It’s sometimes said that good things come in small packages. For many of the world’s wealthy citizens, that proves true when it comes to their choice of a location for their permanent residence and often their family office. From Monaco (0.78 square miles) to Singapore (281 square miles), these small and densely populated hubs often serve as the primary base for high-net-worth individuals.
There is one small locale that is quietly emerging as an option for the affluent to reside – the Cayman Islands. The sunny British Overseas Territory located a 70-minute flight from Miami is attracting the attention of discerning individuals who are searching for a low-tax jurisdiction with a high standard of living.
Like its counterparts, the Cayman Islands does not occupy a large land mass; the three-island archipelago is 100 square miles in size. The largest island, Grand Cayman, which is well known as the location of a leading global offshore financial services center, covers 76 square miles. Private client advisors to the word’s wealthy are also well aware of Cayman’s tax-neutral status – there are no corporate, income, capital gains, inheritance, gift, sales (VAT) or recurring property taxes in Cayman. This makes the Islands a competitive choice for those individuals or families seeking a low-tax domicile.
Aside from its size and lack of direct taxation, the similarities to locales such as Monaco start to wane.
To start, Cayman enjoys a small population with a tight-knit community. Spacious, luxury properties abound, from beachfront villas in Grand Cayman’s quiet east end to expansive penthouses in low-rise condominiums on Seven Mile Beach and sprawling canal front estates in private gated neighborhoods. These residential offerings serve as a marked contrast to higher density hubs, where property prices are typically higher too due to the premium placed on land and real estate. Furthering the appeal of owning property in Cayman is the lack of restrictions on foreign ownership of property, no alien landholding license requirements, and the opportunity to gain permanent residency and eventually naturalization through investing in real estate.
Then there is the ease of access. Compared to its counterparts in Europe and Asia, Cayman is easy to reach from the United States and Canada, with nonstop flights available year-round from Toronto, New York City, Charlotte, Miami, Atlanta, Dallas and more. A 70-minute hop to Miami and a three-and-a-half-hour flight to New York City make living and working in Cayman efficient for globally mobile individuals and family office representatives. Reaching Europe is also convenient thanks to nonstop British Airways flights from Grand Cayman to London Heathrow.
Not only is Cayman easy to access, it is an easy place to conduct business. In 2019, Cayman was ranked as the easiest place in the world to do business by the Global Complexity Index, thanks to world-class service providers, a stable and efficient government and a highly regulated financial services industry.
The simplicity of island living is also highly valued by its residents. The standard of healthcare is particularly valued, with four hospitals serving a full-time population of approximately 65,000 residents and another two hospitals announced in early 2021 for development. A ratio of 4.5 doctors per 1,000 residents and over 1,000 healthcare professionals provide peace of mind for those sometimes wary of island living.
Access to quality education facilities is also readily available, including the newly expanded Cayman International School at Camana Bay which offers an International Baccalaureate program and affiliation with the Round Square schools organization.
Reliable telecommunications (on par with mainland services) and utility providers, first-rate grocery stores and more than 250 dining venues that have helped earn Cayman the moniker “culinary capital of the Caribbean” all contribute to the appeal of this sophisticated Caribbean territory.
It’s also the quality of people that make Cayman such an interesting place to live. Globally mobile individuals immediately feel at home and appreciate that more than 135 nationalities are represented by the full-time population, living harmoniously in a place with one of the lowest crime rates in the world. The cosmopolitan nature of the community has built on the long-standing Cayman tradition of resourcefulness and fostered exciting developments in innovation, most recently in the tech industry, as well as an enriching cultural scene.
Rounding out the island lifestyle is its rich natural assets, permitting residents an abundance of opportunities to enjoy marine adventures on a turquoise-colored sea and year-round engagement in land-based sports surrounded by a ribbon of white sand beaches and a lush tropical landscape.
Contributing to this quality of life is Cayman’s largest investor, Dart, which has made significant contributions by investing over US$1.5 billion in luxury resorts and residential properties, Class A commercial office buildings, public infrastructure projects in partnership with government and, most notably, its flagship development of Camana Bay.
Camana Bay is a 685-acre waterfront town center founded on the principles of New Urbanism and home to global legal and accountancy firms, as well as an array of retail boutiques, food and beverage establishments, Cayman International School, and OLEA, a residential community offering condos, townhomes and villas for sale. It is also the address for two new projects under construction and scheduled for 2022 occupancy: 60 Nexus Way, a commercial office building, and Kapok, a for-lease residential high-rise building.
These facilities are being developed to respond to the growing interest from prospective tenants in the family office, reinsurance, and financial services sectors, including those organizations needing space to meet economic substance requirements.
A short drive from Camana Bay is another Dart development, Kimpton Seafire Resort
+ Spa, and the adjacent Residences at Seafire. The AAA Five Diamond award-winning resort shares a 12-acre property on Seven Mile Beach with The Residences at Seafire, the newest luxury condominium development ready for immediate occupancy on Grand Cayman. The 62-unit property offers contemporary one- to five-bedroom residences that are ideally suited for residents, part-time residents and those applying for permanent residency. An optional rental program managed by the resort is available to purchasers interested in renting their property when not on island.
Properties for sale at The Residences at Seafire and OLEA, as well as other luxury real estate, are represented by Provenance Properties, Dart Real Estate’s brokerage and the official Christie’s International Real Estate affiliate in the Cayman Islands. Clients benefit from three distinct offerings: one-stop service for all commercial, residential and relocation service needs, in-depth and proprietary market analyses, and access to the privileged Christie’s Real Estate marketing programs and network of like-minded individuals.
Beyond the role of real estate developer, Dart is committed to the Cayman Islands. Through its thoughtful and innovative local investments and strategic partnerships with both the Cayman Islands Government and the private sector, Dart shares a vision of growth and sustainable development for the Cayman Islands, which advances its position as a premier financial services jurisdiction.
The Dart Real Estate team helps business owners and individuals learn about the benefits of living and working in the Cayman Islands, and assists with making the relocation process an efficient and positive experience. In 2020, they furthered this work by publishing a research paper “The Cayman Islands: A jurisdiction of choice for family offices.” This research paper assists family offices and high-net-worth individuals with further understanding the value proposition on offer in Cayman. A complimentary copy of the paper is available on request by visiting familyofficereport.dartrealestate.com