September 2013 Market Update


As published in the Caymanian Compass WEDNESDAY 11 SEPTEMBER 2013

Beach condo sales set to show healthy growth

Cayman Islands Real Estate Brokers Association (CIREBA) statistics show a healthy volume in beach front condo sales this year, especially when sales of the latest developments on Seven Mile Beach, namely the 9 storey WaterColours development, are included in the statistics.
To date this year there have been 37 beach front condos sold along Seven Mile Beach (January to August) verses 39 for the same period last year. Of those 37 units sold this year, 17 sold for over US$1 million and six for over US$2 million. In 2012, 15 were over US$1 million and five over US$2 million resulting in dollar volume growth of over 33% this year in this luxury segment of the SMB condo market.

Sales of developments under construction are not reflected as sales by CIREBA until the construction is completed; therefore the statistics indicate that sales of higher value condos are on the increase, even without the new development sales figures. Once new developments such as the WaterColours development sales are included we will see a substantial increase in beach front sales this year. Including these WaterColours sales pushes growth of this segment even higher and further emphasizes the demand for ultra-luxurious beachfront condominiums.

I believe that the WaterColours development plays a significant role in substantially elevating the Seven Mile Beach condo offering as it will set a new precedent for the standards offered, as well as size and prices. To a large extent, this development is responsible for the drive in growth in this segment of the market and demonstrates the wealth being attracted to Cayman. Sales in the WaterColours development are moving ahead at a confident pace with just over 50 per cent sold in total. The project is on track for first quarter 2014 completion with internal finishes already being installed on the 6th floor. As is common with similar construction projects, I foresee even more growth in sales as the development draws closer to completion, as investors’ perceived risk is minimal, especially as the property is fully capitalized.

New demographics of Cayman real estate buyers

Just recently I have been receiving an increasingly frequent influx of calls from US-based people looking to invest in Cayman real estate as a way of diversifying their portfolios and protecting their assets. Dissatisfied with the political direction in their home country and low interest rates yielding very little on cash deposits, they are looking at other safe and stable environments within which to place their investments and protect their wealth for themselves and generations to come. With its easy accessibility to the US, low crime rate relative to the States, almost year-round sunshine and sophisticated infrastructure, I am happy to advise them that Cayman fits the bill perfectly.

Let’s be clear here: this is not about tax evasion; it’s about asset protection to ensure that they have their hard earned funds invested in something that will eventually yield financial rewards while at the same time offer a wonderful opportunity for themselves and their loved ones to enjoy a first-class vacation in the Caribbean sunshine.

Cayman is quickly becoming the number one choice for North American investors and I am delighted to be able to assist them with their investment decision. The Islands offer a first class destination for vacationers eager to escape the North American winter and with our excellent air-links that fly directly to many major North American cities, such as New York, Houston, Dallas, Chicago, Atlanta and Toronto, we are able to reach out to a large segment of the market. This can only bring benefit to the Cayman Islands as a whole, injecting cash into the economy through real estate duties and fees and subsequently into the hospitality and retail markets as these visitors enjoy the Islands during their stay.