Buying Property in the Bahamas
The Bahamas is one of the sought after tourist spots in the world. Made of 700 incredible tropical islands and about 90 miles from southeast Florida. Boasting from its clear water, scenic beauty to all-year-round tropical weather, no wonder why people keep coming back.
The most popular place for investment in the Bahamas is Nassau, as the capital. It is the center of all tourist activities and located on New Providence Island.
Many expats are dreaming of owning a little slice of paradise in the Caribbean. Particularly as the region is one of the top-rated destinations for vacation and retirement homes. Not to mention most of the property investors are Americans, Canadians, Europeans, and other countries that are attracted to, live, work, and buy property in the Bahamas.
Here’s all you need to know if you’re considering investing in the Bahamas realty market as your new enterprise.
Some of the benefits
- Friendly Tenancy laws. For example, short term rentals (holiday or vacation) or common rentals are freely negotiated between landlord and tenant, with no government restrictions placing limits on the values. For Common rentals, a security deposit is normally required, as well as an advanced payment of the first and last month’s rent. For vacation rentals, a reservation fee of 20-50% charged to tenants.
- Considered as Tax haven (no income, inheritance, gifts, capital gains)
- All year round tropical weather
- Cheapest and best time to travel is in September
- High demand for up-scale investment properties with positive property returns
It has never been a better time to buy. The Bahamas is an international center for banking activities that attract foreign financial institutions because of its reputation for stability in the real estate market. It is also the third wealthiest country in the New World, after the U.S. and Canada, with a per capita GDP of 32,217.90 as of 2018 noted by Investopedia. Thanks to the foreign buying of property ownership that helps to stabilize the real estate market on the island.
Basics of Foreign Buying
Buying property in the Bahamas has no restrictions on foreigners’ acquiring new homes. In fact, the majority of the 5.5 million tourists who visit the Bahamas each year come from the United States or 80% of the Bahamas’ buyers are American. A buyer may only need a permit from the Bahamian Government if the property being bought is more than five acres or is undeveloped land. If not, the property must only be registered with the Investment Board and the Central Bank after the transaction.
Similar to the Cayman Islands, the citizens of Bahamas don't pay taxes on income, inheritance, gifts, capital gains. The Bahamian government earns revenue primarily from VAT, import duties, stamp duties, real property tax, casino taxes, and license fees.Their Value Added Tax (VAT), is 12% effective on July 1, 2018. Hence, it is considered a tax haven.
Property Acquisition Costs to consider
When a property changes hands, a stamp tax between 2.5% to 10% is charged by the government. The buyer and the seller split this expense, normally 5% to each.
Real Estate Agent's Fee
The Bahamas real estate fees or commission is usually 6% for houses or 10% for undeveloped land.
The legal fees may vary depending on the buyer’s share, usually about 1.5 % of the purchase price.
Side Tip: Foreign buyers in the Bahamas should find a reputable lawyer to help you guide the process and catch any legal complications with the title.
Are there any property taxes in the Bahamas?
Property taxes on an investment property is based on assessed value. For example, a property that is valued under $500,00 Bahamian dollars is taxed around 1%. If properties are more than$500,000, the tax is 2%. In addition to that, there’s a maximum annual property tax of $60,000 on owner-occupied properties.
In what form is the title to property given?
The vast majority of the property is sold freehold. There are a few exceptions of leasehold properties. These properties are generally Crown Lands (Government-owned) properties that are leased for agricultural or development purposes.
Side note: The Government of The Bahamas does not generally sell its property.
In many cases forming a local company can be wise for asset protection. For example, in a Partbnb shared ownership offer we’ll form a local company in which each of the owners holds a relevant interest. The company will be the titled owner of the property. We’re connected only via a management agreement.
Can you finance a home in the Bahamas?
Yes. Mortgage financing in the Bahamas is similar to other Caribbean destinations. Quite difficult but bank financing is an option for those who qualify, it may not always be a quick or easy process. Ideally, it takes two months. To qualify for a mortgage in the Carib Capital, you need 50% equity (down payment) in the property but may vary depending on the banks.
English is the official language in the Bahamas and Nassau.
1 Bahamian dollar = $1 USD
For you to truly experience the vast collection of island beauty is to island-hop by plane. It is the quickest and convenient way of transport and also because of its real beauty is found from above. The best time and the cheapest time to travel by plane is in September. Peak season is considered to be March and April. If you’re looking for nightlife to hop on is on New Providence Island close to Paradise Island, Andrews, and Lyford Cay, these are the best places to live in The Bahamas.
- If you’re coming from North America there’s no need to bring adaptors for your electronics - the outlets are the same.
- The best way to get around is to use public buses, known as "jitneys."
- To get between the islands you can take boat tours, use the water taxis, or use the inter-island air service, Bahamasair.
- For a great taste of the local street food, look for “lunch vans” that park near beaches or shopping areas and offer tasty plates of home-cooked cuisine.
- Tipping in the Bahamas is similar to that of the USA. Standard practice is to tip around 15-20%. (Sometimes this is included in the bill already, so check first!)
- The Bahamian dollar is on par with the US dollar, and both are accepted throughout the islands.
What are the requirements to live in the Bahamas?
For permanent residency, you will need to purchase and maintain a residence in The Bahamas at a value of $500,000 or higher. Many international homeowners are not permanent residents and they come and go as a visitor would, but do not stay more than three months at a time.Check out the Bahamas government website for more info.
So, If you’re planning to move to an island in the Caribbean, there is so much to think about.Buying a property in the Bahamas can be daunting without a guide from the expert. But the most important thing to ask yourself is this: how can you actually afford to go about buying a home?
Is it liveable and able to work in the Bahamas?
Yes. But do note that the Bahamas has a small young population. Its total population is around 395,000 with a total land area of 10,000 square miles all over the 700 islands. The Bahamian Government policy is to prioritize, protect the well being, and provide maximum employment opportunities for Bahamians. In a nutshell, in order to obtain a work permit to work in the Bahamas, an employer must demonstrate that there is no Bahamian ready and aren’t willing or unfit to fill the position.
In the Bahamas, ex-pats will find an excellent healthcare system with many modern hospitals that are well-equipped and have a highly trained staff. They have several local and international schools. The Bahamas, with its pristine beaches and incredible sea view, is the place to be for those who want to enjoy a relaxed Bahamian lifestyle.
Here’s how Partbnb makes it easier for you to turn that dream into a reality of owning a Caribbean vacation home without the complications.
Firstly, our expert property team (who love the Caribbean) will search for the most appropriate properties. When we find a gem, we list it on the "upcoming" section of our properties page. If we are able to secure this property, we will move it to the available page, and now is your chance to reserve your part of this property.
We walk you through the buying process, and within a few months, you (and 7 others) are the titled owners of the home, with a detailed shared ownership agreement. Our Partbnb team will manage all aspects of the property, overseas the shared ownership, and handle the short term rental part to provide income.
As an owner, you get 45 days’ use of the property (via a booking calendar). If you choose not to stay, we will rent it out short term, so you can use the income to offset any expenses.
This truly is a way for you to properly own a standalone home with a fraction of the up front costs, low (or no ongoing expenses), and benefit from increases in value as the titled owner.
Read the full details on how to Buy Caribbean Vacation Home.
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