Market strengthening in 2018

Look further afield than Seven Mile Beach for new waterfront properties

For the past couple of years, I have been discussing the upward trajectory of the market, in terms of transactions and sales, and the ultimate reduction of inventory in sought-after places such as the Seven Mile Beach corridor and corresponding canal front properties along the other side of the West Bay Road peninsular. An analysis of the statistics produced by the Cayman Islands Real Estate Brokers Association (CIREBA) for 2018 versus 2017 confirms my predictions and discussions, with 2018 showing increases in sales prices in most areas of the market, and in particular the condominium sector.

Market summary of 2017

Overall, a comparison of the Sold Listings from 1st January 2017 to 31st December 2017 versus the same period last year shows a dramatic increase in both the number of properties sold in 2018 versus 2017 and also the total value of sales. In 2017 the total value of all sales was US$463,000,000.00, in 2018 that figure was US$568,000,000.00. There were 703 properties sold in 2017, equating to on average US$659,000.00 per transaction. Compare that with the 806 sales in 2018 (up 14.65 per cent year on year), which equates to the average price of each sale as US$704,000.00.

CIREBA figures are split into various sub-categories, including residential, which has shown a healthy increase overall, with 492 transactions taking place in 2017 to a value totalling US$369,000,000.00, versus 536, a rise of 9 per cent, at a total value of US$446,000,000.00.

As mentioned, the most significant movement within the residential sector is the condominium market. In 2017 there were 327 condominium sales to a total value of US$213,000,000.00 or US$650,000.00 on average per sale. In 2018 there were 339 condo sales, a rise of 4 per cent, at a total of US$272,000,000.00 or US$807,000.00 per sale, on average. This is an increase in the value of more than 24 per cent on average per condominium transaction. This is a subject on which I have touched on frequently in these monthly updates.

Standalone properties that are part of strata have also seen a healthy rise in price and also the volume of sales, as buyers are realising the benefits that go with owning their own home that is within a well-managed and regulated neighbourhood. As a result, there were six sales of such homes in 2017 versus seven in 2018; however, the value of sales went from US$2,457,000.00 in 2017 (on average US$410,000.00 per sale) to US$8,017,000.00 in 2018 (on average US$1,145,000.00 per sale), which is a huge leap in value.

Commercial transactions have prospered in volume over the past 12 months, but not in value. In 2017 there were 12 such transactions, in 2018 there were 19, but in 2017 the total value of commercial property sales was US$17,000,000.00, on average US$1,426,000.00 per sale. In 2018 the total value was US$20,000,000.00, on average US$1,054,000.00.

Land sales have also increased in both volume and value, moving from 192 land sales in 2017 at a total value of US$68,000,000.00, to 241 land sales in 2018 at a total value of US$95,000,000.00. Low-density residential, medium-density residential, beach resort residential land sales all increased in 2018 over 2017, while the number of agriculture land sales dropped slightly in 2018 but the overall value jumped from US$2,252,000.00 (18 sales) to US$5,746,000,00 (16 sales) in 2018.

Sales are clearly booming in Cayman, underscoring the advice which I have been sharing time and time again – if you are looking for a property in Cayman it really isn’t a good idea to delay the purchase, as prices are continuing to rise every day that you delay your decision to purchase in paradise.

If you would like to read more on this subject please read my report in the upcoming Cayman Financial Review.