Caymanians can’t afford to live in our birthplace

In today’s culture, the new normal is $800,000-and-up properties, and the rich are staying wealthy while the middle class suffer, as if to say they are also considered poor.

As a young Caymanian, born and raised, I purchased my first property at the age of 19, therefore using my first-time-buyer stamp duty exemption. Even then, due to the value of the property exceeding the waiver, I was still required to pay a portion of stamp duty. With that being said, I did not even qualify for the mortgage by myself, so the property was purchased jointly. 

12 years later, my first property is being put up for sale. Proceeds then have to be split. Now over the timeframe of the 12 years, I have developed a good relationship with the bank. I am now in the process of buying land to build or buying a house for my family.

Keeping in mind that my first-time Caymanian stamp duty waiver has already been used up, I am now looking at paying around $50,000 on stamp duty, another $50,000 on the down payment required by the bank and, to top it all off, another $50,000 to the developers to secure my house lot.

A standard three-bedroom home is now at least $400,000. Now, imagine going to the bank to apply for that mortgage and they tell you that you do not qualify.

So where does that leave the young Caymanians that are hardworking individuals, driven and determined to buy property, build their home for their families? And being told that you are unable to apply at this time.

Now herein lies the problem that the government is not addressing. You should not have to suffer to find this amount of cash to get a mortgage on a home, while the millionaires are buying up the island to do these developments that only foreigners can afford to purchase. 

Let me also address that the affordable housing schemes that are being done are not adequate, in terms of the amount that is going to be developed, which leaves people on the waiting list for years.

I am pleading to the Cayman Islands government to consider adjusting the terms of the stamp duty waiver. Didn’t the developer already have to pay stamp duty on the entire development? Or are they exempt from that, and is that being passed onto the individual buyers?

Address this situation now; you are selling our little island paradise out. Where are Caymanians to go if we can’t even afford to live in the place of our birth?

Alisha Jackson

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3 COMMENTS

  1. The answer really quite simple. Every developer putting up a mega condo complex at the cost of, say, $50 million, has to build at least 10 quality homes for Caymanians with a ceiling cost of $100,000 which he finances through guaranteed low interest mortgages.
    You make this one of the major criteria for approving the development.
    He also has to post a bond of, say, 15% of the cost of the development which he forfeits if he doesn’t meet the terms of his permit including a percentage environmental and infrastructure costs . That works very well in other jurisdictions, so why not here?

    • This works very well in SOCIALIST jurisdictions.
      However I completely agree that the government should do something to help. I think they should not charge stamp duty on any home purchased by Caymanians up to a value of $500,000 KYD. Perhaps a little higher.

      Not just first time home buyers but restricted to one purchase every 5 years to discourage speculation and flipping.

    • 37A(d) of the Development & Planning Act 2020 requires any developer of a hotel resort anywhere in the Islands or a condo development on the Seven Mile Beach corridor of 11 apartments or more, to pay CI$3,000 per hotel guestroom or CI$20,000 per apartment, into General Revenue as an ‘affordable housing fee’.
      This fee collection has been in force since 2014 and there has been a lot of hotel rooms and apartments on West Bay Road development in that time, so maybe a FOI question to the Director of Planning would tell us all just how much ‘affordable housing fee’ has brought into the coffers?