The Insider's Guide to Buying Property in the Cayman Islands
Overview - The Cayman Islands Real Estate Market
An autonomous British Overseas Territory in the western Caribbean Sea, the Cayman Islands is perhaps most well known internationally for its tax neutral status. As a highly successful offshore financial center prized for its political stability, the strength of its well regulated economy and the complete absence of direct taxation for full and part time residents, the Cayman Islands has long been a destination of choice for high net worth individuals and businesses.
However, there is much more to this trio of islands to tempt property buyers hunting for a vacation home or second home in the sunshine. The Cayman islands also offer an exceptionally high quality of life. Property is built to a very high standard. Infrastructure and healthcare facilities are first class. The island group boasts some of the world’s best beaches such as celebrated Seven Mile Beach, as well as excellent luxury hotels and varied dining, shopping and entertainment options on the main island Grand Cayman. For those in search of a quieter destination, the smaller sister islands Cayman Brac and Little Cayman have a more traditional island vibe with a slower pace of life and picturesque scenery. All three islands are renowned for some of the best diving in the region.
Real estate in the Cayman Islands is also a great choice for buyers looking for investments in the Caribbean offering the potential for high returns. Thanks to the strength of the economy and an active rental market, rental rates tend to be relatively high offering buyers who invest in the Cayman Islands the opportunity to generate an enviable ROI.
All in all, the Cayman Islands offers a package that is unique in the Caribbean. As a result, the islands have one of the most dynamic and robust real estate markets in the Caribbean where demand far outstrips supply. Property for sale in the most sought after locations – in particular the Seven Mile Beach Corridor – rarely remains on the market long before being snapped up by buyers from around the world.
With such a large number of hedge funds, banks and businesses based in the Cayman Islands, much of the territory’s real estate offerings are geared towards the higher end of the market. Some of the Caribbean’s most opulent beach houses and luxury apartments can be found along the breathtaking white sand beaches and glittering waterways of Grand Cayman. From opulent homes in Spotts and Rum Point to lavish apartment residences overlooking Seven Mile Beach, the Cayman Islands boasts some of the most exquisite real estate in the Caribbean. For those in search of their own slice of Cayman islands real estate on a more limited budget, more affordable homes and condos are also available on Grand Cayman in areas such as East End, South Sound and West Bay, as well as on the quieter islands of Cayman Brac and Little Cayman.
“With world-class beaches, superb quality of life and inviting tax incentives, the Cayman Islands has one of the fastest-moving property markets in the Caribbean”
Absolute freedom from direct taxation with no inheritance tax, income tax, property tax or capital gains tax.
Safe and secure British Overseas Territory offering political stability, a prosperous economy and one of the highest standards of living in the world.
Spectacular destination with some of the world’s best beaches, a wide variety of activities and entertainment and 300 dive sites.
Modern infrastructure, reliable utilities, excellent schools and state of the art medical care.
Flourishing real estate market underpinned by a government-backed Land Registry system and high quality property for sale ranging from affordable investments through to some of the most luxurious homes in the Caribbean.
Straightforward immigration system offering a smooth path to residency for financially-secure individuals investing in real estate.
Easily accessible via 1 hour direct flights from Florida, 3.5 hour direct flights from New York and many other cities.
Buying Process, Fees & Taxes
- Can foreigners buy property in the Cayman Islands?
Yes, foreigners can buy property in the Cayman Islands and the Government of the Cayman Islands welcomes investment from overseas buyers. Unlike some other destinations, there are no restrictions on foreign buyers acquiring real estate in the Cayman Islands and no annual property taxes.
Property can be purchased in the name of an individual or corporation which may offer tax benefits.
Foreign investors can also purchase land and there are no requirements to develop the land within a defined time frame, unlike other Caribbean islands.
- Buying process
Buying property in the Cayman Islands is a relatively simple process, which typically involves the following steps:
- Begin your property search.
- Find your perfect property and make an offer.
- Once you have made a formal written offer and the offer has been accepted, you will be required to pay a deposit.
- A contract will be drawn up stipulating the terms and conditions of the transaction.
- Upon transfer of funds, both you and the seller should execute a Transfer of Land form and the transaction will be complete.
- Closing takes place upon satisfaction of the terms and conditions outlined in the contract and payment of all required taxes and fees.
- As each land lot in the Cayman Islands has a designated block and parcel number, title ownership is simply and securely recorded in a computerized Land Registry system. Ownership of each parcel is guaranteed by the government of the Cayman Islands. This simple, secure and effective system means there is generally no need for title insurance and allows for the rapid completion of property transactions.
- Fees & taxes
Stamp duty is the largest additional cost paid by buyers at the time of closing. This one-time payment to the Cayman Islands Government amounts to 7.5% of the purchase price or the market value of the property (whichever is higher).
Stamp duty is not payable on the furnishings or chattels of the property.
There are concessions on stamp duty available to Caymanian first time buyers purchasing certain kinds of property. For example, Caymanian first time buyers currently benefit from exemption from stamp duty on the purchase of their first home valued at CI $300,000 or less or undeveloped “raw” land valued at CI $100,000 or less. In the case of houses and condos valued between CI $300,000 and CI $400,000, first-time Caymanian owner occupiers pay stamp duty at the rate of 2%.
Stamp duty ranging from 1% to 1.5% is also payable on mortgages.
Legal fees typically amount to an additional 1% of the purchase price of the property.
Latest Real Estate Listings in Cayman Islands
Residency & Citizenship
- How long can a foreign citizen stay in the Cayman Islands?
Citizens of the USA, Canada, EU and the UK may generally stay in the Cayman Islands on holiday for up to 6 months without a visa.
- How do you become a resident of the Cayman Islands?
If you are thinking of moving to the Cayman Islands, there are 2 main routes to residency.
Firstly, individuals who have been lawfully resided in the Cayman Islands for a period of at least 8 years may be eligible for Permanent Residency.
Secondly, “wealthy retirees, entrepreneurs and investors” who are aged over 18, are financially self-sufficient and have invested in real estate in the Cayman Islands may be eligible for a Residency Certificate for Persons of Independent Means. Certificates are valid for a period of 25 years and are renewable thereafter.
Find out more: Cayman Islands Residency
- How do you become a citizen of the Cayman Islands?
Individuals who have been legally resident in the Cayman Islands for at least 5 years may be eligible under the British Nationality Act to apply for naturalization as a British Overseas Territories Citizen (BOTC).
Mortgages in the Cayman Islands
Looking for financing to fund the purchase of property in the Caribbean?
Contrary to popular misconception, it is possible for foreign nationals looking to invest in Cayman Islands real estate to apply for a mortgage.
Our partner – a very well respected international financial organization – offers mortgages for qualifying non-residents buying, building or improving a second home in the Cayman Islands.
For more information, see our page on: Caribbean mortgages.
How to Get There
There are direct flights to the Cayman Islands from various cities across the United States, Canada and various Caribbean islands.
Flights arrive at Owen Roberts International Airport which is located in George Town near to Seven Mile Beach on Grand Cayman.
From the USA, there are direct flights to the Cayman Islands from Atlanta (Delta), Boston, Charlotte and Philadelphia (US Airways), Miami (American Airlines), Houston and New York (Continental Airlines) and Detroit and Minneapolis (Northwest Airlines).
From Canada, Air Canada flies from Toronto to the Cayman Islands.
From the UK, fly with BA from London.
From Jamaica, Air Jamaica operates direct flights from Kingston and Montego Bay.
- Miami to Grand Cayman 1h 30m
- Atlanta to Grand Cayman 2h 45m
- Houston to Grand Cayman 2h 55m
- Toronto to Grand Cayman 4h
- New York to Grand Cayman 5h 55m
- Boston to Grand Cayman 6h 35m
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