Invest in paradise

It is easy to see why many people choose to purchase property in the Cayman Islands.

Expansive white sandy beaches, a warm and sunny climate, and world-renowned coral reefs and crystal blue waters lure visitors to these shores every year.

Such factors also attract people looking to permanently move to Cayman or invest in a vacation home to escape harsh winters elsewhere.

Visiting, or moving, is made easier by the islands’ ideal proximity to the United States and the ample flight options to major hubs in North America and the United Kingdom.

As well as beautiful surroundings, Cayman’s excellent infrastructure and amenities, and a safe and well-regulated real estate industry attract overseas investors looking for capital appreciation and a home-away-from-home.

Investment

Cayman is an extremely safe place to invest in property, with guaranteed security of ownership.

“Investing in the Cayman Islands is very secure in that there is a robust legal framework governing property titles,” explains Michael Day, president of the Cayman Islands Real Estate Brokers Association (CIREBA). “Titles are absolute and are guaranteed by the government.”

Cayman has no restrictions on foreign ownership, and local banks are willing to lend to overseas buyers, creating a welcoming environment for foreign investors.

“The fact that the Cayman Islands is a British Overseas Territory further adds stability and helps investor confidence,” says Mr. Day.

Finance center

The Cayman Islands is a world-class financial center with well-developed sectors including banking, captive insurance and reinsurance, company registration, hedge funds and companies, vessel and aircraft registry, trust and securities.

A robust regulatory and compliance framework secures its status as a sophisticated leading offshore financial services-provider.

A family-friendly atmosphere and plethora of activities available for all age groups also make the Cayman Islands the perfect place to invest in a home-away-from-home.

Economic benefits

Real estate investments can be made in a multitude of property options, including commercial, resort, residential and multi-family dwellings, and the economic benefits can be long-running.

“The Cayman Islands has no property taxes, other than the initial stamp duty payable upon purchase, and most properties yield an attractive rental income,” explains Mr. Day. The longer owners keep a property the more time there is to amortize the stamp duty.

“Typically, Seven Mile Beach condos can be placed in a short-term rental pool managed by the condominium manager,” adds Mr. Day. “This affords investors income from their holiday homes or investment properties while they are not using them.”

Well-regulated

Cayman’s property market is well developed and regulated, and predominantly organized and controlled by CIREBA, making purchasing safe and easy.

“Eighty to 90 percent of real estate transactions are handled by CIREBA member companies,” says Mr. Day. “CIREBA agents receive training and are required to adhere strictly to a robust set of rules and regulations together with the association’s code of ethics.

“This regulatory framework has been developed over many years and serves to make the real estate market user-friendly, and most importantly, it ensures that the public is protected from unscrupulous practices.”

Ease of purchasing is increased with the Multiple Listing Service (MLS), which makes for easy searches online of all properties for sale under the CIREBA umbrella, and updates property information in real time on their extensive database.

The system means purchasers are not restricted to using only the listing broker or agent for a property, and instead can use one of their choosing, as the agent will have access to all available properties through the MLS.

Future outlook

The outlook for Cayman’s 2015 property market is healthy.

“Our property market was affected by the worldwide banking crisis of 2008 but the fact that prices remained relatively stable, when compared to other jurisdictions, is a testament to the stable investment environment that Cayman offers,” says Mr. Day. “The year 2014 has seen a significant increase in the volume of sales, particularly in the higher-end investment properties typically sought after by overseas investors, and this trend looks set to continue into 2015 and beyond.”