The reputation of The Bahamas as an idyllic refuge for those seeking luxury homes, private islands or a relaxing holiday is well known throughout the world, but the island chain, located just off the coast of Florida, also offers unparalleled opportunities to mix business and pleasure. With international financial services a part of the Bahamas’ landscape for more than 75 years, the country’s diverse financial services sector has a long history of meeting the discerning and ever-evolving financial needs for individuals and institutions.
Now, The Bahamas' tropical environment and highly developed infrastructure are becoming increasingly important considerations for more and more individuals who are looking to not only do business here but to live in The Bahamas as well.
As a result communities such as the long established Lyford Cay in New Providence and other newer developments now establishing themselves throughout the country are becoming increasingly attractive to high net worth individuals and families who are familiar with The Bahamas welcoming environment for permanent residents.
What they have discovered in The Bahamas: a robust information communication framework, a wide variety of Class A office facilities and business support services, excellent flight connections and compelling lifestyle choices, including premier hotels, restaurants and recreational facilities.
Immigration laws and regulations allow non-Bahamians to reside in The Bahamas under several scenarios.
A Permanent Residence Permit provides accelerated consideration to applications from major international investors and owners of residences valued at a minimum of $500,000. There is a one-time government fee of $10,000 and $100 for spouses and dependent minors.
There also is an annual Residence Permitthat does not require the applicant to purchase a 'second home'. The government fee for this permit is $1,000 for the head-of-household and $25 for each dependent.
Under terms of the International Persons Landholding Act, non-Bahamians who own homes in The Bahamas may apply for an annual Home Owners Card, which entitles the owner, spouse and any minor endorsed on the owner's card, to enter The Bahamas and reside here for the validity of the card. The government fee for this Card is $500.00 per annum. Home Owners Cards facilitate entry into The Bahamas; for example, there is no need for a return ticket and entitles the holder to stay up to one year.
An Array of choices
From gated communities to private islands, from grand estates to hideaways on once-slumbering Family islands, real estate choices are plentiful and prices range from under $100,000 to multi-millions, with one island recently changing hands at more than $45 million.
Most international buyers want residences to offer much of what a vacation stay would feature. They want to be on or near the water and close to golf, tennis, fine dining, boutiques, banks, entertainment or other outdoor activities. In gated communities, property is typically priced according to amenities, infrastructure and, often, the type of water frontage. Beachfront, rocky shoreline or canal frontage prices can range from $300,000 to over $6 million for an undeveloped residential lot. Waterfront condominiums range in price from $400,000 to $6 million.