Turn your dream vacation into your dream home in the Cayman Islands
By Tristan Ralston on 7th January, 2021
Written by James Bovell, Broker/Owner, RE/MAX Cayman Islands.
For almost all of us, 2020 was a very challenging year and for many of us, our lives have changed tremendously. We’ve had to cancel our much-anticipated tropical vacations, transition to either a full or part-time work from home environment and may also be re-evaluating our current homes. Many of us are asking ourselves where we’d ideally like to live, what type of community do we want to raise our families in and what does our ideal home look like. If 2020 has taught us anything, it’s that what we thought was unattainable or unrealistic could now a possibility. So maybe now is the time to consider moving to a tropical location such as the Cayman Islands.
The Cayman Islands
Regarded as one of the safest group of islands in the Caribbean, the Cayman Islands, consisting of Grand Cayman, Cayman Brac and Little Cayman, are a British overseas territory located 90 minutes from Miami and 4 hours from New York or Toronto; a world-class country that is both beautiful and secure featuring spectacular scenery, a tropical climate, privacy and stunning beaches.
The Cayman Islands have excellent schools, a stable government, top-rated healthcare, a clean environment, excellent communication services plus it’s a tax neutral country; all leading to one of the highest standard of living in the Caribbean.
The relaxed yet first-class lifestyle the Cayman Islands offer is second to none. From the incredible sunsets nightly along Seven Mile Beach, consistently one of the best beaches in the world by Caribbean Travel & Life, MSN, U.S News & World Report, among others, to the more than 200 restaurants including one led by a Michelin-star chef, Cayman is a unique, tropical paradise. The many activities visitors can enjoy on a Cayman vacation could now become your island lifestyle – top-ranked diving and snorkeling, boating, fishing, adventures to Stingray City and the Crystal Caves, exploring the wide variety of shops in Camana Bay and George Town, a relaxing day on the beach, Sunday brunch and more; all steps from your door front.
The real estate market
The Cayman Islands offers a wide array of properties at a variety of price points from amenity-rich beachfront condominiums on Seven Mile Beach to elite, secluded Caribbean Estates. Beachfront residences range from just under US$500,000 up to over US$25 million along Seven Mile Beach. The Cayman real estate industry has been thriving for more than 10 years and is continuing to boom even during the global pandemic. New developments are booming with more than US$1.7 billion in new residences either in construction or planning and over US$800 million of that has already been pre-sold.
The most expensive housing is along Seven Mile Beach, a coral-sand beach on the western end of Grand Cayman approximately 15 minutes from the international airport. Property prices can reach as high as US$25 million. Several new developments are currently under construction along Seven Mile Beach with 5 new condominium developments currently or coming on the market within the next few months.
Recently, there has been increased interest in canal front homes. Overall, they tend to be more affordable than oceanfront properties, yet offer incredible views to homeowners. There are at least 20 canal residential subdivisions in Grand Cayman, half along the Seven Mile Beach area. There is still limited undeveloped land in the Seven Mile Beach corridor with land values ranging from US$500,000 to US$2 million.
With respect to land where you can build the exact home you’d like; land prices continue to increase strongly in the Cayman Islands. In 2019, the average price of a beachfront lot sold for US$61 per sq. ft. and a high-end canal front lot sold at an average of US$40 per sq. ft.
Another benefit of purchasing real estate in the Cayman Islands is that most condominiums and homes are sold completely furnished, except for new construction.
One thing to note is there is no annual property tax in Cayman, but buyers do pay a one-time stamp duty fee of 7.5% of the purchase price.
The Cayman Islands is one of a limited number of countries that is basically COVID-free. Now could be the time to consider relocating and there are several options available including the new Global Citizen Concierge program, which allows people who are employed outside of the Cayman Islands with an annual income of at least US$100,000 (US$150,000 if applying with partner or US$180,000 if applying with dependents) to live and work remotely in paradise for up to 2 years.
There are also two residency options for individuals who purchase real estate in the Cayman Islands. There are other requirements that need to be met when applying for these but real estate investment is a major component.
Valid for 25 years, the Residency Certificate for Persons of Independent Means allows individuals and dependents to live in Cayman without the right to work. Individuals must invest a minimum of US$1.2 million of which at least half must be in developed residential real estate in Grand Cayman.
The second is the Certificate of Permanent Residence for Persons of Independent Means. With this certificate the individual and qualifying dependents have lifetime rights to live in the Cayman Islands without the right to work. Individuals must invest a minimum of US$2.4 million in developed real estate in the Cayman Islands. This option also offers a path to naturalization once the applicant has been legally and ordinarily a resident in the Cayman Islands for five years.
Sound interesting and want to learn more? Visit www.bovell.ky for virtual tours, videos, photography and more. Maybe you’ll find that what was once your annual tropical vacation could become your forever or second home.