Cayman Real Estate Buyers Guide 2023
The Cayman Islands continues to flourish as an attractive destination for global property investors. On top of its breathtaking vistas and sophisticated, yet laidback island lifestyle, the Cayman Islands is widely known for its highly appealing government incentives such as property tax exemptions and residency by investment programs, as well as a “safety first” policy that has made it one of the most secure destinations in a world struggling with a pandemic.
Despite a prolonged lockdown, Cayman continued to hold its position as one of the top luxury real estate markets in the world — a position affirmed by its record-breaking revenue of US$ 1.43-billion in 2021 and a robust follow-up of US$ 992-million in 2022, making these consecutive years the strongest and most profitable in Cayman real estate history.
Unmatched incentives for property investors
With the lifting of all travel restrictions and people gaining more confidence to carry on business as usual in the new normal, the Cayman Islands continues to flourish as an attractive destination for global property investors.
“Generally speaking, the Cayman Islands has always made it attractive to buy
property here – hence the record-breaking property investment boom,” says ERA Cayman associate broker and sales agent, John Pohlmann.
The most widely known advantages to investing in Cayman real estate include:
- Absolute freedom from direct taxation
- Clear title guarantee; no requirement to pay for title insurance
- No restrictions on foreign ownership of residential property
- Online property search via the Multiple Listing Service (MLS)
- Ease of banking and lending transactions
- High-yielding return on investment
- Permanent residency options for persons of independent means
In addition, there is also the Global Citizen Concierge program which allows eligible professionals to live and work remotely in the Cayman Islands for up to two years — adding a vibrant island spin to the “work from anywhere” option of an emerging culture.
Pro Tip: Don’t miss out on pre-selling perks
While industry observers have predicted a slowing down in the Cayman property market following two record-breaking years, real estate professionals agree that the expected decline is normal as the market begins to normalize (or return to pre-COVID patterns).
Following global trends, the local real estate industry chooses to position itself for the long-term, advising prospective buyers to move forward with “cautious optimism” and to continue investing in high-quality properties moving forward.
For those investing in luxury real estate, John says interested buyers can still land some excellent deals by taking advantage of pre-selling offers.
“New developments often sell pre-construction property at lower prices,” he points out. “Typically, this is done by steadily increasing the prices of the property as inventory shrinks and construction milestones are reached. New property built here will almost assuredly cost more and be worth more at completion versus the preconstruction phases.”
Buying below market price is a long-term investment strategy that makes pre-construction purchases extremely viable. For instance, at the Grand Hyatt Grand Cayman Hotel & Residences on Seven Mile Beach, condominium units are pre-selling at an average of only US$1,400 per square foot, presenting an immense opportunity for capital appreciation over time.
Meanwhile, some property developers offer unique ownership packages that seamlessly combine business with pleasure. At the Kailani Grand Cayman (Curio Collection by Hilton), investors can purchase a hotel suite they can enjoy for two weeks in a year, beyond which period the unit is made available to hotel guests. Under this arrangement, the hotel suite owner receives 50% of the gross room rental (less applicable costs), while other 50% goes to the hotel management company.
Top real estate investment recommendations
“Anything new on Seven Mile Beach should see a huge ROI if purchased pre-construction,” shares John. “We see a steady increase in pricing on most of the property inventory along the beach. Quality listing in Cayman Kai/Rum Point also do very well, traditionally, in appreciating over time. Both of these areas, especially with beach property, do exceptionally well in the rental market.”
“I would also recommend buying raw land and building affordable, multi-unit homes or apartments for families. We have a huge demand for this market sector. Just make sure the property is zoned for multi-unit construction.”
“You can also try to invest in beachfront land — if you can find it. Or land that has a multi-use designation, such as hotel/tourism or residential/commercial.”
Get the best deal by working with an experienced team
To assure ease of transaction and peace of mind, John says it is important for both buyers and sellers to seek out a CIREBA member company, to ensure that their interests are protected by qualified real estate professionals throughout the entire process.
“Our ERA brokers and sales agents provide free market consultation and education to prospective buyers, both here and abroad, in the hopes that they will trust us with the handling of their real estate transactions,” he says. “Clients can put their trust in us as we consistently observe strict compliance with rules and regulations, follow due diligence processes, and undergo ongoing education and training on anti-money laundering best practices.”
“Moreover, as CIREBA members, we have access to a wide network of experienced real estate attorneys and property valuation firms that can assist with transactions and whose services are often indispensable during the buying and selling processes,” he concludes.