Stamp duty, which is payable on all real estate transfers and purchases (other than those between close family, aka ‘by love and affection’), is 7.5%. However, a first time Caymanian buyer will pay no stamp duty if the property is below CI$300,000 (2% if it is over CI$300k but does not exceed CI$400k) and is going to be owner occupied.
Stamp duty, which is payable on all real estate transfers and purchases (other than those between close family, aka ‘by love and affection’), is 7.5%. However, a first time Caymanian buyer will pay no stamp duty if the property is below CI$300,000 (2% if it is over CI$300k but does not exceed CI$400k) and is going to be owner occupied. Stamp duty on bare land purchases by first time Caymanian buyers (with some zoning exceptions) are set at 2% for land that is valued above CI$100k but does not exceed CI$150,000.
In 2021, the government changed the approach to assessing Stamp Duty on pre-construction properties. Up to last year, that duty was calculated on the published developer’s price at completion. Note the law has not changed, just its interpretation. Stamp duty has always been charged on the purchase price or on the market value, whichever is higher, as assessed by the Lands and Survey Department. As real estate prices have gone up, is it very likely that a pre-construction property with a purchase agreement signed one or more years prior to completion, will be assessed by officials to be worth more than the agreed purchase price. An alternative to the unknown appreciation costs is to pre-pay the 7.5% Stamp Duty, but in that case, purchasers run the risk of the development not going ahead, and stamp duty fees are not refundable!
The Duty must be paid within 45 days of a contract being signed or at completion/ possession (when the Certificate of Occupancy is issued).
- 1% charged on mortgages of less than CI$300,000 and 1.5% on mortgages of CI$300,000 or higher. You should budget up to 1% for legal and registration fees.
- When you build a house, there are building permit fees which are charged according to the square footage of the property being built.
- When purchasing with bank financing, the bank will require a report on the ‘Market Value’ of the property. Each lender has its own rules but the report will usually need to be prepared by an approved firm of professional valuation surveyors. Aim to pay in the region of CI$400 for this report.
Stamp Duty Exemptions
Note that furnishings (officially known as chattels) are deducted form the sale price of a property before the stamp duty is calculated. Work with your real estate agent to deduct these from sales price before calculating stamp duty.
Otherwise, call the Lands and Survey Department on (345) 244 3420 or visit their website and they will be happy to discuss your situation and calculate the value of your potential property.