The transfer of The Ritz-Carlton, Grand Cayman, property to its new owner boosted real estate statistics to record levels in the first half of 2013.
The Cayman Islands Lands and Survey Department recently released June data for the number and monetary value of freehold property transfers, which are mostly, but not all, sales. Through the first six months of the year, the number, value and average value of freehold transfers have all increased compared to the first half of 2012.
So far this year, the department reports 848 freehold transfers worth nearly $346 million, with an average value of about $408,000. The first half of 2012 included 825 transfers worth $218 million, with an average value of $264,000. (That’s a year-over-year increase of 3 per cent in terms of number of transfers, 58 per cent in terms of total value and 54 per cent in terms of average value.)
The US$177.5 million auction of the Ritz factors heavily into the 2013 numbers. The auction occurred 31 October, 2012, but the transfer was not officially recorded until May 2013, due to disagreements between purchaser RC Cayman Ltd. and the Cayman Islands government over the value of the property.
The department has monthly real estate statistics on its website dating back to January 2006. The last time a major property deal skewed the country’s real estate data was in early 2011, when the Dart Group struck an agreement with developer Stan Thomas to acquire a network of properties, including the former Courtyard Marriott site, which is being redeveloped into a Kimpton hotel.
Numbers for the first half of this year are slightly off the first half of 2011, with 4 per cent fewer transfers, a total value of 13 per cent less and an average value of 9 per cent less. However, compared to the first half of 2010, year-to-date numbers are down 4 per cent in terms of number of transfers, up 115 per cent in terms of total value and up 125 per cent in terms of average value.
That trend holds true looking back at previous years since 2007, with the first half of 2013 showing fewer property transfers, but with greater total and average values. The total value of transfers for 2013 is 6 per cent less than in the first half of 2006, but the average value is up 60 per cent.
Compared to the average values posted in the first halves of 2006-2012, the year-to-date numbers are down 18 per cent in terms of number of transfers, up 31 per cent in terms of total value and up 57 per cent in terms of average value.
With 30 quarterly periods on record since January 2006, the second quarter of 2013 ranks first in terms of total value of transfers ($251.5 million) and first in average value of transfers ($606,000). That’s slightly better than the first quarter of 2011, which ranked second in total value ($250.9 million) and average value ($519,000).