International buyers benefit when Coldwell Banker Bermuda Realty guides them through the often complex rules determining who may buy property in Bermuda.
The main thing to remember is that there are two categories of residential real estate in Bermuda: Real estate that is available only to Bermudians and real estate that also is available to international buyers.
From this simple distinction it gets more complicated. The following summary of additional requirements, exemptions and exceptions (expected as of June 2015) gives you an idea of how helpful it can be to have a knowledgeable real estate professional help navigate the process.
- To be eligible for purchase by an international buyer, a property’s annual rental value (ARV) must exceed a designated amount ($25,800 for a condominium, $126,000 for a house).
- International buyers may also buy property in a development designated under the Bermuda Immigration and Protection Amendment (no.2) Act 2010 as tourist accommodation and hotel residences.
- Prospective international buyers must submit an application along with a consideration fee.
- The cost of a License to Acquire varies depending on the type of property you wish to purchase. Fees are set at the following rates:
- 6% of the purchase price of a condominium;
- 8% of the purchase price of a house;
- Agreement in principle between an international buyer and seller includes a deposit of 10 percent of the purchase price. The deposit is held in escrow, subject to contract, and deducted from the overall purchase price.
- International buyers may not buy investment property such as land, commercial real estate or property intended mainly to earn rental income.*
- International owners may be granted permission to rent their property by the Immigration Department. Permission rarely extends to periods of more than a year and includes a tax of 7.25 percent.
These restrictions can make Leasing Property a preferable option for the majority of non-Bermudians who wish to live in Bermuda.
For those who have obtained Permanent Residence Certificates there are, however, many purchase options available to you which you should discuss with your Coldwell Banker agent. Prospective international buyers may want to review the summary of charges outlined Bermuda Immigration and Protection Amendment Act 2007 and 2016 amendments.