The topic of financial technology will have been discussed at length within this current edition of Cayman Financial Review. No doubt experts in the field will have informed readers on these exciting new trends within the financial services sector, and the many benefits such developments will bring to the industry. As my field of expertise is real estate, I thought it appropriate, as perhaps a parallel discussion, to talk about a new market trend that has opened up in the Cayman Islands recently; one which, I believe, has the potential to be something of a game changer when it comes to home ownership.
There are plenty of great houses on the market that would suit buyers looking for their own spacious accommodation to call home, however, the new development of Stone Island, located at the prestigious Yacht Club development, breaks new ground when it comes to home ownership, cutting an innovative swathe through the current market.
Up until this point, buyers could choose from a home that would most likely be looked after by the individual owner, in terms of landscaping, pool, deck, dock, etc. If a buyer is looking for a “lock and leave” type of home that is under the control of a strata management company, these have generally taken the form of a condominium. The beauty of Stone Island is that it combines owning a separate home tailored to the buyer’s individual needs with the ease of owning a strata-operated property, where all the hard work of home ownership (i.e. the external upkeep) is undertaken by a third party.
By way of some background, Stone Island is a gated and fully maintained waterfront community that will have 44 luxury residences within its location, each with approximately 4,500-square-feet of open-concept living space. Buyers can choose to upgrade their residence with a number of additional features available, including building in an elevator, a built-in outdoor barbecue, as well as the inclusion of superior finish packages, among other options.
Located in a well-established and prestigious residential community, Stone Island offers easy access to the ocean and is just a short walk from Seven Mile Beach. The Residences of Stone Island are at the heart of a thriving yet quiet community, and enjoy the added benefits of being close proximity to The Cayman Islands Yacht Club, which has a full-service marina, restaurants and amenities.
A unique opportunity
In addition to employing the highest building standards, fixtures and finishes, which include poured concrete, foam insulation, LED lighting, impact-rated windows and smart-home technology, the developers have also gone the extra mile to produce lush landscaping, an additional separate swimming pool to each home’s individual pool, tennis courts, a full-sized gym and on-site security. Exclusivity has been written into every detail – for example, the homes have been carefully designed so that you don’t glimpse the entrances to other homes as you drive up to your property and cars are kept off the driveways and out of sight in a specially built garage. You can buy a home for a similar price to these residences at Stone Island, but house buyers will not have access to the extensive amenities that this development is offering, principally due to the scale of the development and the fact that it will be operated by a strata management company. This is why I am excited by this new concept.
Meeting market demand
It is especially relevant that we are able to offer new niche markets for potential buyers because of the recent upswing in demand for Cayman Islands property by overseas buyers. It is vital that Cayman is able to keep up with the appetite for second (or third homes) for wealthy retirees, in particular. This new type of home ownership will appeal to the overseas buyer who might be looking to buy a sizeable home in the Cayman Islands, but who also wants to be able to lock it up and leave it whenever they travel back home. This was traditionally only a benefit derived from owning a condo within a strata.
The security that will be on site gives additional peace of mind for people only living in their home for part of the year. Local residents who may be retiring will also find such a set-up an attractive lifestyle choice, with people reaching the end of their working life looking to spend just part of their time residing in Cayman.
There are currently three model homes already completed, to give would-be buyers a glimpse of how they could customize a home at Stone Island to suit their individual needs.
I believe that The Residences at Stone Island will be ground breaking for Cayman’s real estate market and it’s a precedent that stands the island in good stead for continued positive growth in the years to come.