Cost of Living in The Bahamas: A Realistic Overview of Expenses


The allure of The Bahamas is undeniable— swaying palm trees, crystal-clear waters, and that relaxed island vibe beckon to those seeking paradise. For real estate buyers and renters from around the globe, The Bahamas offers a unique opportunity for a slice of this tropical heaven. Many of these new residents are drawn by the promise of island living and the allure of tax relief.

But before diving into its vibrant real estate market, it's crucial to grasp the intricacies of the cost of living in The Bahamas. Understanding these expenses is more than just a financial consideration; it's about deciding which island or neighbourhood might become your new home, what amenities you can enjoy, and the lifestyle you can achieve.  

In this guide, we'll dive deep into the nitty-gritty of living in these beautiful isles, ensuring that you're well-prepared to embrace the Bahamian way of life.

Housing Market Trends and Costs

The Bahamas has been steadily attracting newcomers in recent years, establishing itself as one of the fastest-growing destinations in our beautiful Lucayan archipelago.

For the last decade or so, folks looking for homes throughout The Bahamas have been steadily increasing, thanks to a remarkable immigrant influx. According to The Bahamas 2022 Census, net migration almost doubled between 2010 and 2022, accounting for half of the population growth in 2022. 

Yet, the number of properties up for sale or rent can't quite keep up with the influx of new islanders. As of 2023, The Bahamas Multiple Listing Service has 3033 listings for sale to cater to a population of about 400K. 

The average housing costs remain on the higher side with marked variations based on property type, location, and many other factors, which also determine the cost and quality of living. 

For example, you may need to splurge around at least $3 million for a luxury home in the capital, Nassau, but you can also find a variety of affordable apartments and single-family homes for around $350,000-$500,000.

Property Type and Location

When you think about the kind of place you want to call home in The Bahamas, it's important to know how it affects your everyday expenses. For example, if privacy and space are paramount, a standalone house might be your preference, but luxurious beachfront properties can significantly impact your budget. 

Conversely, condos often offer enticing amenities like pools and gyms, which may be factored into your cost of living calculations. 

The choice of neighbourhood matters, too. High-end communities may come with services like security and maintenance, adding to your overall living expenses. In contrast, more economical areas offer a simpler lifestyle. 

Once you’ve set a budget and understand what you value the most— luxury, privacy, security, amenities, etc.— you can start looking for price points for each type of property. 

Choosing your property type and the neighbourhoods wisely means aligning your priorities with your budget, ultimately shaping your cost of living in paradise.

Rental vs. Purchase Costs

Whether you decide to rent or purchase depends on your financial goals, length of stay, and budget. 

In the short term, renting typically requires less upfront expenditure. Usually, you'll cover monthly rent and, in some cases, utilities. This flexibility can be advantageous, especially for newcomers exploring the islands.

In contrast, purchasing a property involves a substantial initial investment, including down payments, closing costs, and property taxes. However, over the long term, buying can offer financial benefits. 

Property values in The Bahamas tend to appreciate, potentially yielding a profitable return on your investment. Moreover, owning a home means no monthly rent payments, offering stability and financial security.

In essence, short-term renters may find cost advantages, while long-term residents could reap financial rewards from property ownership. Ultimately, it's about aligning your choice with your economic aspirations in your Bahamian adventure.

Basic Expenses

In The Bahamas, the cost of living can be relatively higher than what many may be accustomed to. The relatively high cost of living in The Bahamas is primarily due to the need to import resources and transport them to the islands. 

From groceries to utilities, we'll break down these essential costs, providing insights into what you can expect in this island paradise.

Utilities and Services

Basic utilities (electricity, cooling, water, and garbage) for a 1200-square-foot apartment can range from $200 to $400 monthly. It may add up to around $3600 a year, significantly surpassing the US national average of $2060. 

Additionally, internet service in The Bahamas usually costs around $50 to $128— for example, in Nassau, you can enjoy a high-speed, reliable connection from Starlink satellite system at $55/month. 

Keep an eye on additional surcharges as well since they can sometimes exceed the base utility costs, especially when fuel prices are high. The Bahamian government strives to mitigate these surcharges through subsidies, but prospective residents should be aware of these costs.

Groceries and Dining Costs

A budget-friendly meal at a local eatery averages around $25 per person. However, The Bahamas offers diverse dining experiences, from roadside shacks to high-end venues. A three-course meal for two at an average restaurant may exceed $100, especially with seafood specialities and fusion cuisine on the menu.

While dining out can get pricey, you can balance your budget by saving on groceries. The Bahamas' market prices vary by season and location. 

Local fruits, vegetables and local produce can be pretty cheap. However, due to the need to import many goods, staples like milk, bread, cheese, meat, and eggs may average around $39 in cost. 

Despite these expenses, the absence of income tax and other tax breaks can offset the overall cost of living, making The Bahamas an attractive destination.


Although islands in The Bahamas are small, you’ll need a mode of transport to get around. Gasoline averages around $1.53/litre, and you can buy a car like a Volkswagen Golf or Toyota Corolla from $37,500 to $39,125. 

You can also use the local transport, with a one-way ticket at $1.50 and a monthly pass around $60, sparing you the need to purchase a car. Within various gated communities and small islands, a popular mode of transport is golf carts. 

With over 700 islands in the archipelago, you may need to hop islands occasionally for pleasure, work, medical reasons, getting supplies, etc. Boat travel between islands is quite common— you can choose from large ferry boats to private yachts for a luxurious voyage. 

Those wishing to get between islands faster can fly on one of the many scheduled or charter airline options.

Lifestyle Considerations When Estimating Cost of Living

Lifestyle considerations should play a significant role in estimating the cost of living. 

Recreation:  The country's natural beauty and beaches offer cost-effective recreational opportunities like swimming and walking, offsetting expenses for gym memberships and entertainment outings. You can try scuba diving, bird watching, watersports and more, making the most of this picturesque landscape.

Education:  The Bahamas prioritises accessible, quality education for its residents. The choice between free public schools and private or international options affects costs, with private schools in The Bahamas averaging around $485 monthly.

Taxes:  Tax neutrality is a major draw for expats, as residents enjoy freedom from corporate, inheritance, wealth, and income taxes. However, it's essential to be aware of value-added taxes and import duties, which vary depending on the imported item.

Hurricanes:  While hurricanes are occasional, hurricane insurance is a necessary expense if you’re buying property in The Bahamas. It's typically around 2% of the property value; the net amount depends on the proximity to the ocean, elevation and other factors such as installed hurricane protection.

Considering the varying costs of living and real estate in the Bahamas, it's best to seek guidance from our specialised real estate agents. They can offer valuable insights into navigating the diverse Bahamian market, making it easier for you to explore the best options for your budget and lifestyle.

Cost of Living in Nassau

Nassau, the vibrant capital of The Bahamas, offers an enchanting island lifestyle with varying costs to match its diversity. So, it's possible to tailor your expenses to fit your budget in this captivating city.

Groceries and utilities often come at a premium due to the need for imports, but choosing the right neighbourhood can make a difference. Nassau accommodates a spectrum of lifestyles and budgets, offering affordable options and luxurious enclaves for those seeking an elevated cost of living.

In Nassau, diversity isn't just cultural; it extends to the entire experience, allowing you to find your ideal balance between expenses and the unique charm this city has to offer.

Hottest + Up and Coming Neighbourhoods

Here are a few vibrant neighbourhoods of Nassau, from the trendiest hotspots to the up-and-coming communities where you can embrace the Bahamian way of life.

Windsor Lakes:  It’s an ideal choice for those seeking the beauty of The Bahamas with modern comforts. This new development offers vacant lots priced from $195,000 to $375,000, with homes estimated at around $1 million (pre-construction price). Rental rates at Windsor Lakes are expected to begin at $3,200 a month for townhomes and $6,000 to $10,000 for homes.

Palm Cay:  It’s a paradise for ocean lovers, a beachfront community centred on a vibrant marina. Rentals start at $3,500 for 2-bedroom condos and can increase with unit size and amenities. New marina units at Palm Cay may rent for $10,000 or more. In comparison smaller condos begin around $525,000, with various units available up to $5 million.

Sandyport: Built around an elaborate canal system, it offers tranquil tropical escape steps away from crystal-clear waters, with smaller two-bedroom rentals starting at approximately $3,500 per month, while a sizeable canal-front home in Sandyport may cost around $10,000 per month.

Goldwynn Phase 2: Just a short walk from Baha Mar Resort, this community offers opulent beachfront living. One-bedroom rentals in Goldwynn start at $4,500 per month, with two-bedroom rentals costing more. Sales begin at $750,000 for a one-bedroom unit, and two-bedroom units start at approximately $1 million.

Affordable Neighbourhoods

Here are a few affordable neighbourhoods where you can live your Bahamian dream without breaking the bank.

Treasure Cove:  Offering a secure, oceanfront community with a close-knit, family-oriented atmosphere, rentals start at around $2,700 for three-bedroom properties and go higher, up to $4,500, for larger oceanfront homes. Home purchase prices in Treasure Cove typically range from $350,000 to approximately $1 million for a waterfront property.

Blair:  Nestled in a charming residential neighbourhood, Blair offers a tranquil suburban atmosphere with convenient access to the city's amenities and stunning coastal areas. Rentals in Blair start at $1,800 for two-bedroom duplex apartments and around $2,500 for homes. For those looking to buy a home in Blair, budgets should range from $350,000 to $700,000.

West Winds:  This delightful neighbourhood provides convenient access to the pristine Love Beach, with Lynden Pindling International Airport just a short distance away. Home prices in West Winds typically range from $495,000 to approximately $800,000, offering a range of housing options to suit various preferences and budgets.

Nautica:  Located just a few kilometres from Baha Mar, Nautica offers rentals ranging between $3,500 and $4,500, while homes are available for purchase in the high $400,000s.

Luxury Communities

Let’s explore Nassau's opulent side as we delve into the city's luxurious communities, where upscale living meets Bahamian paradise.

Albany: Albany is a 600-acre oceanside luxury resort community, blending tranquillity, sports, upscale living, and vibrant community, offering ultra-luxurious condos priced from $5 million to $35 million, with rentals starting around $50,000.

Lyford Cay: It’s an exclusive enclave that has hosted global leaders and luminaries for over 50 years. Lyford Cay features homes for rent at $10,000 per month and for sale, ranging from just under $5 million to around $30 million.

Old Fort Bay: Known for its picturesque waterfront, intricate canals, and proximity to Old Fort Beach, it offers various architectural styles. Rentals begin at around $15,000 per month, and homes are available for purchase from about $5 million to $40 million for prime beachfront residences in Old Fort Bay.

Ocean Club Estates: It provides expansive homes with ocean views and golf course access. Condos start at around $40,000 per month, and Ocean Club homes can be purchased for approximately $5 million to $40 million.

Cost of Living Across The Family Islands

The cost of living in the Bahamas varies significantly across its islands due their location, amenities, and accessibility, making it essential for residents and investors to carefully consider these variables when choosing their island of residence or investment.


Exuma, known for its idyllic beauty, has a relatively higher cost of living since it relies on weekly mail boat deliveries, ensuring accessibility to goods from the US and local wholesalers. Local grocery stores offer essentials, but prices can vary, with some items matching Nassau's rates while others may be up to 40% higher. 

The island has a thriving short-term vacation rental market with notable communities, Tar Bay, Tropic of Cancer Beach, Emerald Bay, Rolleville, Rolletown, George Town, and more.

Long-term rentals are challenging to find, and the monthly rates can range from $800 for efficiencies to $1,500-$2,000 for two bedrooms. 

Construction remains robust, with building costs spanning $350-$750 per sqft, and beachfront properties in high demand, albeit with limited inventory under $750k for lots and under $2 million for homes.

Explore properties on Exuma

Treasure Cay

Treasure Cay is a picturesque beachfront paradise located just 30 minutes by air from South Florida. Real estate offerings range from charming beach bungalows and resort-style condominiums to opulent luxury estates. 

Compared to Nassau, the cost of living in Treasure Cay is generally higher. However, it’s possible to manage your expenses within budget by prioritising local produce and shopping around to get a price point you’re comfortable with. 

In terms of real estate, where a condo can cost $549,000 and a beach house can have a price tag of $1,550,000 in Nassau, Treasure Cay offers a more affordable coastal lifestyle. Condos in Treasure Cay have an approximate price of $495,000, and beach houses are available at a much lower cost of approximately $495,000. 

Rental houses in Treasure Cay are also more budget-friendly, with rates starting at approximately $3,500 a month. Despite the impact of Hurricane Dorian, Treasure Cay continues to recover and remains an attractive destination for those seeking a serene and cost-effective beachfront living experience.

Explore properties on Treasure Cay

Cat Island

Cat Island is known for its natural beauty, but housing options here are limited. Rent ranges from approximately $800 monthly for one-bedroom units to $1200 for two-bedroom units. However, the cost of living on Cat Island can be notably higher than in Nassau. Fuel prices, for instance, average around $8.40 per gallon compared to $6.2 in Nassau. 

Cat Island is a destination for those seeking a simpler, more remote lifestyle, with communities like Pigeon Cay, Hawks Nest, Greenwood, and Fernandez Bay providing a tranquil island experience without any gated communities or high-end amenities.

Explore properties on Cat Island

Effect of Cost of Living on Real Estate Decisions

The cost of living in The Bahamas significantly influences real estate decisions and investment opportunities for different types of buyers.

For those seeking a personal residence, areas with a lower cost of living hold strong appeal. These neighbourhoods not only offer an authentic Bahamian lifestyle but also allow for more manageable day-to-day expenses. 

However, prospective residents must consider not only the property's purchase price and ongoing living costs but also the type of amenities and lifestyle they’re seeking. 

On the other hand, individuals eyeing property investments, whether for rental income or potential resale profit, must navigate market dynamics thoughtfully. 

High-end communities may offer lucrative returns due to the demand for luxury accommodations. However, these areas typically have higher property acquisition costs and ongoing maintenance expenses. 

Investors must carefully balance their initial investment with potential long-term value when making these decisions.

In essence, the cost of living in The Bahamas serves as a compass guiding both residents and investors. It directs them toward lower-cost areas for a comfortable Bahamian lifestyle or high-end communities for a luxury lifestyle with the potential for substantial returns. 

Ultimately, the choice hinges on individual financial objectives and lifestyle choices. While we've tried to offer a comprehensive overview of the cost of living in The Bahamas, it's important to remember that each island boasts its unique culture, lifestyle, and living expenses. 

For personalised guidance and to explore real estate options tailored to your needs, contact ERA Dupuch Real Estate today; we’re the experts who truly know The Bahamas!



Data Sources: 

Cost of Living in The Bahamas - Numbeo

Cost of living and prices in The Bahamas - TravelTables

Population and Housing 2022 Preliminary Results - Bahamas

Posted by Helen Dupuch on
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