Cost of Living in Bermuda
Due to Bermuda’s steady economic success since the end of World War II, the island’s standard of living has always been good for locals and foreign nationals alike. As such, Bermuda has one of the highest costs of living in the world, attributed to the island being affluent and ranking at No.3 in terms of per capita income – estimated at $84,381 as of 2009.
Buying Real Estate
Property prices in Bermuda are amazingly high, and prospective buyers should be warned that a lot of bureaucracy is involved when purchasing property in the island. Foreign nationals who are interested in purchasing real estate in Bermuda are required to go to the Ministry of Labor and Home Affairs and obtain an Acquisition License. For condo units, the license fee is set 15% of the purchase price, while the license fee for houses is set at 22% of the purchase price. Properties must also have an Annual Rental Value (ARV) of at least $32,400 for condo units and $153,000 or higher for houses. The required minimum amount for Annual Rental Value of a property is determined and routinely assessed by the government of Bermuda. All properties under this category can only be bought by a foreign national if the seller is a non-Bermudian owner.
Expats are not allowed from purchasing undeveloped land in Bermuda, and prospective foreign buyers are only allowed to buy condo units in “special development areas” approved by the government for foreign ownership. However, foreign national spouses and children of a Bermudian national are exempted from these restrictions. Furthermore, foreign companies or corporations are restricted from purchasing residential real estate. Some of the other limitations of real estate purchasing in Bermuda include not being able to sub-divide or rent out a property, unless otherwise approved by the Minister of Home Affairs and Public Safety.
Foreign national property buyers are also required to ask for the assistance of a law firm to process all the legal documents needed in purchasing a real estate. The approval of the government for the Acquisition License can take approximate two to six months. Upon approval, the foreign national must pay the license fee to have the property license released.
Finding an affordable rental accommodation in Bermuda can prove to be an uphill battle as rental costs are also high, and this does not include payment for basic utilities. The location and scenery of the rental accommodation are two of the dominant factors that determine the price. The average rental price of a property in Bermuda costs about $4,543. A one-bedroom apartment in the Bermuda city center costs approximately $2,000 to $3,500, while a similar-sized one outside the city costs about $1,200 to $1,800. A three-bedroom apartment in the city center costs around $3,500 to $6,000, while a similar-sized one outside the city costs about $3,200 to $5,600. The cost of rental accommodation for locals and foreign nationals will be a lot less burdensome if their employer offers a housing allowance.
Basic utilities in Bermuda are normally not included in rental accommodation and must be shouldered by the tenant. The price for basic utilities such as electricity, water, heating and garbage cost around $114 to $500 a month. Cable/ADSL internet connections with unlimited data and speed of 6Mbps cost approximately $100 to $180 per month, and one-minute local calls using prepaid mobile costs about $0.35 to $1.
Dining out at an inexpensive Bermudian restaurant costs about $20 to $40, while a three-course meal for two at a mid-range restaurant costs approximately $90 to $120. A cup of cappuccino at a restaurant costs about $5, one liter of regular milk costs $3, a loaf of fresh white bread costs around $5, a dozen eggs cost $4, one kilogram of local cheese costs $17, and a 1.5 liter of bottled water costs about $3. A bottle of mid-range wine costs around $20, domestic beer costs $5, and imported beer costs $3.
A liter of gasoline in Bermuda costs approximately $2. A one-way ticket for a local transport in the island costs $3, while a regular monthly pass costs about $65. Taxi fares start at $5, with an additional $1.40 for every kilometer.
Bermuda is considered a tax haven because the government does not impose corporate income, capital gains tax, wealth tax, or even value-added tax. However, all workers are subject to payroll tax, which amounts to a minimum of 4.75% of their salary automatically deducted by the employer. The local tax system of Bermuda relies on consumption taxes, import duties and payroll taxes.
Expat Services in Bermuda
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