A THREE-STORY VILLA NEAR THE BEACH
This three-story villa with sprawling verandas and plantation-style shutters is in the Old Fort Bay gated development, on the northwest coast of New Providence, the most populous island in the Bahamas. It is near the capital city of Nassau. Lush tropical foliage surrounds the home, which is close to the community’s private club on the site of a fortress erected by the British in the 1700s.
The 4,450-square-foot concrete and wood house was built in 2012 and has been used as a vacation home for the owners, who are from California. It has four bedrooms, four full and two half baths; furnishings are available for sale separately.
A bluestone path leads to the colonial-style house. In the front yard are a carport and a domed structure painted the same marine blue as the house. The structure is believed to have been part of the fort’s original infrastructure, said Richard Sawyer of Damianos Sotheby’s International Realty, the listing broker. Nearby are numerous palm trees and a centuries-old silk-cotton tree, one of several throughout the development. “The developer saw the charm and the history of these trees and developed around them,” Mr. Sawyer said.
At the main entrance is a wooden gate, which opens to a veranda. There is one on the second level, too. Both have ipe wood decking. Inside is a large, open living room that flows into a formal dining area. Ceiling fans supplement the central air-conditioning, and floors of hand-scraped engineered wood provide a rustic aesthetic. A white marble chef’s kitchen with stainless-steel Viking and Bosch appliances off the dining area can be closed with sliding doors. Each of these main-level rooms has French doors that open to the veranda; at the back of the 0.16-acre lot is a paved patio with a barbecue.
A hallway off the dining space has stairs leading to the second floor, where there are three en-suite bedrooms, also with veranda access. On the third level is another en-suite bedroom and a large multipurpose room with a small kitchenette that is currently being used as a gym, Mr. Sawyer said, but “could serve as an office/media room or second living room.”
The Old Fort Bay waterfront community has a private club with amenities that include a beach, pool, gym and restaurant. Nearby are numerous other beaches, along with shops and restaurants. The Lynden Pindling International Airport is about six miles away, while Nassau, with a population of around 275,000, is about 13 miles away.
Housing sales slowed in the Bahamas after the 2008 financial crisis. By 2013, however, the market began to rebound, said John Christie, the managing broker of H.G. Christie, a local affiliate of Christie’s International Real Estate. “Since then, it’s been up and down, but it’s slowly getting better and better,” Mr. Christie said. Buyers who took to the sidelines before the presidential election in the United States have since returned, he and other agents said.
The luxury market — which saw a 20 percent correction, on average, from its peak, following the financial crisis — has been especially strong within the gated communities, agents said. In Old Fort Bay, where luxury homes typically start at around $2 million, both sales volume and prices have risen 10 to 15 percent from a year ago, Mr. Sawyer said.
WHO BUYS IN THE BAHAMAS
Many of the luxury properties in the island nation are bought by foreigners, most from the United States, agents said. There is also strong interest from Canadians, Europeans and South Americans.
Buyers are drawn to the pristine beaches and private isles, along with the country’s favorable tax laws. Significant tax breaks are available for certain homeowners who obtain permanent residency.
Foreign buyers face no restrictions on real estate purchases. Local financing is available, though at terms that might be less attractive than those in the United States, said Adrian R. White, a real estate lawyer based in Nassau, who added that most luxury properties are bought with cash.
Agents recommend that buyers hire a qualified real estate lawyer to guide them through the process, which takes about 30 days. “The attorney,” Mr. White said, “will typically conduct an investigation of the property — including title to the property — to ensure that no outstanding charges or liens are present.”
Buyers are not required to be present at the closing, he said, noting that they can finalize documents via courier or grant power-of-attorney rights to their lawyers.
Bahamas official tourism: bahamas.com
Nassau and Paradise Island tourism: nassauparadiseisland.com
Old Fort Bay: oldfortbay.com
LANGUAGES AND CURRENCY
English; Bahamian dollar (1 Bahamian dollar = $1)
TAXES AND FEES
The seller typically pays the sales commission, which averages 6 percent. The buyer and seller split the stamp duty and the value added tax charged by the Bahamian government when property changes hands; the tax on this house is 10 percent.
(The New York Times)