Real Estate Investment in the Cayman Islands

Maps:

Grand Cayman
Cayman Brac
Little Cayman

History and Politics

The Cayman Islands are coral and limestone islands. They were discovered by Columbus in 1503, later traded to England, and remain a British Crown Colony to this day. Cayman has a long history of parliamentary type government with legislators elected every four years and still subject to Great Britain in matters of foreign policy and defense.

Society and Economics

Cayman has the highest per capita income in the Caribbean, equal to or exceeding that of the USA. There is little unemployment and most businesses are Caymanian owned and operated. The language is English and the American dollar is readily accepted, although the local currency is the Cayman dollar which is pegged to the US dollar at 1.25. All classes of society are racially mixed including government and there are no artificial class or colour distinctions. The friendliness of the Caymanians set them apart from other Caribbean peoples.

Lodging and Activities

Cayman has chain hotels such as the Ritz-Carlton, Westin, Marriott and Hyatt as well as many condominiums and smaller hotel properties. Considered one of the world's top three snorkeling and scuba diving destinations, the deep sea and bone fishing are also excellent. The Cayman Islands National Trust offers interesting outings. Golf and tennis are readily available as well as the most favored of all day time activities - sunbathing on Seven Mile beach. There are many excellent restaurants, and if you have energy left after dinner and a fun day in the sun, you can dance under the stars.

Transportation and Communication

Cayman is served by American, Delta, Northwest, US Air, and Air Jamaica, as well as its own national flag carrier Cayman Airways. There are also excellent satellite telecommunications and courier services.

Taxes and Residency

There are no direct taxes imposed by the Cayman government: no income tax, no property tax, no capital gains tax, no inheritance taxes. It has become the financial capital of the Caribbean with well over 500 banks and financial institutions represented.

THE RANGE OF INVESTMENT OPPORTUNITIES IN THE CAYMAN ISLANDS, FROM RESIDENTIAL TO COMMERCIAL PROPERTIES IS SIGNIFICANT.
CAYMAN IS HARD TO BEAT
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Foreigners may open bank accounts and borrow to finance a purchase. Interest on money borrowed in Cayman may be properly written off in most countries. Bank accounts may also be opened in corporate entities. It is illegal under Cayman Law for anyone to divulge any financial information unless it can be proven that the funds were obtained through illegal means.

The requirements for Cayman Residency include having a clean police record and investing approximately US$200,000 in a home in the Islands. After six months of temporary residency one is eligible for permanent residency. Cayman Residency allows unrestricted stays in the Cayman Island and allows one to be taxed (usually not taxed) as a non-resident in ones home country. These residency provisions together with the lack of inheritance taxes are two of the most attractive financial aspects of a move to the Cayman Islands. This type of residency, however, does not include the right to work. Employment requires a work permit which is likely to be issued only if local labor is not available for a particular position.

Ownership and Brokerage

The factors mentioned here are responsible for creating a tourist industry which has had the best growth record by far in the Caribbean over the past 20 years. Naturally this constant influx of people enjoying themselves has had a very positive spin-off effect on the real estate industry.

The real estate industry itself makes the ownership process very simple. There are no restrictions on foreign ownership of property. The title to property in Cayman is "absolute" (fee simple). Based on the Torrens System, each property has a property register which can be obtained at the Lands and Survey Department showing it's legal description, history of ownership, and record of liens. Government guarantees title through this document making title searches unnecessary.

A one time fee of 6 - 7.5% is paid to government to register title. Although through this procedure ownership is a matter of public record, properties may be held in Cayman Corporations thereby making beneficial ownership a confidential matter.

The market here is a free market which responds to supply and demand. Most of the property sold is handled by firms who are members of the Cayman Islands Real Estate Brokers Association. The Association, CIREBA, runs a Multiple Listing System and co-ordinates the activities of 32 firms and approx 180 agents. It also publishes its own colour sales magazine of specific properties for sale.

CIREBA brokers are capable of handling your transactions from start to finish and members are obliged to follow a strict code of business ethics. CIREBA is the Cayman Islands chapter of FIABCI, the international Institute of Real Estate Brokers, and is, in fact, the only FIABCI chapter in the Caribbean.

COLDWELL BANKER CAYMAN ISLANDS REALTY

Coldwell Banker Cayman Islands Realty is a Caymanian company employing several different nationalities. Members of the firm have been involved in the real estate business since the late 70's. Since then, the firm has brokered, developed and managed many types of quality residential and commercial properties.

The success of the firm can be traced to its conscientious and professional, yet personal approach to business. Although Cayman has become an international financial center, it remains a small town where virtues like honesty, diligence, and courtesy lead to a reputation that generates new business. Large and creative advertising programs and one of Cayman's largest listing and client bases ensures Coldwell Banker Cayman Islands Realty is one of the island's busiest brokerage houses. Coldwell Banker programs, such as "Previews", together with their large network of referring brokers (70,000) and their comprehensive web sites add to the market clout of Coldwell Banker Cayman Islands Realty.

Cayman Brac

Mr. JC Calhoun, the firm's chief executive, is an American with over 35 years experience in the Caribbean. A three time past President of CIREBA and current board member, Mr. Calhoun is widely considered an expert on the Cayman property market. He is also President of Coldwell Banker's Master Franchise for Bermuda and the Caribbean.

A good broker will save you time and money in a new market place. The agents at Coldwell Banker Cayman Islands Realty will be pleased to help you find the best that Cayman has to offer.