As published in the Cayma Financial Review
January 11, 2013
Cayman Islands property means spreading the risk
There are so many benefits that can be enjoyed by owning a property in the Cayman islands, not least of which is that it is a beautiful jurisdiction with year-round sunshine and just an hour’s hop from the States, so buying a home in the Cayman Islands should be at the heart of any investors wealth management programme.
Ensuring that Cayman keeps up with infrastructural development that keeps pace with the demands created by an influx of tourism will be a test for the industry as a whole.
A smart place to invest
Buying a property in such an idyllic place as the Cayman Islands can be an integral part of anyone’s investment plan, a smart and prudent move in today’s seemingly endless sea of economic turmoil.
By buying a property in this jurisdiction investors immediately enjoy a recognisably tangible asset that gives the investor a solid reason for enjoying other benefits and further investment in the jurisdiction, such as incorporating or banking opportunities. A vacation home in one of the most sought-after locations in the world means benefits for the whole family – an asset from which loved ones can derive great pleasure at any time of the year.
Moreover, owning property here is an important way for the savvy investor to spread their risk. Widening the asset base further than regular stocks, bonds and cash means a spreading of the load. Cayman fares very well when compared to its competitors in the region as far as providing a stable environment in which to watch your asset grow.
I believe that there are positive times ahead for the island. Cayman will see an upturn in its property market at a quicker pace than jurisdictions within the region and certainly relative to the world’s bigger economies, such as the US, the UK and the rest of Europe, which all have to grapple with their own problems of unemployment and rising costs.
Given the size of the Cayman economy, it only takes a much smaller investment to make a turnaround. An investment here in Cayman can prove to be a measurably appreciative asset. I truly believe that property in the Cayman Islands is currently undervalued and other jurisdictions that have in the past provided similar products will prove to be costly and not as value-for-money as what we have to offer here.
Pressures on the tourism front
Over the last eight years or so Cayman has seen a lack of commitment when it comes to providing services for cruise ship tourism, namely the lack of action to develop a cruise port that can accommodate the new mega-sized cruise ships. This lack of commitment spins off to overnight stayers as well.
A big problem for the latter type of tourist has also been the lack of hotel bed numbers. This is set to change in the not-too-distant future with the promise of two new hotels poised for development along Seven Mile Beach. Both hotels will be new brands for the island and as such, will attract a new set of visitors, with tourists often extremely loyal to their favourite brand. This means opening up the island to a fresh perspective, not only in terms of visitors but also prospective investors as well. Cayman real estate has seen an increase in value and activity every time a hotel has opened up.
That said, however important new visitors are to the island for growing the economy, attracting an influx of new tourists is not without its problems. Taking this new availability for room stock into consideration, along with the launch of the first phase of the medical tourism-focused Cayman Health City scheduled for 2014, as well as the opening of the prestigious 60 luxury apartments at the WaterColours development also in 2014, means considerable demands will be made on tourism infrastructure in the next 12 months or so.
I believe one of the most important infrastructural developments we need to get right quickly is the extension of the runway at Owen Roberts International Airport to accommodate long haul flights that would chose Cayman as a destination if only we could accommodate the size of planes employed. This is one project we need to get started soon as it will play a vital part in improving our tourism product and will be the backbone for other industries, such as the medical tourism, to thrive and the financial services as Cayman will be more accessible directly and in larger volumes.
A private retreat
In my view, the world is currently going through a weird dichotomy whereby everyone seems to feel they are entitled to know everyone else’s business. While transparency is to be expected – perhaps even demanded – from our governments, Cayman still is the best place to offer privacy and confidentiality when it comes to business practices.
Privacy is a very important aspect of people’s lives and there can be compelling reasons why an individual may wish to keep their affairs private. One aspect of privacy that we do very well here in Cayman is to create an oasis of physical privacy so that people in the public eye, such as movie and pop stars, can avoid the paparazzi and enjoy a quiet place to retreat. Caymanian people are generally very respectful of a person’s right to privacy, making this jurisdiction an ideal location for a peaceful vacation.
There are also many other aspects of privacy that we offer here in Cayman from the safety aspect. Cayman is a safe place in which to spend time, an increasingly rare enjoyment these days and an asset that we guard fiercely. The aspect of privacy is thereby another way in which visitors and investors can mitigate the risks to which they may be exposed.
Owning your own home here in the Cayman Islands can therefore be beneficial on many levels. It can create a widened investment portfolio for those looking to mitigate their risks; it can offer safety and security for those seeking peace and privacy and at the end of the day it is simply a really great place in which to spend time. The challenge for the country is to ensure the island is physically capable of meeting demand as we embrace a quickly developing tourism industry in the months and years ahead.