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Friday's Forbes Where to Live article provided an interesting metric - measuring the best place to live by the cost of a bottle of champagne. Cayman hotels rank right behind Moscow at $650 a pop. (Dear Hoteliers - please tell us where we can get this fabulous deal?!)  

Champagne price comparisons are apt in light of the fact that historically our property values increase year on year. More recently Cayman Islands are receiving international praise for both privacy policies and our good standing in the tax compliance arena. 

For ultra high net worth individuals nonplussed by Russia's expensive Cristal and meager 82 days of sunshine per year, a warm safehaven overlooking the ocean must be the solution.  

Let's compare sandy tax free domiciles: 

Bahamas 
One percent property tax for non-permanent residents 

Gibraltar 
Taxes on the first $90,000 of income. To be considered for full time residency, you need two letters of recommendation deemed worthy by the government. 

Bermuda 
Permanent residency is difficult to get. Non-Bermudans must buy houses worth over $1 million. The government charges a 22% property tax. 

Cayman Islands 
No personal income taxes, no capital gains taxes, no corporate taxes, no payroll taxes and no withholding taxes on domestic of foreign entities. 

This begs the question - why drink champagne in our hotels when you can own waterfront property on Millionaires Row? 

Beautiful private North Side is number one for wealthy individuals seeking a real safehaven. Over the years, many of our owners in Cayman Kai, Rum Point and Kaibo have transformed secluded parcels into beautiful residences and second homes.  

Which we love to visit. We can show you every available property in one of the world's most exclusive neighbourhoods. Is it time for us to meet

Naturally, we provide the Champagne. 

 
CBWeekly October 21st , 2013 

Jamie Dimon, chairman of the board, president and CEO of JPMorgan Chase. 

Lawyers for the financial giant reportedly shook on a deal worth US$13billion with the US Government over investigations into its mortgage-bond sales. Though the largest such deal between financial firm and State to date, it still leaves JP Morgan a target for criminal liability. 

We are wondering - will this news affect people currently holding off on getting a mortgage? 

For sale: 2Bed 2Bath, suitable for a SMSF 



Our Aussie cousins lead the property-boom charge again this week. Pete Wargent in the Property Observer investigates the trend of credit growth remaining at historically low levels while real estate prices skyrocket. He suggests it is because of the amount of Chinese investors buying in cash. 

New adverts may soon be needed for property listings there too. Andrew Winter of the Herald Sun claims that a new demographic in the property industry has emerged.  

'Regular Joes' investing in Self-Managed Super Funds to buy residential property is all the rage apparently.  
Originally, a SMSF was a convoluted process, used mostly by accountants and advisors of wealthy individuals. Now though, the masses are in on the act and inventory is selling well. Winter notes the property filling up with listings that are 'suitable for a SMSF' instead of 'gorgeous family home'.  


Cayman Islands Realty offers assurance to Maserati owners.
 

Cash rich buyers are also causing a 'frenzy' in London pushing up asking prices by 2.8% month-on-month. 

The Telegraph ignores that dull numbers angle to instead focus on art. Connections between the worlds of luxury property and original art are thrown into sharp relief by the prestigious Chilterns, in Marylebone. These residences come with an original framed photograph of Marylebone by David Bailey (each worth $20,000.  We picked out some of Baileys work for our Pinterest). 

In fact, in that market there is increasing demand for art spaces such as personal galleries. One couple in St Johns's Wood ended up with art worth more than their mansion (so they moved). 

What else will a property seller add to sweeten the deal you ask?  

On Friday, one seller said she would throw in her 2007 Maserati Quattroporte for a quick sale.  



Having checked the website this afternoon, we see her listing is no longer on the market.  

Now, we like a quick sale as much as the next brokerage, but we advise against getting rid of the Maserati. Just check in with us before listing your property to ensure you have set the right listing price. 

 
A Coldwell Banker Cayman Islands Realty take on the Real Estate news 

Picking up from last Friday's salute to you renters out there: a just-published realtormag.com survey finds that, as we suspected,  51% of renters want to own their own home

In Cayman, the main obstacles to home ownership are unchanged. How to save for the down payment, what the closing costs will be, are my wages too low... What can you do to put a plan for home ownership in place this week?  Call us

US Analysts say increasing sales for single-family homes shows both a strengthening of the market and that real estate is an excellent investment. 

Investors, they say, should focus not on location but on the project partners and its ability to generate yield. 
That report mirrors happenings in Sydney where property prices are climbing again. 

As in other global markets Chinese investors are buying up real estate due to restrictions in their own jurisdictions. Local real estate agents on the ground are in two minds about the effects of the influx on the neighbourhoods and their futures. 

These agents are also reporting on differences in dealing with and negotiating on real estate deals with their Chinese clients. Guanxi for example, refers to the relationships one holds with other people which allows them to call in favours or exert influence on behalf of others. The article explains its similarities to how we view social capital.  

It is a word, we feel describes how a good relationship with a real estate agent should be.  
Elsewhere this survey shows 40% of people not yet looking to sell already know which estate agent they will use, having already fully formed their opinion of him or her. Is this true of all professions I wonder?  

We are certainly keen to hear your opinions of us?  Contact us at any time

Spare a thought, for your choice of agent sellers. In Cayman, it should always be someone you like and feel like you trust. While you can get rid of the broker if you are selling a property, you can't get rid of the broker's work.  Selling can be a more arduous task than buying. 

While we're on the subject, you are in good real estate company at our offices - Coldwell Banker US has been ranked No.1 performing team based on sales volume.  

Finally, it is reported Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth is living in dwellings that are crumbling about her royal ears.  

One hopes she can call upon the good Guanxi of her loyal subjects to make the necessary upgrades, reportedly in the region of $71 million, after all, one must preserve ones curb appeal at all costs

 
These children are enjoying their swimming class at school in East End. Now we are not jealous of course. We loved our dark classrooms and swimsuit free schooldays! Rather the picture said "How much more attractive to settle into serene East End when you don't need to drive the kids to George Town daily?" 

Almost all of the land in the district of East End is undeveloped.  


There are major developments slated for areas outside George Town not least, Dr Devi Shetty's Health City. Just as the new road in West Bay is creating home buying interest there, this facility will attract major investment into East End property.  

As described in EvolutionShift.com Health City will be a reforming facility; a first New Health Age hospital

It is estimated that between eight to 10,000 people will work in Health City when all systems are go. 

With that kind of interest in the area, it is safe to assume the growth and development forecasted will benefit those who buy property there now.  

On Friday there was a wonderful tribute to the Queen of Breakers , 94 year old Nell Conor from her neighbour of 40 years. East End nurtures both privacy and community. Those are the kinds of developments that can, over time, result in more pictures of smiling children in happy neighbourhoods. 

 
Everyone from the new resident looking for furniture to the luxury property buyer is familiar with the better known latin phrase caveat emptor. Let the buyer beware has at one time or another figured in all our purchasing conversations. But who looks out for the seller? 

Around our office, you're more likely to hear caveat vendit, let the seller beware - especially when setting the price of your listing. 

Ellen DeGeneres gave us an example of either her comedy stylings or her property know-how last week, we're still deciding which, by raising the listing price of her Thousand Oaks home , from $10.995 million to $12.995 million. 

While we like a good laugh as much as the next brokerage, if you are looking to sell your high end property, the jokes and backslapping come at the end of a very difficult process - not in a slapdash agreement of 'what we'll try and get' at the beginning. Marketing and finalising the sale on any property is hard. The hard work begins not by setting a price that 'sounds right to you', but by doing a good deal of homework and taking expert advice. 

DeGeneres and her wife Portia De Rossi later explained away their massive price hike by saying they decided to include all its furnishings. It's true they and/or their interior designer have impeccable taste. But we always were more impressed by her property-flipping record. So this week, we can't help but wonder if she was lacking some sound advice in the early stages of listing this one? 

Ask Jennifer Aniston- her Beverley Hills home was listed for $42 million at the beginning of 2011. Aniston followed up by working with Coldwell Banker and finalised the sale later that same year for reportedly $37 million. 

California real estate is similar to ours. It is a Luxury market buffered from some of the wilder economic fluctuations around it. But that doesn't translate to sellers choosing what price will sell. 

Real estate agents do not want to undervalue your home. On the contrary any agent worth their salt wants the highest price. If you're thinking of selling yourself or shopping around until an agent tells you what you want to hear, think again. Go for an agent who will tell you straight what the highest possible price is.  

What IS the possible highest price? 

The highest price is the most reasonable price. The one that draws attention from several buyers. For luxury property sellers in Cayman, competition is king. With two or more potential buyers in the picture for example,any foibles are overlooked. More importantly, maybe a little less well known, the caveat becomes a little less emptor - one of these parties is more than likely to bid up to get what they want. 

Next time - we're going back to the key phrase in the Jennifer Aniston anecdote. 'Finalised the sale that same year'. Don't leave that listing loitering on the market. 

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