Statistics round up
The total number of active listings with the Cayman Islands Real Estate Brokers Association has actually decreased slightly as at the end of October 2011 at 2022 in active listing in comparison to the figure of 2034 as at the end of October last year. CIREBA sales reported for the year to date were, however, up as at the period last year, rising from 374 to 389, while pending sales dropped tremendously, from 156 as at the end of October 2010 to just 97 as at the end of October this year, an indication perhaps, of a shift towards buoyancy again.
Pension opt out a good start
The recent decision by the Cayman Islands Government to permit Caymanians to withdraw up to CI$35,000 from their pensions to use as a mortgage down payment is a positive move to help stimulate the depressed real estate market. The knock on effect of new purchasers entering into the market will hopefully be felt all the way through the property chain.
That said, I think the entire concept could have been expanded much further, to help a wider cross section of people in the Islands.
It would have been far more productive to the industry and thus to the islands as a whole, if every resident on island had been permitted to delve into their pensions in this way, and not just limit this activity to Caymanians only. I believe everyone should have had this opportunity. In this way everyone wins: the market becomes more buoyant due to increased activity and the government wins because they start to receive more stamp duties paid on the purchase of an increased number of properties.
I also believe that this opportunity ought to be extended to persons who have less rather than more, and in particular helping those who may be facing foreclosure on their properties. It has to be better for someone to be able to remain longer in their home because of access to funds in their pension and go on to hopefully alter their position so that they can begin to pay their mortgage once again and be in a position to rebuild their life.
I also think it is extremely important to outline the specifics of the pension opt out and to ensure that only the capital has to be repaid to the pension fund once the home owner moves to another property and not interest as well. In my opinion people should not be burdened for any longer than they need to be.
Exciting news from CEC
On a positive note for island development, the technology park known as the Cayman Enterprise City development got a recent boost with the news that they are in talks with Virgin Produced, the movie production arm of Richard Branson’s Virgin group. This is a positive step in the right direction for this particular project. We look forward to hearing more news on this in the near future, as legislation will hopefully be passed in November to pave the way for this to steam roll ahead very soon.