Recovery in Full Swing in Bahamas

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Key Highlights

  • Housing market revival from 2020 pandemic tourism blackout and 2019 Hurricane Dorian now in high gear
  • Market moving again, particularly at upper end

The Bahamas Are Back

The housing market in the Bahamas was served a double-whammy by Hurricane Dorian in 2019 and then by COVID travel restrictions and lockdowns in 2020.

Such local and international restrictions and lockdowns eased in late winter 2020 and the Bahamian housing market is now considered “hot,” according to Vanessa Ansell with The Ansell Group, part of the Damianos Sotheby’s International Realty. 

Buyers “Finding” Bahamas Again

John Christie, president and managing broker of H.G. Christie Limited, an affiliate of Christie’s International Real Estate, said that now is  “…the hottest real estate market that we’ve probably ever had.  Once things started opening up after COVID, we just had a lot of people coming down…we’ve had rapid sales in all the luxury communities…”

Latest New Pricing Data

Sales are up at all price points.  Luxury prices are up +10%-15% over pre-pandemic levels.  And, the usual, inventory at both the middle and upper price points is skimpy

Ansell said that some properties within her group’s portfolio are seeing asking price increases as high as +30% due to lux properties selling at a revved up pace.  “Homes that we would have seen be on the market for more than a year, we are now seeing them on the market for less than 30 days (and)…we’re talking price points of upward $1M, all the way up to $9M and above.”

The latest data provided by Ansell’s agency indicates that the average sale price across the Bahamas in 2020 was $359,079.  During the first six months of 2021, the average sale price ballooned to $628,887.

Opportunities Remain for Mid-Tier Buyers

Despite slim pickings, desirable developments in Nassau (Old Fort Bay, Lyford Cay, Albany, Ocean Club Estates, Harbour Island off New Providence’s pink beach) are available for mid-tier buyers.  Upscale condos in Nassau start at $700,000.  Waterfront properties on New Providence are available for under 1M; small ocean-view lots on Eleuthera start at $25,000; and beachfront homes on Eleuthera and Exuma start at $800,000.

Outer, more remote Bahamian islands such as Abaco, north of Andros and New Providence, have few if any vacant lots and/or canal home inventory. However, common gossip is that, according to Ed Newell, broker and co-owner of Abaco Estate Services, buyers are preparing for the next pandemic …the next pandemic after COVID.  “Everyone’s of the opinion that this is not going to be the last pandemic.  If they can afford it, they’re looking out for their families and adding a second place to go to.

Bahamian Buyers and Basics

Bahamians are buying mid-tier properties; foreign buyers, primarily American, Canadian and British, are buying luxury properties

First-time, international buyers can buy a developed home or less than two acres of vacant land without any restrictions.  Those wanting to by a second home must get a permit to do so from the Bahamas Investment Authority.

International buyers of residences valued at $750,000 and more are eligible to apply for permanent residency in the Bahamas.

 

Thanks to The New York Times

 

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