Decent start for 2012 property market

The Cayman Islands real estate market started off 2012 in stronger fashion than it ended 2011, which otherwise posted impressive totals for the year, as far as the dollar amount of property changing hands.

Last year’s prevailing trend – of there being a relatively few number of relatively high-value deals – held true for January and February 2012.

In January, there were 114 freehold property transfers worth $30.1 million, according to statistics from the Lands and Survey Department. That’s roughly in line with other levels during the month of January since the beginning of the recession. January 2011 had 118 transfers worth $36.5 million. January 2010 had 103 transfers worth $22.4 million. January 2009 had 133 transfers worth $23.7 million.

The average value of transfers in January 2012 was $264,000, compared with $310,000 in January 2011; $217,000 in January 2010; and $178,000 in January 2009.

In February, there were 135 transfers worth $40.4 million. That’s considerably less than February 2011, which saw 221 transfers worth a record $141.4 million. February 2010 had 139 transfers worth $19.6 million. February 2009 had 159 transfers worth $31.8 million.

The average value of transfers in February 2012 was $300,000, compared with $640,000 in February 2011 (also a record); $141,000 in February 2010; and $200,000 in February 2009.

The January and February 2012 totals were improvements upon November and December 2011 figures. Combined, January and February 2012 had 249 transfers worth $70.5 million. November and December 2011 had a combined 197 transfers worth $50.8 million.

Out of the 74 months for which the Lands and Survey Department has statistics online, dating back to the beginning of 2006, January 2012 ranked 68th in terms of the number of transfers, 53rd in terms of the total value of transfers, and 19th in terms of average value per transfer. February 2012 ranked 59th, 33rd and 12th, respectively.

Compared with previous years since 2006, the first two months of 2012 posted fewer transfers than in any other year except 2009, which had 242 transfers during the first two months. While the total value of transfers for January and February 2012 was down compared with the first two months of 2011, the total value of transfers so far in 2012 was 68 per cent greater than 2010 and 27 per cent greater than 2009 for the year to date.

According February 2012’s sales statistics, which are compiled on a different schedule than freehold property transfer figures, there were 92 sales transactions totalling $31.8 million, at an average sales price of $346,000. In February, there were 33 transactions involving land worth $4.2 million (average price of $127,000), 33 condo sales worth $16.3 million ($493,000 average) and 26 residential sales worth $11.4 million ($437,000 average).