moreover, capital growth is attainable, particularly if you invest in a quality, waterfront property. 

Overall, property investment in Vanuatu is highly encouraged and recommended by the government, which passed several legislations that protect foreign investors, including the Strata Titles Act. This makes it easier for people to invest, with almost guaranteed good return rates.

Vanuatu real estate investment requirements 

To invest in Vanuatu property as a foreigner, you must be aware of the following factors:

  • All investments and privately held lands in Vanuatu (apart from custom land and public land) are leasehold in nature. The leasehold term is usually 50-75 years.
  • The title is always guaranteed and investors are protected by Vanuatu’s Land Leases Act
  • You don’t need to be a resident to purchase property 
  • You don’t need a license of any kind
  • You are subjected to the same laws and regulations as any local purchaser of real estate
  • A leasehold-registered interest rate applies

Vanuatu real estate investment benefits

With well-chosen assets, foreign investors can benefit from predictable cash flow, excellent returns, tax advantages, and diversification—and it’s possible to leverage Vanuatu real estate to build wealth.

In Vanuatu, real estate values tend to grow over time. If you make the right kind of property investment, it’s possible to turn a profit when it’s time to sell.

Invest in Vanuatu real estate and enjoy the following benefits:

No income, capital gains, or estate tax. Also no wealth, gift, or other personal income taxes.

No income, capital gains, or estate tax. Also no wealth, gift, or other personal income taxes.

Investment holiday homes have huge potential in returns

Investment holiday homes have huge potential in returns

A stable real estate market

A stable real estate market

Where to buy Vanuatu property?

For residential properties, the best places are Port Vila Vanuatu real estate for sale, Tassiriki, Elluk, the Harbourfront, First Lagoon, Second Lagoon, Bellevue, Malapoa, and the oceanfront subdivisions near town like Dream Cove, Angelfish Bay, Paradise Cove, Bukura, Narpow Point and Havvanh Harbour.

If you’re looking to invest in commercial Vanuatu real estate, then the CBD, main street, and the central harbour-front are good options. If you’re thinking of buying land, then consider the Efate and Santo islands.

Vanuatu waterfront properties

Seaside villas and retreats. Private beaches. Waterfront land. Commercial investments. The choice is yours! There are heaps of Vanuatu real estate waterfront properties on offer at a fraction of the usual cost in countries like Australia and New Zealand.

In general, you can find a huge selection of waterfront properties in prime locations, with sizes and budgets to suit all needs. From a beach or waterfront property right by the water or the ocean’s surf, the right property is within reach.

Vanuatu property market: an overview

The Vanuatu real estate market has experienced the price and activity cycles that occur elsewhere. Overall though, the real estate market has been stable, only fluctuating slightly. The government’s implementation of the Strata Title Act in 2005 further secured Vanuatu’s reputation as a property investment haven. Bolstered by the country’s high-performing tourism industry, Vanuatu remains an ideal nation for property investment.

Local banks even provide mortgages to approved applicants, offering from 70% to 80% on land and land and house packages, depending on the buyer’s credit references. There are also plenty of local property management firms operating in Vanuatu, offering buyers the unique chance to manage the property for the holiday market. 

What are Vanuatu real estate for sale prices like?

In Vanuatu, you’ll find an array of property price points to suit every budget. From a 3-4 bedroom family villa for a few hundred thousand dollars to luxurious, contemporary villas for a couple of million dollars, nothing is off-limits on this island. You can even find oceanfront house plots between one to two acres for $100-200,000 and modern apartments in Port Villa going for $400,000.

Step-by-step guide on buying real estate in Vanuatu 

Buying property abroad may seem like a complicated process, but when it comes to buying real estate in Vanuatu, it’s actually quite straightforward. 

The steps are as follows:

  1. Find a suitable property, with or without the help of a local real estate specialist.
  2. Upon agreeing on a lease price, sign the Sale and Purchase Agreement and pay the deposit (usually 10% of the purchase price)
  3. Vendor applies for a Lessors’ Consent to Transfer or arranges a share transfer
  4. Stamp and registration duties are settled at the local Land Records Department. If you hired a solicitor, settle the fee
  5. A pre-settlement inspection of the property is conducted, or a search of the title is conducted by the purchaser’s side if desired.
  6. The property sale is closed. The buyer submits all necessary documentation, including three original Transfer of Lease deeds already executed by Vendors, a copy of the Registered Title, the Settlement Statement, etc.

It generally takes about 155 days to finalize a transaction and complete a transfer of property.

Vanuatu real estate for sale transaction costs

Always try and factor in about 10% of the purchase price to cover acquisition costs. Stamp duty is 2% of the property price, and 5% is owed to the Ministry of Lands and Natural Resources. Different rules apply if you buy a property in a company name.

For Vanuatu real estate for sale transaction costs, factor in another 2.5% to cover any miscellaneous fees like borrowing costs and unexpected expenses. If you decide to rent out your property for income, you must collect a 12.5% sales tax from your tenant and pay this to the government, along with a fee of about 7-10% to your property manager, if you want them to manage the rental on your behalf.

If you own property in an urban area, municipal rates to cover refuse collection will set you back around $200 per year.

Property taxes

There are no property taxes in Vanuatu, only rental tax applies, and usually it’s around 12.5%.

Seek specialized assistance for your property hunt

You don’t have to go through your property hunt alone. We recommend you speak to a qualified and experienced professional who will guide you through the local laws and requirements, as well as introduce you to a range of attractive real estate options in the country.

Frequently asked questions about Vanuatu real estate

Why consider buying island of Vanuatu real estate?

 Buying island of Vanuatu real estate has plenty of perks, including: owning a second home in paradise with stunning beaches, no property or personal income tax, a stable real estate market with the chance to earn back on your investment in returns.

What’s the Vanuatu real estate market like?

The Vanuatu real estate market is stable, with minor fluctuations. There are many property types on offer, at a fraction of the price in countries like Australia and New Zealand.

What’s the process of buying real estate in Vanuatu?

The process of buying real estate in Vanuatu is as follows: you must find the right property, seek help from a real estate attorney, agree on a lease price and sign the Sale and Purchase Agreement, pay the associated fees, submit the documentation and book the property in for an inspection.

How much does Vanuatu real estate waterfront cost?

A stylish, well built waterfront property on Devil’s point for example, costs about $376,387.50. A Duplex overlooking the second lagoon will set you back approximately $300K.