Easy Living in the Bahamas
Sophisticated investors are drawn to real estate opportunities in The Bahamas not only for the country’s incomparable beauty, but also for its tax neutral environment and the lifestyle offered by owning a home in exclusive gated communities such as Lyford Cay, Old Fort Bay and Ocean Club Estates.
Turquoise waters washing over sparkling sea glass and conch shells nestled on pink sand. Coconut palms swaying in a choreographed ballet to the tune of a balmy breeze. Meticulously maintained white sand beaches so soft you’d swear you were walking on baby powder. These are moments that define life in The Bahamas.
Add to this list a tax neutral financial environment and the country’s ease-of-access, and it’s not hard to see why The Bahamas has been attracting high-net-worth individuals to its shores for generations.
“It’s not simply the crystal-clear water and year-round sun that is attractive to the world’s elite,” said George Damianos, Chief Executive Officer for Damianos Sotheby’s International Realty in Nassau. “It’s the fact that luxury homes and private islands in The Bahamas offer seclusion and security combined with the ability to stay closely connected to the world. Fort Lauderdale is only a 30-minute flight away.”
According to an economic report released by the Central Bank of The Bahamas earlier this year, a record 6.6 million people visited The Bahamas in 2018, a 7.9% increase over the previous year, with the latest numbers showing arrivals rose by 17.8% as of May. This latest figure outpaces the 6.6% improvement recorded for the same time period last year.
“2018 was a very strong year for the tourism segment in The Bahamas with the final three months of the year experiencing the highest quarterly growth in air arrivals to New Providence in the past 28 years,” said Lana Rademaker, Chief Brokerage Officer of Damianos Sotheby’s International Realty. “That record-setting pace has only continued to increase as we make our way through 2019.”
Rademaker added that this continual influx of visitors into The Bahamas has a natural impact on the strength of the country’s real estate market.
“The second- and third-home buyer market has created an entire market segment we didn’t have a few years ago,” she said. “Demand for residential opportunities at developments such as Baha Mar is steadily building with buyers seeking income-generating ‘vacation homes’ that offer a turn-key hotel experience that includes access to world-class dining and amenities.”
“It boils down to economy of time,” added Damianos. “Savvy investors are constantly in search of real estate investments that aren’t going to be burdensome to own. There are three main demands we usually see from wealthy buyers: First, is the ease of ownership. Affluent buyers want a home that is easy to take care of, easy to maintain and which offers ease-of-access. Secondly, location is very important, including the amenities that the location offers such as golf, country clubs, restaurants and reliable security. Finally, privacy is often at the forefront of buyers’ minds.”
Luxury gated communities on New Providence such as Lyford Cay, Old Fort Bay, Albany and Ocean Club Estates are prime examples of the type of communities that continually attract the most sophisticated buyers from all over the world.
“With an increase in new direct flight routes from Canada, the U.S. and Europe, The Bahamas is extremely easy to get to, making it a top destination for investors,” said Rademaker. “Additionally, purchasing a home in one of these communities offers our buyers the added benefit of being eligible for Economic Permanent Residency (EPR).”
Economic Permanent Residency grants foreigners virtually the same rights as a native-born citizen, apart from voting rights. In The Bahamas, anyone who purchases a home valued in excess of $750,000 is eligible to apply for this status.
“As an English-speaking country with an economy pegged to the U.S. dollar, and an ever-growing number of properties with luxury amenities, The Bahamas is a relatively seamless transition for investors,” said Rademaker. “Ease of access and close proximity to the U.S. also provide a level of convenience for our clients.”
It’s not only New Providence that’s benefitting from this surge in direct flight routes. Family Islands such as Spanish Wells in Eleuthera, mainland Eleuthera and the Abacos have also seen record numbers of visitors in the past year.
“Our business used to be majority season based,” Rademaker said, referring to the more mild months of November through April. “However, as time goes on, we’re seeing fewer slowdowns in market activity. It’s been harder to differentiate between seasonal visitors and the constant flow of year-round arrivals.”
After all, Rademaker added, when it comes down to it, it’s that authentic sense of peace and tranquility that keeps people returning to The Bahamas time and again, regardless of the time of year.
“No matter where or when you visit in The Bahamas, the lifestyle we offer is second to none,” Rademaker said. “Between our temperate weather, our proximity to the U.S. and our crystal-clear waters, people from all over the world come here on vacation and decide to make The Bahamas a permanent part of their lives.”G
Damianos Sotheby’s International Realty
SIRBahamas.com | +1 242.322.2305
Chief Executive Officer
Chief Brokerage Officer