St. John Real Estate Fact Sheet
Ownership is in fee simple, under the U.S. flag. Fee simple is the highest interest one can have in real estate. It is ownership for an indeterminate duration that can be freely sold, transferred or inherited.
Property Taxes: 100% of assessed value x mill rate
Homes & Condos Mill Rate = .00377
Land Mill Rate = .004946
Mortgage loans are available through a variety of financial institutions doing business in the Virgin Islands, including:
Windstorm and Earthquake Insurance
Windstorm and earthquake insurance is required for all home mortgage loans. The cost is approximately 2-3% of the replacement value of the structure; wood frame is higher than masonry.
It is customary on St. John for the Transfer/Stamp Tax to be split equally between the Buyer and Seller (negotiable). The Transfer Tax is based on the purchase price or the assessed value whichever is higher.
Costs to the Seller
Exposure of bound posts for land or home, split transfer/stamp tax equally with the Buyer (negotiable), deed preparation, attorney fees, etc.
Costs to the Buyer
Title insurance, structural inspection and termite inspection (for home), surveyors certificate and report (land) or as-built survey (home), recordation of the deed, split transfer/stamp tax equally with the Seller (negotiable), bank fees if required, attorney fees
All new construction must be engineered to withstand a minimum wind speed of 110 mph and Zone 4 earthquakes, and an architect or engineer licensed in the Virgin Islands must approve and stamp new construction plans. Owners should allow a minimum of 2 months for issuance of building permits. Building costs start at approximately $400 per square foot for masonry construction and vary depending on finish materials.
Electricity is supplied by underwater cable from St. Thomas; a backup generator is located on St. John.
Homes on St. John have their own cisterns and septic tanks. Rainwater is collected from roofs and stored in cisterns. Ten gallons of cistern storage is required per square foot of roof area on a single-story home; fifteen gallons of cistern storage is required per square foot of roof area on a two-story home. St. John has a desalinization plant and water can be delivered for approximately $250-$350 for 3,000 – 4000 gallons.
On our island with only two major resorts, both the long-term and short-term rental markets are strong. This gives property owners the opportunity to receive income to offset the expenses of owning a home or condo on St. John. There are a number of rental management companies here to choose from. Owners can generally expect to net approximately 45% to 60% of their gross rental income after management commissions and expenses are paid.