Besides our tropical climate and stunning beaches, I’m often asked what makes Cayman so special and the answer is simple – the people.
The people of any community or country can make or break its success and in Cayman’s case I’d have to say that it’s the people who make it so great. There was an international report that was done which researched into why people liked Cayman. In this report, one of the highest qualities that Cayman had to offer was its people, their friendliness, openness, and kindness. Their willingness to accept others and open their doors over the years is one of the reasons that Cayman has done so well. It means that people from all over the world from different walks of life have been able to enter, stay here and integrate wholly while at the same time bringing some of the good things from their own culture into Cayman. Who wouldn’t want to live in a place like this?
The real estate market moving forward
As I have touched on in previous articles, the Cayman Islands real estate market will continue its upward trajectory that we have seen for many years now.
In my opinion this really started after the hurricanes in 2017 that did severe damage to many Caribbean islands which left thousands of vacationers to adjust their plans and find somewhere else to go. Many visitors chose to visit the Cayman Islands for the first time. What they found was a warm, friendly, beautiful, clean country with good infrastructure, communications stability, and a population that lives in harmony with each other. Let alone the stunning views and beaches. Over time these visitors have become regular visitors, many who have taken advantage of residency options connected to real estate purchases and purchased either second or primary residences in Cayman.
As I’ve mentioned before, I believe the bulk of the real estate transactions over the last year and a half have come locally from Caymanians, permanent residents and those with residency who make Cayman their home either full-time or part of the year. The market has continued to thrive as these people believed in the underlying value of Cayman and invested locally. One in part because they see the overall appeal and strength of our islands but also because they have not been able to travel and thus invest in other countries they may have visited.
Similarly, their expenses by not being able to travel have been reduced and many have used this surplus money to invest. Coupled with that, the pension withdrawal program, which saw withdrawals in excess of $443.5 million last year enabled may people to invest in property from first-time buyers to those wanting to upgrade or even buy an investment property.
As the world opens back up, people on island will begin to travel again and thus start re-investing in other international markets whether property or other. Although this will create a slowdown from those buyers, this will be offset by new visitors to our island.
People are and will start traveling again, but this won’t happen overnight. For example, it takes 60 days’ notice for airlines just to start scheduling their flights and hotels will need to re-hire staff and ramp up their current capacity levels. Similarly, I don’t see quarantine requirements going away when our borders do open. They will probably be shortened and shortened again and then eventually will disappear for fully vaccinated visitors. This will take time. Visitors will start making their way back to Cayman, but we are probably going to be close to Christmas before we see visitor numbers in any substantial amount if we are lucky. More visitors lead to more investment in the Cayman real estate market.
As we all know, over the last year and a half the entire world has changed dramatically. When people come to visit, many will look at opportunities our islands offer that they may not have considered before. Cayman’s tax neutral status, which has always been appealing, may become even more so as many countries around the world may increase taxes to pay for the overwhelming amount of relief funds required to support their countries through this pandemic. People are looking for different places to live as a back-up plan. Our islands have been COVID-free where life has gotten back to normal since summer of last year. If faced with a similar situation in the future, Cayman provides a great back-up plan.
Additionally, as many people can now work remotely either full or part time, people are reconsidering where they’d like to live and raise a family. It also allows many the opportunity to live in multiple places throughout the year thus further expanding the market of second home purchases in Cayman. I am also seeing more companies and family offices relocate to Cayman as they look for long term protection in a safe, first-world country.
These are just a few reasons why the Cayman real estate industry will continue to thrive for quite some time. As more and more people discover our islands of paradise, more and more will want to enjoy the lifestyle we are all so lucky to experience each and every day.