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BAHAMAS REAL ESTATE LAW


Foreign nationals are encouraged to acquire residential properties in The Bahamas. Underscoring the new attitude towards investors, the government repealed the Immovable Property Act, 1981, which required prior approval for the purchase, transfer, or inheritance of real property by non-Bahamians. It has been replaced by the International Persons Landholding Act, 1994. The new act considerably eases the process of foreign ownership of homes and real estate. It has begun to fuel the revival of the second home market in The Bahamas and makes the assets of The Bahamas more accessible to those who enjoy living and/or doing business in paradise.

  • A non-Bahamian who purchases or acquires an interest in a condominium or property vacant or otherwise to be used by him/her as a single family dwelling or for construction of such a dwelling must apply to the Secretary to the Investment Board to register the purchase by completing "Application for Registration" Form I, which should be submitted to:
    • Office of the Prime Minister
      P.O. Box CB10980
      Nassau, N.P., The Bahamas

    This should be accompanied by a copy of conveyance (proof of ownership), evidence of payment of stamp duty and Real Property Tax, and a Bankers Draft/Proposal Money Order in the sum of Bahamian twenty-five dollars made payable to "The Public Treasury."

  • Upon receipt of the above, the purchase/acquisition will be registered and a Certificate of Registration subsequently issued.
  • A permanent resident who acquires land or an interest in land shall apply to the Secretary to the Board to have same registered.
  • A permit to purchase/acquire property is required if the property is undeveloped land and the purchaser would become the owner of five or more contiguous acres. A permit is also required where the non-Bahamian intends to acquire land or an interest therein by way of freehold or leasehold and which acquisition is not in accordance with the above.
  • Prior government approval is not required for non-Bahamians to purchase residential properties of less than five acres. Such acquisitions are, however, required to be registered with the Investments Board and The Central Bank.
  • The government has also adopted an accommodating stance on the granting of residency permits to non-Bahamian investors and homeowners. Major international investors and owners of residences valued at $500,000 or more are accorded accelerated consideration for annual or permanent residency permits.
  • A homeowner's card is available to all non-Bahamian owners of residences. The card facilitates immigration formalities at all Bahamian ports of entry and entitles the homeowner, his/her spouse, and minor children to enter and remain in The Bahamas for the duration of the validity of the card.

Copies of the legislation are available for a small fee (B$7.20) from:

  • Government Publications
    P.O. Box N7147
    Nassau, N.P., The Bahamas
    Tel: (242) 322-2410

Real Estate Fees

Application for Registration: $25.00
Application for Permit: $25.00
Upon issue of certificate of registration or issue of permit where:
(a) the value* of the property is $50,000 and under: $50.00
(b) the value of the property is over $50,000 but under $101,000: $75.00
(c) the value of the property is $101,000 and over: $100.00
Homeowner resident card: $500.00

*Value in relation to a lease is the annual rent reserved, times the number of years.

Certificate of Registration or Permit (together with acquisition documents) must be recorded in the Registrar General's Department, P.O. Box N532, Nassau, N.P., The Bahamas, Tel: (242) 322-3316.


The Government Stamp Tax on Property Conveyance is as follows:

Value ($) Stamp Tax (%)
Less thab $20,000 2%
$20,000 to $50,000 4%
$50,000 to $100,000 6%
over $100,000 8%

The above fees are usually shared equally by the buyer and the seller.


RATES OF TAXES

Effective from January 1, 2003, the rates of tax on real property are as follows:-

The first $250,000 is tax exempt.
On that portion in excess of $250,000 and less than $500,000 the rate of tax is percent of the market value of the property.
On that portion in excess of $500,000 the rate of tax is 1% of the market value of the property.
The maximum annual tax will not exceed thirty five thousand dollars.