History and Politics
The Cayman Islands consist of 3 islands. Grand Cayman is by far the largest island and has 4 constituencies.
George Town, our capital is a buzzing hive of activity during weekdays. The majority of the financial services sector do business from here, and George Town is also host to arriving cruise ships which tender on its busy waterfront.
West Bay is the largest constituency with stunning condos on our world famous Seven Mile Beach, and some adorable island style homes tucked away in shady tree lined lanes and streets.
Seven Mile Beach faces due west offering breathtaking sunsets and equally stunning views of the white sandy beach for which Grand Cayman has become so famous.
South Sound is largely high end residential, very quiet and certainly an area worth investing in if you are thinking of privacy in an elegant home on the quiet waters of South Sound. Further towards the east, but still facing south are the dramatic rock faces of Spotts which also has small beaches mostly frequented by residents.
Bodden Town also faces south and is the oldest town in Cayman as it was settled first. Quaint and historic, you can expect to find a few elegant homes on the beach, but this is where you will find a great “get away from it all” island style home in a quiet part of town.
The next stop is the district of East End, slow down or you miss it! It’s headquarters to some of the world’s best scuba diving possibilities. With dramatic walls dropping off into the ocean, the real estate here is equally stunning; another great place to consider investing.
If Seven Mile Beach is too busy and you really want to invest in a high end property with a private beach, then Rum Point & Kaibo should be on your list. The majority of homes here look out onto tranquil lagoons and have their own private white sandy beaches. World famous Stingray City and adventurous diving on North wall is only a 10-20 minute boat ride away.
The Sister Islands of Little Cayman and Cayman Brac lie to the east of Grand Cayman and are about as close to quiet as you will ever get. Even streetlights are a contentious subject as they interfere with turtle hatching. With approx 170 people in Little Cayman and 1,200 on Cayman Brac, you can escape from it all on these two jewels of the sea. The truly magnificent Bloody Bay Wall in Little Cayman is a dive destination to itself. The huge iron shore cliffs of Cayman Brac have dramatic caves and with its fauna and flora it makes for a perfect naturalist get way.
The Cayman Islands simply has great weather, there’s no better way to put it. We experience cooler weather with gentle east north easterly winds from November to March. The hottest part of the year which leaves you gasping for a swim in our beautiful waters is from May to September. Heaviest rainfall is May – July & again from October –November.
Society and Economics
Cayman has the highest per capita income in the Caribbean, equal to or exceeding that of the USA. There is little unemployment, the language is English and the American dollar is readily accepted, although the local currency is the Cayman dollar which is pegged to the US dollar at 1.25.
The friendliness of the Caymanians set them apart from other Caribbean peoples.
As the Financial service provides 67% of our GDP, Grand Cayman is a sweet spot for any professionals in the financial, legal or financial IT fields. Funds are incorporated here daily, growing our industry.
The 2nd largest industry is tourism which employs individuals in the waters, ports and service industry. We have several employment agencies in Cayman, the 3 listed below focus on professionals across the financial & legal industry:
All three islands have primary and high schools for Caymanians and expats; however expatriate children will have to attend private schools. Listed below with links are the private schools:
Grand Cayman has 2 colleges, the UCCI and ICCI and also hosts a law school, a medical school and a veterinary school:
Transportation and Communication
Cayman is served by American, Delta, US Air, Air Canada, West Jet, Jet Blue and British Airways as well as our own national flag carrier Cayman Airways. There are also excellent satellite telecommunications and courier services.
Taxes and Residency
There are no direct taxes imposed by the Cayman government: no income tax, no property tax, no capital gains tax, no inheritance taxes. It has become the financial capital of the Caribbean with 250 banks and financial institutions represented.
THE RANGE OF INVESTMENT OPPORTUNITIES IN THE CAYMAN ISLANDS, FROM RESIDENTIAL TO COMMERCIAL PROPERTIES IS SIGNIFICANT. CAYMAN IS HARD TO BEAT.
Foreigners may open bank accounts and borrow to finance a purchase. Interest on money borrowed in Cayman may be properly written off in most countries. Bank accounts may also be opened in corporate entities. It is illegal under Cayman Law for anyone to divulge any financial information unless it can be proven that the funds were obtained through illegal means.
The requirements for Cayman Residency include having a clean police record and making an investment which includes a local residence. Cayman Residency allows unrestricted stays in the Cayman Island and allows one to be taxed (usually not taxed) as a non-resident in ones home country. These residency provisions together with the lack of inheritance taxes are two of the most attractive financial aspects of a move to the Cayman Islands. This type of residency, however, does not include the right to work. Employment requires a work permit which is likely to be issued only if local labor is not available for a particular position.
Ownership and Brokerage
The factors mentioned here are responsible for creating a tourist industry which has had an enviable growth record in the Caribbean. Naturally this constant influx of people enjoying themselves has had a very positive spin-off effect on the real estate industry.
The real estate industry itself makes the ownership process very simple. There are no restrictions on foreign ownership of property. The title to property in Cayman is "absolute" (fee simple). Based on the Torrens System, each property has a property register which can be obtained at the Lands and Survey Department showing it's legal description, history of ownership, and record of liens. Government guarantees title through this document making title searches unnecessary.
A one time fee of 7.5% is paid to government to register title. Although through this procedure ownership is a matter of public record, properties may be held in Cayman Corporations thereby making beneficial ownership a confidential matter.
The market here is a free market which responds to supply and demand. Most of the property sold is handled by firms who are members of the Cayman Islands Real Estate Brokers Association. The Association, CIREBA, runs a Multiple Listing System and co-ordinates the activities of 31 firms and approx 160 agents. It also publishes its own colour sales magazine of specific properties for sale.
CIREBA brokers are capable of handling your transactions from start to finish and members are obliged to follow a strict code of business ethics. CIREBA is the Cayman Islands chapter of FIABCI, the international Institute of Real Estate Brokers, and is, in fact, the only FIABCI chapter in the Caribbean.
OTHER FACETS OF LIFE IN CAYMAN