The Insider's Guide to Buying Property in The Bahamas
Offering idyllic beach cottages, opulent waterfront residences, stunning contemporary apartments and everything in between, The Bahamas has one of the most well established and diverse real estate markets in the Caribbean.
If you are currently considering investing in real estate in The Bahamas but you are wondering “where are the best places to buy property in The Bahamas?” or “how do I go about owning property in The Bahamas as a foreign buyer” then this guide is for you.
Our guide takes you through the process of buying property in The Bahamas from beginning to end, including an introduction to the real estate market, the buying process and the taxes you will need to be aware of.
Overview - The Bahamas Real Estate Market
Comprised of hundreds of islands, rocks and reefs sprinkled like jewels in the turquoise ocean from South Florida almost down to the Turks and Caicos Islands and the Dominican Republic, The Bahamas is a breathtakingly beautiful destination.
Its landscape is simply stunning and, undoubtedly, one of the destination’s main attractions. Powder soft pink and white sand beaches descend to crystal clear, turquoise ocean waters. However, it is not the beaches and ocean views alone which draw overseas property buyers to this archipelago’s shores.
The Bahamas also offers highly attractive tax benefits, a high standard of living and proximity to the USA, which have made real estate in the country a popular choice for second home buyers, vacation home buyers, and individuals looking to retire in The Bahamas.
As the third richest country in the Americas in terms of GDP per capita (after the USA and Canada) with a tradition of parliamentary democracy stretching back nearly 300 years, the archipelago is regarded as an attractive, convenient and stable place to invest in property.
Real estate in The Bahamas includes some of the finest property for sale in the Caribbean, from luxurious resort condos and oceanfront apartments to opulent waterfront estates and exclusive private islands.
“Real estate in The Bahamas includes some of the finest property for sale in the Caribbean, from luxurious resort condos and oceanfront apartments to opulent waterfront estates and exclusive private islands”
700 jaw-droppingly beautiful beach-fringed islands dotted in the sparkling turquoise Atlantic Ocean.
Highly attractive tax incentives, such as freedom from income tax, VAT, inheritance tax and capital gains tax.
Sophisticated, stable real estate market with a wide variety of waterfront homes available from affordable to ultra-luxury with the option of applying for permanent residency.
Growing tourism sector providing income generating potential for property owners that choose to rent their homes to visitors – A record 1.78 million stayover tourists visited The Bahamas in 2019.
Short, direct international flights from the USA and Canada to various airports in The Bahamas including Nassau, Great Exuma and Grand Bahama.
A dream destination for beach lovers, yachting enthusiasts and fans of all kinds of water sports.
World-class resorts, golf courses, restaurants, spas, shopping and casinos to keep you entertained day and night.
Buying Process, Fees & Taxes
- Can foreigners buy property in The Bahamas?
Yes, foreigners can buy property in The Bahamas and the Government of The Bahamas welcomes investment from overseas buyers. There are no restrictions on foreign buyers acquiring real estate in The Bahamas and foreign buyers enjoy the same rights as Bahamian citizens, including the right to purchase beachfront land. Unlike other destinations in the Caribbean, a license or permit is not required, except for buyers purchasing over 2 acres, purchasing with the intent to rent out the property or purchasing for commercial development.
- Buying process
Buying property in The Bahamas is a relatively simple process, which typically involves the following steps:
- Begin your property search.
- Find your perfect property and make an offer.
- Once you have made an offer on a property and that offer has been accepted, we would recommend that you seek advice from a local lawyer to ensure all title documents are in order.
- A sales contract will be drawn up and, once agreed and signed, you will need to pay a 10% deposit.
- Buyer to transfer the balance of the purchase price and pay all required taxes.
- Non-Bahamians should register their investment with the Exchange Control at the Central Bank of The Bahamas to ensure that on resale they will be able to remit the net proceeds of the sale outside The Bahamas in the currency of the original investment.
- Fees & taxes
To purchase real estate in The Bahamas, buyers are required to pay Stamp Duty which varies as follows according to the value of the property:
- Up to $100,000: 2.5%
- Over $100,000: 10%
Payment of Stamp Duty is normally split equally between buyer and seller.
12% VAT (Value Added Tax) is applied to real estate services, such as appraisals, legal services, commissions, and insurance.
We would recommend that you seek independent legal advice from a local attorney who will be able to guide you through the property transfer process.
Legal fees are paid by both buyer and seller at a rate of 2.5%.
Real Property Tax
Property owners are required to pay an Annual Real Property Tax which is paid according to the value of the property.
Real Property tax rates are calculated as follows…
- On the first $250,000 of market value: 0%
- On the next $250,000 up to $500,000 of market value: 0.625%
- On the next $500,000 up to $5,000,000 of market value: 1%
- On the part above $5,000,000 of market value: 0.5% (capped at $50,000 p.a.)
- On the first $7,000 of market value: $100
- On the part above $7,000 of market value: 2%
Any other property:
- On the first $500,000 of market value: 1%
- On the part above $500,000 of market value: 2%
Certain kinds of property are exempt from Real Property Tax including property owned by Bahamians in the Family Islands and property owned by foreign governments.
Latest Real Estate Listings in Bahamas
Best Places to Buy
Residency & Citizenship
- How long can a foreign citizen stay in The Bahamas?
Citizens of the USA, Canada, EU and the UK may stay in The Bahamas for several months without a visa.
- How do you become a resident of The Bahamas?
Home Owners Resident Card
Non-Bahamians who purchase property in The Bahamas can apply to the Department of Immigration for a Home Owners Resident Card. The card allows the holder (and family) to enter and remain in The Bahamas for the duration of the period of the permit.
Permanent Residence Permit
Foreign buyers investing a minimum of $750,000 in real estate in The Bahamas can apply for a Permanent Residence Permit.
Accelerated Consideration for Permanent Residence Permit
Through an investment of $1.5 million in property in The Bahamas, investors can benefit from accelerated consideration for Permanent Residency Permits. Permanent residents of The Bahamas may remain in The Bahamas without restriction and benefit from The Bahamas’ tax benefits.
Residency in The Bahamas
Find out more: Residency in The Bahamas
- How do you become a citizen of The Bahamas?
If you have been a legal permanent resident of The Bahamas for 10 years (7 years in the case of those married to a Bahamian citizen) and you are of independent financial means, you can apply for citizenship of The Bahamas.
Mortgages in The Bahamas
Looking for financing to fund the purchase of property in the Caribbean?
Contrary to popular misconception, it is possible for foreign nationals looking to invest in The Bahamas to apply for a mortgage.
Our partner – a very well respected international financial organization – offers mortgages for qualifying non-residents buying, building or improving a second home in The Bahamas.
Find out more: Caribbean mortgages
How to Get There
There are regular direct flights to The Bahamas from the USA, Canada, the UK and various other parts of the Caribbean, such as Jamaica.
Most international flights arrive at the airport in Nassau’s Lynden Pindling International Airport.
From North America, you can fly direct from cities including Atlanta, Cincinnati, Charlotte, Fort Lauderdale, Miami, New York, Toronto and Orlando to Nassau.
There are also direct flights from the USA to the Abacos, Andros, Eleuthera, Exuma, and Grand Bahama.
Alternatively, fly to the Bahamas by private plane or arrive by private boat.
- Miami to Nassau 55m
- Atlanta to Nassau 2h
- Charlotte to Nassau 2h 20m
- New York to Nassau 3h
- Toronto to Nassau 3h 12m
- London to Nassau 9h 30m
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