“The Bahamas is no longer just a vacation destination,” he said. “Many international high-net-worth individuals are now choosing to make the Bahamas their primary residence.”
Mr. Christie noted an uptick in the last 18 months in the amenity-packed luxury condo market, which attracts buyers from New York seeking relief from cold weather in a “destination with a direct flight,” with units averaging $800 to $1,500 a square foot.
Inventory is tight in the New Providence market, said Paul Carey, the founder and a broker at Realty Team Bahamas. In the wake of Dorian, “a lot of people from Freeport and Abaco have moved here,” he said. “It is more of a sellers’ market, particularly under $500,000. It is hard to find anything for $350,000 to $375,000.” The same goes for rentals under $3,000 a month, he said.
“We have a lot of foreign investors coming in,” Mr. Carey said. “They are buying the high-end stuff.”
Many buyers, he said, block off weeks or weekends to use the house and then rent it in between for a “minimum $2,000 a night.”
New resort hotels, like the high-end Baha Mar on Cable Beach, offer fully furnished turnkey residences (in Baha Mar’s case, starting at $726,500) that can be put in a rental pool when not being used.
“This is the season for second-home buyers,” said Christine Wallace-Whitfield, a senior broker at the Bahamas agency Island Living Real Estate and the president of the Bahamas Real Estate Association. “We’ve seen a steady flow, particularly in Nassau, New Providence and Paradise Island, the sought-after islands, along with Eleuthera, Bimini and the Exumas.”