With the average property in Cayman selling for nearly $500,000, high-end transactions have dominated the real estate market in recent years.
However, at least one development is under way that will cater towards the territory’s young professionals and other middle-class residents. Work started earlier this month on a 75-unit condo development known as 19 North, located between Willie Farrington Drive and the Esterley Tibbetts Highway in West Bay.
Homes at the development start at $212,000 and are going quickly, according to 19 North Development Company director Jonathan Murphy. He said his company initially put 45 units on the market, and that all but five have been sold.
Buyers of the units include companies that want to provide housing for their employees, young Caymanians looking for a starter home, and other investors, he said.
“We’ve had a mix of first-time buyers or parents buying for kids,” he said. “We’ve had people buying for investments and business owners who want to find a solution for their staff.”
With four major hotel projects either under way or in the planning phase, Murphy said he sees no end to the need for affordable housing in Cayman. The hotel projects could bring in 300 to 400 workers apiece within a couple of years, he said.
“We understand from talking to a number of local businesses that there is a lack of quality, affordable housing solutions that are conveniently located for their employees,” Murphy said. “With a pipeline of projects that will serve to booster Cayman’s tourist and service industries, there will be continued pressure on the residential market to provide viable housing options for both locals and expats.”
The units range from one to three bedrooms, and the complex’s amenities will include a 60-foot long pool, a gym and public areas. Murphy also touted the fact that the complex is along the bus route.
Murphy said the first units should be habitable by April 2020.
Original plans called for 126 apartments on the same five-acre site, but those plans were rejected by the Central Planning Authority in November 2017 because it was too densely developed.
A scaled-down plan was approved last June. Work to prepare the grounds took place for several months, and actual construction work started this month.