Buying Property in the Cayman Islands
There are no legal restrictions on the ownership of property by foreigners, where the property is for the personal use of the owner; however the ownership of property for business purposes is subject to licensing.
Most properties in the Cayman Islands are freehold, although there are a few leasehold properties. Title to Cayman Islands property can be held by individuals, either alone, jointly, or in the name of a company.
Property in the Cayman Islands is recorded in a registered system maintained by the government and open to public inspection. Buyers may examine the registration of any property and see who owns the property and whether there are any charges against the property. Since the registry process requires each property to be carefully scrutinised before it can be registered, a registered property effectively guarantees title.
Mortgages & Bank Loans
Foreigners may open bank accounts in the Cayman Islands and take out a loan to finance a property purchase. The banks will often lend up to 50 to 75% of the property value to foreigners, but will normally require the first legal hold over the property. When lending to a company, the banks will usually ask for a personal guarantee from the directors or shareholders. Loans and mortgages are however normally only available for properties that have been constructed and rarely given for pre-construction properties.
Cayman Islands Stamp Duty
Stamp duty of 6% is payable to the government on all property purchases (7.5% for properties on Seven Mile Beach). There is also a 1% stamp duty payable on mortgages up to CI$300,000 (approx. US$240,000) and 1.5% stamp duty on mortgages exceeding this value.
Buying Cayman Islands Property
The conveyancing of a property in the Cayman Islands is straightforward and can be undertaken by a large number of legal firms based on the islands. The fees for conveyancing a property are usually a small percentage of the purchase price of the property.