Discovering the Hidden Charms of the Cayman Islands

Nestled amidst the Caribbean’s splendor, the Cayman Islands beckon not just as a tourist haven but also as a realm of exclusive advantages for those seeking high-quality living. Kristy Rivers discusses the prospects of attaining permanent residency on these islands.

It’s no secret that the Cayman Islands is an idyllic tourism destination boasting remarkable natural beauty with its white sandy beaches, crystal-clear turquoise waters and gorgeously diverse flora and fauna. Yet, beyond its tourist charm lies an enviable lifestyle that residents savour, characterised by exceptional advantages that make living on the islands a privilege. One of the foremost draws is the Cayman Islands’ tax-neutral system that exempts individuals from paying income tax on earnings or recurring property taxes on purchased real estate. “Additionally, as a tax-neutral jurisdiction, there is no company or corporation tax, inheritance tax, capital gains or gift tax,” says Kristy Rivers, Vice President of Business Development and Leasing for Dart. Dart is the largest real estate developer in the Cayman Islands with over US$1.5 billion invested in residential, commercial, office and hospitality ventures on the islands. It also owns Provenance Properties, the official Cayman Islands affiliate of Christie’s International Real Estate, a by-invitation-only global network of luxury brokerages supported by the art auction house. Provenance is the exclusive brokerage for Dart’s properties. This affiliation also grants Provenance access to in-house data analysts, providing in-depth market statistics and the latest real estate trends.

Routes to Residency

Situated about 280km northwest of Jamaica, the Cayman Islands are a British Overseas Territory in the Caribbean Sea consisting of three islands: Grand Cayman, Cayman Brac, and Little Cayman. The primary hub is Grand Cayman, especially the capital, George Town. There are multiple potential routes to permanent residency, including business ownership and substantial economic investment. “The simplest and quickest path to

permanent residency in the Cayman Islands is through the purchase of developed real estate valued at US$2.4 million or higher,” says Rivers. “The Cayman Islands might not be the cheapest or easiest residency option, but we offer substantial value once you qualify,” she adds. Beyond financial benefits, residents enjoy access to quality healthcare and education, a sophisticated telecommunications infrastructure, world class shopping, dining and entertainment, a stable government with a judicial system based on English common law, and a healthy, stable economy with a renowned financial services industry. “The islands also boast a safe environment with a low crime rate and convenient air connectivity to major cities like New York and London,” says Rivers.

Real Estate Trends

Interest in residency primarily comes from high-net-worth individuals, ultrahigh- net-worth individuals, and young professional families seeking a diverse cultural experience. Provenance’s sales team has witnessed a marked rise in queries regarding residential real estate, particularly from those exploring avenues for residency through investment.

There’s a noticeable trend towards sustainable living, with growing demand for eco-friendly waterfront properties, with high-end amenities that include the latest smart home features, fully-equipped guest dwellings, builtin solar arrays, private beaches and easy access to a boating lifestyle.

On the commercial front, businesses are gravitating towards Class-A office spaces in modern developments that prioritise employee perks, integrating diverse amenities like retail outlets, dining options, entertainment venues, schools, and healthcare facilities. Meanwhile, the islands’ economy is thriving. While sectors like tourism and construction have recovered from the pandemic’s impact, others like financial services and healthcare are expanding. The Cayman Islands are also embracing emerging technologies like fintech, crypto, and blockchain, positioning themselves as a fertile ground for technological innovation.

This prosperity has contributed to a notable population surge, with numbers growing from 58,000 in 2013 to 84,000 in June 2023. This influx has also driven up real estate prices. “We expect an increased interest in achieving Cayman Islands residency due to the many attractive options available to individuals with means,” says Rivers. She advises seizing the opportunity while prime real estate remains accessible, acknowledging the finite availability of these coveted properties on the islands.

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