Market update, Sept.

Sales volumes for 2011 continue to improve on the same period (year to 30th September) last year. 110 residential properties sold this year to 30 September, up from a figure of 79 from last year.  

Likewise, sales of condominiums increased, from 206 in the year to 30 September 2010 to 225 for the same period this year. The market has also seen an increase in the overall average list price at which residential properties sold: US$943,928 for the year to 30 September 2011, versus US$846,250 for the same period last year.  

Condominium sales followed the same trend, with the average list price at which condominiums sold at for the year to September 2011 reaching US$555,088 versus US$526,636 for the same period in 2010.  

 

Rollover suspension is great news  

The Cayman Islands has received a tremendous boost by the recent announcement that the controversial immigration term limit policy known as ‘rollover’ has been suspended for two years. This is great news indeed because it means dialogue has begun on altering certain policies that I believe have been detrimental to the island’s economy.  

As I’ve discussed before, preventing someone from having the security of tenure after seven years of input into the economy does an injustice to the worker and has created a false economy for property because it forced those who were to be rolled over and thus leave the island to sell their property. It also stopped people from buying who would have liked to invest but did not want to take the risk, should they be required to leave. 

The suspension means that employers who have workers coming up to their term limit at the end of this year may now apply for a two-year term limit exemption work permit, buying the employee another two years on-island. It is hoped that this two-year breathing space will allow immigration experts looking into the Immigration Law to make changes for the good of Cayman and its economy as a whole. 

As we have seen over the years, every time the government changes the immigration policy whereby more residents have the ability to stay here in Cayman, the real estate market has moved upwards in both activity and price. This in particular will help with keeping owners and encouraging other to invest in the Cayman’s property market. 

 

West Bay Corridor enhancements 

The West Bay Corridor project that is now under way by the FORCayman Alliance is one such project aimed at boosting Cayman’s economy. Here it is anticipated that a brand new West Bay community area will be developed, creating economic stimulus and job creation, both badly needed in Cayman right now.  

The project will expand Public Beach and facilities there will be enhanced, while the Cayman community will also be able to enjoy an additional new public beach, which will be provided south of the intersection at Yacht Drive, as a result of combining the 6-foot public rights of way required under the Development and Planning Regulations. This land, currently owned by Dart, will be given to Government.  

Hotel redevelopment and an extension of the Esterley Tibbetts highway will also be job creating enhancements to Cayman’s tourism offerings and infrastructure.  

An additional benefit to this road move is that the increase in beach depth means the land has much more potential for appreciation and development as it was extremely limited and always had a ceiling that now has no boundaries and will bring in much-needed stamp duties in the years to come as the property turns over with each sale of each property on this site.  

 

James Bovell is broker/owner, RE/MAX Cayman Islands 

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