The Bahamas have a higher cost of living than the US, so if you want to start a life here, you will need stable finances. According to the 2014 World Development Report of the World Bank, the Bahamas has one of the highest costs of living in the world, with a yearly GNI per capita of US$21,280. Due to the preference given to Bahamians, foreign nationals are unlikely to land a job in the Bahamas despite several employment opportunities.
Cost of living in the Bahamas
In The Bahamas, foreign nationals are not restricted from purchasing property, and the government encourages expats to invest in the country. To register a property purchase, foreign buyers of less than two acres must contact the Bahamas Investment Board. A permit is required from the government before purchasing more than five acres; otherwise, the purchase will not be valid. A certain amount of tax and legal fees will be incurred whenever you buy real estate in The Bahamas.
The Bahamas’ Immigration Director issues resident cards to all foreign nationals who own property here. An annual renewal fee of approximately US$500 is required to obtain and renew the resident card. Upon entering and staying in The Bahamas, the foreigner and his immediate family are granted entry. Expats need to know that because the Bahamas have a high standard of living, the real estate prices are also high. Nassau and Freeport, both major cities in The Bahamas, are the most expensive.
- Apartment in the city center: US$3,800 per square meter
- Apartment in the suburbs: US$2,900 per square meter
- Stamp duty of 10% is required for foreign buyers of houses worth more than $250,000 in the US. It is usually split between the buyer and seller.
It can be challenging to locate long-term rental accommodations in The Bahamas since most rental properties are rented out for a short period, especially for tourists. The Bahamas are a popular destination for foreign workers, but it is not impossible to find an apartment for them. In Nassau and Freeport, most of the apartments are located in major cities.
- One-bedroom apartments in city centers: USD 500 to USD 1,000
- The cost of one-bedroom accommodations outside the city center ranges from US$600 to US$1200
- A three-bedroom apartment in the city costs between $1,500 and $3,000
- An apartment with three bedrooms located outside the city center would cost $1,800 to US$2,500
The landlord will bear all the expenses associated with owning the property if the lease is gross. At the same time, the tenant pays for any charges related to the property if the lease is a net lease or full-repairing lease, which can include repairs, maintenance, and taxes.
A monthly bill for water, electricity, heating and garbage in The Bahamas ranges between US$200 and US$300. The cost of a local, one-minute call using prepaid mobile is about $0.30. An ADSL/6Mbps cable connection costs $35-$50 per month with unlimited data.
An inexpensive meal at a restaurant in The Bahamas can cost between US$10 and US$20, while a three-course dinner for two at a mid-range restaurant costs between $60 and $100.
- A combo meal at McDonald’s or a fast-food chain of similar nature: $6
- A cup of coffee: $4
- A liter of regular milk costs $3
- A loaf of fresh white bread costs $4
- One kilogram of rice costs 3$
- A dozen eggs cost $3
- Each kilogram of local cheese costs 6$
- A 1.5-liter bottle of water costs $2.75
- A bottle of mid-range wine costs $13.50
- Domestic beer costs $2.75
- Imported beer costs $4
- A pack of cigarettes costs $5
The Bahamas charge between US$1.43 and US$1.53 for a liter of gasoline. A local transport ticket costs approximately 1.25 US dollars, while a regular monthly pass costs 56 and 150 US dollars. The fare for a taxi starts at US$10, with an additional charge of US$1 per kilometer.
A car is not required for daily use, but if you plan to explore the surrounding neighbourhoods on your own and are staying in a vacation rental property outside of the tourist areas, you may wish to rent one. Be mindful that Bahamians drive on the left and be cautious of the many potholes. At the airport in Nassau, rental cars are available from American businesses. Your hotel is the greatest place to discover a neighbourhood rental company in the Out Islands because there aren’t many possibilities there.
A competitive and tax-free salary is offered to The Bahamas workers, but they must contribute to the national insurance system that finances the country’s benefits.
As well as stamp duty, real estate taxes are also paid in The Bahamas. You must pay stamp duty when you purchase real estate in The Bahamas or send large amounts of money abroad. Fees for sending money overseas range from 0.25% to 8%, while stamp duties can range from 2% to 8%. Meanwhile, real estate taxes are determined by the type of property owned. For properties worth US$250,000, the owner is not required to pay tax if they live on the property. However, the rate of real estate tax will be 0.75% if the property is worth more than $250,000.
Most desirable places to live in Bahamas
About 700 islands make up the Commonwealth of The Bahamas, which are extremely small and uninhabited. Nassau is the capital city of The Bahamas, home to approximately 255,000 of the 390,000 residents. On the island of Grand Bahama, Freeport is the second most populous city, with a population of 50,000. When it comes to shopping, banking, and other amenities, only Nassau offers any natural choice in New Providence.
- International schools are located in Nassau and Freeport (generally considered the best in the country).
- Medical facilities that meet expats’ expectations are confined to the two major islands.
- The Out Islands are smaller and less populated, so they offer more of a taste of typical island life and boast nearly 2,200 miles of coastline.
Interesting facts about Living in the Bahamas
- The Bahamas is a chain of 700 islands, cays, and islets in the Atlantic Ocean.
- It has a tropical climate with warm temperatures and high humidity year-round.
- The Bahamian dollar is the official currency, but the US dollar is widely accepted.
- The Bahamian culture mixes African, European, and Caribbean influences.
- The country is known for its stunning beaches, crystal-clear waters, and abundant marine life.
- The capital city of Nassau is located on the island of New Providence and is a major tourist destination.
- The Bahamas’ economy relies heavily on tourism, and the service sector accounts for over 70% of the country’s GDP.
- English is the official language, but Bahamian Creole, a blend of English and African languages, is widely spoken.
- The Bahamas is considered one of the wealthiest countries in the Caribbean and has a high standard of living.