Bahamas Real Estate Buyers Guide
Informational Buyers Guide:
Buying and Owning Bahamas Real Estate,
Moving To and Living in The Bahamas
BAHAMAS PROPERTY OWNERSHIP POLICY
Non-Bahamians who don’t own property in the Bahamas and who are buying less than two acres for single family use need only to register their investment with the government. The same principle applies to non-Bahamians buying improved property under 2 acres which is developed as a single family residential property.
Second homeowners in the Bahamas may apply to the Immigration director for an annual home owner’s resident card. If the director’s satisfied that the person is of good character, can support himself and his dependents and so on, he’ll issue a card for a fee.
If a Bahamas property purchase is for other than single family use or is over 2 acres in size, then a GOVERNMENT permit is required.
The Government Stamp Duty on Property Conveyances
A graduated tax is payable on the conveyance of all real property based on the following value:
• Up to and including $20,000.00 – 4%
• $20,001 to $50,000.00 – 6%
• $50,001 to $100,000.00 – 8%
• $100,001 upwards – 10%
First time home owners, upon successful application, are exempt from paying stamp duty on homes valued below $500,000.
• The stamp duty is generally shared equally between buyer and seller – unless otherwise agreed upon.
Real Property Tax Rates
The first $250,000 on owner occupied residential property is tax exempt.• On the value of owner/occupied properties between $250,000 and $500,000, the rate is 3/4 of one percent. • On the portion over $500,000, the tax rate is 1% of the market value of the property. • As of 2013, there is a ceiling of $50,000 on an owner occupied home
For unimproved Bahamas property other than that exempt under the provisions of the Real Property Tax Act (section 39):
• Upon that part of the market value that does not exceed $7,000 a fee of $100.00
• Upon that part of the market value which exceeds $3,000 but does not exceed $100,000 a tax rate of 1% per annum of the market value of the Bahamas property.
• Upon that portion above $100,000, the rate is 1.5%.
For any other property, including non-exempted owner-occupied property:
• Upon that part of the market value that does not exceed $500,000 a tax at the rate of 1% per annum of the market value;
• Upon that part of the market value in excess of $500,000 a tax at the rate of 2% of the market value of the Bahamas property.
Bahamas property owned by Bahamians and situated in the Family Islands is exempt from a property duty. Bahamas property approved as commercial farm land (by the Ministers of Agriculture, Trade and Industry and Finance) is eligible for property tax exemptions.
Also exempt from property tax:
• Unimproved Bahamas property owned by Bahamians (in New Providence or the Family Islands), meaning property without physical additions or alterations, or any works benefiting the land which have not increased the market value thereof by $5,000 or more;
• Bahamas property used exclusively for charitable or public service from which no profit is derived.
• All property located in Freeport, Grand Bahama.
These laws and policies are subject to change.
OWNER-OCCUPIED HOME RENTALS
Proprietors of owner-occupied rental homes of one of more bedrooms are required to collect a ten percent hotel guest tax from their tenants.
What is an owner-occupied rental home? It’s a home that the owner uses exclusively as a dwelling house on a permanent or seasonal basis.
Licences to rent are available through the local Family Island Administrator’s Office, or the Hotel Licensing Department of the Bahamas Ministry of Tourism and Aviation in Nassau, Bahamas.
For further information and to download forms, visit tourismtoday.com
Application for Permanent Residency
Major international investors and owners of residences valued at $1.5 million or more receive speedy consideration for permanent residency permits.
Applicants must be of good character, show evidence of financial support and commit in writing they wish to live permanently in the Bahamas. Wives and dependent children (under 18 years) usually resident in a household may be endorsed on the certificate when the original application is made. For details contact:
The information contained on this page is subject to change. This information is meant to be used only as a guide and anyone entering into any type of real estate transaction, including but not limited to a lease, rental or sale, should have legal representation. Coldwell Banker Lightbourn Realty is not responsible for any errors or ommissions contained on this page.
Office of the Prime Minister
Cecil Wallace Whitfield Centre
PO Box CB 10980
Tel.: 242 327-5970
Visas are not required of citizens of the USA, United Kingdom, or Canada provided their stay does not exceed 3 weeks and that they have a return ticket leaving the Bahamas. Visas are not required of US citizens if stays are less than 8 months. Bahamas Immigration Department permits are needed to reside, work or engage in any business.
Schools and utilities in the Bahamas
Need information on electricity and telephone services before you buy Bahamas Real Estate? Below is a list of private schools and utility corporations.
New Providence, upon which the capital of Nassau sits, has several private schools – from St. Andrew’s, the international school, in the east to Lyford Cay School in the west.
•St Andrews School, Pre-School thru Grade 13 – Nassau East
• St. Augustine’s College, Grade 7 thru Grade 12
• Queen’s College, early learning thru grade 12, Village Road
• Blairwood Academy, Kindergarten thru Grade 12, Village Road
• Kingsway Academy, Kindergarten thru Grade 12, Bernard Road
• Xavier School: 322-3077 – West Bay Street
• Tambearly School
• Lyford Cay School Lyford Cay
• Doctor’s Hospital (Private) – Shirley Street
• Princess Margaret Hospital (Public) – Shirley Street
• Western Medical Plaza (Private) – Blake Road
• The Lyford Cay Hospital/Bahamas Heart Institute (Private) – Lyford Cay
• Phone and DSL internet – Bahamas Telecommunication Corporation (BaTelCo):
Tel: 242-302-7000, P.O. Box N 3048
• Electricity – Bahamas Electricity Corporation:
Tel: 242-302-1000, P.O. Box N 7509
• Cable TV and internet – Cable Bahamas:
Tel: 242-356-2200, P.O. Box CB 13050
• Water – Water & Sewerage Corporation:
Tel:242-302-5500, P.O. Box N 3905
• Water (Lyford Cay) – New Providence Development Company:
Tel: 242-362-4177, P.O. Box N 4820