Exactly what do Cayman buyers want?

The upsurge in the Cayman Islands real estate market of late is unquestionable, with the number of sales, speed of sales and even Cayman property prices increasing.  At Milestone Properties, we wanted to delve deeper into what the contributing factors of this market regeneration were. So, we recently conducted an online survey through our extensive database, and a more random sampling of people based in Cayman through social media platforms.

Milestone Properties had the following objectives in mind; we wanted to gain input from prospective property buyers in the Cayman Islands. We wanted to find out why these prospective buyers were thinking of purchasing real estate. And even though buying and selling property is an everyday occurrence across the globe we wanted to know if our respondents were aware of and understood the process of buying in the Cayman Islands, the benefits of using a real estate agent and of course the benefits of using CIREBA (Cayman Islands Real Estate Brokers Association)

Our first question was; are you considering buying Cayman real estate?  Several reasons were noted; ‘we want to upsize’ and ‘we want to improve our property status’, as opposed to downsixing or even reducing their presence on island. But the answer that surprised Milestone Properties most was the response to our next question about price range preference and urgency. We found that respondents were looking for an investment property in the range of $400K – $1 million and that they wanted to do so within the next 3-6 months. Milestone Properties believes that these answers are indeed positive news for current property sellers and also dispels the myth that the real estate market in Cayman is seasonal and only peaks from November to April. Furthermore, with a significant level of interest in investment properties, we also believe that landlords can sell their property with a tenant in place, which makes a purchase/sale seamless and more attractive as it is a ready made investment for the buyer, and no void period for the vendor.

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If you’re not versed on the value or ins and outs of investment properties and their ROI, please contact Milestone Properties for our user friendly investment calculator.

Another reason for buying from our respondents was Permanent Residency. The fact that the Cayman Islands Government requires real estate investment on the application (even though there is some uncertainty in terms of the actual value of the property on the points system and how it compares, in points, to personal savings or alternative investments) is yet another positive for vendors. If you need any advice on the points system and permanent residency advice please contact Dinner Martin as the firm is well versed in the intricacies of Permanent Residency applications, the process and due requirements.

Other points Milestone Properties gained from our respondents are a positive feeling of optimism in the market, that household incomes and savings were on the increase and that residents were feeling more settled and comfortable with raising a growing family in Cayman. In our opinion this benefits the economy across the board. Additionally the airport expansion, and possible runway extension assisted by Dart and the Ritz Carlton Cayman and the development of a host of new hotels on Seven Mile Beach also bring confidence to prospective buyers.

What are buyers looking for? Milestone Properties was not surprised that 38% ideally wanted beachfront and 30% wanted canal front/boat accessibility.  Unexpectedly, 55% said the most important factor was a swimming pool and 47% wanted privacy, or a combination of both.

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We were interested to see that all the respondents seemed to be savvy buyers who are not impressed by gimmicky adverts and marketing ploys, but would rather use their own positive experiences of working with an agent/broker, or use references from friends, family and co-workers to an agent/broker, rather than a company.

We also found that more buyers would prefer to do their own home improvements or build a new home rather than purchasing turnkey or a newly built property.

Milestone Properties also asked the respondents which tools they used when it came to searching for their desired property and agents and brokers own sites and CIREBA.com scored tops, rather than non-industry specific portals and publications.

Favourite communities/developments were more evenly spread than expected with the following percentages wanting to be based in these areas; Condo’s on or near Seven Mile Beach were only slightly more favoured than the communites of South Sound and Old Prospect Point, however its clear that the boating community is growing by the day and the demand for boat accessible properties on the North Sound Waterways of Governors Harbour, Canal Point, Vista del Mar and Grand Harbour were third most popular. Out of the Eastern districts Cayman Kai & Rum Point was most desireable, most likely because of the investment and vacation home possibilites.

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As a thank you to all of the participants for their time and feedback, they all had the opportunity to enter a draw. The winner of the Milestone Properties buyer’s survey won a $500 gift certificate from Sticks & Stones, so make sure you look our for our next survey which will be a seller/vendor survey. If you are thinking of selling your property or marketing a development for sale, please contact us for further details and more in depth analysis on ‘what exactly Cayman buyers want’.

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