The early bird catches the worm

While October for many on island (particularly for those in the hospitality industry) is a traditionally slow time of year, for a good many local residents it represents a time of much activity, with the new school year under way and planning for Christmas beginning to take shape. It is now that I would like to urge local residents to think carefully about their long-term residential requirements.

Thinking ahead and then acting on those plans before the year is out could well provide you with incredible savings. In the New Year, I predict an upswing in prices that may well surprise many buyers.

The Cayman market is one of a very small number that still offers oceanfront property at affordable prices. But this is set to change. As the U.S. and U.K. economies get back on track following years of a deep recession, we are already seeing significant interest from buyers overseas and the purchasing power that their dollars (or pounds) now have. The laws of supply and demand mean that as demand for such properties rises, so too does the cost.

This means that ocean-front or canal-front properties that were once within your reach may suddenly become unobtainable. It is therefore prudent to make your investment earlier rather than later.

Currently, there are no waterfront or canal-front homes for sale along the Seven Mile Beach corridor listed for under US$1 million. As for land, on the CIREBA MLS, there are currently only 28 canal-front lots listed along the SMB corridor for under US$1 million, and of these, four are pending sale. If you are willing to move out of the general George Town area to Red Bay, Spotts or North Sound Estates, you will currently find about 10 homes for under $1 million, again about another 20 canal-front lots. So even in outlying areas of George Town and SMB, waterfront property is becoming scarce.

More than a family vacation destination

Cayman has long been the destination of choice for families looking to enjoy a safe, and secure location that is relatively crime-free, has year-round sunshine, safe beaches and first-class amenities, infrastructure and entertainment on a par with what they enjoy at home. Now, however, we are seeing such families look to make the Cayman Islands their home permanently.

The rise of Cayman Enterprise City, which has enticed businesses to set up shop here through fantastic incentives, as well as immigration reforms that have helped to attract investors to reside permanently here, means that we are seeing a good many executives looking to reside in Cayman. Instead of sending their children off to school elsewhere in the world, they are also looking to Cayman as an exciting destination in which their entire family can reside.

The possibilities open to our young people here are incredible. Not only do we have excellent schools that are producing outstanding academic results, we have just seen our first young person go on to win a bronze medal at the Youth Olympics in Nanjing, China, for her equestrian abilities, and two more youngsters compete in the sailing competition, while Cayman sent a team of young squash players to compete in the regional CASA (Caribbean Area Squash Association) competition in Bermuda in July. Our U-15 girls football (soccer) players fought hard in the CONCACAF (Confederation of North, Central America and Caribbean Association Football) championships last month, and our young athletes were able to compete in this year’s Commonwealth Games in Glasgow, Scotland.

Culturally and artistically, we have a vibrant scene. The National Gallery of the Cayman Islands continues to push the boat out with extraordinary exhibitions and events. The Cayman National Cultural Foundation also offers plenty of worthwhile activities for the entire family, especially as we head toward Christmas. We even have a thriving theatrical scene, with the Prospect Playhouse a brilliant location for some truly excellent performances.

For locals, the Cayman Islands has always been an attractive location in which to raise a family, but now investors from overseas are seeing these attributes for themselves and this will only have a positive impact on our real estate market.