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An Expat Talks about Moving to Bermuda, Bermuda


What is the name of the city or town that you are reporting on?


Name three things that you wish you had brought and three you wish you had left at home.

Not a problem here -- can buy anything you need and contrary to most stories that have become 'Bermuda urban legends', artwork, books, etc. are safe from rot, mold, etc., as long as you keep your air con. on when the steamy weather occurs -- July through September. If you don't, be prepared for your clothes/shoes to rapidly grow mildew!

You pay a steep duty of between 22.5% and 35% on goods that you bring in. There are lots of leaving island sales each weekend where you can pick up virtually anything you need from electronics to cars, boats, furniture. With the damage that was done to the goods I imported and the difficulties in getting appropriate replacements, I wish I had left most of my furniture in Canada!

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What advice would you give someone preparing to move to your area about the actual move, choosing a neighborhood and finding a home?

Although Bermudians are committed to driving, bus service is excellent and one of the few real values to be had in Bermuda. I take a 15 minute ride to work each day and pay $45 a month for unlimited service on a bus that runs every 15 minutes. Also, there is only one car allowed per household. Not all apartments come with a registration number, which is necessary to own a car.

Be aware that about 10 deaths occur each year to scooter riders -- roads are narrow and very treacharous.

There are some rough areas in Bermuda and also, there is a lot local of resentment about expats in Bermuda. However, since there are about 15,000 expats working on an island of 65,000 people, there is plenty of interaction available.

That said, what is called 'rough' in Bermuda would probably be a lower-middle-class environment in most places. Just two areas to be avoided at night.

What type of housing do you live in? Is this typical for most expats in your area?

I rent a townhouse in a condo complex as do most expats. Prices in Bermuda (where there are limits on what type of housing expats may purchase and which also impose a hugely prohibitive tax on expat's house purchases!) are steep. For a 900 sq. foot, 2 bedroom apartment, I consider it a great deal at $3,000 a month. Electricity also runs at about $350 a month during summer, when you absolutely must run your air conditioning. Phone, cable and internet are also higher than you are probably used to. There are also a fair number of house-shares done by expats.

How did you choose your neighborhood and find your home or apartment?

I took a tour with a couple of real estate rental agents. They are frank and give you a good idea of the neighborhood and its constraints/positives.

Are your housing costs higher or lower than they were in your home country? What is the average cost of housing there?

Much, much higher than in Canada and, according to my American friends, also higher than most US places.

However, we pay no income tax -- although there is a 5% payroll tax levied -- nor do we have sales tax. To purchase, the 'average' two-bedroom cottage sells for $950,000 and two-bedroom condo goes for $725,000. That's US $ and these are available only for purchase by Bermudians.

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Expats in Bermuda have mixed feelings about living in Bermuda. Everyone loves the sunshine and beaches, but the high cost of living, one car per household law, limited job opportunities and gossipy expat social scene can make life challenging.

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