2012 real estate, by the numbers

It may not sound like much, but 2012 wasn’t the worst year in recent memory for the Cayman Islands property market. 

 

A handful of major transactions by the Dart Group skewed statistics in 2011, making it difficult to compare the general activity of the sector in a meaningful way from last year to that year. 

However, the 2012 market noticeably improved compared to 2010, in terms of the number, total value and average value of freehold property transfers, according to Lands and Survey Department figures. Additionally, the total value and average value of property transfers were greater in 2012 than in 2009, though the number of transfers was fewer. 

 

Year in review 

In 2012, the department reported 1,696 property transfers with a total value of $418.1 million, and an average value of about $246,500 per transfer. (Most, but not all, of those transfers are sales.) 

On a quarterly basis, the market started the year fairly strongly, posted two relatively solid quarters and dipped only slightly in the fourth quarter, which is traditionally one of the slower seasons for property transfers. 

In the first quarter of 2012, there were 425 transfers worth $116.6 million (average value of $274,500). In the second quarter, there were 400 transfers worth $101.6 million (average value of $253,900). In the third quarter, there were 475 transfers worth $101.5 million (average value of $213,700). In the fourth quarter, there were 396 transfers worth $98.4 million (average value of $248,400). 

The department’s online statistics go back to the beginning of 2006, or 28 quarters. 

The year 2011 was remarkable in that relatively few transfers occurred, but the transfers were of such high average value that it boosted the total value to respectable levels. That trend carried over into 2012, albeit in less exaggerated fashion. 

In 2012, the first quarter ranked 21st of 28 for number of transfers; the second quarter ranked 23rd; the third quarter ranked 16th; and the fourth quarter ranked 24th. Regarding the total value of transfers, the first quarter ranked 13th; the second quarter ranked 19th; the third quarter ranked 20th; and the fourth quarter ranked 21st. Regarding the average value of transfers, the first quarter ranked 7th; the second quarter ranked 10th; the third quarter ranked 19th; and the fourth quarter ranked 12th. 

 

Comparing quarters 

As has been said before, the property statistics in 2011 were greatly influenced by Dart’s activity. For example, Dart purchased a network of prime properties from developer Stan Thomas for $99.2 million and also bought land for the proposed Bodden Town District landfill for $12 million. Just those two transactions accounted for nearly 18 per cent of Cayman’s real estate activity in 2011. 

Compared to 2011, the number of first quarter transfers in 2012 declined by 12 per cent, but the number of second quarter transfers increased by 1 per cent, the number of third quarter transfers increased by 5 per cent, and the number of fourth quarter transfers increased by 5 per cent. The total value of transfers in 2012, compared to 2011, declined by 54 per cent in the first quarter, declined by 30 per cent in the second quarter, declined by 30 per cent in the third quarter, but increased by 6 per cent in the fourth quarter. The average value of transfers in 2012, compared to 2011, declined by 47 per cent in the first quarter, declined by 30 per cent in the second quarter, declined by 33 per cent in the third quarter, but increased by 1 per cent in the fourth quarter. 

However, 2012 statistics were greatly improved over 2010 numbers. Compared to their respective quarters in 2010, the number of transfers in 2012 increased by 9 per cent in the first quarter, declined by 19 per cent in the second quarter, increased by 16 per cent in the third quarter and increased by 23 per cent in the fourth quarter. 

The 19 per cent drop in the number of transfers in the second quarter is the only blemish when comparing 2012 to 2010. 

On a quarterly basis, the total value of transfers in 2012 increased by 75 per cent, 8 per cent, 29 per cent and 45 per cent, compared to 2010. The average value of transfers in 2012 increased by 61 per cent, 34 per cent, 12 per cent and 18 per cent. 

The quarterly numbers for 2012 were mostly down compared to average numbers for quarters since 2006. The number of transfers, by quarter, declined by 15-27 per cent. The total value of transfers was down by 6-31 per cent. The average value of transfers in the first quarter of 2012 was up 6 per cent compared to the historical average. The average value in the second quarter of 2012 was down 1 per cent, in the third quarter was down 18 per cent, but in the fourth quarter was up 16 per cent. 

 

Yearly basis 

Looking at 2012 as a whole, the yearly statistics do not look as good as in 2011 due to a significant drop in the average value of transfers. However, the average value of transfers in 2012 was nearly identical to the average values posted in pre-recession years 2006, 2007 and 2008. Overall, the number of transfers in 2012 was still low, resulting in a rather modest sum for the total value of transfers that occurred during the year. 

Compared to 2011, the number of transfers in 2012 declined by 1 per cent; the total value declined by 34 per cent; and the average value declined by 33 per cent. 

Compared to 2010, the number of transfers in 2012 increased by 5 per cent; the total value increased by 36 per cent; and the average value increased by 30 per cent. 

Compared to 2009, the number of transfers in 2012 declined by 17 per cent; the total value increased by 5 per cent; and the average value increased by 27 per cent. 

Compared to 2008, the number of transfers in 2012 declined by 26 per cent; the total value declined by 25 per cent; and the average value increased by 1 per cent. 

Compared to 2007, the number of transfers in 2012 declined by 24 per cent; the total value declined by 24 per cent; and the average value declined by 1 per cent. 

Compared to 2006, the number of transfers in 2012 declined by 39 per cent; the total value declined by 40 per cent; and the average value declined by 1 per cent. 

Compared to averages posted from 2006-2011, the number of transfers in 2012 declined by 20 per cent; the total value declined by 20 per cent; and the average value declined by 1 per cent. 

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