Cayman's Real Estate Market

From a plot of land on the bluff in Cayman Brac to a penthouse on the ocean along Seven Mile Beach, the Cayman Islands has an incredibly diverse property inventory which attracts investors from far and wide.

Whether you’re looking for your own little Caribbean dream hide-away, or a family home there is something on Cayman to suit every pocket and taste. And, as is common with every location where there is a thriving property market, there is no shortage of real estate agents to help you find your perfect piece of paradise. Most local realtors are members of the Cayman Islands Real Estate Brokers Association (CIREBA), which was founded in 1987. It is the islands’ only professional association for the 40 plus real estate brokerages and offices located here.

Anyone looking to purchase land, a vacation home, or an investment or commercial property of any kind is advised to seek out an agent who is a member of CIREBA. There are an estimated 180 estate agents working in Cayman selling in excess of US $1,600,000,000 total worth of property at any given moment, which for a group of islands measuring only around 100 square miles is pretty impressive.

Although Cayman’s economy is based primarily on the twin pillars of the country’s successful offshore financial services industry and its tourism product, property is also a key economic generator and a spin off from the tourism sector. Many people who come on vacation to the Cayman Islands end up buying themselves a second home. Realtors across the island target overseas vacation guests and go all out to tempt them into investing on the islands and there are many benefits and advantages which the agents can call upon to seal the deal.

There are no legal restrictions of any kind to foreign ownership of property in Cayman which makes it very attractive to overseas investors. A real estate title can be held in one name, by a group of people, or by a company or corporation. Title to property is granted and guaranteed by the Cayman Islands Government protecting ownership. These and a number of other factors such as no annual property taxes, political stability, favourable landlord and tenancy rules, a beautiful natural environment and many local attractions have helped to grow a significant and buoyant property market.

Property owners in Cayman are incredibly diverse from local families to retirees from the cold areas of North America. Billionaires and first time buyers are all rubbing shoulders in a market that offers everything from sprawling beachfront mansions to one bed condos tucked away in the islands' leafy residential districts. People buy property to live in, use as holiday homes or to lease out to the growing transient workforce.

With a thriving construction industry on the island, stringent building codes, comprehensive planning laws and plenty of available space there are also considerable opportunities for investors to buy land and build their own home or development. However, there are no obligations with raw land purchases to build immediately so land can also be used as a straightforward way of investing without any continuing costs.

Prices vary widely for real estate depending on what and where an investor is buying which makes Cayman attractive to a number of different kind of investors. A plot of land on Little Cayman can cost you as little as US$25,000 but a luxury condo on Seven Mile Beach on Grand Cayman can set you back upwards of US$7.5 million. Large beachfront estates can be priced in the tens of millions of dollars. With hurricanes a realistic threat, property insurance can be high and buyers should always consider the elevation of the property they are purchasing as well as its level of hurricane resistance. Strata fees associated with condo developments vary and can also add to the annual running costs of a second home that investors need to consider if they are seeking to lease out a property to cover expenses.

An extensive and mature real estate market that has provided profitable returns for some time generally out-weighs the high strata and insurance rates however, and investing in property in the Cayman Islands is easy to do whether you are a Caymanian, a resident or a foreign national. The numerous advantages combine to make Cayman a very attractive option and while the local market is still subject to the volatilities of the international real estate market and Cayman’s own tourism fortunes, on the whole the sector has enjoyed a long and lucrative history and is likely to continue providing a secure future for any investor.

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