Well, here we are in July and we have just finished our 2013 Coldwell Banker Cayman Islands Mid Year Market Report. By the time you read this, it should be out in print and on our website. We only do it every six months mainly because it is difficult to distinguish real trends over shorter periods. So what are we seeing in the market? Well, sales are up year-to-date over 10 per cent, which is a very good sign, and pending sales are up 27 per cent, so we are looking for a strong second half of the year as well. It has been the single family home market which has been leading the way with sales up over 30 per cent year-to-date. This means our local market remains the strongest part of the local real estate equation.
condominiums sales are also up, but only a little in dollar volume. Yet 13 per cent more condos were sold year-to-date indicating that the condo sales were strongest at the lower levels. Buyers are still around looking for steals – and getting a few. But longer term players are beginning to reappear now and they are taking more and more deals from the “bottom feeders”. Foreign buyers are also starting to look again in earnest, some flush with profits from the recent stock market run, while others are just trying to get some of their wealth as far from Obama’s America as they can.
I had dinner recently with a couple from Texas. They had purchased a condo through us on Seven Mile earlier this year and the husband mentioned having “buyer’s remorse”. That phrase is usually associated with a buyer having made a purchase and later regretting it. He said his buyer’s remorse was all about “hating to leave Cayman after each trip”. Now that is the kind of remorse we love to hear about.
The UK is starting to sound eerily like the US in terms of invading personal privacy in search of tax dollars. The sad fact is that none of these countries which are behind the increasing international tax witch hunt would need to browbeat their own citizens if they put their own financial houses in order. This is all really just a distraction necessitated by governments that need to keep the focus off their profligate spending policies. This is why who you vote for is more important than ever.
It is gratifying to hear the new premier mentioning the airport runway and terminal expansion as a priority. We have been saying for years that a longer runway would bring the best return as it would open up other longer-haul tourism markets and reduce our dependence on the weakening US economy. Further it will open Cayman to folks who don’t want go through the hassle of trying to get a US visa just to get here. Air lift is always the pinch point for tourism growth in an island economy. How hard is that to understand? We must remember that it is the overnight air arrival passenger who injects the most money into our economy on a daily basis, and is also the most likely to buy property here. Dollar for dollar there is no doubt this project will be an excellent and necessary investment for Cayman, and we hope that the airport expansion will finally get off the ground.
We are also hopeful that the new government is serious about making doing business in Cayman easier. Both the excessive red tape and costs are hurting all who live here, and there is really no need for it. Recommendations in this direction have been made by the Chamber of Commerce and numerous suggestions by various professional associations have highlighted many areas of contention. All that is needed is the political will to make the changes.