OverviewPurchasing property in the Cayman Islands is an alluring venture not only because of the country’s Caribbean charm, but because the purchase process is acclaimed for its structured and straightforward practices.
The Cayman Islands real estate market appeals to foreign buyers due to its tax-neutral status, its lack of restrictions on foreign ownership, its guaranteed property titles and, of course, for the fact that purchasers are spoiled for choice with a variety of properties from the famous Seven Mile Beach to the tranquil neighbourhoods of South Sound and the eastern districts.
The total number of properties sold in 2019 according to the Cayman Islands Real Estate Brokers Association (CIREBA) was 827, representing approximately US$638 million in sales.
The real estate experts at Provenance Properties can introduce you to a wide range of luxury properties and help explain the process of buying Grand Cayman real estate.
As a luxury real estate brokerage, and the exclusive affiliate of Christie’s International Real Estate in the Cayman Islands, we specialise in selling homes with a typical minimum list price of US$1 million. Luxury homes in the Cayman Islands include beachfront condos, canalfront estates and more. Using data provided by the Cayman Islands Real Estate Brokers Association (CIREBA), we researched the average list price and square footage of homes located in the areas of Grand Cayman that are home to the majority of our listings, including Seven Mile Beach, South Sound and West Bay. Statistics sourced from CIREBA (1 January-30 November 2020).
|Average (mean)||Residential list price||US$1,233,163|
|Average (mean)||Square footage, single-family homes||3,167|
|Average (median)||Square footage, single-family homes||2,800|
|Average (mean)||Square footage, condos||2,528|
|Average (median)||Square footage, condos||1,438|
|Average (mean)||Cost per square foot of Seven Mile Beach Condo||US$1,319|
|Average (mean)||Cost per square foot of canalfront residence in Seven Mile Beach corridor||US$589|
|Average (mean)||List price of a Seven Mile Beach condo||US$2,666,466|
|Average (mean)||list price of a canalfront residence in Seven Mile Beach corridor||US$3,599,175|
Cayman Islands residency
The Cayman Islands offers an enviable lifestyle with a superlative selection of fine dining venues, world-class cultural and sporting events, a vibrant fine and performing arts scene and renowned beach and marine experiences – all within easy access on 22-mile long Grand Cayman, the largest of the three islands. The sister islands of Cayman Brac and Little Cayman provide a laidback, quiet Caribbean island experience that appeals to world-weary travellers and to those seeking a quiet respite from a hectic lifestyle.
Whether you are looking to buy a vacation home or reside permanently in the Cayman Islands, international property buyers are eligible for residency if they purchase real estate in the Cayman Islands valued at CI$1 million, of which at least $500,000 must be developed real estate in Grand Cayman. For full details on residency opportunities, visit the website of Immigration Cayman Islands.
British Overseas Territory
The Cayman Islands is a British Overseas Territory. As a result, the jurisdiction enjoys a high degree of political, economic and social stability, with an elected government of a Cabinet and Legislative Assembly, together with a Governor appointed by Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II.
Ease of access
The Cayman Islands is one of the closest Caribbean destinations to the United States. Direct flights from Miami are just over one hour in length, and flights from New York City are only three and a half hours. The Owen Roberts International Airport recently expanded to accommodate between one and 2.7 million passengers (source). The expansion was officially opened by Prince Charles and The Duchess of Cornwall during their visit to the Cayman Islands on 27 March 2019.
Those who prefer to travel via private jet charter to the Cayman Islands can be greeted by Island Air’s exclusive Meet and Greet service. As the islands’ only Fixed-Base Operator, Island Air has served the aviation community in the Cayman Islands since 1987, providing cost-effective and hassle-free aviation services for private and chartered aircrafts.
Modern infrastructure makes living in and visiting the Cayman Islands easy and convenient. There are three hospitals, 10 private schools – including an international school with an International Baccalaureate programme, well-appointed and modern grocery stores, a developed road network and a variety of retail and professional services. Communication services are modern and readily available, making contact and business overseas a straightforward process.
The Cayman Islands’ Land Registry is a modern system, which makes the process simple and safe, and provides peace of mind to purchasers. Land ownership is registered with the Cayman Islands Government, which means there is generally no need for title insurance.
Friendly and safe
The Cayman Islands is rated as one of the friendliest countries in the world, most notably by Forbes Magazine. In fact, the Cayman Islands is so committed to how they treat others, the Cayman Islands Government established the term “Caymankind.” Caymankind denotes the experience of Caymanian culture and that new residents are highly likely to receive a warm welcome from locals and international residents alike. Thanks to a well-equipped police force, the Royal Cayman Islands Police Service, crime levels are among the lowest in the Caribbean.
Cayman Islands’ tax neutrality
In the Cayman Islands, there is no income tax, recurring property tax, corporate tax, capital gains tax or inheritance tax.
A one-time stamp duty (land transfer fee) is applicable on real estate sales and is currently 7.5% on the purchase price or value of the property (whichever is higher), made payable to the Cayman Islands Government.
First-time Caymanian buyers receive a special exemption of this fee if they make a land purchase of no more than CI$100,000 or on property under CI$300,000 – any purchase made above this amount is eligible to receive a reduced rate of 2%.
Financing and legal framework
Buyers are encouraged to appoint an attorney to prepare the necessary legal documentation for closing and it is estimated to cost between 0.5% to 1% of the purchase price.
Real estate agent fees are present but are paid only by the vendor – offering buyers another cost-saving benefit. Vendors can expect to pay commission rates using a common guide set by CIREBA. For example, properties ranging from US$95,000 to $494,999 will adhere to 7% while higher value properties ranging from US$995,000 to $9,994,999 adhere to 5%. Click here for a full list of commission rates.
If you seek a mortgage and choose to finance with a Cayman Islands bank, a valuation report is required and this cost is dependent on the size and value of the property, starting from approximately CI$400. The mortgage approval process usually takes four to six weeks from the time of application.
With an abundance of legal and financial professionals on island, buyers can find comfort with expert care and advice when they have chosen a Cayman home that best suits their requirements.
City dwellers who crave the conveniences of eateries, shopping and entertainment within walking distance will be drawn to OLEA at Camana Bay, a luxury waterfront residential community with the amenities of an urban lifestyle – restaurants, shopping, wineries, cafés, gyms, a spa and health facilities are all located in the town. Boaters and families wanting the freedom to design a home that suits their personal tastes may find the canalfront lots at North Creek to be more aligned with their needs. And with residences ranging from cosy, functional studios to stately five-bedroom penthouse suites at The Residences at Seafire, there’s a floor plan to suit any prospective home owner.