The coronavirus has had a massive impact on the way in which we live and work, restricting many to working from home for quite a few months during the lockdown. But the restrictions imposed in lockdown have born an interesting and positive phenomenon: a new way of working which has the potential to have a very substantial impact on Cayman’s real estate industry from a local and foreign perspective.
People have found that working from home actually works for an assortment of professions, from legal to accounting, banking to recruitment, and even real estate. In fact, the Global Workplace Analytics now estimates that 56% of the US workforce holds a job that is compatible with remote work, which one would have to assume is similar anywhere else in the world including Cayman.
Working from home does require a certain amount of discipline and is not so easy if you have a young family but is definitely suitable if you can occupy your own space and are able to switch off from domestic life. Crucially for the real estate industry as a whole, it means you can live anywhere in the Cayman Islands and still get your business done.
Traffic has been a dictator for many of us as to where we should live. The reality of sitting in traffic for far too long during our commutes has, in the past, driven many people to buy property in close proximity to George Town and the surrounding areas so as to be close to our place of business. But as more and more businesses are shifting to either a full or part-time remote working environment, many consumers are looking further out of town when considering real estate.
Real estate industry in Cayman Islands
For years I have been writing about the benefits of living here for people coming from overseas, explaining to potential international investors and those who were considering making the Cayman Islands their home why these islands are such a fantastic place in which to relocate, live and work remotely. I have been waxing lyrical about our first-rate beaches, incredible ocean views and year-round sunshine, without focusing particularly on the local market when enticing people to live on the waterfront.
But, of course, these unique attributes are available for local residents as well! And now that coronavirus has taught us we can, for the most part, do our jobs wherever we live on the island, the traditional restrictions of living in George Town, South Sound and Seven Mile are suddenly lifted.
We all want to live the vacation lifestyle. We want a marvelous view every day even though we still need to earn a living. This dream could now be a reality for many more of us who are unable to afford the premium prices of Seven Mile Beach but who may well see a property at East End within our grasp. And it does not have to necessarily be beachfront property, as the outer districts provide a wonderfully quiet and peaceful environment further inland for anyone looking for a slower pace of life with a strong community feel. It offers more square footage for your money than other locations on Grand Cayman.
For example, the price for a 3-bedroom condo in South Sound is similar priced to many 3-bedroom homes with land in the outer districts. Therefore, families can now opt to buy a stand-alone home with land for their kids to play or even put in a private pool. Similarly, the opportunity to purchase either a beachfront condo or home becomes more economically viable when looking at these other districts.
Additionally, there are some choice pieces of land in the outer districts, that could also be considered if someone wants to build from scratch. But you should bear in mind that if you are interested in purchasing a property or land, the price will most certainly go up as you would be competing with international investors who are keen to buy a holiday home and are also recognizing the value of these well-priced properties on the beach.
At the end of the day, contemplating living in the outer districts gives potential local buyers a whole host of opportunities not dreamt of before this life-changing past few months.