Cost of Living in The Bahamas
Starting a life in the Bahamas requires stable finances as the cost of living here is 28.45% higher than the US.
The Bahamas is one of the countries in the world that have the highest cost of living, with a gross national income per capita of US$21,280 according to the World Bank 2014 World Development Report. While the country offers several employment opportunities, foreign nationals will have a very difficult time landing a job due to the priority given to Bahamian nationals.
The government of The Bahamas does not have restrictions on foreign nationals wishing to purchase real estate, and they are actually encouraging expats to invest in the country. Foreign nationals buying property that is less than two acres must register the property purchase with the The Bahamas Investment Board. Those buying property that is more than five acres are required to obtain a permit first from the government; otherwise the purchase will be invalidated. Legal fees and certain taxes apply when buying property in the The Bahamas.
All foreign nationals who own a real estate in The Bahamas are issued a resident card by the Immigration director. The resident card can be obtained by paying a certain fee and is annually renewed for approximately US$500 a year. This allows the foreigner and his immediate family to enter and stay in The Bahamas.
Expats should take note that since the standard of living in The Bahamas is high, the prices of real estate in the country are also expensive. The most expensive ones can be find the capital city, Nassau, and Freeport which is also a major city in The Bahamas.
- An apartment in the city centre: US$3,800 per square metre
- An apartment outside the capital: US$2,900 per square metre
Foreigners who buy a house worth more than US$250,000 are required to pay stamp duty of 10%. This is normally divided between the seller and the purchaser.
Finding rental accommodation in The Bahamas for a long-term lease can be quite a challenge, because most rental properties are leased for a short time only, especially for tourists. However, it is not impossible to find an apartment for foreign nationals who are residing in The Bahamas for work purposes. Majority of the rental accommodations are located in major cities, like Nassau and Freeport.
- A one-bedroom apartment in the city centre: US$500 to US$1,000 a month
- A one-bedroom apartment outside the city centre: US$600 to US$1,200
- A three-bedroom apartment in the city: US$1,500 to US$3,000
- A three-bedroom apartment outside the city centre: US$1,800 to US$2,500
There are at least two types of leases in The Bahamas. If it is a gross lease, the landlord will shoulder all charges associated with ownership of the property. Meanwhile, if it is a net lease or full repairing lease, the tenant will foot the bill for charges related to the property, which may include repairs, maintenance and taxes.
The price of basic utilities in The Bahamas such as electricity, water, heating and garbage cost around US$200 to US$300 a month.
Local, one-minute calls using prepaid mobile cost approximately US$0.30.
Cable/ADSL internet connections with unlimited data and speed of 6Mbps cost about US$35 to US$50 monthly.
Dining out in The Bahamas at an inexpensive restaurant can cost about US$10 to US$20, while a three-course meal for two persons at a mid-range restaurant costs around $60 to $100.
- A combo meal at McDonalds or other similar fast food chains: US$6
- A cup of cappuccino: US$4
- One litre of regular milk: US$3
- A loaf of fresh white bread: US$4
- One kilogram of rice: US$3
- A dozen eggs: US$3
- One kilogram of local cheese: US$6
- A 1.5 litre of bottled water: US$2.75
- A bottle of mid-range wine: US$13.50
- Domestic beer: US$2.75
- Imported beer: US$4
- A pack of cigarettes: US$5
A litre of gasoline in The Bahamas costs about US$1.43 to US$1.53.
A one-way ticket for local transport such as the public bus costs US$1.25, while a regular monthly pass costs about US$56 to US$150.
Taxi fares start at US$10, with an additional of US$1 per kilometre.
While The Bahamas workers enjoy a competitive and tax-free salary, they are required by the government to pay monthly contributions to the national insurance which finances the country’s benefit system.
Other forms of taxes that are paid in The Bahamas are stamp duty and real estate tax. Stamp duty is paid when purchasing real estate in The Bahamas or sending a huge amount of money abroad. Stamp duty can range from 2% up to 8%, while charges for remitting money overseas are normally at 0.25%. Meanwhile, real estate tax depends on the category of the property. If the owner lives on the property, they are not required to pay tax for properties worth US$250,000. However, if the real estate is more than US$250,000, a real estate tax rate of 0.75% will be applied.
Expat Services in The Bahamas
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