Cost of Living in Cayman Islands
Cayman Islands is one of the most expensive territories to live in the American region for foreign nationals. As of 2010, the island’s GDP per capita is estimated at $47,000, while its Human Development Index is at 0.983 – a very high rank, placing Cayman Islands at Number 4 in the world.
Buying Real Estate
Due to Cayman Islands thriving economy and strong popularity among foreign investors and expats who want to live, work, or retire in the island, its real estate market is proving to be a successful and continuously progressing one. The government does not have any restrictions on foreign nationals who wish to purchase a property in the Islands – all legal documents are granted and approved by the Cayman Islands government, and the system for registering land is well-run, centralized, modern and reliable. Furthermore, Cayman Islands do not have annual property tax or capital gains tax, unlike in other countries. If the property is rented out as an investment, no tourist tax will be imposed as well.
The prices of property in Cayman Islands are significantly expensive, and they are continuously increasing with the boom of the real estate market. The importation of all construction materials for building houses and properties is one of the main reasons why real estate prices are high. Prices differ depending on the location, size, and other features that come with the property. The highest-priced ones can be found in Grand Cayman and the coast of Seven Mile Beach – the most famous site of Cayman Islands – with prices that can range up to millions of dollars. Typical prices are approximately $150,000 to $500,000 for a residential house with two bedrooms and two bathrooms, while a condo with two bedrooms and two bathrooms cost about $100,000 to $1,100,000.
Since Cayman Islands is home to a great number of financial institutions, there is also an abundance of mortgage lenders that offer competitive rates to prospective real estate buyers. Instead of the traditional 30-year loans, they offer loans for shorter terms of about 10 and 15 years.
As mentioned earlier, the prices of real estate in Cayman Islands – whether for purchasing or renting – is quite pricey. The main reason is because materials used to construct houses, buildings and apartments are all imported, plus the real estate market has a very high demand from various foreign investors. There is a wide variety of rental accommodations to choose from – from small, one-bedroom apartments to full-sized condos and houses, furnished or unfurnished. Prices always depend on the location and size of property. Expats who are looking for a more affordable rental accommodation might want to stay away from Grand Cayman and Seven Mile Beach, as these are where the most expensive properties are sold and rented.
Rental prices are inclusive of payment for utilities. A modern and furnished one-bedroom apartment in the city center can cost approximately US$800 to US$1,100, and a similar-sized one outside the city costs about US$850 to US$1,000. Apartments on the beach have the highest prices. A two-bedroom apartment can cost between US$1,800 and US$6,000.
It is recommended that foreign nationals looking for a rental apartment contact a local real estate agent as prices, terms and availability vary especially during tourist season, and are sometimes subject to change without prior notice.
More often than not, utility costs are already included in rents. Basic utilities such as electricity, water, heating and garbage can cost around US$250 to US$600. Local, one-minute calls using prepaid mobile costs about US$0.18 to US$0.50. Internet rates for a cable/ADSL connection with unlimited data and speed of 6Mbps costs approximately US$100 to US$125. Setting-up fee for cable television costs about US$110, non-refundable.
Eating out at an inexpensive Cayman Islands restaurant can cost about US$12 to US$15, while a three-course meal for two at a mid-range restaurant costs approximately US$75 to US$120. A regular cappuccino at a restaurant costs US$5, one liter of regular milk costs US$2, a loaf of fresh white bread costs about US$3, one kilogram of rice costs US$7, a dozen eggs cost US$3, one kilogram of local cheese costs about US$27, and a 1.5 liter of bottled water costs US$3. Domestic beer costs about US$3, imported beer costs US$4, and a pack of cigarettes costs around US$9.
Gasoline prices in Cayman Islands range from US$1 to US$2 per liter. A one-way ticket using local transport costs about US$2.50, while taxi rates start from US$10, with an additional US$2.50 for every kilometer.
Caymanian nationals and expats alike enjoy a competitive salary that is tax-free. The Islands do not impose a tax on income or capital gains of its residents and non-resident individuals. Additionally, there are also no welfare or social security taxes, and medical insurance is mandatory for all private employees in the Islands.
Expat Services in Cayman Islands
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