James Bovell, Property Persepctive

For the past couple of years, I have been discussing the upward trajectory of the market, in terms of transactions and sales, and the ultimate reduction of inventory in sought-after places such as the Seven Mile Beach corridor and corresponding canalfront properties along the other side of the West Bay Road peninsula. An analysis of statistics produced by the Cayman Islands Real Estate Brokers Association for 2018 versus 2017 confirms my predictions and discussions, with 2018 showing increases in sales prices in most areas of the market, and in particular the condominium sector.

Overall, a comparison of the sold listings from Jan. 1 to Dec. 31, 2017 versus the same period last year shows a dramatic increase in both the number of properties sold in 2018 versus 2017 and also the total value of sales. In 2017 the total value of all sales was US$463 million, in 2018 that figure was US$568 million. There were 703 properties sold in 2017, equating to on average US$659,000 per transaction. Compare that with the 806 sales in 2018 (up 14.65 percent year on year), which equates to an average price of US$704,000 for each sale.

CIREBA figures are split into various sub-categories, including residential, which has shown a healthy increase overall, with 492 transactions taking place in 2017 with a value totaling US$369 million, versus 536 – a rise of 9 percent – with a total value of US$446 million.

As mentioned, the most significant movement within the residential sector is the condominium market. In 2017 there were 327 condominium sales with a total value of US$213 million, or US$650,000 on average per sale. In 2018 there were 339 condo sales, a rise of 4 percent, with a total of US$272 million, or US$807,000 per sale on average. This is an increase in value of more than 24 percent on average per condominium transaction. This is a subject on which I have touched frequently in these monthly updates.

Standalone properties that are part of a strata have also seen a healthy rise in price and also volume of sales, as buyers are realizing the benefits that go with owning their own home that is within a well-managed and regulated neighborhood. As a result, there were six sales of such homes in 2017 versus seven in 2018; however, the value of sales went from US$2,457,000 in 2017 (an average of US$410,000 per sale) to US$8,017,000 in 2018 (an average of US$1,145,000 per sale), which is a huge leap in value.

Commercial transactions have prospered in volume over the past 12 months, but not in value. In 2017 there were 12 such transactions, in 2018 there were 19. But in 2017 the total value of commercial property sales was US$17 million – an average of US$1,426,000 per sale – while in 2018 the total value was US$20 million, an average of US$1,054,000.

Land sales have also increased in both volume and value, moving from 192 land sales in 2017 with a total value of US$68 million, to 241 land sales in 2018 with a total value of US$95 million. Low-density residential, medium-density residential and beach resort residential land sales all increased in 2018 over 2017. The number of agriculture land sales dropped slightly in 2018, but the overall value jumped from US$2,252,000 (18 sales) to US$5,746,000 (16 sales) in 2018.

Sales are clearly booming in Cayman, underscoring the advice that I have been sharing time and time again – if you are looking for a property in Cayman, it really is not a good idea to wait, as prices are continuing to rise every day that you delay your decision to purchase in paradise.

If you would like to read more on this subject, please read my report in the upcoming Cayman Financial Review.

James Bovell is broker/owner at RE/MAX Cayman Islands

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