Property sales up over 200% CIREBA reports

| 27/09/2011

(CNS): The real estate market is showing signs of real improvement, according to the local real estate brokers body, which says that property sales up to the end of August this year show a 203% increase over the same period of 2010. There has been a total of CI$422 million transfers for 2011, compared to CI$207 million for the same period last year, CI$255m in 2009 and CI$403 million in the last boom year of 2008. The Cayman Islands Real Estate Brokers Association (CIREBA) President Jeremy Hurst said in the latest market report that this was positive news, but he warned that while value was up, transaction numbers were down ten percent on last year.

He added that there were only 1006 transfers in 2011, compared to 1173, 1350 and 1,602 in 2010, 2009 and 2008 respectively. This averages about 15% per annum drop in property transactions over the four year period, which Hurst said was a clear indication that whilst sales at the top end of the market remain solid, the number of sales at the mid to lower end have declined annually since 2008.

This indicates that significantly less people are buying lower to mid-priced condominiums and development lots, Hurst stated in the CIREBA report. Statistics which analyze sales by property type support this, showing a significant 50% drop in the number of home lots sold and 25% drop in the number of condominiums sold since the last boom year of 2008.

Pointing to the population decline due to staff cutbacks and immigration policies, including rollover, as an explanation, Hurst said that the recent announcements of changes to that policy was good news for the sector.

“The other good news is that a number of the major projects on the cards appear to be moving forward, with one, the West Bay Road bypass, even breaking ground. If we can keep up the momentum with the Shetty Hospital, the Airport and Port projects and the Enterprise City we should still be in good shape during the years to come,” he said.

The real estate body president also pointed to what Hurst said appeared to be two significant residential and resort projects for the Bodden Town area working their way through the due diligence processes. Hurst did not spell out what these were and stated that they were still “some way off” but said they were a sign of confidence in the economy.

He pointed to the need to keep “crime in check” as he added that the recent outbreak would make it difficult to sell property. In general though, Hurst heralded the progress over the last quarter and, not surprisingly, gave a positive outlook for the market‘s winter season and beyond.

The full market report and previous versions are available on the CIREBA website

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  1. Anonymous says:

    Are these figures based exclusively on those transactons handled by CIREBA members, or do they include all property sales on the island? There have been a some successful developments where most of the sales were handled by the developer himself, and many private sales by owners wanting to avoid the 7% transaction fees in these hard times. Without more information, these figures probably fall under the heading of 'statistics' , which I seem to remember in the hierarchy of Truth, fall far below both 'lies' and 'damned lies'.

  2. Anonymous says:

    Cool it with the realtor bashing guys.

    If you want to talk high fees, lets start with Lawyers, Bankers, accountants, even the photocopy repair guy's hourly charges…

    CIREBA has brought some order to the real estate industry, and realtors have enormous overheads in advertising as well as paying rent electricity gas etc. often without reward.

    Live and let live, we can all complain about the high fees charged all round in Cayman, it's just the cost of doing business in a very expensive place.

    • Anonymous says:

      Nonsense. Just open up the real estate industry to the cold, bracing winds of the free market. It’s always fun to read the industry leaders trumpeting their support for capitalism on the one hand and an outmoded, Stalinist price-fixing regime on the other. Come on, let’s hear you justify it to us mere mortals in nice simple economic and social terms. Bet you can’t.

  3. Anonymous says:

    If you buy a property worth US$500,000 in the current market it's unlikely its value will increase much in the future (it's more likely to decrease if things continue as they are!).  If the economy ever does recover, we won't see the huge leaps in value as we did before the crash.  When you decide to sell the property (if you are lucky enough to find a buyer) you will have to pay 7% commission to CIREBA, plus more legal fees.  That means, with the 5-7% stamp duty, 1% bank fees and 1% legal fees you had to pay to purchase the property (approx $80k), you are in negative equity right from the start.  Most expats don't want to stay here forever so it's unlikely you  will be able to turn it into an equitable property within a reasonable time frame.  Why would anyone in their right mind buy a property here?!  The purchase/sale fees need to be more realistic.

  4. Anonymous says:

    Boy – denial is a disease that has spread throughout the entire country and seems to run rampant amongst all walks of life!

  5. Anonymous says:

    A question for realtors. How does one build equity in a home when mortgage rates are 8% and house values are declining?


    • Anonymous says:

      Realtor – "That's not my problem as long as I get my commission."  

    • Anonymous says:

      shop around…I pay 2% (not 2%+prime…2%)

    • Loopy Lou says:

      Repeat the mantra, like a Dalek:

      "There has never been a better time to buy"

      "There has never been a better time to buy"

      "There HAS NEVER been a better time to BUY"

      Do not question the mantra.  The mantra is all.

  6. The Lover in Lycra says:

    To quote Brian Fantana in Anchorman talking about his cologne: "They've done studies, you know. 60% of the time, it works every time."

  7. Anonymous says:

    I think people are selling and running because of recent increase in crime.

  8. Kumah says:

    I wouldn't buy a property here if my life depended on it! 

    • Jenny from the Block says:

      Are all the thumbs downs from real estate agents? Must be becuase I am with Kumah…you don't rent a deck chair on a sinking ship so why the hell would you buy property in a doomed country beset by infighting and prejudices,  every project is opposed, XXXXX. 

      • Anonymous says:

        Jenny from the block: This type of comment was made 40 years ago when I came here by people like you who found Cayman and Caymanians difficult to take/understand. A couple of Canadians I know sold out and went to Costa Rica which at that time was supposed to be the upcoming place. They were encouraged to do so by the late Dennis Foster who also went there. The Canadians eventually sold out at a very serious loss to themselves – I don't know about Mr Foster. Another big 'investment of the moment" was in the early 1980s Turks and Caicos. I refused good offers to get involved because I did not like the social climate and political goings on there at that time. Others may have prospered, I don't know.

          Those of us who invested in Cayman at that time and had faith are grateful we did. I am only sorry I could not at that time afford more. I think your Titanic/deck chair stuff is overdramatic although i accept we are going through one of these difficult times that we have had off and on over the last 40 years.

  9. Swine says:

    Couldnt be a better time to buy!

  10. Anonymous says:

    Crime is down too!

  11. Anonymous says:

    If you read this article and find that you believe that an increase from 255 to 422 represnts a 203% increase….perhaps you should consider a career in real estate (or politics!)

    • Anonymous says:

      I think they borrowed McKeeva's calculator…..  According to real world maths this is a 65% increase

  12. I Care says:

    This so called report that Jermey Hurst so boldly put his name to is worthless. CIREBA is  the real estate bully , They chagre high commission rates dictate to their members who just sit ther and take it. Futher more there is so much conflict on interest with this CIREBA , you have Broker owners sitting on the board of directors making rules for there members and when it suites them they can change so call rules.  I must add that those rules that they make only apply to certain people and real estate companies in the association , no need to call names we all know the big wiggs .

    I still say it is CIREBA that is causing the most propblem with real estate on this Island. Its time Governmet step in an make proper rules and regulation for real estate companies to follow and apoint and independant board to over see.

    This is just my 2 cents,

  13. Anonymous says:

    Again read between the lines, figures but not facts, make it real.

  14. Anonymous says:

    Realtors….Our Cheerleaders. More predictable than the sunrise

  15. Anonymous says:

    Who gives a fig about million dollar properties selling…. Mid price and condos sales are at rock bottom… And 7% fees to realtors ….. putting people, already in negative equity, in hopeless positions. 7% may have been the only way to make a living back in the day, but now it is just plain robbery. ….

  16. Anon says:

    See there… CIREBA has announced that everything is nice and beautiful in our little Garden of Iguanas.

    okie dokie

  17. Anonymous says:

    You know, if a fair price was asked for a property,  could buy for cash tomorrow. Unfortunately, I just don't understand how US$500k can get me an incredible place somewhere else and only a piece of """"" here. What makes Cayman so special? is it Immigration? Is it the hatred of the locals and the arrogance of the expats? What's the deal?

    • Anonymous says:

      The Deal my friend… is that all materials have to be imported, skills are imported, govt. fees for permits are very high, there is no poverty line labour force , small Island land is in short supplyand therefore costly.

      Developer and land owner have to make some profit to pay back the bank's usurious rates and fees….all of the above and more so that uneducated ingrates like you can have a civilised existence…..That's the deal.

  18. Anonymous says:

    They borrowed the person responsible for producing the governments budget to calculate this – explains everything.

  19. Anonymous says:

    CIREBA are bound to talk up the state of the real estate market.  Read the market reports by Kim Lund: same world, different planet!

  20. Anonymous says:

    yeah! I knew it! Everything is beautiful!!

  21. Anonymous says:

    Umm 103% surely?

    Need to disregard the distorting effects of dart etc also.

  22. R.U. Kiddin says:

    Sounds like BS to me.  The rich are getting richer and the poor are getting poorer.

  23. Anonymous says:

    Minus Darts purchase and then do a percentage. The same false accountability with Tourist air arrivals since 15 years also. 

  24. Anonymous says:

    And Jeremy has the nerve to put his name to such an article? Says a lot.

  25. Anonymous says:

    tranaction number down……. that's the real hidden headline here….. cireba is always try ing to put a positive spin on things….

  26. Anonymous says:

    always a good time to buy!!!!……zzzzzzzzzzz

  27. Anonymous says:

    Great headline, I wonder whether there is a relationship between CIREBA's pronouncements and its members' cozy relationship with thePremier. 

  28. Anonymous says:

    This CIREBA article is a false indication of the market.  The only reason for the increase is Dart's purchases.

  29. Anonymous says:

    I am very concern when it comes to figures related to property sales here in the Cayman Islands. Under the current system, value of property is over rated more than 26% based onfigures from other destinations within the region. This eventually will cause a stag in the market when other supporting factors fail, resulting in a full crash, much like what the United States experienced.

    It is time that the government put in place a form of control over marketers that cause property selling price to be beyond that of true value, in order to protect long term interest of the Cayman Islands. I cautioned this article as good news.

    A friend of the Islands

  30. Anonymous says:

    This is so misleading.

    CIREBA saying that "the total value of transfers is up" just means that larger, more expensive properties sold. For example, was the Dart purchase of Stan Thomas's property included? One of Dart's purchases of a group of properties was US$124,000,000. That significantly distorts the figures.

    Has the value of specific properties increased and what is the reason for the overall higher figure for all property sold? I.e. has the value of land, say in Savannah, increased, held, or declined? Same question for every other property type. Are houses now more expensive, or less so?

    This data is useless and misleading without a bit further analysis and thought.


  31. Anonymous says:

    Of course DART brought a bunch of property this year….

  32. Anonymous says:

    Property is being dumped. The real issue is what were the sales prices of these properties compared with last time they were sold – most cases – a lot less.

    • Anonymous says:

      Property is hardly being dumped.  Well, maybe people who invested in inland condominiums built in mushrooming developments after Ivan are eager to sell now, since they can't rent them for a sum that would cover their mortgages, but I have been in the market to buy in the SMB area for two years and have seen homes I've viewed sold off to faster, higher bidders.  Well-built homes, if they are in good locations and priced appropriately for the current market, are still selling — and some are selling very quickly by Cayman's standards.  


      However, I would say that at least half of the homes I have seen that sold quickly were either not listed with CIREBA at all or were not 'officially' listed.  The info was shared with a particular realtor privately who then forwarded it to likely clients without actually adding a listing to the website.    

  33. Anonymous says:

    Lets hope people are using the other resources available to them to buy and sell real estate instead of using the over priced real estate agents who's high comission charges are most detrimental to the market. True Pirates of the Caribbean!!