The Ten Best Real Estate Bargains in the Bahamas

When you think of the Bahamas, do you think of luxury beachfront hotels, casinos, and colossal resorts like Atlantis on Paradise Island? If so, you can be forgiven for thinking that only the very wealthy can afford an oceanfront home in the Bahamas. In fact, the islands of the Bahamas have real estate bargains that will surprise and enchant you. Especially now, with the real estate market soft and sellers getting nervous, you can find a bargain that will put you on the beach.

How to find a great deal from among the thousands of listings available? Easy: I’ve done that for you. In order to maintain my objectivity, I have not included any properties in which I have a personal interest. Nor can I earn a commission or any other kind of fee from properties mentioned in this article. Selections were based solely on exceptional value for the buyer. If you would like more information about any of these properties, contact me and I’ll give you the name of the real estate agent handling it.

Let’s take a look, now, at the best bargains the Bahamas has to offer.

Abaco: 15 Acres with 630 Feet of Ocean and Beach Frontage

Abaco is known as the sailing capital of the Bahamas. With scores of uninhabited cays and extraordinary fishing, yachtsmen consider the Abacos to be among the world’s finest cruising grounds. A few miles north of Treasure Cay, a private seller is offering 15 acres of land with 630 feet of oceanfront on the Sea of Abaco. The parcel has elevations to 65 feet. A portion of the oceanfront is beach, and more could be converted to beach without difficulty. For all of you yachtsmen, there is sheltered anchorage of 20 feet depth in front of the property. Harbor-front lots at nearby Green Turtle Cay and Guana Cay routinely sell for $400,000 an acre. The subdivided retail value of this 15-acre parcel, therefore, is in the $5 million range. And the asking price? $1.2 million.

Berry Islands: Four Bedroom Beachfront House

Before I wrote this article, I would have told you it was impossible to buy a beautifully maintained and landscaped four-bedroom house right on a secluded beach for under $1 million. Not only do I stand corrected, I stand double-corrected. This house on Sugar Beach, Great Harbour Cay, comes with two beachfront lots, for a total of 185’ of beach frontage and almost an acre of land. Use the extra lot for a guest house or a pool. Great Harbour Cay has a superb harbor with a marina, plus a nine-hole golf course for us landlubbers. The price of this fully furnished beach house? $790,000. And if that’s too much for you, sell off the extra lot. There’s one on the market nearby for $300,000.

Berry Islands: Almost-on-the-Beach Lot for the Price of a Loaded SUV

This quarter-acre lot on Great Harbour Cay is right across the street from a beautiful white-powder beach. On the west, it borders a salt water creek, so you can get your feet wet without leaving your property. Electricity is available at the site, and a well could be dug for water. The sticker price of the lot is $45,000. Ocean and sunset views are included at no extra charge—a bonus you’re not likely to get with the SUV.

Cat Island: Beachfront Lot at Half the Price

Fifty miles long and with a population of 1600, you can almost hear your echoing footfalls on Cat Island. This is a place for people who want to get away from the hustle and bustle of, for example, rural North Dakota. Cat Island has miles of deserted, pink-sand beaches, and you can buy 100 feet on one of them for $179,900. How is this possible, with beachfront in the Out Islands routinely selling for two to three times that amount? This quarter-acre lot is actually 150 feet back from the sea, but the parcel in front is a reserve that can never be developed. The owner of the lot can landscape the reserve, trim its trees, and best of all, walk right across it to the beach. Just don’t try to build on it. The lot has 30’ elevations, so a house could have expansive ocean views. And when you’re deciding what to do with the $170,000 you saved, don’t forget the guy who gave you the tip.

Eleuthera: Four Bedroom Duplex Overlooking the Atlantic

The island of Eleuthera is 110 miles long with a population of just 8,000. With sixty miles of beaches and a few dozen hotel rooms, Eleuthera is a paradise for beach lovers who enjoy privacy and unspoiled natural beauty. Located in Eleuthera’s Rainbow Bay community, “Coral Reef” is a two-story house on an elevated lot which looks out over the Atlantic Ocean. Each floor consists of a two-bedroom, two-bath apartment with a bright, modern interior and an open plan. The units are fully furnished. A separate structure to the rear houses a double garage. Coral Reef is solidly built of concrete block and stucco and painted an orangey shade of yellow which isn’t my favorite—but then again, no one comes to me for decorating advice. Coral Reef sits on the landward side of Ocean Drive, about 300 feet from the Atlantic. There’s a beach almost directly across the street from it—two lots to the right, actually, about 500 feet from the front door. In theory, the lot which is directly across the street from Coral Reef could be built upon, partially blocking the view of the Atlantic. In fact, however, because of salt spray and other problems, the lots on the ocean side of the street are essentially unbuildable, and your view is safe. Coral Reef, which was built in 1986, would cost at least $400,000 to build today, not including the price of the land. The asking price for the property is $250,000. If it’s still available when you read this, don’t waste anymore time–take out your checkbook and make a deposit.

Freeport/Lucaya: Canal Front Home for Half the Price

Fortune Bay is a stylish canal-front community on the southern coast of Grand Bahama, just a few minutes by car from the shops and restaurants of Port Lucaya. As noted in my book, How to Buy and Sell Real Estate in the Bahamas, “A typical three-bedroom, three-bath house with a pool on one-third of an acre [in Fortune Bay] would sell for $1.2 million.” The house I found for you has four bedrooms and two baths and sits on an oversized half-acre lot with 120 feet of canal frontage. The large back yard has plenty of space for a pool. The kitchen could use updating, but the overall condition of the house is excellent. An investment of $100,000 for interior upgrades and a pool would turn this into a million-dollar house. The asking price from the motivated sellers? $625,000.

Nassau: Four-Bedroom Cliff House in Tusculum

This spectacular three-story house on West Bay Street sits on a cliff facing the ocean. Designed by a noted architect, it has 4000 square feet of living space. Features include a den which could serve as a fifth bedroom, a formal dining room, a breakfast nook, multiple balconies and patios, and a private yard with a pool. The house comes fully—and very tastefully—furnished. A comparable house is listed nearby for $1,295,000. This one is on the market—briefly, no doubt—for $995,000.

Nassau: Canal Front Lot with Dock in Sandyport

Sandyport is a gated community on the edge of Cable Beach, close to the hotels and casinos along that strip. Sandyport has 500 homes, seven pools, five tennis courts, four restaurants, three beaches, and a partridge in a pear tree. It also has its own shopping center, the Olde Towne Mall. The lot I’m recommending has both canal frontage and beach frontage, and comes with a dock. It is unusual to see any Sandyport canal front lot offered for under $500,000, never mind one with beach frontage. At $450,000, this lot is a rare find—even without the pear tree.

Nassau: Three-Bedroom Oceanfront Townhouse on Eastern Road

New Providence’s Eastern Road runs from the city of Nassau east along the coast. It is home to many fine oceanfront residences, most priced between one and two million. I found one for you for under $500,000. This three-bedroom, three-bath townhouse has two stories plus a loft, for a total of 1581 square feet of living space. The attractive, modern layout features soaring ceilings, floors of tile and wood, and a wall of sliding glass doors facing the sea. Outside space includes a large balcony and a patio, both with an ocean view. Built in 1999, the townhouse is located in a gated community with a pool and a small private beach. The price: $439,000. You won’t find a better bargain on an oceanfront townhouse in Nassau.

Nassau: New Three-Bedroom Townhouses for $249,000

For this bargain, I had to put the price in the headline or no one would believe it. Renaissance East is a small gated development of a dozen two-and-a-half story townhouses with a pool. The Victorian-inspired design is very pleasing to the eye. The units have three bedrooms (including a large loft), two and a half baths, and 1300 square feet of living space. Amenities include private patios, stainless steel appliances, and granite countertops. Given that construction on the islands costs upwards of $200 per foot, you would be hard-pressed to find a better deal. There are only three units left, so I guess I’m not the only one who can divide $249,000 by 1300.

North Eleuthera: Private Island with Three-Bedroom House

Just because David Copperfield has a private island in the Bahamas doesn’t mean you can’t afford one, too. Located off the northeast coast of Eleuthera near Harbour Island, this 3.5-acre retreat is surrounded on three sides by deep water and on the fourth by a beach. A concrete pier and a wooden dock are already in place. Electricity comes from the main Eleuthera grid. The three-bedroom house is in need of extensive renovation, so set aside a couple hundred thousand to personalize your space. Even so, David Copperfield paid $45 million for his island. The price for yours? $1.5 million.

A Final Word

Someone is going to notice this, so I might as well come and admit it: that was eleven bargains, not ten. I tried to choose one to cut but was paralyzed by indecision. The quickest way to shorten the list, I decided, is to publish it. You can decide which property should get off the list and into the “sold” column first.

Copyright 2008 by Matthew Simon.

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