The Bahamas: now a big draw for property buyers?

Thursday, October 10, 2013

The Bahamas: now a big draw for property buyers?

A big attraction of the Caribbean destination of the Bahamas is that is consists of more than 700 islands, many of which are secluded and unspoilt, offering all sorts of options for tourists and property hunters.

For those with one eye (or two) on investment, there is also an awful lot of new development going on there, buoyant tourism and some great tax advantages.

With several multi-million dollar investments coming to the Bahamas and a new $3 billion resort in Nassau opening later this year, the Bahamas is on its way back, according to Prime Minister Perry Christie.

Tourism is strong, accounting for around 60 per cent of Bahamas' GDP and 50 per cent of employment.

Unlike our much-loved Barbados, the Bahamas are one of the top destination points for the US market primarily because of their proximity to the Miami, Fort Lauderdale and the flights and boat trips, which are in abundance to all islands.

Bahamas' second-largest industry is financial services, which accounts for 20 per cent of GDP. There has been a steady year-on year rise in the number of visitors and the last recorded figure was for 2012, at 5.7 million.

Improved tourism and a better economic outlook, as well as stabilising prices, suggest that a market recovery will not long be delayed. What's more there is substantial Chinese investment in the Bahamas, which is encouraging.

According to Crystal Investment and Real Estate, sales volumes are picking up as a result: "The Bahamas' tax situation is very attractive to foreigners, many of whom choose to become residents," they say.

Tax benefits
"Not only is the Bahamas a tax haven and offshore banking centre, there is no taxes on income, no VAT, no inheritance tax and there is no capital gains tax on real estate.

"There is no property tax on resort properties as long as personal use isn't over 90 days and there's a 1 per cent annual property tax applicable over the value of £250,000 properties.

"Foreigners who own properties in the Bahamas are eligible for a homeowner's residence card (renewable annually) and those who purchase properties valued at least US$500,000 are given priority in permanent residence applications."

Properties from £81k

There are many good investment opportunities, according to Crystal, but they suggest one that stands out is The Rum Cay Bahamas Ocean Resort Hotel & Spa - currently being developed with 182, one and two bedroom beach cottages, fully furnished and air-conditioned, starting at £81,500 (50 per cent below market value).

Rum Cay is an island and district of the Bahamas. It measures 30 square miles in area and has many rolling hills that rise to about 120 feet (37 m). The island is believed to have acquired its modern name from a shipwrecked cargo of rum. The main settlement is Port Nelson.

The new resort will be completed on or before mid 2015 and incorporates a 5 star luxurious hotel with wellbeing spa facilities, scuba diving, horse riding, sport fishing, tennis, yachting, sailing and marina.

The objectives of this resort is to construct a Mediterranean style atmosphere with marinas, two hotels, a broad range of holiday homes from large exclusive villa estates to two bedroom condominiums.

There will be further phases offering 5 star luxury in restaurants, shopping, cafes and music venues.

Beach cottages offer both rental and personal usage flexible to your own needs - and to buy a 30 per cent deposit starting from £24,500 is required with 70 per cent finance available over 5,10 and 15 years.

"This investment offers a 13 per cent average rental return after monthly repayment and there is a five-year guaranteed buy back at twice rate of deposit paid," say Crystal.

Thinking of buying a property in the Caribbean but not sure whether to look at St Lucia or Antigua? Or Grenada and Barbados? Read our feature on the best Caribbean island to suit your needs.

It's also included in our recent feature on winter sun property buying hotspots.


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