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The impact of the global pandemic on Cayman’s residential real estate market has been profound. The availability of inventory on the market is at a historic low, prices have jumped considerably and interest from overseas investors has spiked as people look to the relative safety of our island paradise. But what about Cayman’s commercial property market?

We caught up with IRG’s Head of Commercial Property, Trisha Johnson, to get her take on what is happening in the market.

“We have had an extremely busy 18-months! 2020 started with the major sale of Baytown House & Plaza and a significant push on campaigns for some of our new and high-profile retail products. Shortly after that, the paradigm shifted as Cayman closed its borders and we started to evaluate what the global pandemic might mean for our market. The reality is that we remained busy, our clients still had assets that needed to be managed and businesses that needed to adapt and operate within the new status-quo.

That being said, as time has passed, we have seen a slight decrease in the overall demand for large office space as many companies are still offering their employees flexible working schedules, thereby allowing them to work on a rotational basis with 50% in the office and 50% at home. As a result, many businesses that would have naturally evolved out of their existing premises due to space constraints, are now able to manage within their existing footprint.

We are also hearing from a number of businesses that have placed their planned relocation to the jurisdiction on hold until the current travel restrictions and COVID-19 regulations have been eased. This trend has resulted in a lower level of demand for office space for new businesses. The combined effect of these trends has been a slight softening in the demand for large office suites. It is worth noting however, that this trend has not had a knock-on effect on rental rates in the commercial office market.

Elsewhere, we are seeing strong, continuing demand for small, all-inclusive office suites in the 150 Sq. Ft. to 350 Sq. Ft. range that offer shared communal facilities. We are also seeing significant interest in office suites that range from 600 Sq. Ft. up to 1,200 Sq. Ft.+/-.

From a retail perspective, we are seeing an increase in demand for good quality retail space in a number of different districts from Seven Mile Beach to Grand Harbour/Prospect and extending as far east at Savannah. The demand in this sector far outweighs the current level of supply, particularly in these key areas. This is a trend that is echoed in the industrial/warehouse sector. The market for this type of product continues to thrive while the level of supply from existing properties re-entering the market and the construction of new facilities has failed to catch up with the demand.”

As Cayman’s commercial property specialists, the IRG Commercial team work closely with businesses to provide consultancy and tenant representation services to make sure that their physical premises are best suited to help them achieve their strategic goals. This could mean helping them to find new space, ensuring that they get the best terms on their renewal or simply finding ways to make their space work better. The IRG Commercial team also have a wide range of local and international experience providing asset management sales and leasing support for a portfolio of commercial property owners.