When you think of Guam, a tropical paradise comes to mind. With its beautiful beaches, breathtaking natural scenery, and friendly people, it’s no surprise that many people are drawn to the idea of buying or renting property here. However, with such an exotic location comes specific challenges for both Buyers and renters alike.
For those looking to buy or rent a property in Guam, it’s important to be aware of the differences between buying and renting. And while every situation is unique, there are some key factors to consider when deciding which may be the best choice for you.
Renting VS Buying a Home in Guam
When living on Guam, the decision of whether to rent or buy can be complex. Most people are aware that the majority of available residences on the island want to attract military members and families due to guaranteed rent by the Federal government and the rental prices starting at about $2,200.00 a month
But while renting may appear to be an obvious choice due to this cost, it’s important to consider both options and their associated benefits.
As for members of the Military, Overseas Housing Allowance (OHA) not only provides rental support but also makes homeownership very attractive and accessible. Military members should seriously consider the power of using their OHA as an investment and wealth-creation vehicle when deciding on whether to rent or buy.
- Renting gives you more flexibility than buying, as it’s easier to move from one home to another, if necessary
- One of the biggest benefits of renting is that you don’t need a large amount of money up-front
- Less maintenance and repairs are required since they’re generally the responsibility of the landlord
If you are military and have questions about renting, read OFF BASE RENTAL FAQS.
- Freedom and control to fully customize your home the way you want
- The potential for increased wealth over time as property values appreciate, especially on Guam
- The ability to build equity through ownership
- No need to worry about being asked to leave by a landlord
- The option to lease out the property when you relocate off the island and earn passive income
- If you bought in a good and safe area and you decide to lease out the home when you relocate (PCS), you can get prime rental income starting at $2200 (for a military tenant)
If you are military and have questions about renting, read BUYING FOR MILITARY FAQS.
- You’ll be unable to make any changes to the property, as it belongs to the landlord
- Renters are at risk of rent increases
- The longer you stay in a rental the less money you will gain back
- There are no tax benefits to renting a property
- If you are military, you are giving away $53,000 (for a 2-year unaccompanied orders ) or at least $88,000 (for a 3-year accompanied orders) during your time on Guam
- A larger financial commitment is required up-front (down payment [if any] and closing costs)
- It can take some time to build equity and realize a potential gain from the increase in property value
- Maintenance costs are all yours to bear, meaning you may need to pay for repairs and other upkeep out of pocket
- Monthly expenses may vary depending on interest rates, insurance premiums, common area fees, and other factors
- It can be challenging if you relocate (PCS) off of Guam and do not have a good property manager when leasing out your home
Real Estate in Guam
The real estate market in Guam is an incredibly competitive one, given the limited amount of homes available. From the modest and affordable to those radiating with all the latest touches, there are a good number of options to choose from.
Something that can sometimes be overlooked is the VA Loan Program for Military members and families. This outstanding benefit is available to those who serve and have served in the military and are seeking property ownership in Guam.
In addition, for those in the military who may have to PCS (permanent change of station) off of Guam, there is also the option of renting or selling their homes. Having that flexibility is invaluable in a market like Guam’s, as it gives people the chance to make the most of their home and its value.
Top Neighborhoods in Guam
Guam is the perfect island paradise for all kinds of folks, boasting beautiful beaches and a flourishing culture. Its top neighborhoods offer sunrises that captivate your soul and sunsets that will take your breath away.
For military members and their families, there's a typical overseas housing allowance (OHA) of $2,450/month—allowing you to give away up to $88,200 to a landlord or keep it for yourself. Plus with Living On Guam Realty agents who know the market and neighborhoods like the back of their hand, you can easily sell or rent out when it's time to PCS out.
Listed below are some of the most desirable neighborhoods in Guam:
(for more information on the villages, read the Guam Definitive Guide)
The Barrigada neighborhood in Guam is one of the island's most picturesque places to live. Located close to the Guam airport, between Big Navy and Anderson, it’s a thriving community with plenty of impressive homes surrounded by lush flora.
Barrigada has mostly single-family homes. With its stunning views of both the city and the more distant ocean, you're also sure to be enchanted by what this village has to offer.
Barridaga falls under DoDEA’s Andersen school district for elementary school-age military children.
Tamuning is a central village of Guam with many business offices and conveniences. This is why many want to live here. There are more apartments and condominiums in this village. There are also a few townhomes and even fewer single-family homes that are priced at a premium due to large demand and limited supply.
Those on a budget can also delight in the incredible selection of available homes in this great city. With daily opportunities to soak up the sun at local beaches or explore majestic mountain paths, life in Tamuning creates an unparalleled living experience.
Tamuning falls under DoDEA’s Andersen school district for elementary school-age military children.
Dededo, a village in Guam, is suitably the most populated village for good reason. Given its close proximity to the Andersen Air Force Base and Camp Blaz Marine Base, Dededo is an especially attractive location for military families and those seeking convenience and comfort.
However, there's something for all in this vibrant community, from couples looking to save money in an apartment to young families wanting a townhome, and those looking for single- or multi-family dwellings all finding that it is worth spending their money to live in this idyllic spot.
Dededo falls under DoDEA’s Andersen school district for elementary school-age military children.
Located in the heart of Guam, the Mangilao neighborhood was designed to combine access to amenities with captivating natural beauty. Home to approximately 15,000 plus residents, this area features a variety of property styles from cozy apartments and condominiums to large expansive single-family homes with generous yards.
Both Guam Community College and the University of Guam which is why it is known to attract young professionals, as well as families.
Mangilao is where the “back road to Andersen” begins, connecting central Guam to the northern side of the island.
Mangilao falls under DoDEA’s Andersen school district for elementary school-age military children.
Living in Guam
As an island located in the western part of Micronesia, Guam enjoys warm and humid year-round weather with temperatures rarely falling below 75 degrees Fahrenheit or above 90 degrees Fahrenheit. The area experiences its wet and rainy seasons between July and November as well as dry and pleasant weather from December and June. Because of these conditions, Guam calls to those who may be looking to escape cold and snowy climates.
Guam is a bustling economic hub that has achieved economic stability and prosperity through several major industries including tourism, the military, and other service-based businesses. Major players in the economy such as United Airlines and Joint Region Marianas have become the leading providers of jobs to a large number of folks.
Over the years many active-duty members have chosen to relocate here for work and many retirees have chosen to stay here post-service. With a reasonably good annual salary, Guam allows for an excellent quality of life.
Things to Do in Guam
Beaches & Parks
Guam is otherwise known as a stunning subtropical paradise, where nature's beauty and bountiful offerings are just waiting to be discovered. Take a drive around the island and you'll come across breathtakingly pristine turquoise waters and white sandy beaches that stretch for miles in all directions.
Whether you’re looking to soak up some sun at Tumon Beach, swim amongst vibrant coral at Ypao Beach Park, explore the serene waters of Guam Ocean Park with an aqua tour, or hike along one of Ritidian Point's trails, there is something for every age and interest in this beautiful corner of the world.
Shopping & Dining
No visit to Guam is complete without a little shopping and dining. With its diverse food culture and balcony of sparkling stores, visitors are sure to find what they're after. The Chamorro Village is where locals and tourists alike gather to explore the culture, cuisine, and craftsmanship of Guam’s native Chamorro people.
More popular shopping destinations include the Guam Premier Outlets and the Micronesia Mall. And when you've done enough shopping, make sure to take a break and refuel at one of the many local foodie hotspots dotted around the island.
Some of the top local restaurants include:
As one of the most family-oriented spots in the western Pacific, Guam offers endless amounts of fun experiences to share with your loved ones. From Fish Eye Marine Park, where you can go Eco Snorkeling and explore several tropical fish species, to Inarajan Natural Pool, a crystal clear pool situated deep in the jungles of Merizo.
If that wasn't enough, Valley of the Latte Adventure Park is a great way to explore local culture as you paddle through waterways on an outrigger canoe and take a scenic tour deep into the heart of Guam's jungle. With such varied attractions sure to please everyone in your clan, Guam is an impressive destination for families of all ages.
However you choose to live in Guam, whether it’s renting or buying a home, you can be sure that the quality of life is unrivaled. With its rich culture, stunning beaches, and strong military presence, Guam promises the ultimate stepping stone toward a bright future.
And now that you know more about living in Guam and the pros and cons of renting vs buying why not start planning your pacific paradise move today?
By taking advantage of this distinguished and reliable program, veterans can get access to competitive interest rates, low closing costs, and flexible repayment terms. With the right real estate agent and a good understanding of the program, veterans can begin their home-buying process with less stress and higher confidence.