FAQs: Cayman Islands Real Estate
Are there any restrictions on buying real estate in the Cayman Islands?
There are no restrictions on foreign individuals purchasing property in the Cayman Islands. A foreign buyer can hold up to three properties in their name.
All land and property – including waterfront – can be purchased. Unlike some other Caribbean islands, an alien land holding license or visa is also not required. If the real estate purchase is to be conducted through a foreign company, there are regulations which must be met, such as registering the company at the Cayman Islands Company Registry.
How long does it take for legal conveyancing to be completed once a property is purchased?
Conveyancing (transferring ownership of property from one person to another) typically takes one month in the Cayman Islands. There are a number of real estate practices with individuals who specialise in real estate transactions.
How much does legal conveyancing cost?
Legal conveyancing fees are typically equal to one per cent of the value of the property.
Can foreign buyers purchase land and then build a residence on it?
Yes, foreign buyers can purchase land in the Cayman Islands and then build a home on it. There are qualified contractors on Grand Cayman and several highly experienced architects to help design and build your property. The Cayman Islands Planning Department uses the Miami-Dade County Building codes which are amongst the strictest in the world for storm resistant construction. There are generally no restrictions on the time required to build a property once the land has been purchased, although some neighbourhoods may have HOA bylaws requiring construction to commence within a specified period of time.
Is title insurance required in the Cayman Islands?
Title insurance is not required in the Cayman Islands because title to real estate is evidenced by registration at the Cayman Islands Land Registry.
Is there any other type of insurance needed to buy property in the Cayman Islands?
Property owners typically purchase property insurance and content insurance. Property insurance is required if the property carries a mortgage and is based on a percentage of the value of the property. Content insurance is optional and depends on the value of your personal effects and how much coverage you deem is necessary. Mortgage and life insurance is also sold by a variety of providers. Property insurance tends to be higher than what is charged on the mainland.
Is there property tax in the Cayman Islands?
There is no annual property tax in the Cayman Islands. There is, however, a one-time stamp duty charged to the purchaser when they buy Cayman Islands real estate.
What is stamp duty?
Stamp duty is a one-time tax that is generally 7.5% of the purchase price of the property. The stamp tax excludes the furniture or chattels, which is an important consideration since many properties for sale in the Cayman Islands are sold furnished. There are also incentives for Caymanians to purchase property with reduced stamp taxes. For more information on stamp tax, visit: cireba.com/stamp-duty
Are there any other taxes in the Cayman Islands?
There are no sales, income, property, corporate, capital gains or inheritance taxes in the Cayman Islands. The primary sources of Government revenues are derived from stamp taxes on property transactions, import duties, government fees (e.g. work permits, building permits) and tourism-industry generated taxes (airport and accommodations).
Is there a Multi Listing System (MLS) in the Cayman Islands to make my property search easier?
Yes, the Cayman Islands is one of the few Caribbean countries to maintain a MLS. The Cayman Islands Real Estate Brokers Association (CIREBA) provides a professional network for the different real estate companies in the Cayman Islands. Visit cireba.com to browse available real estate for sale by price, location and view, and then contact a Sales Specialist at Provenance Properties – the official Christie’s Real Estate brokerage in the Cayman Islands - to assist you with viewing properties for sale.
Who pays the fees to the realtor?
The seller pays the commission to the realtor. The commission rate is typically five per cent.
Do Cayman Islands banks typically offer financing to foreign buyers and expatriate residents?
Yes, Cayman Islands banks do offer financing to qualified purchasers for both vacation and primary residences. Major banks include Butterfield, Cayman National Bank, CIBC, RBC and Scotiabank. A stamp tax of one per cent is normally applied on all loans. All banks will require a property valuation.
Who can perform a property valuation in the Cayman Islands?
Property valuations must be performed by a chartered valuation surveyor, and should be prepared to the internationally recognised standards of the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS Valuation Standards).
For more FAQs on buying property in the Cayman Islands, check out our Q&A with our Property Sales Specialist Fleur Coleman.