RE/MAX Cayman Islands Celebrates its 30th Anniversary

It was 30 years ago this February that RE/MAX Cayman Islands opened its doors in Grand Cayman as the first official RE/MAX office in the world outside of the USA and Canada.

Back in 1990 when Kim Lund opened his real estate agency, First Realty of Cayman, he quickly realized that it was extremely difficult to launch a new real estate company in Cayman and needed a competitive edge.

“Even 30 years ago, I knew how important a franchise was,” commented Kim Lund, Broker/Owner. “A real estate franchise with a proven history and stellar reputation would make a mark in Cayman, but also enable us to showcase our islands to the USA and Canada and later, the rest of the world. The biggest challenge back then was that every company said no, that Cayman wasn’t a big enough market, and that they weren’t even interested in the Caribbean region at all.”

After months of rejections, Lund finally received some good news. RE/MAX said they would consider it. Lund immediately flew up to RE/MAX headquarters in Denver, Colorado and after 3 days he convinced them to sell him a franchise.

RE/MAX Cayman Islands was originally operated out of Regency Court on West Bay Road. Including Lund, there were 3 employees including a receptionist and Kim’s late wife, Brenda Tibbetts-Lund, who came on board as the company’s office manager. Within a few months, Edna Ebanks, who has been with RE/MAX Cayman Islands ever since, was the office’s first new agent.

James Bovell, Broker/Owner of RE/MAX Cayman Islands, joined RE/MAX Cayman Islands in 1994. In 1998, he became a co-owner and took over the management of the company as the Managing Partner (Broker in Charge).

“RE/MAX is the #1 real estate brand in the world,” added Bovell. “Since its launch in 1991, RE/MAX Cayman Islands has not only dominated the Cayman Islands as the island’s #1 real estate company, but also within the entire Caribbean and Latin American markets, where RE/MAX Cayman Islands consistently ranks #1 among RE/MAX offices.”

In fact, in 2018 the office was honored as the #1 office in Top Sales Volume for a Single Office Globally having completed more than 600 transaction sides and generating over $500,000,000 in sales volume for the year.

Within 6 years of its launch, Kim Lund became the #1 sales agent in the world for both 1997 and 1998. RE/MAX corporate took notice and expanded its presence not only in the Caribbean, but worldwide. Today, RE/MAX has more than 130,000 agents in over 7,500 offices in over 100 countries.


RE/MAX Cayman Islands Welcomes New Sales Associate Nick Dibb

RE/MAX Cayman Islands is proud to announce its newest Sales Associate, Nick Dibb.

Nick was born and raised in the Cayman Islands and then went abroad and obtained his Business Management diploma with London South Bank University. Even though he is early in his career, Nick has already put his business knowledge to work, displaying considerable entrepreneurial skills working in London. He also won the 100% Club Award from RE/MAX during his first year.

Confident and personable, Nick brings with him a young perspective. Nick comes from a family of property investors all over the world and has networked with high-net-worth individuals and is also extremely familiar with the Cayman Islands and its infrastructure.

“As the real estate industry continues to flourish in the Cayman Islands, we pride ourselves on attracting hard-working and dedicated agents to our office,” added Kim Lund, Broker/Owner. “We have agents with a 29-year history with our company and Nick is a great addition to our strong and successful team of 22 agents.”

“Nick began his real estate career with the Bovell Team and although we will miss him on our team, we are glad he stayed within our RE/MAX family,” commented James Bovell, Broker/Owner. “He brings a positive energy to the office and will be a great addition to our ever growing company.”


RE/MAX Cayman Islands Sponsors Stride Against Cancer


Once again, RE/MAX Cayman Islands was proud to sponsor a water stop at this year’s Nationwide Stride Against Cancer 2021 that was held on January 31st. The event saw a record-setting number of participants running and walking to raise awareness and funds for cancer support in the Cayman Islands.


Cayman Islands Real Estate Boomed in 2020

The Cayman Islands real estate market is flourishing even with our industry’s close down between March 22 and June 3 due to COVID-19. During this time, we couldn’t operate as usual, but many agents were still working behind the scenes and in fact more than US$77 million in sales were completed during that time based on CIREBA (Cayman Islands Real Estate Brokers Association) stats.

At the end of 2020, total sales volume was up from US$639,279,161 to US$666,480,657, which is a 4.26% increase year-over-year. But, when you look at overall transactions, 2020 was down over 17.45%. In 2020, 686 properties sold in the Cayman Islands versus 831 in 2019.

This means that real estate prices, as a whole, are rapidly increasing. In 2020, the average US$ per transaction was US$971,546 up from US$769,289 in 2019, which is a huge increase of 26.3% year-over-year.

“2020 has been a stellar year for the Cayman Islands real estate market,” added Kim Lund, Broker/Owner of RE/MAX Cayman Islands. “We anticipate this trend to continue into 2021 and beyond as our pending sales (transactions that have no conditions pending and thus will go to final sale) are up over 91% year-over-year. Pending sales as of the end of 2020 exceed US$140,847,733 up from US$65,584,178 in 2019 with the bulk of these being condominium developments currently under construction.”

Sales volume for new-to-market listings for the year was down 4.5% but sales transactions were down more than 13.57% illustrating that there were less new listings that hit the market in 2020 versus 2019. In fact, when looking at the sales transactions alone, there were over 206 less new listings to hit the market in 2020 versus 2019.

“2020 was definitely a unique year for our industry,” added James Bovell, Broker/Owner. “We have seen an increase in international buyers many of whom are looking for a safe place to either relocate or purchase a second home. In some of these cases, we are working with buyers who have never even been to the Cayman Islands before. How our country came together and handled the management of COVID-19 has positively impacted both our country and its ongoing desirability from foreign investors.”

Even though the new-to-market listings were down in 2020, the overall number of active listings increased by 4.69%. The 12-month average for active listings was 1,540 in 2020 versus 1,471 in 2019. The majority of active listings in 2020, as was also the case in 2019, were residential properties with 80% of those being condominiums.

Another contributing factor to this year’s sales volume increase was the pension withdrawal program.

Earlier this year, government amended the National Pensions Law to allow local workers to make withdrawals from their pension accounts. More than 36,000 applications for withdrawals were approved amounting to more than $443.5 million. This means almost half of the 73,000 private pension accounts in Cayman were subject to withdrawals. (Source: Cayman Compass, December 23, 2020)

In some cases, the pension withdrawal program enabled many buyers to enter the market sooner than anticipated while others took the opportunity to use those pension funds to upgrade their current living situation.

All signs indicate that the real estate market will continue to grow and flourish in 2021 as our borders open up and welcome both returning and new visitors, many of whom will become real estate investors. Additionally, more than US$1.7 billion of new developments are currently in or about to start construction, offering many new investment opportunities.


RE/MAX Cayman Islands: The Year in Review

As RE/MAX Cayman Islands gets ready to close out 2020, we thought we’d take a look back at what has been a challenging year where we, as a country, community and family, came together…as one.

Each and every year, RE/MAX Cayman Islands continuously supports our community through various sponsorships and fundraisers, but this year we wanted to support Cayman even more by giving back even more.

On March 27th, we launch the “In this Together” campaign which donated more than CI$55,000 to local charities island wide including Meals on Wheels, Kiwanis Club of Grand Cayman, Cayman Islands Food Bank, Cayman Ark, Feed Our Future, Cayman Islands Crisis Centre, Alex Panton Foundation, One Dog at a Time, The Pines, YMCA of the Cayman Islands and the Special Needs Foundation.

In addition to the “In this Together” campaign RE/MAX Cayman Islands also sponsored the Flowers Sea Swim, Breast Cancer Foundation Gala, “Rock Your Socks” in support of World Down Syndrome Day, “Seniors Rock” in support of Meals on Wheels, Stride Against Cancer, among others. Our office and staff also donated funds, clothes and food items to the Red Cross Relief Fund benefitting people impacted by the recent hurricanes in Honduras and Nicaragua.


RE/MAX Cayman Islands Sponsors Breast Cancer Foundation Gala

The annual Cayman Islands Breast Cancer Foundation Gala was held on Saturday, October 17th at The Ritz-Carlton and RE/MAX Cayman Islands was proud to be the Gala’s Title Sponsor.

Breast Cancer founding Board Members, Kim Lund and James Bovell, opened the evening.

Hosted by Vicki Wheaton, the event featured guest speaker Selita Ebanks.

Discovered at the age of 17, Selita Ebanks, born in New York and raised partly in her Mother’s native Cayman Islands, quickly rose through the ranks to become one of the most sought after and respected models of her generation. Gracing the covers of such magazines as Esquire, Teen Vogue, Maxim, Hampton Style and Ocean Drive, Selita has been also been featured in Vogue and Vanity Fair, among other international publications and landed beauty campaigns for Bobby Brown, Clinique and MAC Cosmetics.

RE/MAX agents and staff both attended and volunteered at the event.

 


RE/MAX Cayman Islands Sponsors Flowers Sea Swim 2020

For the 5th consecutive year, RE/MAX Cayman Islands was a proud Gold sponsor of the Flowers Sea Swim. This annual family-friendly event was held on Saturday, October 3rd and was the 28th edition of the Flowers Sea Swim.

RE/MAX agents and staff participated on the beach where all event attendees were able to spin the wheel to win a variety of prizes.


RE/MAX Cayman Islands Dominates RE/MAX Corporate and Region Charts for First Half of 2020

RE/MAX Cayman Islands continues to set sales records within the RE/MAX worldwide family of more than 130,000 agents in over 7,500 offices in 100 countries worldwide.

For the first half of 2020, the Lund Team (Kim Lund, Dillon Claassens, Cindy Raymond) ranked #1 and the Bovell Team (James Bovell, Nicholas Dibb) ranked #2 in the Global Owner Team Residential category. The Bovell Team ranked #1 and the Lund Team ranked #2 in the Global Owner Team Commercial category. Mark Gaus is the #2 Top Global Individual Residential. For the Global Individual Commercial category, Michael Binckes ranked #5 and Bianca Alberga ranked #13.

“As with every industry on a worldwide scale, the real estate market has not been unaffected by the global pandemic we are all facing,” noted Broker/Owner Kim Lund. “The fact that our agents continue to be recognized as industry leaders is a testament to their expertise, dedication and determination.”

Additionally, RE/MAX Cayman Islands is the #1 RE/MAX Office in Caribbean and Central America region for first half of 2020 with numerous agents ranking in the top 100 in all categories.

“I want to congratulate all of our agents who ranked in the top 100 producers in the region,” said Broker/Owner James Bovell. “Our rankings demonstrate the strength and growth of the Cayman Islands real estate market not only in the Caribbean and Central America region, but on a global scale.”

 

TOP 100 CARIBBEAN & CENTRAL AMERICA RANKINGS

TOP PRODUERS RESIDENTIAL & COMMERCIAL
#1 Mark Gaus
#2 Michael Binckes
#6 Bianca Alberga
#7 Dillon Claassens
#10 Tamara Siemens
#28 Kass Coleman
#33 Scott Roe
#37 Samantha Payne
#40 Marques Riddick
#42 Heather Richards
#53 Cindy Raymond
#58 Nicholas Dibb
#81 Sheila Siegel

TOP PRODUCERS RESIDENTIAL
#1 Mark Gaus
#5 Dillon Claassens
#8 Tamara Siemens
#23 Michael Binckes
#26 Kass Coleman
#31 Scott Roe
#36 Samantha Payne
#39 Heather Richards
#48 Cindy Raymond
#52 Nicholas Dibb
#61 Marques Riddick
#75 Sheila Siegel

TOP PRODUCERS COMMERCIAL
#1 Michael Binckes
#2 Bianca Alberga
#11 Marques Riddick


How far your pension money can take you in real estate terms

Many people have been tempted to withdraw part of their pension money through the Government’s emergency withdrawal process, which was established to help people with their finances during the coronavirus pandemic. This once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to access some of your hard-earned cash that you have saved for your retirement can be put to extremely good use and can pave the way for you either owning a significantly better property than you could expect to own using savings alone, or owning a property sooner than expected.

Of course, everyone will be withdrawing differing amounts because the amount you receive will vary according to the size of your pension saved. Emergency withdrawal regulations specify that you can withdraw up to CI$10,000 plus 25% of the remaining pension. For this reason, we will examine a few differing scenarios, looking at how far a pension withdrawal - plus savings - can go, when considering purchasing a property. In any case, you have to bear in mind that Stamp Duty costs will equate to 7.5% of the total cost of the property and that other charges will equate to around 3.5%, to a total of approximately 11%.

In the first scenario, let’s assume an individual has been able to withdraw CI$10,000 from their pension, and they have been able to save an additional sum of CI$10,000 during the course of their career so far. Some banks have offered 5% down as a deposit in the past, although this is uncommon nowadays. More often, banks will require you to put down 10% of the purchase price before they will offer you a mortgage on the remainder of the property. So, in this first scenario, if the individual has to put aside a 10% deposit and pay 11% costs, their purchasing power is CI$95,238. This is a substantial sum that could buy you a piece of land which could eventually be the location of your future home, a great investment for anyone. If the bank required 15% down, that figure would reduce to CI$76,923, but this would still enable an individual to get on the all-important property ladder with a piece of land.

The second scenario sees an individual who may possibly have been working for longer, thereby able to save up more in cash, as well as build up more of a pension. If they were to save CI$20,000 and withdraw CI$20,000 they would be able to purchase a condominium for CI$190,476. This is assuming 11% costs and 10% down at the bank. Equally, they could consider purchasing a larger plot of land, or land in a more highly sought-after location. In any case this would still be a great investment. If the bank required 15% down, the purchasing power would be reduced to CI$153,846, perhaps on the low side for a condominium but definitely affordable for a piece of land.

The third scenario sees a couple who may have been working for a while and managed to save a more considerable sum of CI$50,000 and who have been able to withdraw a total of CI$50,000 from their pensions between them. A total of CI$100,000 to be used to purchase a property will enable them to purchase a substantial property for CI$476,190, assuming the same 11% in costs and having to put down a 10% deposit with the bank. If the bank wanted 15% down that amount would reduce to CI$384,615, still a tidy sum which can be used to buy a home.

In all of the above scenarios we are trying to illustrate the huge purchasing power of a relatively small amount of savings when combined with a pension withdrawal. Combining the two gives an individual or a couple purchasing power that they could not ever have expected to have before the Government’s emergency withdrawal plan came into place. It could help you get onto the property ladder a lot sooner than you could imagine, or help you purchase a more substantial piece of land or a property that was previously out of your reach.

If you’d like to learn more, please contact us at 233-3000.


Business is fully open including showings

RE/MAX Cayman Islands is extremely grateful that the Cayman Islands Government has given us, and the rest of the real estate industry, permission to open up our offices and start property showings.

In accordance with Public Health Law regulations, specific rules and procedures have been outlined for both within our office and at property showings.

With respect to showings, we’ve put together a topline overview to show you what showings will be like during this new norm (see graphic on next page). Everyone in our office is committed to follow all protocols and safety measures as we welcome this new norm.

Please keep in mind that showings are only permitted on your corresponding day based on your surname. As a reminder, Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays are A to K and Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays are L to Z.

The entire RE/MAX team has been working tirelessly during our lockdown to ensure transactions have been moving ahead.

Our office, which is located in 7 Mile Shops, is open from 8AM to 6PM Monday through Friday and on Saturday from 9AM to 3PM. Please not hesitate to contact us with any questions at 233-3000.