The Cayman Islands government says it is focusing on its CI$55 million expansion of the Owen Roberts International Airport to bring more flights to Grand Cayman, which in turn could lead to further growth in real estate activity.
With increasing stayover tourism numbers to the Cayman Islands, experts in the local real estate industry have said the jurisdiction is poised to reap the rewards, having recorded its best stayover visitation figures yet in 2017. Last year 418,403 visitors arrived by air, a record-breaking increase of nearly nine per cent over 2016.
Real estate numbers have risen in kind. An increase in the value of sales hit a record best of CI$679 million in 2017 — a nine percent increase from the year before, according to the most recent property report by Cayman Islands-based independent property consultants, Charterland.
Along with the expansion of Grand Cayman’s airport, the Cayman Islands Department of Tourism announced improvements to the road infrastructure network in the pipeline should lead to an increase in visitation. New road lanes are being added to both the Esterley Tibbetts and Linford Peirson Highways to improve traffic flows between the east and west corridors of the island. Dart Real Estate has partnered with government to make improvements to the Esterley Tibbetts Highway, injecting US$39 million into the project.
The increase in visitation could also mean more beachfront real estate sales. Seven Mile Beach, a popular tourist destination, remains the area of choice for Grand Cayman luxury properties for sale. According to the Charterland report, 130 beachfront condominiums sold on Seven Mile Beach last year, a 20 percent jump from 2016 purchases.
The Department of Tourism said it is setting the bar higher for 2018, aiming to finish the airport expansion by the end of the year and looking to attract some 440,000 people to the Cayman Islands’ shores in 2018 — a more than five per cent hike from 2017. If the visitation increase is realised and the co-relation trend continues, the Grand Cayman real estate market could see record-setting growth by the end of the year.