Seven Mile Beach is and has been the epitome of luxury on Grand Cayman, with beautiful condominiums located along the acclaimed white sand. Many of the developments along the beach are older, but some newer ones have embraced the traditions of island living and introduced a modern take on a nuclear family with the inclusion of pet-friendly policies.
According to Globe News Wire, dog ownership has increased 29 per cent in the past decade in the United States, with other countries following closely behind. It’s no surprise then that demand for pet-friendly places to live is also growing.
Property buyers in the Cayman Islands come from a variety of countries, but the majority come from the United States. According to Cayman Islands Department of Tourism statistics, approximately 84 per cent of the air arrivals for the first eight months of 2018 have been from residents of the United States. Many of these tourists often explore the island during their time here and learn about the beauty and nature of the Cayman Islands, with hopes to one day own a property on island and to bring their furry family members with them.
Of the more than 50 condominium properties in the Seven Mile Beach corridor, less than half allow pets within their property, with many having additional restrictions towards the size of the pet and the option for potential renters to have a pet. Most properties that allow pets do not differentiate between dogs and cats, but often are at the approval of property management on a case-by-case basis. Of the 19 properties that do allow pets, less than half are considered luxury properties that were built within the last 20 years.
“In many cases, a property not being pet-friendly is a deal-breaker,” said Ruth Gustafsson, associate broker and sales executive at Provenance Properties Cayman Islands.
Gustafsson noted that pets are often considered members of the family and owners who visit the island long-term are likely to bring their pet — or pets — along with them. She mentioned that if buyers have a pet, they usually will not even bother looking at properties that won’t allow their pets to stay with them, limiting where they will look and where they can buy.
The scarcity of condominiums that allow pets has made the ones that do of more interest to those relocating to the island or those who want condo living with an ocean or sea view. As many of the luxury properties have been around for about a decade or more, few properties are available in these buildings, with a pre-owned condominium infrequently going on the market for sale.
Fleur Coleman, a sales specialist at The Residences at Seafire — a pet-friendly luxury condo development on Seven Mile Beach opened in November 2017 — said there simply aren’t enough pet-friendly properties on the market to meet demand.
“That makes the pet-friendly condominiums that are available that much more valuable, as these properties cater to a specific group of people that is consistently growing,” she said, noting that The Residences at Seafire not only offers buyers a chance at the oceanfront condo lifestyle many envision and desire, but it also sits adjacent to the Kimpton Seafire Resort + Spa, which also has a pet-friendly policy and whose amenities are fully accessible to owners of the Residences.
Some other notable properties that allow pets with few restrictions are The Terraces at Camana Bay, The Ritz-Carlton, Grand Cayman, and The WaterColours. All three are pet-friendly properties that allow for dogs and cats to enjoy their common areas, under the discretion and supervision of the owner.
Aimee McKie, owner of Must Love Dogs in Camana Bay, said she is seeing many people moving to the Cayman Islands with their pets and sees a long-term demand for pet-friendly housing.
“I have helped with the imports and exports of both dogs and cats, which average at about eight to 10 per month,” she said. “The amount of relocation to the island is staggering.”
McKie noted that many people who are working full-time often opt to have a pet before having children, making it important for them to live in a place that allows for that member of the family to be present. She mentioned that some double-income families tend to have the disposable income to purchase a primary or secondary property along the beach, but those that are a “dog family” have a limited pool of choices, which can prevent them from purchasing along the beach at all.
Gustafsson said those with pets are best advised to seek the assistance of a realtor when looking for a home on or near the beach.
“Finding a home around Seven Mile Beach can be difficult, especially with the added factor of looking for a pet-friendly property,” she said. “For help, you should contact one of our specialists at Provenance Properties, who can help you find your dream home that will also allow your pet.”