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If you’re looking to move to The Bahamas, whether part time or full time, it’s going to be important to know the average rental prices on the islands as well as the current housing market. It’s not just a popular vacation spot, but also an ideal place to settle for those who are looking for a more relaxed lifestyle away from the hustle and bustle of busy urban centers.
So should you buy a home in The Bahamas? Or choose a luxury rental? This article will cover the average rental prices in The Bahamas, what can impact these prices, and the pros and cons of living on these beautiful islands.
What is the average rent in The Bahamas?
The average rental price for a one-bedroom apartment in The Bahamas is around $1,000/month across the entire country (though you may be able to find studios for less).
This number is slightly skewed by higher costs near the cities and popular neighborhoods of Nassau and Freeport. However, cities balance out the higher rental prices with easy access to food, utilities, entertainment, and transportation.
Prices will differ if you’re looking for a single-bedroom apartment or are moving with a family. On average, a three-bedroom in a larger city costs around $2,500.
The average rent prices for 3-bedroom apartments differ by location:
- Nassau: $2,150
- Freeport: $2,350
- Rest of Bahamas: $2,190
Rent might seem expensive to some expats, but if you’re coming from a big city like New York, San Francisco, or Toronto, these rent prices may feel equivalent or mid-priced, if not slightly cheaper.
In fact, the average rent prices in The Bahamas are somewhat more affordable than rental rates in the United States – almost 17% less.
Of course, the rental market is subject to fluctuations, and these figures might change over time. It is always best to research current market conditions and consult with professionals like MCR Bahamas before making any decisions related to renting or buying property in The Bahamas.
Still, rent can be freely negotiated between landlords and tenants, since there are no government restrictions placing limits on rental values.
Visitors from the United States should keep in mind that the maximum period of stay without a visa or application for permanent residency is eight months.
Ready to check out your Bahamas rental options? Check out MCR Bahamas current list of rentals.
Average Rent for Vacation Homes
Vacation homes are a popular option for Bahamas visitors who prefer an all-inclusive “home away from home” feeling on their trip. Vacation or short-term rentals are usually intended for stays shorter than 30 days.
Prices range a lot depending on the location, size of the rental, and amenities you’re looking for. You can find a luxury condo in Nassau for $200/night for two people…or a private island for $19,000 a night for 12 people.
Some of our more expensive luxury rentals go for $40,000/month.
Expect off-peak averages in quieter areas to cost less, with estimated monthly costs for luxury accommodations in popular areas to be higher in the peak months of December through April.
Average Rent for Long-Term Stays
Long-term stays are usually extensions of vacation rentals that offer discounts for extended reservations. For example, if you stay at a rental property for 6 weeks, you could pay less nightly than if you only stayed for a few days.
Of course, the rent for long-term stays – usually for 30 days or more – depends on location, neighborhood, and the length of stay. Usually long-term rentals start at $2,000/month.
How much does it cost to build a house in The Bahamas?
On average, a 1,500 sq. foot home can run between $225,000 to $375,000 to build in The Bahamas. If you’re looking to really customize everything, you can expect a higher price point.
The building costs for a standard home in Abaco can run between $150 to $250 per square foot on average. A luxury home could run higher than $400 per square foot, typically around $750 to $2000 per square foot.
Where do costs come from? Purchasing of the land, construction costs, transaction fees, and building permits will all impact the building costs.
A building permit is needed for all new construction, which includes homes. A permit is valid for 18 months from the date of issue. Extension can be applied for prior to the permit’s expiration date if needed.
Overall Cost of Living in The Bahamas
- Family of 4: $4,601.70/month
- Single person: $1,308.10/month
This cost of living includes food, transportation, clothing, childcare, and more. While these numbers might feel high, renters will particularly appreciate that most apartments come pre-furnished, keeping initial costs of moving low with less furniture to move to your new home.
Plus, the money you’ll save on income, estate, and capital gains tax should help with these adjustments.
To give you an idea of the cost of living, here’s a brief breakdown on what you could experience:
- Eating out: Eating out in The Bahamas is slightly more expensive compared to the U.S. Average prices can range between $8 for fast food to $70 for a mid-priced three course meal for two.
- Public transit: Public transit can be less expensive compared to the U.S. You can expect to pay around $47 for a monthly bus pass in Nassau.
- Health insurance: Health insurance will vary depending on a number of factors such as age, medical conditions and the type of coverage, however you can expect to pay around $50 to $250/mo.
- Utilities: Utilities in The Bahamas typically do run higher compared to the U.S. You can expect to pay around $250-$300 monthly (electricity, heating/cooling and water) for a smaller sized apartment.
- Groceries: Grocery prices can really vary throughout the island and you’ll find the fresh produce is comparable to pricing you find in the U.S.
More Cost of Living Data in The Bahamas
- Overall cost of living: According to this post, the monthly average cost of living in The Bahamas is $6,841.53 for a family of four and $2,192.87 for a single person
- Fuel costs: 1 liter (1/4 gallon) of gas costs around $1.67 (source)
- Drinking water: 1 liter of water can cost between $1.35 and $2.50
- Sports and Leisure: Monthly membership at a fitness club ranges from $40.00 to $188, with an average of around $113 (source)
- Cappuccino: A cup of your favorite hot beverage costs about $5.20
- Monthly internet cost: An internet cost of 60 Mbps or more costs around $50 (source)
Advantages and Disadvantages of Living in The Bahamas
Living in The Bahamas is a dream for many people and has some major perks. Before you make any decisions, it’s important to know the benefits and drawbacks of life on this beautiful island chain.
The coastlines, year-round tropical weather, and laid-back lifestyle are just a few of the major selling points for a move to the islands.
The Bahamas has a high literacy rate of 95%, which is reflected in the number of high-quality schools throughout the archipelago. Some of the best international schools can be found in New Providence and Grand Bahama.
Other pros of living in The Bahamas include:
- Rich Culture: The Bahamas boasts a vibrant and rich culture, deeply rooted in a mix of African, European, and indigenous influences, best demonstrated through its music, art, and annual Junkanoo festival.
- Entertainment: With its high-end resorts, world-class casinos, diverse culinary scene, and vibrant nightlife, The Bahamas offers an endless array of entertainment opportunities for all ages.
- Stunning Beaches: The Bahamas is home to some of the world’s most beautiful beaches, characterized by powdery white sand and crystal-clear turquoise waters, notably the famous Pink Sands Beach on Harbour Island.
- Luxury Housing: Luxury housing in The Bahamas ranges from ultra-modern, beachfront condos in Paradise Island to sprawling, private estates in Ocean Club or Lyford Cay, all offering a blend of comfort, style, and exclusivity.
- Tax Benefits: The Bahamas provides significant tax advantages, including no income tax, capital gains tax, or inheritance tax, making it an attractive domicile for international business and high-net-worth individuals.
- Low Crime Rates: In comparison to many global cities, most tourist-centric areas and luxury residential communities in The Bahamas maintain relatively low crime rates, contributing to a sense of safety and tranquility.
- Natural Beauty: The Bahamas is a natural paradise, blessed with diverse flora and fauna, lush tropical landscapes, and over 700 islands and cays offering breathtaking views and unique ecosystems to explore.
- Healthcare: The Bahamas has an excellent healthcare system, with several private health facilities available to expats.
- Stable political environment: The Bahamas is considered a country with a stable political environment, built upon a system of parliamentary democracy similar to the United Kingdom’s.
- Residency: The Bahamas offers an attractive permanent residency program to eligible investors. This can provide further tax advantages and ease of travel within the region.
- Booming tourism industry: The Bahamas thrives on tourism, as it brought in $1 Billion in 2020, providing plenty of business and employment opportunities.
- English-speaking: English is the official language of The Bahamas, making it easier for international residents and businesses to communicate and navigate.
- Excellent connectivity: Nassau’s Lynden Pindling International Airport and Grand Bahama International Airport are well-connected to the world, with direct flights to cities in the United States, Canada, Europe, and the Caribbean.
- Currency: The Bahamian Dollar (BSD) is pegged 1:1 to the US Dollar, which provides a stable and secure currency environment and helps with international transactions.
- Water activities: The Bahamas offers world-class water activities such as diving, snorkeling, boating, and fishing, making it an ideal destination for water sports enthusiasts.
- Retirement options: The Bahamas has developed infrastructure, a beautiful environment, and a comfortable cost of living, which makes it an attractive choice for retirees looking for a second home.
- Telecommunications: The Bahamas has a modern telecommunications infrastructure, with widespread access to the internet, mobile coverage, and cable TV.
Some challenges to living in The Bahamas can include:
- Limited public transportation: Transportation outside of larger cities like Nassau may be more difficult for individuals without a car. While Nassau and Freeport have public transportation, outside these urban areas, it can be quite limited. Taxis, car rentals, and jitneys are available, but they may be more expensive than public transport options in other countries.
- Higher cost of living: The cost of food and other basic goods can run higher due to import tariffs. The Bahamas is considered to have a higher cost of living compared to the global average.
- Higher utility costs: Utilities, such as water, electricity, and internet, can also be more expensive for renters and buyers alike. Utilities in The Bahamas were estimated to cost approximately 23% more than the US, which is often considered more expensive than utilities in many other countries.
- Hurricane season: While the weather is beautiful throughout the year, The Bahamas does experience a hurricane season in the summer months to early fall. Hurricanes and tropical storms are common between June and November, with the peak season in August and September. According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), the risk of major or severe storms annually isn’t as high as other Caribbean destinations but is still something to consider since it can lead to temporary disruptions in services, communications, and transportation.
Conclusion: Start Renting in The Bahamas
Determining whether to buy, build, or rent a home in The Bahamas largely depends on your unique needs and preferences. By considering various factors like the average rental price in the Bahamas, estimated monthly costs, immigration regulations, permanent residency requirements, and local amenities, you can make an informed decision that fits your lifestyle.
Renting a home in The Bahamas, particularly near popular destinations, offers an excellent opportunity to experience the incredible climate, culture, and beauty of the islands without the long-term commitment of purchasing or building a home. You’ll have access to a range of international amenities, transportation options, all-inclusive entertainment, stunning landscapes, and a vibrant community that attracts visitors from North America and beyond.
Our talented agents at MCR Bahamas will help you find your own piece of Bahamas real estate, ensuring that your experience is as enjoyable and stress-free as possible. Whether you’re interested in renting a luxury villa, purchasing land to build your dream home, or simply exploring the potential of living in this enchanting archipelago, we’re here to assist you every step of the way.
Don’t hesitate to start your journey toward finding the perfect luxury real estate in The Bahamas.
Contact us at MCR Bahamas, we can help!