Tag: Real Estate

Celebrating Our 4th International Award

There is no other word for it, resilience. The Cayman Islands and our property market have been incredibly strong throughout the pandemic – and our team is grateful to represent the thriving islands, we love so much, at the International Property Awards this month.

“Cayman is our home. We love these islands, and we work hard every day to ensure we represent them with pride in all that we do. We are driven by bringing like-minded people together to create a community around our love for Cayman, and it’s beautiful real estate.” – Stefan Prior, Property Cayman Associate Broker

The International Property Awards recognize excellence and the highest level of achievement by companies operating in all sectors of the property and real estate industry around the world. In their 27th year, the awards are the largest, most prestigious, and widely recognised programme, covering over 45 different residential and commercial categories.

At this year’s virtual red-carpet ceremony, Team Property Cayman was delighted to receive ‘Real Estate Agency Website of the Year’.

“Simply put, we love what we do. We are immensely proud to be recognized while representing Cayman in the International marketing arena and offer special thanks to Collective Design for bringing our vision to life. Redefining our approach to industry standards makes digital marketing a huge part of our business and in turn our success.” – Michael Joseph, Property Cayman Broker Owner

Judged by an independent panel of over 80 industry experts for our quality of information, community content, accessibility and overall aesthetics – our team is honoured to be recognized on such a prominent global stage. A big thanks to Collective Design for their collaboration and ongoing support.

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Property Cayman: Redefining real estate.

Innovation and community are at the core of everything we do.

A day in the life of a real estate agent in the Cayman Islands

Have you ever wondered what real estate agents do every day? It’s not an easy question to answer, because there really is no typical day for us. Real estate agents work in a fast-paced whirlwind environment, which keeps things rather interesting. We need to be quick on our feet, ready to respond and react to the incoming needs of buyers and sellers, at a moments notice. In short, no two days are alike. Each day brings its own sets of challenges and an equal share of excitements. It’s one of the things I love most about the job!

Location, Location, Location.

We are not expected to be in the office every day, as our job is first and foremost to sell properties, at the best price, in the shortest amount of time, and that can’t be done from sitting on our butt. We are running around, hopping in and out of our cars, visiting multiple properties and clients, all the while balancing endless phone calls and emails. We are professional multi-taskers and remote working pros.

Real Estate To-Do List.

Here’s a list of some of the things that we do in a “typical” day. 

  • Check CIREBA every morning for new listings that fit buyers’ criteria. 
  • Consultations with new customers
  • Set appointments to show homes 
  • Prepare purchase agreements and present offers
  • Stay on top of conditions to purchase and timelines
  • Schedule inspections 
  • Meet with valuation officers 
  • Stay in close contact with bankers for financing approvals 
  • Negotiate contracts, repairs, etc. with listing agents
  • Monitor transactions through escrow to closing
  • Analyze the market for sellers to determine the market value for their homes
  • Navigate the listing agreement with selling clients
  • Coordinate sign installations
  • Schedule photography and videography session for listings
  • Devise a marketing plan for selling clients
  • Plan, schedule and run open houses
  • Compile pro forma financial statements for income property sellers and buyers
  • Coordinate simultaneous closings for clients who require them
  • Make phone calls… lots of phone calls

Calls are a big part of our day! I mean big. Calls to and from:

  • Lenders
  • Inspectors
  • Appraisers
  • Clients/Customers 
  • Other agents
  • Repair people
  • Our administrative staff
  • Pest control companies
  • Contractors
  • New referrals

Yes, the list is long and makes for long days sometimes. But, we wouldn’t trade what we do for any other job in the world! 

Keep Calm and Stay Organized.

As a real estate agent, we are, in a sense our own “boss”. It is up to us to manage our own schedule and go about our day to day activities, to support our clients and master our to-do list. In my experience, each agent works differently. Some opt for a looser “go with the flow” schedule approach. Others have daily habits and schedules they aim to stick to, such as office work in the mornings and appointments in the afternoon. Personally, I need to plan my days the night before because, well, I like being organized, and it feels damn good to be efficient! Plus, I know I am more effective that way, and my customers appreciate it.

No such thing as 9 to 5.

One of the perks of the job is flexibility. But as you can imagine, a profession with no set office hours can also get tricky. Real estate agents need to be accommodating of the varying schedules of their clients. For example, nurses, doctors, those in the service industry, and other shift work jobs require different hours of attention. As real estate agents, we often find ourselves working very early in the mornings or very late at night, and a lot during the weekend. But it is our job to adapt to the needs and wants of those we are serving, and there is nothing more rewarding than making, what is often thought of as a stressful experience, seem effortless for a client.

Working hard, so you don’t have to.

Your real estate agent should be working hard to make things happen for you at all hours of the day. Property transactions are complex, and there is a lot that goes on behind the scenes that you don’t see. There are a ton of moving parts and people involved: bankers, attorneys, estate agents, valuation officers, home inspectors, administrative staff, deposit or escrow account managers, etc. Each player and task, even if they appear minor, are crucial to the property closing, and the smallest blip could turn a deal on its head. So as a client, you are leaving a lot in the hands of your agent. Frankly, this is one of the reasons why trust is such an important aspect when choosing a real estate agent.

We are on it!

A real estate agent’s ability to be organized, multi-task, and be “on it” is essential. It is what keeps buyers and sellers coming back to us time and time again. Service is everything in this industry, and at Property Cayman, I am proud to say that we take that to heart. We are passionate about connecting good people with great places today, tomorrow and always. Loving what we do and working with fantastic people are two things we luckily get to do, every single day, at Property Cayman.

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Anyway, there you have it! No day is the same. And if you are ever looking for me, you’ll have the best chance of finding me in my car. Or at Bluestone coffee next to our office on Fort Street, grabbing my fifth (or tenth) cup of Joe for the day! 

The Market Moves In Mysterious Ways

A completely reasonable and fair assumption dictates that during an unusually slow summer season, closed borders, zero tourists, and a reduced population count all resulting from a world pandemic we should expect ZERO sales right!? Well, when a market moves against all expectations it’s worth looking a little closer.

We have reviewed the Association movements between June and July 2020 (the new dawn) how it differed from July last year (the old world) and finally we also reviewed what we are seeing in August so far and what the latter part of the year will look like.

 

June 2020 Vs July 2020

40% up in Condo sales
150% up in House sales
25% down Land sales – but watch out got lots of August activity.
No change in commercial sales

 

July 2019 (old world) Vs July 2020 (the new dawn)

52% down in Condo sales
44% down in House sales
65% down in Land sales
66% down in Commercial sales


Property Cayman had 9 transaction sides in July 2019 Vs  4 in July 2020 – 44% decline. However that’s 4 more than we were expecting.


Observation:
This decrease is expected however it isn’t what you could have expected with a pandemic underway. Also note it’s only a temporary shift. Despite internal and external pressures, transactions and demand are still very clear and present. This level of activity is returning with gusto which is a direct testament to local confidence. Many are seeing the opportunity to lock in (with the help of pension withdrawals in many cases) a new home or long term investment before the borders open and population with demand increases again.

With a steady incline of new listings, new contracts and a decline of the Back on Market listings, the August/Sept/Oct pipelines are filling up nicely. 

Source: CIREBA

August 2019 (old world) Vs August 2020 (new dawn)

24 Condo sales last August and 8 sales so far this August10 House sales last August and 1 sale so far this August32 Land sales last August and 3 sales so far this August0 Commercial sales last August and none this August… so far


Property Cayman had 10 transaction sides in August 2019 Vs 14 lined up to close this August 2020 (pipeline contracts) – 40% up and we have 3 weeks to go! Watch this space.


Observation:
Another summer season with record number of transactions? Despite a reduced July (year on year) there’s a surge of activity to rebuild the pre-covid momentum. It says a lot. Local demand and confidence is holding its ground and we can expect some good catch up this month.

August and beyond

With borders closed and pension withdrawals slowing down in the latter months of the year we can expect to see a decline in properties going to contract and a consequential increase in inventory (lowered demand with increased supply). We feel however that things won’t slow down and that when borders open up we can safely forecast new and positive influences on the market.

With open borders the market will quickly absorb any oversupply of inventory. With extended border closure into November we can expect pricing pressures to take effect but in reality it will be more of a stabilizing effect than a significant decrease in pricing.

Either way, whilst numbers are averaged down by 50%, most sectors of the market won’t see any significant decreases in pricing as seller’s continue to be patient. Markets ebb and flow over time so be sure to establish your big-picture property plan and consider the different chapters of YOUR journey. If you wait for a market to change to your advantage you will miss out on the opportunities currently in front of you.

This analysis is broad and general and more designed to spark the conversation. We would be delighted, as always, to assist you along your personalized property journey so feel free to reach out and let us know your thoughts, ideas and even concerns. We can cut through the noise and give confidence to your next move which every direction that might take you.

NB: ref: CIREBA stats

Why People are Seeking Sun, Sea & Safety in the Cayman Islands

All it takes is one visit to the Cayman Islands to fall in love. Of course our sandy white beaches, crystal blue waters and Cayman-kind smiles take a lot of the credit, but a few more critical factors make it a place that have people coming back time and time again. Especially now!

With the inevitable increases in taxes in the, U.K., U.S and Canada, and with “working from home”, now a realistic option more than ever as, it’s no wonder we are seeing an influx of family offices and high net worth families looking to move here. There was a trend pre-COVID from Canada and whilst this is continuing the inquiries are now coming in from the US, UK, Spain and France. C’est jolie ici.

Cayman is a tax-neutral, British Overseas Territory. We are a safe and sophisticated island, with excellent infrastructure and a high standard of living. Its ease of access to and from multiple major cities, including New York, Toronto and London make it easy for many to catch direct flights back home or to attend business meetings near and far. Sure you can meet on Zoom, but the work-life balance movement is real.

We have top rated international schools, excellent medical care, first world amenities, low crime rate, a top-class and fantastic culinary scene, and of course the endless recreational activities including golf, fishing, and all the water sports you can imagine, all right in your backyard. 

Buying real estate is a simple and straightforward process in Cayman. With no restrictions on foreign ownership, nor any property taxes, the prospect of owning a second home become feasible for many.

International buyers generally start out investing in a vacation condo/rental property, however given the direct impact of COVID on the world economy, we have noticed a (not so surprising) trend over the last few months with international buyers reflecting on their quality of life. So the shift begins; making the permanent move to enjoy life in a healthy and safe environment.  Why wouldn’t you invest in that?

New and/or existing buyers are either:

a) moving into their vacation home, with the intent on staying for longer and longer stints OR,
b) buying a primary residence with the direct intent on becoming a ‘Permanent Resident’ in the Cayman Islands, declaring non-residency in their home country, without impacting their current citizenship.

Owning real estate is by law a direct means to gaining Permanent Residency, so the concept of “living where you vacation” is being realized by many, now more than ever!

In conclusion:  We feel this is a trend we are going to see more and more of; COVID has highlighted new opportunities where ‘lifestyle migration’ is building momentum. Don’t forget there’s a reason why we live here. Ever thought of asking us why?

Bank Financing In Cayman – Explained

In these last few weeks we’ve seen a significant uptick in new buyers, both locally and internationally, wanting to invest in their own piece of Cayman.  They may be keen to get their feet wet, but many are unfamiliar with buying property in the Cayman Islands and most importantly what to expect when it comes to their bank financing options.  It’s so important for new buyers to educate themselves on what their options are and what they “qualify” for before they start to look at properties.  This ensures there is no guessing on what they can afford, what they may or may not be entitled to, and guarantee a smooth Closing process when they fall in love with a property and make an Offer. Senior Manager of Personal lending at Butterfield Bank (Cayman) Limited, Amanda Bodden, was kind enough to answer some of the most common questions we are asked at Property Cayman.

If you have any additional questions don’t hesitate to reach out to us to learn more.  If we don’t know the answer, we will ensure you are connected with the right person to give you the facts ahead of making one of the biggest decisions in your lifetime – buying a property!

 

Q. How do the bank’s loan terms vary when buying a primary home, investment property & raw land?

The risk profile of an owner-occupied property mortgage is different than that of an investment property or raw land. A person’s primary residence represents a lower lending risk than an investment property which may become less profitable or even loss-making, or raw land which would not provide any income to offset its borrowing costs. Because of this, banks will generally require higher down payments and/or shorter repayment terms on investment properties or raw land than they would for your primary residence. You may also see higher interest rates charged for investment properties and raw land to reflect the higher risk lending.

 

Q. How do terms vary depending on the borrower’s age?

Typically, most banks in Cayman will lend up to age 65, which is the local retirement age. The borrower’s age will therefore be a factor that determines the maximum repayment term. Where a borrower does not have a mandated retirement age (for example, self-employed individuals) we are able to be a bit more flexible on the repayment term of a mortgage. As lenders we must understand the repayment source and verify that it is reasonably going to be available to service the debt over the agreed term. Lending to age 65 is not a strict policy, but it is important for us to understand when and how a mortgage will be repaid when we consider lending beyond retirement age.

 

 Q. What if any are the differences in lending policy & immigration status? 

 At Butterfield, our lending policy is the same for Caymanians, PR Status holders, RERC and work permit holders. We do not have different policies; we have one local resident policy that covers everyone. Our non-resident policy differs in that we will require a higher down payment and likely a shorter repayment term.

Q. What if any are the benefits of paying your mortgage bi-monthly instead of monthly?

 Paying bi-weekly accelerates your mortgage repayment. If you pay half of your normal monthly payment every two weeks you will essentially make 13 payments each year instead of 12. On a longer-term debt this can save quite a bit of interest and repay the debt earlier. At Butterfield we offer weekly, bi-weekly, and monthly payment options.


*The responses to these questions are specific to Butterfield Bank (Cayman) Limited and do not represent the opinions/ lending policies of other banks. Buyers are free to use any lender of their choosing when buying a property. 

Your safety: Our priority

The impact of Covid-19 on our industry has been unprecedented. Showing properties, which has always been core to what we do, was no longer. 

Fortunately, 90% of what we do, can be done online. We have adapted to the current reality and continue to actively offer guidance remotely and online, keeping you apprised of trends, changes and projections in the Cayman Real Estate market.

As of Monday 8th June, with Government approval and strict safety measures in place, our office is back open and we are able to show properties again. We are definitely not ‘back to normal’ but welcome you all to the new normal…😷

Scroll down for new showing protocols and FAQ ⬇

Image: “The New Normal”-
Your Property Cayman team + Pablo 🐕

Update 17th July 2020: Property showings are in full swing and all properties are able to be viewed safely. Whilst restrictions have eased, we are still taking safety precautions- wearing masks, social distancing and sanitizing. Prospective buyers and sellers are no longer required to complete contact tracing forms.

Property Showing Protocols –Prospective Buyers

  • Property Access and Contact Tracing Forms to be completed and signed by every Prospective Buyer.
  • Maximum of 2 adults persons named on the PACT form shall be present at the property along with the agents.
  • Prospective Buyers will be required to meet the agent at the property and will not be driven to the property by the agent and must remain in their vehicle until called to enter the property by the Agent.
  • Everyone will wear a protective face mask(s) before entering the property.
  • Everyone will maintain 6 feet distancing at all times.
  • The viewing is contactless, and will not touch anything whilst in the property.
  • Everyone will sanitize their hands with hand sanitizer upon arrival to and departure from the property.
  • Neither the agent, nor the buyers will use the washroom facilities during access.
  • If prospective buyers should develop symptoms of the COVID‐19 virus, or are later diagnosed as having the COVID‐19 virus, they will contact the CIREBA agent immediately, so that the agent may follow the necessary procedures which could require testing and quarantine, to protect any parties that may be involved.

Property Showing Protocols –Sellers/Occupiers

  • Wherever possible, we will ask that properties are vacated for the duration of the showing.
  • If properties cannot be vacated, occupiers must stay 6 feet from the agent and Prospective Buyers at all times. The best way to achieve this is by staying in one designated room for the duration of the showing, then leaving that room when they need to view it.
  • Properties where someone is shielding, self-isolating, or has any symptoms associated with coronavirus (a fever, a new & persistent cough or flu-like symptoms) will not be shown.
  • We ask that occupiers leave all internal doors open, to minimise the need to touch any surfaces.
  • If the property is vacant the Agent is to disinfect the lockbox, all doorknobs, surfaces, light switches and counters with antibacterial/germ killing cleaners after Prospective Buyers have left.
  • A record will be kept containing the names of those who have visited the property.
Image: Property Cayman Agent Safety Kits

FAQ

I am interested in buying or renting a property, am I able to view it? 

Short answer yes, long answer below.

Viewings are only permitted on your corresponding day based on your surname. A-K being Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays and L-Z on Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Saturdays.

We also strongly encourage prospective buyers to exhaust all digital and virtual options before scheduling a viewing. There are lots of steps to buying a property, and most of these can and should be thought about before ever stepping foot in a property. Click here for a helpful list of considerations and questions that will help get you started. 

What steps must I take before viewing a property?

Contact your agent for the required forms to be signed prior to any viewing.

You must not be showing any flu like symptoms. If in doubt, stay home and reschedule the viewing for a later date. 

You will be required to find your own means for transport to the property, wear a mask and disinfect your hands prior to entering the property.

I would like to sell my property. Can I work with an agent in the current climate?

Yes. Our agents are able to meet via phone, video or in person to discuss the listing process. All documents required can be submitted digitally.

The majority of our industry has exemptions to operate so we are also able to get professional photos, videos and virtual tours done, in order to showcase your property in the best way possible. 

My house has been listed for sale/rent and I am worried about having potential buyers/tenants coming through. How do I handle the situation?

Your safety is our priority. In adherence to the Public Health Law we have implemented strict safety measures for all property showings. See details above.

We also offer virtual tours as an alternative to in person showings. The virtual tour will only require one person to enter your home to shoot the content which will then be made available to any prospective buyers or tenants. Reach out to your agent if you would like to schedule a virtual tour.

Is your office at 51 Fort Street open?

For the next few weeks, our office hours will be Monday – Friday from 9:00 AM to 4:00 PM. The reception door will be locked in order to control the flow of traffic in the building so please try and call ahead.

Our preference will be to schedule meetings in an open environment outside of the company’s premises.

If a meeting has been scheduled within our office,  we ask that proper hygiene and safety precautions have taken place prior to entering, masks or face coverings must be worn and social distancing must be respected.

Amidst uncertainty, we do know that this too shall pass. It may be weeks, it may be months, however, if we remain proactive to these changes, it will never be years. And know this — We are strong and able to overcome these challenges as any nation on earth.

As a final word, we say in unison, thank you, to our exceptional medical community, to those who wake up every day with the mission to be a helping hand, the people who are risking their health in providing essential services, and our political leaders at all levels, who are working tirelessly to keep us safe.  The Cayman Islands owe you all our endless gratitude.

Insider’s Guide To Building Your Own Home

Author: Kate Ryley

‘Some buyers don’t even think about buying land or building their own home – they just assume it’s out of their league or out of their means. But all options are worth exploring and that’s why we’re here 🙂 I’ve been there personally, where I’ve been stuck with buying land vs. buying an existing home, and it can all feel extremely overwhelming. I took out a scrap piece of paper and started jotting down the pros and cons, and it really helped me wrap my head around it all. I figured if it helped me, it would be worthwhile to share my thoughts with our potential customers too!’ – Kate 

Pros to building a house: 

Competition:  When you build a home, the competition factor decreases. If you find yourself in a Seller’s market, there is lower inventory. This, combined with more Buyer’s in the market makes it harder to win that home of your dreams! 

Customization: When building, you’ll get to personalize all the details of your house when you construct from the ground up! This is one of the biggest advantages – from architecture to design to furnishings, you control it all.  

Satisfaction: It’s not easy work, so when you’ve completed your home it feels good! It’s an accomplishment in and of itself, and people say there is a feeling of an emotional connection living in a new home that you have created. 

Cons to building a house:  

Time/ Bridging: It takes an average of about 12 months to construct a new build. That time matters if you are relying on the sale of your previous home in order to pay for construction. Keep in mind that you may have to live in a rental until your build is complete (we all know how much we love moving! 😉 ) 

Variable costs /un-expected expenses: Compared to buying an existing home, the costs associated with the purchase and build are not always clear from the start. Expect out-of-pocket costs that are unplanned.  

Stress: Building a home requires patience. It’s not an easy feat! There will undoubtably be hurdles that will take you on an emotional roller coaster.  

Pros to buying a house: 

Convenience: We can simplify the process by helping you find verified properties, guide you through negotiations and assist you with deal paperwork and lawyers. You will be able to close on the property and move in as soon as possible, generally within 60-90 days. 

Turn-key: The fast rate at which you pay for a house and when you move in is incredibly exciting. Plus, you know exactly what you have purchased. You have touched it and felt it – you know what you are getting! 

Costs: The costs associated with buying an existing home are more fixed than variable. This makes it much easier to budget and balance your personal financial requirements. 

Appreciation: The nice thing about existing homes is that there’s history: You can research the home’s previous sale prices, as well as prices of similar homes in the area (known as comparables) to get a feel for whether prices are rising or falling in your area. If the prices for your home and others in the area have been steadily rising, odds are decent that the trend will continue, which bodes well for you if you decide to sell later on. 

Cons to buying a house  

Perfect” may not exist!  You may not get exactly what you want, and you’ll have to forgo one of your checked boxes. You’ll have to prioritize what matters to you most, and stick to those when looking for a home. It is unlikely you’ll get absolutely everything – floorplans, architecture, kitchen design, flooring, ceiling heights, finishes to name a few! 

Appreciation: New homes, particularly in up-and-coming neighbourhoods, are more of a gamble. Without a proven track record of lots of comps, there just aren’t enough data points to really know what could happen down the line. This is also true for all the latest amenities you might request in your home (think self-cleaning toilets). Are you going to see this return in upgrades down the road? 

Efficiency: Existing homes are less efficient and may need various replacements such as windows, doors or heating/cooling systems. Replacements and updates may be our of your budget after purchasing your new home.  

2020 1st Quarter Review: The COVID-19 Impact

Photo credit: Courtney Platt | www.courtneyplatt.com

We all seem to have a love/hate relationship with COVID-19 related news. We love the camaraderie, hate the negativity. Love the creativity, hate the dramatics. As another week in lock down passes, we feel that the dust has settled enough for us to take a look at the data and numbers and provide you all with a meaningful, factual, un-sensationalised statistical review of the Cayman real estate market. Our analysis covers how COVID-19 has been a catalyst to the changes we are seeing and those we anticipate looking forward. 

Whilst there is undoubtedly a ‘COVID-Confidence-Crisis’, the true value in real estate is its long-term stability.  

Whilst there are short-term tactics that we can employ, our advice and guidance remain the same…. this storm too shall passWe will get to more of that in a moment, but first lets deep dive into facts & figures… 

(All figures are in US$ and data is as of 28th April 2020)

1438 active CIREBA listings:
749 Condos ($39,000 – $8,500,000)  
234 Homes ($170,000 – $39,900,000)  
431 Land ($26,000 – $10,800,000)  
24 Commercial ($18,000 – $31,500,000)  

Compared to Q1 of 2019, this active listing count has only decreased by 3.8% for the same period. Now having said that, bear in mind that April and May are the final and slightly slower months of high season so the impact isn’t as it would have been if the pandemic unfolded in October instead. Overall, we maintained a strong market until the ‘COVID-Confidence-Crisis’ prematurely ended our 5-year momentum. 

Looking forward we can expect a gradual increase in supply to as much as 2,000 – 2,500 by the end of the year. Changes in employment, income and lack of tourist rentals will attribute to reasons why properties will come to market. Whilst each sector will react differently at different stages, we can expect investment apartments and condos to come to market from early summer onwards.  

Equally, life continues. There will be marriages and babies born (watch out for the Coronial generation in 9 months), new jobs, returning residentsgraduating students and new opportunities will saturate some of the anticipated surge in supply. We should acknowledge some recent and very sizeable sales in CIREBA, ($18M development land, $14m private home, US$7m vacation home and on and on) demonstrating that despite this ‘blip’ there are a number of property investors still 100% interested in Cayman. They can see past the short term disruption.  

For the time being, sellers are standing firm on their asking prices and buyers are not (yet) confident enough to enter the market. The resulting effect could see us return to a buyer’s market with new supplydecreased demand and consequently a decrease in values. By how much? Well, not as much as you’d like to think... 

The Foreclosure Forecast – It’s not what you might expect.  

The 2008/9 Great Recession was a lesson learned and this time around, banks have promptly activated a 3-month mortgage holiday. Thus, protecting their clients and ultimately safeguarding all property values. This has relieved a tremendous amount of pressure and bought time for the storm to pass us by.  

Furthermore, banks will make every effort to avoid foreclosing on their clients to the extent that after the mortgage holiday you can expect their willingness to consider case by case payment plans moving forward.  

With all this said we aren’t expecting a flood of foreclosures and if they do foreclose, we don’t expect to see this until the beginning of 2021. At that stage the courts set a precedence in that foreclosed property values must remain comparable. So, you can’t expect steals and deals. Overall, it’s good news for the individual, the banks and the market place! 

516 Pending & Pending/Conditional offers:  
400 Condos ($182,000 – $7,900,000)  
47  Homes ($180,000 – $2,600,000)  
64  Land ($28,000 – $5,400,000)  
5 Commercial ($241,000 – $20,700,000)  

This is an impressive 516 different transactions under contract at various stages in the selling cycle. 62% of these contracts are Pending/Condition (conditions still to be waived). This high figure reflects the numerous pre-construction contracts yet to complete. Despite a plethora of pressures, we anticipate the majority of these to complete unhitched.  

At the time of writingCIREBA is surveying all banks, so stay in touch with us for a comprehensive summary of all bank offerings. In a nut shell, Banks are still lendingWhat is evident is that they will review applications with a little more caution to mitigate their exposure. This helps applicants ensure they aren’t over-extending themselves. Meanwhile, the prudent investor with access to capital will see through this and use it to their advantage. 

March and April saw a significant decline in new sales contracts due to the lockdown restrictions. The knock-on effect of this in Q2 and Q3 will be a reduced number of actual closings with sustained, potentially increased inventory. The irony is that we are still closing with attorneys and Government departments more efficiently than ever before.  

Additionally, some buyers’ ROI expectations have been deflated to levels where they are now considering their options and may withdraw from a potential purchase. What buyers need to be aware of is in a graph further down in this report. Housing prices in Cayman have not fluctuated that much over the past 20 years, even during similar economic downturns. As we mentioned earlier, real estate is a stable investment and whether you chose to buy, sell or hold firm, you need to fully consider the short, medium and long term.

246 Listings on and along the Seven Mile Beach Corridor:
178 Condos (US$125K – $8M)  
43 Homes (US$900K – $17M)  
16 Land (US$290K – $2.6M)   
9 Commercial (US$180K – $6.3M)

This is a relatively low number of options along the world-famous SMB corridor. Demand has suddenly disappeared with closed borders and a nonexistent tourism market. The resulting effect is short term rental condos looking for long term tenants, flooding the market with rental inventory and decreasing long term rental rates. As anticipated in our Rental Migration blog a few weeks ago, we are seeing this projection play out. Trends and projections matter. See current rental rate availability below 

111 CIREBA’s long-term rentals:  
77 Condos ($1,000 - $17,000/month)  
21 Homes ($2,200 - $15,000/month)  
13 Commercial ($26 per sq. ft. – $13,000/month)  

Rentals by neighbourhood:   
55 Seven Mile Rentals ($1,000 - $17,000/month)   
12 West Bay Rentals ($2,000 - $4,000/month)  
19 GT/South Sound ($2,000 - $15,000/month)  
16 Grand Harbour / Prospect / Spotts ($2,000 - $9,000/month)  

With CIREBA’s new rental platform consolidating rentals into a central and convenient location, we have seen a sharp rise in rental inventory come available along the Seven Mile Beach corridor. As mentioned, many of these options are traditionally reserved for short-term vacationers, however in the absence of tourists, many landlords are converting to the long-term rentals to sustain income. See our previous blog on The Rental Migration. 

159 Sold from January – March 2020 (an average of 53 per month)
83 Condos ($20,000 – $5,400,000)
20 Homes ($170,000 – $7,000,000)
50 Land ($24,000 – $2,900,000)
6 Commercial ($325,000 – $18,000,000)

CIREBA averages approximately 50 sales a month. April demonstrated a 50% drop in closed transactions. 

2
5Solds (April 2020)  
13 Condos ($24,000 - $5,400,000)  
4 Homes ($180,000 - $14,700,000) 
8 Land ($24,000 - $20,000,000) 
0 Commercial   

We would ordinarily expect a small slow down at the end of high season, however, the Covid-Catalyst has fast tracked us into slow season. What has been a strong and buoyant market for the past 5 years has now lost the wind in its ‘sales’. The easy projections show this trend continuing through summer at which point we can revise projections for the balance of 2020.  

As any prudent investor will tell you, trying to time the market is a fool’s game, and nigh impossible. Of course, like any market, pricing will go up and down, however those wishfully hoping for pricing to fall to levels pre-2015 will never enter the market.  

Don’t believe us? Look at the pricing levels for condos over the past 20 years. Throughout this period there was 9/11 (2001), Hurricane Ivan (2004), and the Great Recession (2008/2009)Specifically, notice what happened to pricing/values after those key dates. A flattening of the curve for sure, but relatively marginal.

Source: CIREBA and Lands Information Services – Disclaimer: these are approximate figures designed to provide a snap-shot image of the Cayman Islands property market only and are subject to further discussion. If you have a desire to see the specifics as it relates to your personal property journey, please contact us.  

In short, real estate is all about using time to your advantage. Buy and hold through the good times and the not so good, but know this:  

  1. It is impossible to time the market  
  2. Over time, values will increase 
  3. Real estate is a very stable asset class 
  4. Post any economic downturn, pricing may fluctuate, then it will stabilise and continue to increase 
  5. The gains from 2016 won’t be lost  
  6. Cayman remains beautifully positively positioned as a safe harbour in a stormy world 
In conclusion: 

The future is bright, although it may not seem like it right now, the property market is secure and as history has taught us, there is no reason to lose confidence. For those not in the market, don’t worry, it’s never too late to get on the ladder. The right time to buy is predominantly predicated on when it is convenient for you. With a concise plan of action, your property plan will serve your family and investment needs very well over time. Secure tomorrow, today! 

For over a collective 25 years we have assisted more than 1,000 individuals and families achieve their property goals. We have been through the ups and downs and stood shoulder to shoulder with every single one of our clients. If you are looking to buy, sell or rent you will have questions so, reach out to any one of our agents, irrespective of your budget. No strings attached, just good, honest real estate advice. Establish your property plan, today.