PERSPECTIVES: The Bahamas’ Buyer Demographic Continues To Trend Younger

An island in the bahamas with several big houses on it and boats in the water.
The Bahamas continued to attract the interest of high-end property-seekers in 2023. (MAISON Bahamas)

This report is part of PERSPECTIVES, a comprehensive look into the world of prime residential real estate. Access the full report here to discover the latest trends and dynamics shaping the market.

Boating, beaches and kicking back in an alluring tropical setting (along with no inheritance, capital gains or income taxes) make life in The Bahamas appealing.

The island nation, an hour by plane from Florida, continued to attract the interest of high-end property-seekers in 2023, according to Ryan Knowles, founder and CEO of MAISON Bahamas.

Knowles notes a shift in the behavior and lifestyle of owners who have bought since the Covid pandemic. “The Bahamas has always been a place to have a vacation home, but it was less common for a primary residence,” he says. Now in the work-from-anywhere era, more entrepreneurs, remote workers and families are choosing to live in the country year-round.

“Why not work from a place where there’s great weather year-round, there’s great infrastructure for an island—great restaurants, great international schools—and if you need to go back to Toronto, or New York or L.A., it’s a quick, direct flight,” he says.

Knowles also sees younger buyers in the luxury market. He recently sold a $6-million home for a 25-year-old entrepreneur who made his money in cryptocurrency. The young owner sold because he plans to build a bigger home.

Beach Villa at the Ocean Club Estates, Paradise Island, New Providence. Presented by MAISON Bahamas

The Bahamas has always been a popular choice for U.S. buyers. Most are from the Northeast, Texas and Florida. New direct flights from Los Angeles and Seattle to Nassau, the capital, mean a new pool of potential buyers, Knowles says. The Bahamas also attracts Canadians and Europeans, who have tax and residency advantages. About 80% of property transactions—domestic and foreign—are cash deals.

Exclusive gated neighborhoods on New Providence Island include Lyford Cay, a private club with a storied 18-hole golf course and two- to three-acre estates. It’s tucked away in the western part of the island, where newer communities like Old Fort Bay and Albany, known for its allure with A-list celebrities, have popped up in recent years.

Quieter islands such as Eleuthera, Great Abaco and the Exumas offer a more laid-back, private lifestyle where you can drive a golf cart and go barefoot all day. The Wall Street Journal recently reported on Harbour Island, which has become a magnet for billionaires because of its beauty, privacy and quaint town center. “That’s the dream, right?” Knowles says. “People pay a lot of money to live that dream.”

The first two years during the Covid pandemic saw the highest real estate sales volume in the history of the country, Knowles says. But last year luxury market sales dipped 15%, particularly in the first quarter. “What we found was a lot of that new inventory just didn’t make it to the market,” he explains.

The decline can be attributed to homeowners deciding not to sell or delaying their plans. Knowles says he knew owners who love living in The Bahamas and didn’t want to sell their home for say, $10 million, when they’d have to spend $12 million for a new one. “As a result, we had a lot of buyers actively looking for properties on the market,” he says, “and we had very little to show them.”

A house with a green yard, a pool, and a dock on the water.

Sandcastle on Paradise Island. Presented by MAISON Bahamas

High-end sales slowed slightly at the end of 2023, but January saw movement in the high-end sector. Despite the dip in sales, prices remained firm and, in some neighborhoods, increased by as much as 20%. Prime waterfront lots, for example, saw a huge jump in values, Knowles says.

Potentially boosting the market are new developments that may come online as developers see the demand and opportunities to create more island residences.

“I’m positive about inventory returning to the market,” Knowles says. “I’m now seeing more homes and more new developments coming on the market, like the recently announced Four Seasons Residences on Paradise Island. I expect 2024 to be a banner year for The Bahamas.”


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