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An honest appraisal of the Cayman marketplace 

Review 
In our last report we predicted renewed confidence in the US & UK and increasing business activity in Cayman. Those two predictions have certainly been in evidence. This is mirrored by the stock market levels, continuing growth in our tourism industry in Cayman, and a generally more positive outlook. 

General Outlook 
The year to date CIREBA Statistical Report shows very similar volume to YTD 2016 for active listings and sales. This is good news as 2016 was our first strong year in some time. As we have mentioned previously not all segments of the market move at the same pace or even in the same direction. But today most sectors are going in the same positive direction to a greater or lesser degree. It is just the pace which varies from sector to sector. We have to keep that in mind when media headlines tout 'markets on fire' or 'depressed markets'. Generally, it is the improvement of tourist related sectors which jump starts our economy, like beach and waterfront properties. Canal properties follow and inland properties are last to rise. It is also generally Residential markets which lead the way, then Commercial markets and then Industrial, as the people involved need services, and then the service businesses need supplies. That is what is happening now as most market sectors are feeling some degree of increase depending on where they are in the pecking order above. 

Condos 
Condo supply is up YTD by 35% but the increase is largely in developments off 7 Mile Beach which is demonstrated by the total value of all condo listings being about the same as it was this time last year. The # of condo units sold is down 14% YTD and the dollar value of sales is down 27%. Again this has much to do with this market sector being most recently fuelled by non-7 Mile Beach sales. But we also mentioned last issue that as 7 Mile Beach condo prices continue to rise due to short supply, the higher prices would begin to slow the pace of sales a little. That has begun to happen. 

Single Family Homes 
Supply of homes is up YTD by 13% and the total value of listing prices is off slightly. Meanwhile, the # of sales YTD is off by 29% and the dollar value by 30%. Over the last few years, (especially 2015) there were a lot of house sales. Many of the most attractive homes at the most attractive prices, were sold and the remaining supply at the most attractive prices, is not as appealing in our view. However, prices of the most expensive nicer homes are beginning to come down, so we will probably see more high level homes sold in the last half of the year, which will push the average sale prices up again. 

Multi-Family 
With interest rates so low this has been a popular sector with Purchasers. This year existing supply is down 30% due to last years strong sales activity. YTD for 2017 the number of sold properties is down about 57% over last year, but the value of those properties which did sell is up 66% so fewer properties sold, but either better quality or larger complexes are selling. 

Land 
Land listings have decreased by about 9% over last year. Land sales are almost identical to last years as is the value of those sales. It is still Crystal Harbour leading the way, but there is also more building activity in Grand Harbour and the Shores than we have seen in a while. With confidence levels rising it should not be long before increased sales activity will lead to rising prices, but especially in inland land, that is not yet in evidence. 

Sister Islands 
The Sister Islands are still waiting for the improved market we are feeling in the Tourist Sectors of Grand Cayman to show up over there. In Little Cayman sales of detached homes have increased a bit which is encouraging. 

Local Election Results 
The election process in Cayman this time around was 'interesting'. The move to 'one man one vote' as expected resulted in more Independents running and being elected. So much so that neither party was able to achieve a majority. As a result, all sorts of combinations of Parties and Independents were agreed, announced, and then reneged upon throughout a pretty messy and unsettling week. The final results are: 7 PPM Members and 3 CDP Members joining forces, and with 3 Independents formed a Government ostensibly coming together 'for the good of the country'. 

The Ministries were divided with Hon. Joey Hew getting the nod to oversee most of the directly Real Estate Industry related departments. We welcome that change and hope a new point of view can help remove some of the totally unnecessary bureaucracy which has built up in a number of departments and makes doing business in Cayman much more difficult than it needs to be. 

Although Hon. Tara Rivers is now Minister of Financial Services, which is obviously a very important ministry, it is unfortunate that she could not continue her good work in Education. As we see it the previous failures in our Education System have led directly to our local labour issues. If we can't be sure our children are getting the best possible education, then the industries into which they matriculate cannot possibly maintain any level of excellence either. And that includes the 'all important' Financial Services Sector. We hope Hon. Minister Julianna O'Connor-Connolly with her background in teaching will continue Hon. Minister Rivers proactive approach to education. 

Perhaps the most disturbing election result was Mr. Marco Archer losing his seat in George Town. It is a sad commentary that someone who was arguably our most able MLA and also Finance Minister, and in fact voted the Caribbean's best legislator for 2016, was so unappreciated by the George Town voters. To his credit Marco made the tragic political mistake of telling people what they needed to hear rather than what they wanted to hear. 

Landlords / Tenants Rights 
Over the years here, in the rental market the rights of tenants have become stronger and stronger while the rights of landlords have become weaker. I suppose that is not surprising considering the fact that Cayman is really only a small town of 66,000 people who now have 19 political representatives who need to take the side of tenants in order to get reelected. Add to that the themes of political correctness and the rights of minorities which have been championed by the liberal media all over the world. The problem with all this is that the pendulum has swung so far in the direction of the tenant that few want to manage rental properties anymore (that's why we stopped) and many owners of rental properties don't want to own them anymore. It has gotten to the point that in a dispute, the landlord cannot even depend on the terms of his signed lease anymore. We are seeing the same thing with banks being forced to tippy toe around dead beat mortgagees even though the terms of the loan agreement are generally very clear. What does 'human rights' mean if it does not apply equally to the Landlord and the Lender? Most were human last time we checked! To make matters worse a new draconian law has been written which makes it even worse for the Landlord and lenders, and the Police are already using this as a guideline even though it has not been passed. If Cayman Laws & behaviour continue in this direction, we will be seeing a lot fewer rental properties being built and a lot fewer mortgages being granted. Let's hope the new Government can reintroduce some common sense and equanimity into this equation. 

New Development 
All of a sudden there is a lot of development activity projected for the west side of Grand Cayman. This is not surprising based on the lack of supply in this market sector. A new development has been announced on the old Pageant Beach site called The Pageant Beach Hotel Resort. This is slated to be a 10 story Hotel Resort with 450 units for sale making it the most ambitious residential project ever in the Cayman Islands. This 7.1 acre site at the base of 7 Mile Beach was the site of an early hotel also called the Pageant Beach Hotel, which burned down in the 1970's. The property has always been interesting in that it has not only a long stretch of waterfront, but also very good depth with sunset views as well as views toward the downtown waterfront and cruise ships. Only about 25% of the waterfront is beach, however, with the bulk of it resembling the Grandview waterfront. We understand the Developers (HHG) are the same group which has refurbished the Treasure Island Hotel and converted it to Margaritaville. Sales and marketing have begun at prices ranging from US$545,000 up for 1 bedrooms to US$1.2M up for 2 beds and nearly $5M for a few 3 bed penthouses. The huge scope of the development may make this a tough sell, and even if sales are strong, there will likely be a long wait for a residence to use. If that is not an issue, however, and if the deposits are held in escrow until the start of construction, you may find this project interesting. 

Right on the heels of the above was announced a yet to be named 5 story 60-unit Boutique/Hotel complex on the land which used to house the Almond Tree & Tree House Restaurants. These units will be sold but will be required to be in the rental pool for most of the year, so this is much more of an investment approach, by NCB Developments. 

Roadworks 
The puzzle which has been the roadworks both from Kings Sports Centre to the west and from the Thompson Roundabout to the Butterfield Roundabout through Camana Bay is becoming clearer. One can now finally begin to get a sense of the finished product. Estimates for completion now point to September and hopefully it will not only be our curiosity which will be relieved. Here's hoping traffic flow will be as well. 

Crime 
Crime reared its ugly head lately with gunshots fired in a gang related incident, as well as several robberies. It was good to see a strong response by the police and we hope that is an indication of a continuing proactive direction by local law enforcement. While this may not be a lot of violence relative to other jurisdictions, crime is definitely on the increase in Cayman. And if you were to ask anyone looking for a place to vacation or to which to relocate, what the single most important factor is for them, the vast majority would say a safe environment. If we give away our well deserved reputation as possibly the safest locale in the Caribbean, we will have lost everything, and we will enter the downward spiral that is all too visible in many other Caribbean countries. So we all better take notice right now and turn this around. 

Solar Power 
After many years of 'false starts' and 'soon comes' from CUC and various potential wind and solar developers, Solar has come to Cayman. The sale of a contract for a renewable energy facility to North Carolina-based Entropy Management by the original Pittsburg-based tender winner led to the current 20,000 Solar Panel array now operating on a site in Bodden Town. This facility is expected to provide about 5MW of the 100MW Cayman demand. CUC will pay Entropy $.17/KW, adding to that its own 'base rate costs' to arrive at a retail price to customers of about what we are already paying. (So much for the consumer savings part of renewable energy). During the early stages of introducing this new energy sources to the grid, service disruption for short periods can be expected. 

Permanent Residency 
With the elections now safely in the rearview mirror, Government seems ready to address the issue of about 1,000 Applications for Permanent (working) Residency which have been ignored for the last 4 years. Letters have gone out asking applicants to update their applications if they wish, and once that is done the earliest applications may be heard within the next 30 days. Applications are being heard in the order they were received. Considering the huge time delay and the fact that many of the benchmarks have been changed recently by Government, it is likely most of the applications will have to be updated (that is if the applicant hasn't died of old age or just been put off by the whole process which was likely one of the intended purposes). Regardless, I am sure we will be hearing about this issue going forward. In fact, we were surprised there was no ultimatum already given to our Government about this issue by the UK, as popular as 'Human Rights' is these days. 

For the Applicants of Residency with Independent Means, that bar has also recently been raised. The 25-year certificate now requires a $1.0M Real Estate investment (up from $500K) and an annual income of $120K or a local 'nest egg' of $400K. The 'Permanent' Permanent Residency Certificate investment (as opposed to the 25-year version) has risen to $2.0M in developed Real Estate (up from $1.6M). Plus dependents now must pay an annual fee of $1K (as opposed to a one time). Residency on the Brac is the best deal in town at $500K (up from $250K). 

New Governor 
Current Governor Helen Kilpatrick's term was extended to accommodate the appointment of the new Governor Mr. Anwar Choudhury. Mr. Choudhury (58) will take office in March 2018. Most recently Mr. Choudhury has served as the UK's Ambassador to Peru. Born in East Pakistan (now Bangladesh), and a British Citizen it is somewhat unusual for someone not born in the United Kingdom to receive such an appointment. In a previous posting as British High Commissioner in Bangladesh, (wherein Mr. Choudhury was Britain's first ethnic minority senior high Commissioner appointed to that position), he was targeted by Islamic Militants and was wounded in that attack. He has significant British Military as well as e-government experience. We fervently hope that Mr. Choudhury finds his Cayman posting much less exciting than some of his previous ones! 

Forecast 
We are right in the middle of our 'slow season' however, one only has to drive down 7 Mile Beach or eat at one of our many great restaurants to see the surprising numbers of tourists in Cayman in June/July. This is great news for the Cayman economy and will further feed the improving Real Estate Market. We expect this trend to continue. Cayman has so much going for it, so many reasons for people to want to vacation and live here, and such a limited market supply. Without a significant increase in supply of existing buildings, we should still find the demand increasing and pushing prices higher. For these reasons we predict sunny skies and balmy weather for our market this Fall punctuated by an occasional shower due to lack of inventory.

 
With a flooded market and tons of competition, selling a home in the summer can be worrisome for sellers  but it really shouldn't be. As any experienced real estate agent will tell you, houses sell every day in the summer, as long as they are priced right and are appealing to a buyer. Here are five essential summer staging tips to give your home the competitive edge it needs for a successful summer sale. 

1. Maintain Curb Appeal 

Curb appeal is essential, but it doesn't have to be expensive. Pull any dead shrubbery or plants and keep healthy ones trimmed back. Weed your garden, and consider placing a hardy ground cover, such as bark mulch, to keep weeds down and provide a finished look. 

Walkways, patios, and entrances are key points to consider, so edging sidewalks, the driveway, and weeding patio stones are key tasks that don't cost a penny. Finally, consider painting your front door and laying a new doormat to create a welcoming space that beckons buyers inside. 

2. Make Functional Outdoor Space 

During the summer months, it's important for buyers to see your outdoor area as added living space, rather than just another space to maintain. If you don't have seating on your front porch or backyard, now's the time to create a functional space that echoes the relaxation of lazy summer days. Online buy and sell sites are great places to pick up outdoor furniture at a fraction of the cost. 

Add a pop of summer color by placing bright throw pillows on existing outdoor furniture, and matching it with coordinating annuals or potted plants. Stage outdoor spaces with candles, place-settings, or fresh-cut flowers for showings to kick-start the imagination of potential buyers. 

3. Bring the Light In 

Natural light is a desirable trait in a home. But, even if you don't have much of it, you can successfully pull off the same vibe and give buyers what they want. Simply cleaning the windows in your home - inside and out - will let the light reach your rooms unfiltered. Replace heavy drapes with something light and gauzy. Open blinds and drapes for all showings and consider the role of wall paint in your staging. Some colors tend to absorb light rather than reflecting it back into the room, so consider painting over dark colors with a neutral shade. 

4. Pare Down 

An essential part of staging is clearing the clutter and depersonalizing the space. This does two things to help sell your home: It creates the feel of more space and helps buyers picture themselves in your home. A storage unit is a great investment to hold any extra furniture, unused or off-season items, and allows you to showcase the true potential of your home. 

5. Coddle the Kitchen 

It's no secret that kitchens and bathrooms sell homes in any season, but when selling in the summer, many buyers are considering how they can use the space to entertain. Providing an attractive place to do that just may be the difference that gets your home sold. If you don't have a backsplash, it is a quick and inexpensive way to add a finishing touch. Clean your cupboards and replace worn or tarnished hardware for modern appeal. Clear the counter of clutter, and leave only those small appliances that highlight the function of your kitchen. 

When it comes to summer staging it's all about bringing the inside-out and the outside-in. A whole-home approach will help buyers feel at home from the moment they pull up to the curb and will ensure that the great summer weather works for you. 

Reposted from www.coldwellbanker.com 
http://blog.coldwellbanker.com/5-essential-tips-for-staging-your-home-in-the-summer/

 
If you're shopping for a home, it's nice to think you won't settle for anything less than perfection. But come on, that's kind of like holding out for the 'perfect' partner-romantic, but unrealistic. Get a grip, folks! 

"No matter what stage of life you're in, you'll never find a house that meets all your needs forever," says Carrie Benuska, a Realtor at John Aaroe Group in Pasadena, CA. "And if you're too detail-focused, you could pass up one that suits you now or only needs modification." 

No, we're not telling you to just settle. But we want to make sure you aren't one of those overly hard-to-please, pie-in-the-sky idealists who'll end up with no home at all. 

Check out these signs your pickiness level is off the charts and could stand for some tapering back. 

Sign No. 1: You know exactly what you want-to a fault 

It makes sense to house hunt with a few basic criteria in mind (open kitchen, quiet street). But if your wish list is airtight and hermetically sealed (i.e., you pass up a home because your furniture doesn't fit in the bedroom), a great place could slip right past your radar. 

"People often think they know what kind of house they want before they start looking, but they usually don't," says Wendy Flynn, owner of Wendy Flynn Realty in College Station, TX. "Checklists should evolve as people visit more homes with priorities rising and falling." 

So, the less ironclad your wish list, the better. Flexibility is your friend. 

Sign No. 2: You're searching for your 'forever home'-even if it's your first 

They're called 'starter homes' for a reason: Odds are you won't stay there forever. Starter homes may be too small, or too far from your office, or even a tiny bit too unattractive, but if it's within your price range and satisfies some basics on your checklist, maybe you shouldn't pass over it so fast. 

Yet that's exactly what many home buyers are doing these days: According to Bank of America's Homebuyer Insights Report, 75% of first-time home buyers say they plan to forgo buying a starter home and instead are saving for homes that they'll love for a lifetime, with 35% wanting to retire in the first home they purchase. That's all nice, but you could end up waiting a whole long time before you can afford that. Why not build equity in a first home for five years before upgrading instead? 

So whether you're scouting school zone districts or making space for grandchildren before you're pregnant (yes, this happens, says Flynn), don't let fantasies of forever impair your judgment for the home you pick here and now. 

Sign No. 3: You think home improvement reality shows are actually realistic 

On TV shows such as 'House Crashers' and 'Property Brothers,' fixer-uppers are transformed into eye-popping showpieces in a matter of days. In reality, such renovations are extremely costly, complex, often nightmarish, and always time-consuming. Details are glossed over onscreen, raising people's real-life expectations. 

"I can tell right away if a client is super picky if he wants to make massive renovations to a home that aren't reasonable for the property or the neighborhood," says Flynn. "Other times, I'll jokingly say, Now, look, this isn't HGTV." 

Sign No. 4: Your real estate agent's getting exasperated 

Good Realtors genuinely want you to buy a home you adore, so defer to their industry expertise whenever possible. 

"I like to give my buyers the time they need to make their own discoveries and decisions," says Flynn. "But I also respect their deal breakers: If a home isn't a fit, let's leave right away and not try to convince each other it will work." And yet: Indecision can cause an agent to run circles around a client who won't consider perspective beyond their own. 

"Years ago, I had a client who always found a problem with every home I showed him, even ones he loved," says Benuska. "Eventually, I had to sever our working relationship-to this day, he still hasn't bought a home." The good news: "Oftentimes, the root of pickiness is fear," says Benuska. So if you've found a fantastic home and are nitpicking over the kitchen tile, ask yourself if you're truly ready to buy. 

Written by Elise Sole for realtor.com http://goo.gl/7y3Id3 

 
CAYMAN ISLANDS (January 22, 2016) - A doctor from Massachusetts is alive today thanks to quick reactions by hotel employees, first responders, and the skilled medical teams and surgeons at Health City Cayman Islands, and he now plans to partner with the facility that saved his life. 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Judy Josephs, whose husband Leon had cardiac arrest while on a treadmill at the gym at The Ritz-Carlton Grand Cayman last month, described the coordination of the hotel staff, many Caymanians and the Health City medical teams as a "Christmas Miracle." 

After vascular surgeon Dr. Leon Josephs collapsed, Caetano Barrato, Lead Loss Prevention Officer at The Ritz-Carlton, and other hotel employees recognized the symptoms of a cardiac event and administered CPR as well as two electric shocks, before the stricken American doctor was taken to the government hospital (Cayman Islands Health Services Authority). 

Once at the hospital, urgent measures were taken and arrangements were made for Dr. Josephs to be sped to Health City Cayman Islands where he arrived unconscious and on a ventilator. "Within 30 minutes he was taken to the cath lab and an emergency angiogram was done that showed one of the arteries was totally occluded and the other two were more than 95 percent blocked," said Dr. Binoy Chattuparambil, Senior Cardiothoracic and Vascular Surgeon at Health City Cayman Islands. 

The blood thinners Dr. Josephs was taking threatened uncontrollable bleeding, so immediate surgery was not wise. Health City doctors decided to delay surgery for 48 hours and used the time to run a battery of tests to ensure the operating team had as much information as possible by the time they started the bypass procedure.  

"The surgery took around five and a half hours and he came out of the operating room in very stable condition. After he came to the ICU (Intensive Care Unit), within two hours he was taken off the breathing machine and his recovery was quite smooth and straightforward," said Dr. Binoy, as he is widely referred to. 

The Massachusetts doctor, Acting CEO and Vascular Surgeon of Reliant Medical Group, was unstinting in his praise for the medical teams at Health City: "I'm amazingly pleased with my care. I'm a vascular surgeon at home so I see plenty of patients after cardiac surgery and my care, my recovery, in my opinion, was as good or better than (anything) I've ever seen." 

He continued: "I saw my nursing care teamed with a doctor much more than I do at home. I found my doctors to be very easy to speak with. My physical therapists (were) very involved in a team with my physicians. So I really felt that there was a team-based care here that was really focused completely on the patient being the center of that. And I really don't think that it has anything to do with the fact that I'm a healthcare executive, or the fact that I'm a physician. I think that's how they treat everybody who comes through the doors of the hospital." 

After four days, Dr. Josephs was discharged from Health City and he retains positive memories of his post-operative care at the Health City campus with grounds carefully landscaped by a world class gardener. "This actually was a beautiful recovery ...the focus on patient satisfaction is visible and palpable. They live it every day and they're really good at it," said Dr. Josephs who disclosed his company will consider sending some of its patients to Health City for their care "because the model here is a model that the United States healthcare system is striving to get to." 

Senior cardiologist Dr. Ravi Kishore explained Health City is known for its care of patients and their loved ones because of its family approach: "I always think I'm part of the family, so I establish vibes very quickly with the patient. If it's only science it is going to be very tough. And only compassion is meaningless. You have to sensibly mix these things." 

Noting the Caribbean's reliance on tourism, Dr. Binoy suggested it was vitally important to ensure that there be more facilities capable of handling such urgent medical needs for locals and for visitors. It is different now for the Cayman Islands "because visitors can enjoy their holidays, knowing if anything happens we have a very well established tertiary care hospital here." 

The Cayman Islands will benefit from several more visits by Dr. Josephs as he will eschew U.S. doctors to undergo his follow-up checks with the Health City specialists: "In fact, we'll make a couple of trips (for) post-op checks that I would typically do at home but I think I'm actually going to just come down here and see Dr. Ravi (and) see Dr. Binoy instead just because I feel good about that. They were excellent." 

Health City Cayman Islands and Dr. Binoy will also benefit from Dr. Josephs' experience. "We're forming a partnership, actually. He's coming up for me to teach him some newer vascular techniques. Hopefully the day will come when I actually come down here and do some of those with him. That's kind of the plan we started to develop," said Dr. Josephs. 



Dr. Leon Josephs and Judy Josephs 

About Health City Cayman Islands 
Health City Cayman Islands, the vision of renowned heart surgeon and humanitarian Dr. Devi Shetty, is supported by two major healthcare organizations, Narayana Health and the U.S.-based Ascension, which is that nation's largest faith-based and nonprofit health system, providing the highest quality care to all with special attention to those living in poverty and struggling. Health City Cayman Islands provides compassionate, high-quality, affordable healthcare services in a world-class, comfortable, patient-centered environment. Offering healthcare to international, regional and local patients, Health City Cayman Islands delivers excellence in adult and pediatric cardiology, cardiac surgery, cardiac electrophysiology, medical oncology, orthopedics, sports medicine, pediatric endocrinology, gastrointestinal and bariatric surgery, neurosurgery, minimally invasive spine surgery, and pulmonology services. 

For further information, visit www.healthcitycaymanislands.com.

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