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CAYMAN ISLANDS & BAHAMAS


ISLANDS


ISLANDS C


PARADISE


Idyllic Caribbean beaches, little or no tax, year-round sun and surprisingly affordable property – we reveal some of our favourite buying spots in the Bahamas and Cayman Islands


WORDS RICHARD WAY


elebrities and the super rich have helped put New Providence and adjoining Paradise Island on the map


but there’s more to the Bahamas than these two pockets of tropical bliss. Take Grand Bahama, the closest main island of the Bahamas to Florida. It’s not only a short fl ight from Fort Lauderdale but regular ferry services also run between the two, as well as from West Palm Beach. Most residential development is concentrated in the south-east, around Freeport where you’ll fi nd the island’s hippest spot, Port Lucaya. Just 30 minutes east from here, the new beachside resort of Hideaway Bahamas (www.hideawaybahamas. com) is taking shape. Here large residential homes start from $475,000 (£293K) rising to $950,000 (£586K) for an oceanfront property, or you can choose a plot and have a home built. The masterplan also includes a small Key West style village, called Hideaway Club and a two- minute walk from the beach, offering studio apartments from $169,950 (£105K), ground-fl oor two-beds from $200,000 (£123K) and above penthouses from $249,950 (£154K). Long and bean-shaped, Eleutherais


another untapped gem famous for its pink sandy beaches. From the UK it’s reachable via ferry, or fl ight transfer from Nassau or Fort Lauderdale. Two landmark developments on


the island are the $300-million Cotton Bay Estates and Villas community (www.discovercottonbay.com), currently under construction, and the $85-million Cape Eleuthera Resort (www.capeeleuthera.com). Both are in the southern half of the island around Rock Sound. If you want something more individual, Arvid Realty Services (ARS) is selling plots, typically a third to a quarter of an acre, at Rainbow Bay and Lakeview Estates, two sites in the centre of the island near the main town of Governor’s Harbour. Plots at Rainbow Bay, which has


a beach, clubhouse, tennis court, boat launch and hotel-restaurant, are available from $100K (£62K) to $125K (£77K). Lakeview Estates is more affordable with lots from $25,000- $100,000 (£15K-£62K), recently reduced from $50K-$200K. “Most clients don’t build anything


too large as they use their property for vacations,” says Arvid Hvidsten who runs ARS (www.arvidrealtyservices. com) and is based in Fort Lauderdale.


Above and left The masterplan and beach at Lakeview Estates, Grand Bahama


APRIL 2011 A PLACE IN THE SUN 55


“Typically they opt for 1,000-1,200 square feet of living space with two or three bedrooms and two bathrooms. We can help buyers with fi nding an architect and builder.” ARS owns all the land that it sells outright, which means it can offer buyers customised fi nance arrangements, typically asking for a deposit and then negotiating monthly or quarterly payments. Hvidsten is also selling what most


of us would picture as the idyllic Bahamian bolt-hole – a traditional- style home, complete with ocean- facing veranda, walkway leading to the sea, all framed by palms. This was recently reduced to $399K (£246K) from $550K (£340K). The two- bedroom property is on a 1,600-sq.- metre plot in Palmetto Shores, close to the marina and restaurants. It comes furnished and well equipped, but arguably its pièce de résistance is the 90x135-foot saltwater pool constructed in the sea in front of the house, which is fi lled by the ocean.


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