Tranquility in the Bahamas

“I sit on my sun-drenched balcony listening to the sound of the gently rolling waves of the ocean a mere 40 yards from my front door. The 80-degree weather is absolute perfection–a refreshing change from the subzero weather in my Boston habitat. The breeze gently waves the palm trees in a cheery Bahamian welcome…”

Where is the Bahamas & Interesting Facts

Location: Situated in the Caribbean, the Bahamas is a chain of islands in the North Atlantic Ocean, southeast of Florida, northeast of Cuba.

Area: 5,359 square miles (13,880 square kilometers). Slightly smaller than Connecticut.

Population: 327,316

Capital: Nassau

Geography: The Bahamas consists of around 700 islands, of which 30 to 40 are inhabited. The terrain of most of the islands is either rocky or swamp mangrove, however more fertile land can be found in some of the southern islands.

Climate: The Bahamas has a tropical climate throughout, moderated by warm waters of Gulf Stream.

Currency: The legal currency of the Bahamas is the Bahamian Dollar (BSD). US$1 = BSD1 (January 2017).

Government: The Bahamas operates under a Constitutional Parliamentary Democracy. It is also part of the Commonwealth of Nations.

Head of State: Queen Elizabeth II (since 6 February 1952); represented by Governor General Dame Marguerite Pindling (since 8 July 2014). The Governor General is appointed by the presiding monarch, and shall hold the position for however long the monarch wishes—however the period normally last five years.

Head of government: Prime Minister Perry Christie (since 8 May 2012). The Prime Minister is appointed by the Governor General, and shall hold the position for however long the Governor General wishes—however the period normally last five years.

Language: English is the official language of the Bahamas; however, Creole is spoken among Haitian immigrants.

Religion: The majority of the population (69.9%) identify as some form of Protestant (this is broken down into Baptist 34.9%, Anglican 13.7%, Pentecostal 8.9% Seventh Day Adventist 4.4%, Methodist 3.6%, Church of God 1.9%, and Brethren 1.6%). This is followed by Roman Catholic (12%) and other Christian at 13% (including Jehovah’s Witness 1.1%). Other religions account for 0.6% of the population, while 1.9% of people follow no religion, leaving 2.6% unspecified.

Time Zone: UTC-5 (same time as Washington, DC during Standard Time)

International Country Code: +1

Internet Country Code: .bs

Life Expectancy at Birth: 76.1 years (Male = 72.9, Female = 79.1)

Exports: $880 million

Imports: $2.495 billion

Gross Domestic Product (Purchasing Power Parity): $9.066 billion

GDP per Capita: $24,600

Inflation Rate: 1%

Live in the Bahamas

Live In The Bahamas

What do Nicolas Cage, Johnny Depp, Oprah Winfrey, Sean Connery, Bill Gates, and Tiger Woods have in common? Apart from being celebrities, they’re among thousands of North Americans and Europeans who own second homes in the Bahamas. But when people buy a second home in the Bahamas they’re actually lured by much more than even these advantages: The islands offer an escape from the daily grind of life, are rich in history, and living in the Bahamas can be lots of fun.

Like other expats who live in the Bahamas for all or part of the year, these stars often think of the Bahamas as a paradise—an upscale group of islands with some of the most beautiful beaches in the world. The Bahamas are friendly to newcomers, there’s no foreign language to cope with, crime is relatively low, and the islands are positioned just off the Florida coast.

The two big cities are the capital, Nassau, which is located on New Providence Island, and Freeport, which is on Grand Bahama. Bahamians often refer to everywhere else in the country as the Out Islands. These include Abaco, Andros, Acklins and Crooked Island, Bimins, Berry Islands, Cat Island, Eleuthera, the Exumas, Inaguas, Mayaguana, and San Salvador.

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.

Retire to the Bahamas and you’ll find that the locals are friendly to newcomers

Retire To The Bahamas

When you retire to the Bahamas you’ll find that the locals are friendly to newcomers, there’s no foreign language to cope with, crime is relatively low, and the islands are positioned just off the Florida coast.

The parity between Bahamian dollars and U.S. dollars means that any business will accept either Bahamian or U.S. currency.

Both medical and dental treatment generally costs less in the Bahamas than it does in the U.S., especially at the government-owned Princess Margaret Hospital in Nassau and the Rand Hospital in Freeport.

The Bahamas has no income tax, capital gains tax, purchase, or sales tax, VAT or capital transfer tax. This applies to individuals, and also to all resident corporations, partnerships and trusts.

If you retire to the Bahamas, your life will be an escape from the daily grind of life and living there can be lots of fun.

Although parts of New Providence and Grand Bahama have been built up, many of the Out Islands still retain an unspoiled charm that’s particularly valued by those who love nature, sports, and a delightful climate.

The Economy in Bahamas

Taganga Bay, The Economy in Bahamas

The Bahamas is one of the wealthiest Caribbean countries with an economy heavily dependent on tourism and offshore banking. Tourism together with tourism-driven construction and manufacturing accounts for approximately 60% of GDP and directly or indirectly employs half of the archipelago’s labor force.

Prior to 2006, a steady growth in tourism receipts and a boom in construction of new hotels, resorts, and residences led to solid GDP growth but since then tourism receipts have begun to drop off. The global recession in 2009 took a sizeable toll on The Bahamas, resulting in a contraction in GDP and a widening budget deficit. The decline was reversed in 2010-11 as tourism from the U.S. and sector investment returned.

Financial services constitute the second-most important sector of the Bahamian economy and, when combined with business services, account for about 36% of GDP. However, the financial sector currently is smaller than it has been in the past because of the enactment of new and stricter financial regulations in 2000 that caused many international businesses to relocate elsewhere.

Labor force: 196,900 (2013 est.)

Labor force by occupation: Agriculture: 3%

Industry: 11%

Tourism: 49%

Other services: 37% (2011 est.)

Exports: $976.1 million (2015 est.)

Export commodities: Mineral products and salt, animal products, rum, chemicals, fruit and vegetables.

Imports: $2.65 billion (2015 est.)

Import commodities: Machinery and transport equipment, manufactures, chemicals, mineral fuels, food, and live animals.

Source: CIA The World Factbook

Buying Real Estate in the Bahamas

Real Estate In The Bahamas

Restrictions on foreign property ownership

Foreigners may acquire residential property in the Bahamas of up to 5 acres without prior government approval. These purchases must be registered in accordance with the International Persons Landholding Act.

Purchasers of second homes are eligible for a Home Owners’ Residence Card, which is renewable annually. The card facilitates entry into the Bahamas and entitles the owner and the owner’s family to enter and remain in the Bahamas for the duration of the validity of the card. Application for the card can be made to the Director of Immigration.

Costs at time of purchase

A 2% stamp tax is charged on property sales up to and including $20,000. The tax goes up in graduated amounts, peaking at 10% on sales over $250,000. The tax is customarily shared equally between buyer.

Popular Areas to Buy Real Estate in the Bahamas

real estate in the bahamas

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.