Month: February 2020

The Low-Down on Grand Cayman’s New Builds

Good news / Bad news. Good news is that Cayman home buyers have a plethora of new developments and pre-construction opportunities to choose from. Bad news is, home buyers have a plethora of new developments and pre-construction opportunities to choose from in Cayman.

However, we don’t see it as bad news because that is what we are here for! With over 50 new developments underway, bringing 2,100+ new units to the market, let us quench your pre-construction thirst and guide you through the maze of developments.

New Development Trends

 

1.       3-Bedroom Units

Families in Cayman are growing out of their 2-bedroom homes and it appears developers are listening to market demands. Two thirds of new developments offer a 3-bedroom unit in their product mix. Certain developers are hedging their bets and only offering a 3-bedroom layout, like the Stone Island residences in the Yacht Club and the Paraiso townhomes in Red Bay. Others, like ONE Canal Point and Dolphin Point Club, are still offering a variety of unit types from 1-bedroom up to 4-bedrooms.

 

2.       Mixed-Use & Lifestyle Amenities

A simple gym & pool isn’t cutting it in today’s market; from dog parks to concierge services, upcoming developments are striving to offer the best amenity package feasible and cater to a real sense of lifestyle and community that buyers can enjoy when they purchase.

In the high-end luxury market, we are seeing new developments like Fin and Watermark offering full time concierge services and staffed buildings featuring everything from on-call childcare and dog walkers to personal trainers and sommeliers. These developments are creating a new home category, bridging the gap between home and hotel. Rum Point Club is the first of this type of development to be complete in Cayman Kai, it is 70% sold and the first tenants have already moved in.  Our advice: look beyond bedroom and bathroom count to the amenities that developments are offering. Yoga studios, dog parks, boardrooms, wine storage, exclusive bars and restaurants and even strata-owned vehicles or boats are on the table.

 “The condo market is demanding more attention on lifestyle and community. It’s something we’ve been seeing more and more of over the last 5 years. This recent surge of supply will compound the ‘amenity effect’ further. Simply put there’s competition afoot” – Mike Joseph

If you’re looking for something more cost effective, you can still benefit from an increased urban feel delivered by mixed-use developments. From the newly proposed West Village to the nearly completed The Grove, developers are offering smaller 1-bed or 2-bed apartments over top retail and restaurant spaces with price points to target first-time home buyers, single professionals, or investors looking for a new income property. In addition to the great ground-floor tenants, these developments are offering strata amenities like rooftop common areas, pools, gyms, and onsite property management.

 

3.       Grand Harbour

As prices along the Seven Mile Corridor have grown, shall we say more exclusive, developers are moving north into West Bay and east into South Sound and Red Bay to find land for their newest projects. In particular, the Grand Harbour area is booming with new developments set to be completed within the next year or so – at our count, there are currently six developments at various stages of completion around there. Expect everything from luxury 5-bedroom waterfront villas at Periwinkle to affordable 1-bedroom apartments along with new retail, restaurants, and office space at other developments.

With a long list of amenities, that keeps on growing, such as: the shops at Grand Harbour; Multiple elementary schools; King’s Sports Centre; The Black Pearl Skatepark; The CI Sailing Club; The Prospect Playhouse; The CI Brewery & some of the best jerk stands on the island, it’s no wonder this area is fast becoming the most popular neighbourhood for families in Cayman.

Our advice? Watch this space. As the ever-important connector between the East & West, the Grand Harbour-Red Bay-Prospect area is poised for massive growth.

 

4.       Eco-friendly

Developers are realizing the importance of future proofing their projects, and that means building for a sustainable future. Not only are these changes important for the environment, but they also have cost benefits for owners: solar panels help reduce electricity bills and switching to propane gas powered appliances not only reduces bills, but omits 85% less emissions as well.

Some developments are going beyond power changes and tapping into mother nature to increase sustainability and quality of life for owners. ONE Canal Point saved and replanted trees from the cleared land and are growing an onsite fruit orchard; others are creating a fully sustainable communities with wellness centres, onsite greenhouses, farmers markets and schools.

 

 

Top Tips For Buying Into New Developments

 

1.       Research the developer & the contractor

This may go without saying, but do some research about the developer of the property you’re interested in. Do the same for the contractors to make sure they are reputable. This is when a realtor’s expertise can come in handy and potentially protect you from getting involved in a bad situation.

 

2.       Consider the location

Again, this may be obvious, but for a property that isn’t built yet, taking the immediate surroundings into consideration becomes that much more important. Think about the proximity to schools (if you have kids, this could be great; if not, it could lead to a lot of morning traffic issues); public infrastructure like the airport (the short drive could be a plus if you travel a lot, but the noise may pose an issue if you work from home during the day); and amenities like your favorite grocery store, gym, or restaurants. Your distance to work and morning commute time should be another important factor you consider, as well as plans for future works around the area like new roads, shopping plazas, etc.

 

3.       Get in early

If you like the idea of buying a pre-construction property, our advice is to work with an agent who can keep you up to date with new developments so you can get in early. Developments nearly always launch at a lower price to penetrate the market, then slowly increase in price as interest and sales pick up. Reserving a unit shortly after a development launches also allows you a certain level of customization you can’t get once construction is too far along, at the developer’s discretion of course.

 

4.       Ask about the deposit structure

When entering into a reservation agreement with a developer, make sure you read your contract carefully – especially regarding your deposit. Every development company will have a different deposit structure, and different rules about when the deposit becomes non-refundable. An experienced real estate agent can help you navigate this process and offer advice on what to expect and anything that seems like a red flag. A common structure is 10% deposit, 10% at contract signing then either stage payments at specific construction milestones or even nothing until completion. Each development is different.

 

In conclusion, Cayman confidently sits as a safe environment in a volatile world. For a several years Cayman has been positioning itself and now find ourselves increasingly and exponentially under demand. Real estate investment and family lifestyle finally align like they never have before. The Cayman Islands have a particularly bright future ahead so it’s time to formalize your property journey and you’ll thank your future self for years to come.