A new column on real estate issues from Sheena Conolly, owner of Cayman Islands Sotheby’s International Realty.
There has never been a more important time to focus on marketing reach in the real estate world. Cayman can no longer afford to sit back and wait for buyers to walk through the door, eager to invest in the Island’s property market.
Today’s current world economic climate has undoubtedly brought new challenges to the real estate market, particularly for those currently selling property in the Cayman Islands. Falling visitor numbers, both in overseas residents as well as air and cruise passengers, and a decline in foreign investments may seem like an ominous sign for the property market.
However, given the historically low interest rate, price correction and buyers incentives of today there has undoubtedly never been a better time to buy real estate in our undiscovered islands of choice.
What the current economic situation has highlighted is that now, more than ever, vendors selling property in the Cayman Islands need to find new ways and means to market their property to a global audience, reaching for new and untapped opportunities.
In five short years, the ‘new’ Sotheby’s International Realty (SIR) now based in New Jersey, has grown to nearly 11,000 sales associates located in more than 500 hundred offices in 39 countries and territories worldwide. In the context of current global economic challenges, this positive increase is truly something we can all rejoice in. Recent expansions include Russia, Qatar, Japan, Brazil, Switzerland, Canada, Argentina and Singapore.
Opening the doors to best class of real estate across the spectrum of land, condominiums, homes, investment properties and even commercial was another strategic move from the get-go and broadened what had previously been known as an elite company only offering a handful of Castles and Estates of exceptionally high value. Making the target markets more reachable and business friendly is a mandate for success and a requirement of the new set. This can be seen with our own Cayman selection where we offer all types of realty breeds.
Let’s hope the recent change in government may encourage the long awaited and much needed airport runway expansion, opening up a wider selection of direct flight destinations. Giving Cayman the opportunity to realistically reach new purchasers and promote property to more emerging markets and niches not currently excited by the distance obstacle. This, in turn would create and drive more visitors, second or third home buyers and guests with disposable income to our needy shores.
In Cayman, our office has benefited from exceptional growth and recognition. Our new real estate gallery in Governor’s Square gives us the boutique concierge style atmosphere in the right address. Re-naming our office from the locally known Sheena Conolly SIR to Cayman Islands SIR, was a strategic move, allowing the company to position itself towards a worldwide platform and market the Cayman Islands as a location, to the same extent as our real estate product.
Cayman Sotheby’s Realty has been encouraged over the last few months by continued overseas interest. Our Islands via our International branding will be marketed with over 100 million media impressions this year. Publications such as Conde Nast Traveler, Country Life, International Herald Tribune and events such as Wimbledon, Cannes Film Festival, Monaco Grand Prix as well as the UK Travel Channel.
Our global reach is further enhanced by the relationship with Sotheby’s Auction House, the oldest and first auction house in the world. The Sotheby’s name has earned renown as a marketer of the world’s most valuable and prestigious possessions. With a dedicated realty desk now stationed at Sotheby’s auction houses we are able to unite thousands of buyers with the properties our network represents, further expanding our ability to find purchasers for Cayman real estate.
The truly global nature of Cayman Islands Sotheby’s International Realty, allows you as a vendor to reach out and market your property to potential purchasers on a worldwide scale, with access to international publications and websites, and partnerships with renowned companies such as the Wall Street Journal, Architectural Digest, Robb Report Collections, Vacation Homes, New York Times and the Financial Times – How to Spend It. Through a diverse and colorful array of print and online initiatives, the Sotheby’s International Realty brand is now recognized locally, regionally and internationally.
It always comes as a surprise to me that Cayman is so unknown outside of the world of finance. Property buyers in Barbados, Bahamas and Bermuda to name just a few, are used to much higher price points, many of whom know nothing of the numerous benefits and qualities of Cayman. We have indeed much work to do to promote our attractive destination and realty as the offshore residential locale of investment and choice.