In general, the Bahamas real estate market has remained relatively stable. The Bahamas attracts second home owners as well as local citizens looking for vacation homes. According to a Bahamas Guides article, the average price of real estate in The Bahamas is 37% higher than its Caribbean neighbors. The Bahamas’ political stability, proximity to the USA, and bahamas real estate tourism-driven economy have all contributed to the high demand for real estate in The Bahamas. The Bahamas continues to develop a variety of attractive real estate products to attract a diverse group of buyers.
While the Bahamas welcomes foreign investment, it is not necessarily easy to invest here. A number of policy documents have been put in place to encourage foreigners to invest in Bahamian real estate. The International Land Holdings Act 1993, for instance, aims to make it easier for non-Bahamians to invest in Bahamian real estate. In addition, non-Bahamians must now register their purchase of real estate with the Investments Board and the Central Bank. Registration costs vary between $25 and $100.
Another useful resource is the Bahamas Multiple Listing Service (MLS). This database is used by brokers in The Bahamas to list real estate. In addition to highlighting available properties for sale, the MLS handbook also addresses current development trends. A handbook written by the Bahamas Real Estate Association can provide a wealth of information about the Bahamas real estate market. Before investing in the Bahamas real estate market, however, it is important to understand the legal aspects of purchasing property in The Bahamas.
Although Bahamas real estate is not particularly difficult to buy, there are a number of scams. There have been reports of U.S. citizens who have been ripped off by unscrupulous sellers. Some people lost their entire lives after discovering that the seller was not the owner of the property they were purchasing. Other incidents involved high-end real estate development projects on their family islands. Many of these projects did not even get completed, and a buyer was left with no money.
In the Bahamas, formal powers of attorney are rarely used in real estate transactions. Most real estate documents are executed directly between the parties, but there are a few instances when a Bahamian attorney can execute these documents without formality. Bahamian law provides for the power of attorney, and the attorney typically executes real estate documents when the buyer is unavailable. The Powers of Attorney Act 1992 also makes provision for attorneys in real estate transactions.
When purchasing property in The Bahamas, the process begins with the application of a land use permit. The land is first assessed to determine its worth, and then a declaration of real property is prepared by an attorney. Then a conveyance copy is submitted to the real property tax authorities. The purchase price is usually indicative of its market value. The Bahamas has several exceptions to real property taxation. For instance, the port area in Grand Bahama is exempt from real property taxation until 2015. This enables the development of the area and creates jobs.