While negotiating stamp duty is made relatively straightforward by the efficiency of the Lands and Survey Department, working with a CIREBA agent is recommended to ensure your full understanding of the more detailed information about fees and administration, exemptions, chattels and other queries.
The stamp duty rate on all three Cayman Islands is 7.5% on the purchase price (also termed the consideration) or the market value of the property, whichever is higher. Stamp duty is calculated in Cayman Islands currency.
A property assessment may be carried out by the Lands and Survey Depart of the Cayman Islands to establish which figure is greater, the market value or the consideration. Payment must be paid within 45 days of a contract signing and is payable by the buyer unless contractually stated otherwise.
Pay your stamp duty at the time of buying the raw land and pay only on the land value and not the completed building.
Buying land in the Cayman Islands, unless your agent has advised you of any covenants within a particular development, means there are no time restrictions as to when you build, in effect you can hold the undeveloped land indefinitely.
Once granted planning permission, your approval is valid for five years. It is commonly agreed that most homes can be built within a six to eight month period following the initial design and planning stages of four to six months.
Ask your CIREBA agent about building permit fees which vary according to the square footage of the construction.
Stamp duty exemptions
Stamp duty is not payable on the furnishings or chattels of the property. Work with your CIREBA agent to deduct these from the sales price before calculating stamp duty.
Stamp duty thresholds
First time Caymanian* buyers pay zero Stamp Duty if the dwelling is to be owner occupied and the consideration or market value is below a CI$300,000 threshold.
For undeveloped land, first time Caymanian buyers pay no stamp duty on purchases valued up to CI$100,000 provided an owner occupied dwelling will be built.
For houses, apartments or other dwellings valued above CI$300,000 but not exceeding CI$400,000 the first time Caymanian owner occupier pays Stamp Duty at a rate of 2%.
For first time Caymanian buyers buying bare land valued above CI$100,000 but not exceeding CI$150,000 the stamp duty is calculated at 2%.
Stamp duty exemptions do not apply to overseas first time buyers
Avoiding stamp duty is not possible for any buyer of parcels located in zoning exceptions. Work with your CIREBA agent when viewing Cayman Islands property within the following blocks:
OPY, 5D, 10A, 10E, 11B, 11C, 11D, 12D, 12E, 13B, 13C, 13E, 14BG, 14BH, 14BJ, 14CJ, 17A, 18A,
5C and 12C – water frontage, or is derived in the future from a with water frontage on 1 July 2006, and;
13D – frontage to Eastern Avenue, and;
13EH – road frontage to West Bay Road, Eastern Avenue, or North Church Street.
[ * Caymanian’ is defined by the Immigration Law (2007) and is subject to confirmation and conditions laid down by The Financial Secretary to prevent exploitation of this concession.]
Duty is charged on mortgages of less than CI$300,000 at 1% and on larger mortgages at 1.5%.
The process may incur up to 1% for legal and registration fees.
Each lender uses set rules, but all will require a ‘Market Value’ report on the property. Aim to pay in the region of CI$400 for this report, which must be prepared by an approved valuation surveyor.
Information from Lands and Survey Department
There are many different definitions of market value, including the following: the price that would be paid by a motivated buyer to a motivated seller after a property’s exposure to a marketplace of equally capable buyers, eachwith full information about the property and the market place and neither operating under any sort of outside influences.
An act or a promise given by one person in exchange for an act or a promise from the other. It is a common misperception that earnest money is the component that makes a real estate contract enforceable. In reality, the promise to buy, and the promise to sell, is sufficient consideration. Consideration is an essential element for contract enforcement.