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The market for private islands for sale in The Bahamas has been gaining traction in the past few years. With so many islands to choose from, prospective buyers can select the exact piece of paradise they’re interested in purchasing.
Fall in love with everything The Bahamas has to offer when you purchase your very own private island.
How Much Does It Cost to Buy an Island in The Bahamas?
Buying an island in The Bahamas can be expensive. Private islands in the Bahamas for sale can range between $1,000,000 and $50,000,000, exclusive of other expenses. The final cost will depend on numerous factors, including location, size, zoning, and utilities. You can expect to spend anywhere from $10,000 to $1,000,000 in due diligence costs, survey fees, legal fees, taxes, and other expenses associated with purchasing an island in the Bahamas.
Prices continue to rise as demand from foreign investors looking to relocate to The Bahamas increases. Several factors contribute to the increase in prices, including the demand for second homes among wealthy individuals, the rise of tourism in the region, and natural disasters.
How to Buy a Private Island in The Bahamas
The Bahamas is a group of 700 islands, 670 of which are uninhabited. Finding your perfect island paradise requires specialized searching. This guide will walk you through all the steps from start to finish to make buying an island easy and affordable.
1. Determine Your Budget
There’s no standard price for buying an island in The Bahamas. When purchasing land, the general rule is that the price is higher on the larger plots, but this rule doesn’t apply when it comes to buying islands. A small island may cost more than a larger option because of its proximity to a major city or because its natural landscape is more picturesque.
Decide what you want to spend so your agent can show you what’s available in your price range.
2. Find an Experienced Real Estate Agent
The next step is to find the best real estate agents in The Bahamas who know the area and can guide you through the search process, as well as zoning, land use regulations, and other island-specific requirements. This is especially important for foreign buyers who may not have the same depth of knowledge of The Bahamas real estate market as they do in their home country.
The Better Homes & Gardens MCR Bahamas agents are skilled in building long-lasting relationships with clients, have intimate knowledge of the Bahamian real estate market, and can provide resources that guarantee the best experience.
3. Narrow Down Your Search
The first step to buying a private island is narrowing your search. What locations are you considering, and what are you looking for in a private island? Do you want a remote island close to nature? Are you looking to build a lavish vacation mansion complete with a tennis court, guest cottage, and swimming pool? Would you prefer an island with existing infrastructure? The lifestyle you want to enjoy will impact the kind of island you purchase.
Many build vacation homes and resorts or develop the island into a commercial enterprise like marinas. These endeavors require specific zoning and licensing depending on land use. Remember location and zoning laws as you shop properties.
4. Visit the Island Before You Buy
One of the best things you can do to get a feel for any island you’re considering purchasing is to make an in-person visit. Walking around the island will help you understand its condition and geographic layout and get a feel for whether it’s right for you.
You may dream of miles of soft, sandy white beaches, only to discover your shores are rocky or inaccessible. Or perhaps you want to expand on the existing buildings on an island, only to find you’ll need to start from scratch. Seeing the island with your own eyes helps you determine whether the island is right for you.
Even better, stay on the island if you can. Some island owners have a lease option where you can try before you buy. If you want to really get to know the place before you purchase, living there is the way to do it.
5. Close the Deal
Once you’ve decided on your island property, it’s time to close the deal. Your agent will help you navigate the process, but remember there are extra steps for expats purchasing property in The Bahamas.
You’ll have to register your purchase in accordance with the International Persons Landholding Act. Further, if you plan to lease your property to others, you’ll need to register with the Bahamas Investment Authority.
Upon closing, you will be responsible for Stamp Duty and Value Added Tax for the conveyance of the property.
Private Islands for Sale in The Bahamas
The Bahamas has a wide variety of islands available for sale. Some are undeveloped, and others have houses, marinas, and docks. You may even find one with an airstrip or helipad.
When choosing a private island, you can decide how near or far you’d like to be from civilization. If you prefer a remote location, choose something near the Out Islands. If you enjoy accessing restaurants, shopping, and nightlife, look for an island close to Grand Bahama or New Providence. Let’s take a look at some popular location options.
Berry Islands Bahamas
The Berry Islands are a quiet, unspoiled archipelago in The Bahamas that are ideal for private island getaways. Most islands are uninhabited and unspoiled, featuring barrier reef waters, white sand beaches, and dense tropical rainforests.
This island cluster is part of the Out Islands, located south of Grand Bahama Island and north of Nassau. The two main islands are Great Harbour Cay and Chub Cay, both of which have airports for easy accessibility. Most of the Berry Islands population (approximately 500 people) lives on Great Harbour Cay.
It is known as the Fishbowl of the Bahamas for its spectacular sport fishing scene. Anglers enjoy catching billfish and bonefish in the region. Diving is also popular in this region. The Tongue of the Ocean, a deep water trench parallel to Chub Cay, draws many divers and underwater enthusiasts.
If you love snorkeling, diving, and fishing, the Berry Islands might just be your version of paradise.
The Exumas are a long stretching expanse of 365 cays comprised of Great Exuma, Little Exuma, and the Exuma Cays. Great Exuma and Little Exuma are popular tourist destinations, and the Exuma Cays are known for luxury private homes and private islands.
Exuma is renowned for having stunning turquoise waters, warm and soft beaches, and lush vegetation. The island is located in the central Bahamas, a short distance from Nassau, and is a common departure point for cruises to the nearby Exuma Barrier Reef.
Only five islands on Exuma have private residences. They include the Great Exuma, Little Exuma, Compass Cay, Staniel Cay and Big Major Cay. Some celebrities that own islands in The Exumas are Faith Hill, Tim Mcgraw, and Johnny Depp.
If you’re interested in purchasing a private island in Exuma, there are plenty of options. Whether you’re looking for a small island with the providence of a few amenities or a larger one that comes complete with its private airstrip, you’ll find your perfect part of paradise.
Abaco is a popular tourist destination and home to many stunning private islands. North Abaco, Central Abaco, and South Abaco make up the broad geographic divisions of this 120-mile-long network of islands and cays.
Known as the boating capital of The Bahamas, you won’t find the typical tourist trap fare on other islands like duty-free shops, casinos, or high-rise hotels. Abaco offers family-friendly experiences amidst white sand beaches, crystal clear waters, and lush vegetation. Many honeymooners choose the Abacos to celebrate their nuptials.
Abaco is one of the more affordable places to purchase a private island in The Bahamas. If you’re looking to escape the hustle and bustle of everyday life, contact MCR Bahamas to explore Abaco.
Eleuthera is one of the best places to live in The Bahamas. This large and unspoiled island is known for its pink sand beaches, crystal clear waters, and laid-back atmosphere.
Harbour island is a popular tourist destination, with many visitors flocking to see the pink sand beaches. However, the rest of Eleuthera is quiet and mostly untouched.
Benefits of Owning a Private Island in The Bahamas
Purchasing an island in The Bahamas guarantees privacy. You have the freedom to do as you please and disconnect from the outside world. Unplug from your devices, turn off your internet, and enjoy the serenity of your island.
2. Diversification of Your Portfolio
Owning a private island in The Bahamas provides a unique investment opportunity that is a great way to diversify your portfolio further. You may consider renting the property to vacationers and others who want to visit the island, opening a new income stream.
Depending on the type of island you purchase, you can rent it out for various purposes, including weddings, corporate retreats, family vacations, and more. Note that you must register all purchases of investment property with the Foreign Investment Board.
3. Tax Advantages
The Bahamas are known as a tax neutral country thanks to its minimal income tax and secrecy laws. Here, you won’t pay income tax on foreign income, gift taxes, Capital Gains, or Estate tax.
You will be liable for property tax, but it’s low compared to the rates in some major U.S. cities. You’ll also pay value-added tax (VAT), stamp tax, license fees, and import duties, but overall, it’s a tax-neutral country offering foreign investors attractive investment and savings opportunities.
Challenges of Owning a Private Island in The Bahamas
Like any other real estate purchase, buying a private island comes with some challenges.
1. Costs are High
Owning a private island can be expensive, especially if you are building on the island. You can expect to pay as much as $50 million for a 1,000-acre property in the Bahamas.
2. Permit Applications
Owning a private island is like owning a piece of sovereign property. You will be responsible for all infrastructure, including roads, water, and power. You will also have to apply for building permits and zoning approval to put up any structure.
In most cases, it’s a long process that can take up to a year. Sometimes, you will have to apply for building and environmental permits, so factor this into your timeline.
3. Zoning and Environmental Regulation
While these are positive requirements, it’s important to understand environmental regulations before purchasing an island. You should also Research whether environmental restrictions exist on your potential island and know that you must comply with any zoning regulations.
The government will want to make sure that you are not harming the environment in any way. Most countries also have regulations for building near protected areas, such as wildlife sanctuaries.
Buy Your Own Island in The Bahamas
If you want to own a piece of paradise, whether you’re buying a home in Nassau, a luxury mansion in Old Fort Bay, or a private island, the team at MCR Bahamas can help. We love working with Bahamians and international buyers to help them achieve the Bahamian dream.
From start to finish, our focus is on people, relationships, and our community.