The Global Citizen programme, which the Cayman Islands Government anticipates will attract so-called ‘digital nomads’ to our shores, looks as if it will come into effect soon, with only small tweaks to existing legislation needed to have fully up and running once our borders are open again on 1st October of this year. These individuals are people who can study or work anywhere in the world and who are looking for a safe and secure place from which to operate remotely. It is anticipated that Cayman fits that bill perfectly.
The question is, what impact will the influx of such individuals, digital nomads, have on our real estate market?
Having more people on the island can only be a positive thing when it comes to our real estate industry, whether they are people who are already familiar with the Cayman Islands and who may even have purchased property here or people who are new to the island. Those new to the island who don’t already own a home, will initially most likely make a positive impact on the rental market, which will obviously benefit from an increase in people searching out accommodation for somewhere to live.
However, it is hoped that once people have lived on the island for a while, they will realise all the wonderful benefits for those who make Cayman their home and then may wish to purchase a property for themselves. Once they get a good taste for Cayman and understand what it is all about, their desire to put down roots will ensure an increase in real estate transactions which will help to bolster the real estate market and support the economy as a whole.
I do appreciate, however, that it might be tough for certain demographics to simply pick-up and move to the Cayman Islands for a limited period (at least in the short term), especially those with families that include children in school. I believe the programme instead ought to attract young professional singles or couples who have not yet started a family, or whose family is still very young and therefore still mobile.
At the other end of the age bracket, such a scheme could also attract a more mature individual or couple, whose children might have already left the nest and who are looking to do something different. Either way, I believe Cayman has enormous potential for people looking to make the island their home on an initially temporary and then hopefully more permanent basis.
At the end of the day, in order to move our real estate industry forward, we need to be able to welcome such individuals (digital nomads) to our shores and simply get more bodies on the rock, so the country will benefit from their economic input. We need to give people the chance to see if the Cayman Islands are the right place in which to settle down and invest. This is another reason the controlled opening of our borders from 1st October is such a crucial step for our industry.