In Cayman, home is where the house is

 Property & developmen

Any way you slice it, the data shows that houses – rather than condominiums – are fast becoming the domicile of choice in the Cayman Islands. 

According to the government’s Economics and Statistics Office’s recently released Compendium of Statistics 2012, more Cayman households reported living in houses rather than apartments, condos or studios. That’s a major swing from 2008, when 43 per cent of households were in houses and 56 per cent were in condos. 

Additionally, the report shows the total value of proposed houses dwarfs the total value of proposed apartments, at all stages of the planning and construction process, including those with planning approval, those with building permits, and those issued certificates of occupancy. 

Where people live 

In 2012, some 12,111 households reported living in houses, up from 9,704 in 2008. That’s an increase of 25 per cent. Over the same time period, the number of households living in condos or studios fell from 12,670 in 2008 to 12,017 in 2012, a decline of 5 per cent. Similarly, the number of households with a mortgage rose 10 per cent, the number of households who own homes outright rose 20 per cent, while the number of households who rent declined by 2 per cent. 

In 2008, about 46 per cent of Cayman Islands householders were homeowners, while 50 per cent were renters. Those numbers have flipped, with 50 per cent of Cayman Islands householders as homeowners and 46 per cent as renters. 

Overall, from 2008 to 2012 there was a 7 per cent increase in the total number of households, from 22,632 to 24,164. 

Those trends largely held true throughout Grand Cayman and the Sister Islands. The district of Bodden Town posted the largest percentage increase in number of occupied houses (39 per cent), with the district of West Bay not far behind (33 per cent). Although the Sister Islands posted a 14 per cent decrease in the number of houses from 2008 to 2012, there was a much larger drop in the number of condos and studios (27 per cent decline). In 2012, about 81 per cent of Sister Islands households lived in houses and 19 per cent in condos or studios. 

George Town is the only district where fewer households live in houses than condos, by a margin of 31 per cent to 69 per cent. In 2008, the district of West Bay was split 50-50 in terms of houses versus condos. However, in 2012, those numbers had changed to 62 per cent in houses and 37 per cent in condos. 

George Town is also the only district where more households rent than own. In 2012, about 39 per cent of George Town households were homeowners, and 57 per cent were renters. Those numbers are about the same as in 2008. 

In West Bay, about 47 per cent of households were homeowners and 49 per cent renters in 2008. In 2012, 54 per cent of West Bay households were homeowners, and 40 per cent were renters. 

What’s being built 

Through the recession, new house construction has attained greater prominence among overall development in Cayman. While the value of houses that are planned or newly built has dropped somewhat in the past five years, the numbers are sterling compared to other types of construction, including apartments and commercial projects. 

In terms of projects that have received planning approval, the value of proposed houses has held relatively steady when compared to the value of proposed apartments. In 2008, there were about $118 million in proposed houses, compared to $150 million in proposed apartments. In 2012, there were about $86 million in proposed houses and $17 million in proposed apartments. From 2008 to 2012, the total value of commercial projects receiving planning approval declined from $126 million to $13 million. 

During that time, the total value of proposed projects receiving planning approval dropped from $509 million in 2008 to $171 million in 2012. (In 2008, houses accounted for about 23 per cent of projects receiving planning approval, by value. In 2012, houses accounted for 50 per cent of projects by value.) 

Moving on to the next stage of the planning process, the value of houses that received building permits has also held steady compared to apartments. In 2008, about $117 million worth of houses were issued building permits, and about $117 million worth of apartments were issued building permits. In 2012, about $103 million worth of houses received building permits, compared to $15 million in apartments. From 2008 to 2012, the total value of commercial projects receiving building permits declined from $162 million to $15 million. 

During that time, the total value of projects receiving building permits dropped from $502 million in 2008 to $156 million in 2012. (In 2008, houses accounted for about 23 per cent of projects receiving building permits, by value. In 2012, houses accounted for 66 per cent of projects by value.) 

Looking at projects that were successfully constructed, the value of houses receiving certificates of occupancy dropped from $63 million in 2008 to $53 million in 2012. By comparison, the value of completed apartments dropped from $87 million in 2008 to $16 million in 2012. The value of completed commercial projects dropped from $60 million in 2008 to $53 million in 2012 (although only $20 million worth of commercial projects were finished in 2011). 

Overall, the total value of completed projects declined from $223 million in 2008 to $125 million in 2012. (In 2008, houses accounted for about 28 per cent of completed projects, by value. In 2012, houses accounted for 42 per cent of projects by value.) 

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