As we transition into the new year, I am excited at the prospects for Cayman’s real estate industry for the coming 12 months, because we will be building on an already strong product that just looks to strengthen even further in 2016.
Year on year, 2015 was very productive for our industry, with an approximate 20-plus percent increase in transactions over 2014, though the average transaction price was lower than in 2014, where the volume of sales was higher per transaction due to the rollout of The WaterColours ultra-luxurious residences on Seven Mile Beach, which has become a highly sought-after addition to the ever-dwindling inventory in this prized section of the Cayman Islands.
Looking more broadly ahead to 2016, Cayman’s real estate appears set to continue to diversify its offering for its clientele, thereby increasing the likelihood of sales, boosting the industry and strengthening Cayman’s economy as a whole. For example, I see an increase in residential lots becoming available for development, in places such as the very popular and exclusive Yacht Club, as well as sections of South Sound being prepared for construction as new development is set to take place.
One very important project that I believe will greatly add value to Cayman’s real estate offering is Cayman Enterprise City’s proposed campus on a 70-acre site in South Sound. Now that zoning has been approved, we will see this project’s long-term plans come to fruition. I am particularly excited about the prospect of not only the development of new office buildings, but the fact that this project will also include an entire neighborhood of new homes, restaurants and a hotel surrounding a man-made lake, all of which is scheduled for development for the Special Economic Zone. This is one project to watch for in 2016 and beyond.
Cayman’s hotel stock is looking to radically diversify and strengthen in 2016. The fact that the Treasure Island Resort will be converted into The Margaritaville Beach Resort on Seven Mile Beach over the course of the next year is exciting news for both Cayman’s tourism industry and its real estate industry.
Now that we have reached 2016, the countdown is on for the opening of the Seafire Resort and Spa, developed by the Kimpton brand. This means another new hotel brand will be available for our visitors to enjoy, attracting new demographics of visitors who will then get the opportunity to appreciate all that this fantastic destination has to offer. The surroundings will also benefit as there will be additional development over the coming years.
Infrastructure continues to be improved with the widening of the bypass from George Town and the moving of the Camana Bay section of the bypass through the soon-to-be-constructed tunnel, all important enhancements that help our real estate become increasingly attractive to overseas investors and would-be new residents as these two changes will eliminate the bottleneck that currently exists.
I do need to add a word of caution, however. Inventory in specific areas of Grand Cayman is becoming increasingly weak as the number of available properties on the market reduces. I realize this is an issue that I have raised before in previous articles, but I believe it’s very important to understand that prices are changing and so if you see a property that is still well-priced in one of the highly sought-after areas such as Seven Mile Beach, my advice to you is to act now because the price is only moving one way, and that is up.