Howard McLaughlin, KUAVO Cayman - Howard has worked in the Cayman Islands real estate industry since 2008, he opened the CIREBA affiliated KUAVO® Cayman in March 2018. A sixth-generation Caymanian, Howard was raised and educated in the UK, where he received his BA in Planning and Regeneration before embarking on a career as a successful real estate professional both in the UK and Cayman.
RL: Tell us a little bit about your background and why you chose a career in real estate.
HM: My enthusiasm and passion for real estate were born out of growing up in the city of Liverpool, UK, during a period of radical mass regeneration, I was fascinated by the many feats of architectural splendour which swept my home city. Upon graduating, I worked closely with several major developers in the UK, consulting on site acquisition and project viability. Next I was recruited by the UK’s largest real estate company as part of their management programme, later becoming the organisation’s youngest Regional Manager. In 2008, I decided to return to my roots in Grand Cayman and further my real estate career. With over 18 years of industry related experience, my hunger for real estate and offering my customers professional advice remain as strong as ever.
RL: How would you describe the real estate market in the Cayman Islands today in terms of trends and challenges?
HM: We’ve witnessed unprecedented capital growth in property values in Cayman over the past couple of years. Macro trends such as the state of wealth and international economies along with influences like tax and political changes in the UK and US have had, and will continue to have, a bearing on the market. Local market forces such as inventory, demand, infrastructure improvements, not to mention local political forces, will also continue to influence the market. Unlike other fluctuating global markets, the Cayman real estate market has historically been very stable. Yet while the strength of the current market comes as no surprise, the rate of current capital growth could not have been forecast.
The prime market of one million dollars plus has remained the most robust market sector, although the supply in this sector has diminished over a sustained period. Consumer demand in the first-time buyer price bracket up to $500,000 also remains very high, however there is a notable short supply of inventory resulting in greater consumer competition. Market reports and statistical analysis can often be misleading and it’s not uncommon to hear statements such as, 'the market is hot.' Whilst this may be true in some sectors of the market presently experiencing elevated capital growth and high consumer demand, the market remains polarised with consumer demand and capital appreciation remaining more steady in some locations and price brackets, evidencing that market sectors can behave entirely independently from one another.
RL: How do you think the market will change in the latter part of 2019 and into 2020?
HM: With several new residential developments anticipated to complete within the next 18 months, these projects will go some way to addressing the limited supply of inventory in the residential market. I anticipate that the prime market will continue to experience strong growth as demand is less constrained by affordability and supply in this market sector is limited at present.
The term, 'real estate bubble' has been used readily by commentators, however I do not believe the Cayman market is experiencing a bubble as new construction is still not on pace to meet growing consumer needs. As demand in certain market sectors is better met, I would expect that property values will begin to stabilise, and some pricing correction may be witnessed. However, with a growing economy and steadily increasing population, the possibility of an oversupply of residential inventory, appears some way off.
RL: What do you believe the industry should be working towards for the future?
HM: The real estate landscape in Cayman is changing dramatically and I feel it is imperative that all stakeholders in the industry collaborate as part of an integrated long-term strategy. Despite the strength and prosperous nature of the current market, the industry should remain accountable for addressing the widening issue of inadequate affordable housing supply. In my opinion, a more strategic development plan needs to be adopted, formulated around innovation and community engagement. The current short supply of inventory in certain sectors of the market evidences that current construction projects are simply a reaction to meeting market demand as opposed to projects actually creating a demand. When looking to buy or sell in the current market, it is prudent to seek the professional advice of an experienced real estate agent who operates in a relevant market daily and is familiar with any market fluctuations and trends.KUAVO® Cayman
is a full service real estate company and also has operations in the UK. Our team of experienced and dedicated real estate professionals bring, 'A brighter approach to real estate.'
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Howard McLaughlin, Broker/Owner
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