Real Estate Market Insights


  • The real estate industry is changing, and leaders understand that going back to how things were before the pandemic is unlikely.
  • Remote work trend identified as a game-changer for real estate
  • Despite a global slowdown prediction, Cayman real estate remains robust and a major contributor to the national economy.

As the Cayman Islands real estate industry prepares for a fresh new year, there are strong indications that sustained growth is likely in the cards.

Entering the next chapter for real estate

According to the latest PwC-ULI report on Emerging Trends in Real Estate 2024, real estate’s “next chapter” is coming into focus.

“Last year, the plan for the real estate industry was simple: Ride out current risks and reposition the business for a period of sustained growth and improved returns. However, reality has set in for the industry leaders… They no longer expect a U-turn to the way things were before the pandemic.”

“They’ve accepted the possibility that a lot of people won’t be returning to the office after all, or at least not nearly as often… There’s also reluctant acceptance in the industry that interest rates will remain high for at least the next year and possibly even longer.”

On a more positive note, the report also believes that the worst of inflation is behind us, which could eventually the Federal Reserve to pause interest rate hikes.

Remote work opens up new opportunities

The report cites the continued trend of remote work as one of the game-changers for the real estate industry. “Freed of the need to commute to a workplace every workday, employees can move farther away. A small share of workers has gone fully remote, opening up a virtually unlimited range of location options,” it says.

“These new or intensified migration patterns will have property market impacts far beyond those on office buildings. More homes will be needed in the suburbs and smaller cities. Employees working from home will be shopping and eating more often closer to home, rather than near the downtown office where they used to work. People are also buying and renting larger homes so they can work better at home.”

“All told, the impacts on the built environment will be profound,” it concludes.

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Cayman real estate market remains robust

In its economic and financial projections for 2022-2024, the Cayman government expresses confidence that operating revenues during this period will be propelled by the robust performance of the financial services sector, the local real estate market, and the fully revitalized tourism industry.

As expected, the Cayman real estate sector demonstrated resilience, with CIREBA’s latest year-end report showing 715 properties sold from January 2023 to January 2024, amounting to sales of US $939,382,057.88 — just slightly less than the previous record-breaking years and quite an impressive feat, reaffirming the sector’s prominence as a major contributor to the national economy despite global predictions of a slowdown.

This underscores the Cayman real estate sector’s continued status as one of the dominant contributors to the national economy.

What types of property are people buying?

What types of Cayman property are buyers most interested in acquiring at the moment? “Everything really,” says ERA Cayman Islands broker and six-term CIREBA president Jeanette Totten. “Some of the very wealthy are buying expensive condominiums or luxury homes by the ocean.  Meanwhile, others are buying properties to rent out.  Homes under US $ 1 million sell very quickly.”

Expectedly, residential properties made up the lion’s share of sales, with condominiums taking the lead at 329 units sold, contributing almost US $ 412 million in total transactions.

Following the global trend, work-from-home setups continue to shape the tastes and preferences of home buyers, seeking living spaces where they can not only dwell comfortably but also work and play at the same time. This could mean bigger backyards, more flexible floor planning, more square footage, and closer proximity to natural, outdoor spaces following trends that experts have called “adaptive living.”

The demand for raw land has also shown brisk activity with 192 properties sold out of an available 385 parcels listed last year, contributing over US$ 138.7 million to total property sales. More than 60% of land sales were located in low-density residential areas, while over 21% were bought on Little Cayman/ Cayman Brac, showing an increased interest in the tranquil environs of the sister islands.

Where are the most popular areas to buy?

While the Seven Mile Beach area continues to dominate the market for luxury condominiums and residences, a growing interest in suburban and low-density areas has become an observable trend worldwide over the last two years.

In Cayman alone, reports indicate that homes and residential land on Cayman Brac and Little Cayman are being bought up at an unprecedented rate since the pandemic began. With a dwindling inventory in Grand Cayman, residential buyers and property investors have started buying up lots and homes in the sister islands at “unprecedented rates” especially since restrictions on travel between the islands were lifted last year.

Mobility has also become a growing concern among urban dwellers and Jeanette has seen a growing demand for that areas that provide quicker access to the city. “Any part of the island that is within a 30-minute drive to George Town during rush hour is desirable,” she says, adding that residences around George Town, West Bay, and Spotts have been particularly appealing to new buyers.

“Due to the traffic situation, living east can cause people to spend up to two hours a day on the road as they drive to and from home. On a small island, this is simply unacceptable.”

Who is buying?

Most buyers still come from North America but there continues to be an upsurge of interest from European clients as well.  If the pandemic impacted Cayman real estate, it has been generally a positive one. As Jeanette observes: “Many people have decided to move to Cayman because it’s known to be a safe haven. They buy homes and put their children in school here.”

“The positive trends in the real estate market will continue with overseas buyers looking at either investment properties that they will either rent out or for homes they can move to the island and live in,” she opines. “Local clients are buying mid-range and low-end properties with the idea that once the island opens up, they will be able to rent them to workers coming back on the island.”

What should buyers look for when investing in real property?

Being an industry expert of four decades and counting, Jeanette likes to keep it simple and to the point when advising clients, both local and foreign, who are looking to acquire property in the Cayman Islands.

“First of all, I ask them to decide what is important to them,” she relates. “For instance, do they have children attending school? Do they want a canal that would allow them to have their boat in their backyard or do they want only the beachfront? The more we as realtors know what is important to our customers, the better we can point them in the right direction.”

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