Over recent months, the Cayman Islands has seen interesting times with an unprecedented interest in luxury real estate, and this has often been credited to the fact that international real estate investors, predominantly from the United States and Canada, have seen the Cayman Islands as a safe and secure place in which to buy a luxury second home, or perhaps even to fully retire here and that it is who are making up the bulk of the interest.
While interest from such individuals is undoubtedly high, I would like to discuss the idea of Cayman real estate becoming increasingly attractive to another set of investors, namely local residents. In fact, I would suggest that local investors account for as much as 85% of the interest from prospective buyers in total.
Interest from local residents has been bolstered by the pandemic – particularly the restrictions in travel that it has brought to local residents – encouraging people to double down, stay put and look to local real estate investment to enhance their portfolios or simply upgrade to a more luxurious property or even get on the property ladder in the first place.
The pandemic has brought to light one important fact: many people can now work successfully from home, encouraged to do so during 2020’s lockdown and now they are finding themselves, with the aid of technology, continuing to work remotely anywhere on the island. This means the entire island is now opening up far more to local real estate investment.
As an example, the new Aqua Bay development, which went to market at the end of December is already over 70% sold.
Many digital nomads are also moving to the Cayman Islands as well as a result of the Cayman Islands Global Citizen Concierge (learn more), which has had a direct impact on the luxury real estate market.
Motivation has come from those individuals who live here who may be interested in enriching their investments with real estate, who might have traditionally looked elsewhere in the world when considering investing in real estate; however, the pandemic has caused them to stay put. As a result, they have been looking at inward investment as a way of increasing their returns, which means investing in Cayman luxury real estate. This has resulted locally in the real estate industry being able to sustain itself during these months that our borders have been closed, during which time overseas investors have been able, on a limited basis, to come and view property on island for themselves.
Overseas investor market still strong in Cayman Islands real estate
I would like to state, however, that the proportion of investors looking to buy real estate in Cayman who are local versus those from overseas has not really changed much since our tourism industry was shut; it’s more a case of a continued flow of interest.
With regard to international real estate investors, they still remain a strong sector of our market, however I have also noticed a change in their real estate investment intentions to some degree since the pandemic first took a grip last year. In previous times we have seen investors look to invest in Cayman real estate as a second or possibly third home, a place to enjoy the sun with family and friends. However, more recently, I see international investors seeking a more permanent home in which to actually live, most likely as a retirement property. In which case, they have chosen the Cayman Islands as a place to call home and establish their permanent residency.
Such investors have come to the same realization point that we local residents have always known – the Cayman Islands are a safe and secure location with a stable Government, strong links to the UK as a British Overseas Territory, it has fantastic accessibility from the United States and Canada, and our access to the best retail goods, such as building materials, food and so on is truly excellent. The service that our hospitality industry provides is on a par with the best anywhere in the world, so Cayman really does feel like home to international real estate investors.