When you buy real estate in the Bahamas, with a little effort, you can find prices that are below what you might expect

When you buy real estate in the Bahamas you’ll find that property usually isn’t cheap. With a little effort, however, you can find prices that are well below what you might pay in parts of Florida, California, or other areas of the Caribbean. Three- and four-bedroom houses in parts of Nassau and Freeport are often on the market for less than $200,000, and small condominium apartments are occasionally for sale at less than $100,000. By contrast, medium-size residences in exclusive gated communities with ocean views often cost more than $2 million.

The variation in price is partly the result of the large number of islands and the unique characteristics of each one. In fact, the Bahamas comprise nearly 700 islands and about 2,400 exposed reefs, which extend for 760 miles from northwest to southeast. Only 30 of the islands are inhabited.

Property in Nassau

Nassau and nearby Paradise Island pride themselves on offering a blend of international sophistication and small-town leisure. Residents and visitors can take advantage of gorgeous waters and spectacular ocean vistas. If you own your own boat, there are dozens of marinas where you can keep it. There’s also a wide range of crafts that can be chartered, including fully crewed and catered sailing vessels. The less ambitious can go on day cruises or rent small sailboats, motorboats, or jet-skis.

Today Nassau has a population of about 270,000, depending on which of the many estimates you rely on. That figure represents about 70% of the entire country’s population. Though Nassau has grown remarkably over the years, the city is still a treasure trove of history. Just strolling down Bay Street you can see dozens of historic buildings, as well as fascinating shops, pubs, and restaurants.

Property sample in Nassau:

A two-story townhouse with two bedrooms and one bathroom in a community located a short walk to the center of Nassau. The property also features an open living/dining/kitchen area downstairs that is comfortably furnished in leather and wicker. The kitchen includes new maple cabinetry and all major appliances. The master bedroom has views of the marina. This development has a pool and patio area as well as two tennis courts. Price: $199,000.

Property in Freeport and Grand Bahama

Even though Grand Bahama is the closest major Bahamian island to the U.S. (about 55 miles off the Florida coast), it was one of the least developed until only a few decades ago. In the middle of the last century, the population was only about 500.

Today Grand Bahama is the second most populous island, with more than 50,000 residents. Its major city, Freeport, has a population of 27,000, making it the second-largest metropolitan area in the country, far eclipsing West End, the former capital of Grand Bahama.

Grand Bahama Island has become a haven for beach-lovers as well as divers, fishermen, golfers, and sports enthusiasts of all kinds. It’s also a prime destination for people who enjoy world-class shopping. High-end European, Asian, and Latin American goods are easy to find in shops throughout Freeport and the neighboring waterfront town of Lucaya.

Property sample in Freeport:

Just a five-minute drive from downtown Freeport is a 1,440-square-foot, two-bedroom, two-bathroom condo. The house is fully furnished and there is access to a shared pool and parking. Price: $120,000.