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 are set at 2% for land that is valued above CI$100k but does not exceed CI$150,000. There are some zoning exceptions. Stamp Duty is paid by the buyer on the purchase price or market value, whichever is higher (as assessed by the Lands and Survey Department), but NOT on chattels purchased with the property. The Duty must be paid within 45 days of a contract being signed.
Other typical charges associated with purchasing are described below:
- 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.
Furniture Exempt from Stamp Duty
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.