Living in The Bahamas – The 7th Heaven Properties Guide
Do you want to live in an island nation where you could count Oprah Winfrey, Johnny Depp and Tiger Woods as your neighbors? Like thousands of Americans, Canadians and Europeans, celebrities such as these are drawn to the idyllic landscapes and tropical lifestyle of The Bahamas. Beloved for romantic getaways, family beach vacations, and world-class sailing and fishing trips, The Bahamas is a beautiful, tranquil place to live offering an extremely high quality of life. For buyers considering living in The Bahamas, we’ve compiled a simple guide covering all aspects of moving to this idyllic archipelago, including the lowdown on investing in real estate, how to obtain a residency permit and need to know information on medical care.
The Bahamas is a stunning chain of more than 700 islands, islets, reefs and cays ringed by some of the world’s most stunning beaches. Visitors from overseas are drawn to its friendly culture, proximity to the US, and high standard of living. It doesn’t hurt that the official language is English, so for English speakers there is no language barrier to overcome.
Of course, many people move to The Bahamas to benefit from the country’s advantageous tax laws. The Bahamas does not levy corporate, income, gift, or inheritance taxes, making this a tax haven for many individuals and businesses.
You’ll find that much of the action in the country is centered on its two largest islands – New Providence (which is home to the capital, Nassau) and Grand Bahama, known for the main city of Freeport. Bahamians refer to the rest of the islands as the Out Islands, including the Abaco Islands, Eleuthera, the Exumas, Bimini, Long Island and many more. Only a fraction of the 700 islands comprising The Bahamas are actually inhabited; many are protected nature reserves home to a variety of fascinating flora and fauna.
You’ll never run out of things to do in The Bahamas. From soul-cleansing yoga retreats to world-class shopping in Nassau, fine-dining and extraordinary diving and snorkeling, these islands offer something for everyone. Set sail for remote beaches on practically untouched islands, snorkel along more than 2,400 reefs in crystal clear waters, try your hand at all kinds of water sports, enjoy a world of gastronomic delights and enjoy annual events including world-famous sailing regattas, fishing tournaments, golfing championships and cultural festivals. You and your family are sure to have a blast.
Find out more: Invest in The Bahamas
The Bahamas welcomes visitors and investors alike – the islands are famous for their warm hospitality.
If you are looking to test the waters and move to The Bahamas, you can apply got an Annual Residence Permit. If you are own a home in The Bahamas, these are relatively easy to obtain. You have 2 months after entering the country as a visitor to file the required paperwork. It costs the head of the household $1,000, and each dependent a further $25. This permit lasts for one year and is renewable on an annual basis, however, you are not allowed to work or seek employment.
Once you have had a taste of the Bahamian lifestyle, you may wish to apply for Permanent Residency. This status allows you to open a business, buy property, or live in the country permanently.
You can qualify for Permanent Residency status via the real estate investment route if you invest at least $750,000 in property. An ‘Accelerated Consideration for Permanent Residency’ pathway is also available with a minimum real estate investment of $1,500,000.
You may also apply for Permanent Residency after living and working in the Bahamas (with the correct permits) for twenty consecutive years.
Find out more: How to Get Residency in The Bahamas
While the Bahamas is a little slice of paradise, paradise comes at a cost. As this is a high end tourism hot spot and many items are imported, the cost of leisure activities, entertainment, groceries, shopping and utilities tend to be in the region of 30% more than in the US.
However, as mentioned above, there are clear financial perks to living in the Bahamas too, including affordable childcare and healthcare and, of course, freedom from personal and corporate taxes which often balances out the cost of living. When comparing all expenses and savings as a whole, for many people, living in The Bahamas makes a lot of financial sense.
The Bahamas is known for its healthcare system. As of 2017, the Bahamian government introduced a National Health Insurance program with the aim of providing universal healthcare. As a result, all Bahamian citizens and residents are eligible to enroll in the program and receive healthcare services at no cost at the point-of-care.
For those who would prefer, there is also the option of taking out private health insurance. In addition to the country’s public healthcare institutions there are several private hospitals and numerous private medical clinics with well trained staff offering a high standard of care.
You may find that medical care is approximately 30 to 40% less costly than in the US.
Benefiting from a high level of demand and consistently rising prices, investing in real estate in The Bahamas may be one of the best decisions you make. Not only can you earn a tidy return on your investment, but with a $750,000 investment in property, you can qualify for Permanent Residency.
Unlike some neighboring nations, there are no restrictions on foreign nationals purchasing property (even directly on the beach), and overseas buyers have the same rights as Bahamian citizens. You do not need any special permits unless you want to own more than 2 acres of land, or plan to rent out the property or develop it for commercial purposes. Foreign investors can qualify for mortgages for up to 60% of the purchase price, but you may well get a discount on a property if you pay in cash.
At the lower end of the scale, you can purchase an oceanfront condo or townhouse for £350,000+. Prefer the privacy of a detached house? You can get a modest home for $450,000 to $500,000. Of course, with one of the region’s most sophisticated luxury real estate markets, the sky is the limit at the other end of the spectrum, with luxury waterfront estates and beachfront homes in Paradise Island, Old Fort Bay, Lyford Cay and Albany ranging up to $40 million+.
Find out more: Buying a House in The Bahamas
Would you like to find out more about living in The Bahamas? Would you like to browse property perfect for enjoying life in this spectacular archipelago?
We would be delighted to help. Explore Bahamas real estate on our website.
Alternatively, contact 7th Heaven Properties, the Luxury Caribbean Property Specialist, to begin your property search and to discuss your options in more detail.