2012 a “turnaround year for housing”
Market overview – US and Cayman
Cayman’s traditionally busy winter season generally sees an influx of visitors from the US, all keen to escape the cold weather and enjoy some sunshine during the bleak winter months. We have already seen a healthy start to our tourism season, kicked off last month with a well-attended Pirate’s Week festival.
This year, I believe we are most definitely at a turning point in the market, with a higher than average demand already showing for condominiums on Seven Mile Beach over US$3 million and the mid-to-high range of residential homes with canal fronts and other splendid in the US$1.5 to US$2 million price bracket, with demand not only coming from overseas investors, but locally as well, as residents seek to upgrade their homes and put down roots.
It is my opinion that demand for such properties will move quickly in the coming months, so if you are looking for a home in this price range I would suggest you lock into a price now, before an increased market appetite drives prices up.
Sales Dec 2010 – Nov 2011 Dec 2011 – Nov 2012 % change
SMB under US$500K $3,917,000 $6,012,750 54%
SMB US$500K-$1M $17,371,635 $16,305,750 -6%
SMB $1.5M – $2.0M $20,798,250 $15,375,000 -26%
SMB $2M – $3M $6,890,000 $6,850,000 -1%
SMB $3M + $27,118,293 $48,360,000 * 78%
Total Residential $1.5M+ $43,477,800 $47,816,436 10%
* Includes approximately US$36 million in sales of property still under construction
This positive outlook is mirrored in US house sales statistics at the moment, with prices remaining higher all year than during the same timeframe in 2011. In the recently released RE/MAX National Housing report, it states that the median home price rose 2.1 per cent higher than the median seen in October 2011 and this continued the trend that saw nine months in a row of higher prices each month versus the same month a year ago.
In the Report, Margaret Kelly, CEO of RE/MAX LLC is quoted as saying: “2012 is looking like the turn-around year for housing, with significant increases in sales and prices.” But she also cautions: “However, we recognise that this recovery is still fragile and dependent on more reasonable lending and regulation. If qualified buyers can obtain mortgages and more inventory comes to market, this recovery could become even stronger next spring.”
Positive moves for the industry
Now that the old Hyatt hotel is finally being dismantled, I believe we are beginning a new era for Cayman’s tourism product. With the prestigious Hilton chain creating a brand new offering in its place, and the old Courtyard by Marriott to be rebranded to a boutique hotel for luxury travelers, I believe the Cayman Islands is seeing the much longed for rejuvenation to its product that bodes extremely well for strengthening the industry and thereby, the economy as a whole. A higher inventory of rooms means more visitors, which will mean more buyers.
In addition, it was recently announced that the Grand Caymanian resort is to become a Holiday Inn, substantial investment has taken place in the Grand Cayman Marriott Beach resort, as well as in the Westin Casuarina resort and Spa and the Comfort Suites. The Ritz-Carlton Grand Cayman was also sold at auction just recently to a United States-based private equity firm and construction began this year on Morritt Properties’ East End resort development, The Londoner, all positive moves that enhance tourism here.
Development Update – WaterColours
Anyone walking along Seven Mile Beach cannot be anything but impressed with the progress of The WaterColours development, a magnificent nine storey building that is currently nearing completion, as far as the outer shell of the building is concerned. The vertical walls of the top ninth floor are currently being poured, along with the ceiling. Once this procedure is completed the building will be enveloped in concrete. The metal roof structure will then be constructed on top of the concrete and it is anticipated that the builders will complete this stage of construction by the end of the year or early 2013.
2013 will see a concentrated effort to complete finishing the interiors of each of the 60 magnificent WaterColours residences, which will be the final area of construction focus over a ten-to-eleven month period. Studwork has already been completed on three floors, along with sheet rock construction for the first floor. I am delighted to see how quickly this unique project is taking shape. By the time it is completed, on schedule for the end of 2013 to first quarter of 2014 barring any unforeseen circumstances, I believe this collection of residences will be unlike any other in Cayman. As a result, there will soon most likely be a price increase in the properties.
If you are interested in seeing what life could be like living in one of the most prestigious and luxurious residences anywhere in the world, please view my video for your own private tour: http://www.dreamfinders.com/?page=watercolours I promise you, you will be impressed!
To see what properties are available in the WaterColours development, as well as a vast inventory of other excellent quality properties on island, please visit my website: www.dreamfinders.com or find us on www.facebook.com/DreamfindersCaymanRealEstate