Market Report – December 2011


Statistics round up

2011 is turning out to be an active year for property transactions when compared to 2010, with active listings totaling 2094 for the year to 30th November, versus 2005 for the same period last year, an increase of 4.44 per cent. The volume of active listings is also up in line with the increase in numbers – $1,732,718,780 year to date versus $1,677,519,119 for the same timeframe last year, up 3.29 per cent. As well as an increase in listings there has also been an increase in sales, with 428 for the year to 30th November this year as compared to 401 for the same period in 2010, up 6.73 percent.

Captive conference a boost to the economy

At the beginning of this month we saw one of the most important conferences of the year being held on our shores – the Cayman Captive Forum. This year the total number of people attending the conference, held at The Ritz-Carlton, exceeded 1,200, which is a record not only for the island but for the captive insurance industry in general; there were 85 speakers, 50 tutorials and two golf tournaments held over four days, and plenty of networking opportunities, so a really impressive all round effort for the island.

This conference in particular highlights the important link between the financial services industry and the tourism industry, often seen in isolation but really very closely linked. Captives have to hold their board meetings within the country of domicile, so not only does the island benefit from this annual event, but year round captive owners and their families are visiting the island and enjoying the Cayman Islands' famous hospitality. And with around 730 class B licensees in operation, it's a healthy industry.

In the same way that other visitors fall in love with the island once they arrive, captive owners are also enticed back with the intent to purchase property, so I believe that linking the two industries in this way is a win/win for everyone.

There's never been a better time to buy!

This phrase may have been done to death over recent years however there are economic indicators that this really is an important buying period for investors. The US dollar (to which our Cayman Islands dollar is pegged) is weak at present so prices in the Cayman Islands appear attractive to buyers not in the US. If prospective buyers do happen to be located in the States, interest rates are at an all-time low, so buyers can lock into fixed rates now safe in the knowledge that they won't be paying more for their mortgage when rates eventually do rise, as has been predicted for 2012.

Market stabalisation, whenever it does eventually take place, should see an upswing in demand for property and once Europe sorts its debt issues out it should be hoped that US markets will start reacting to good news on earnings rather than overreact to conjecture as seems to be the overriding tactics guiding markets just now.