What Is The Cost Of Living In Cayman Islands Vs. U.S.?

Jessica Stone
by Jessica Stone

For many, living in the Cayman Islands is a lifelong ambition fulfilled. After all, who wouldn’t want to live on a Caribbean island with some of the most beautiful beaches in the world, a low crime rate, excellent year-round weather, and a community of friendly international residents? However, the higher standard of living you’ll find in the Cayman Islands comes at a price. If you’re considering life in the Cayman Islands, understanding the cost of living can help you prepare and budget accordingly.

Cost of living is a major factor that people often use to determine whether they want to live in one location versus another. So, when it comes to the Cayman Islands vs. the United States, how do these two countries stack up in terms of cost of living? Since cost of living varies quite a bit based on where you live in either country, it can be challenging to perform an accurate comparison.

However, the Cayman Islands is considered not only the most expensive country in Latin America, but also the most expensive country in the world. The general consensus is that the Cayman Islands is, on average, 67% more expensive than the United States. Estimated monthly costs for a family of four in the Cayman Islands is $7,689, compared to $4,750 in the U.S. Whereas, the estimated monthly costs for a single individual in the Cayman Islands is $4,671, but it’s $3,335 in the United States.

With this in mind, let’s take a deeper look at how the cost of living compares in the Cayman Islands vs. the United States.

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Residency and Citizenship in the Cayman Islands

Foreign nationals who are looking to relocate to the Cayman Islands must apply for a student visa, a residence permit, or a work permit. In order to obtain permanent residence in the three-island archipelago, you can apply on the basis of eight years of lawful residence or as a “person of Independent Means.” Individuals over the age of 18 who have lawfully resided in the Cayman Islands for a period of eight years or more can apply for permission to reside permanently in the country.

Alternatively, those who meet certain financial requirements and make a significant investment in the Cayman Islands can apply for a Certificate of Permanent Residence for Persons of Independent Means. After five years of permanent residency, you are then eligible to apply for citizenship by naturalization – which is a pathway to receiving British Overseas Territories Citizenship.

Though, you may also be granted citizenship if you are an individual over 18 is a child or grandchild of a Caymanian born in the Cayman Islands, a person married to a Caymanian, someone who has become a British Overseas Territories Citizen by naturalization, or a person who is the surviving spouse of a Caymanian.

Real Estate in The Cayman Islands vs. USA

Because of its thriving economy and the strong popularity among foreign investors and expats that want to live, work, or retire in the Cayman Islands, the real estate market is incredibly successful and constantly progressing. Purchasing property in the Cayman Islands is a relatively straightforward process, as the Cayman Islands maintains a title-by-registration system for real property. The government does not place restrictions on foreign nationals buying property in the Islands and all the legal documents are granted and approved by the government.

Since the standard of living in the Cayman Islands is high, the price of real estate is wildly expensive. Though, prices differ based on the size, location, and features that come with a particular property. The most expensive homes are generally found in Grand Cayman and along the coast of Seven Mile Beach, the most famous beach in the Cayman Islands.

Overall, the Cayman Islands have recently seen a rise in residential home prices, from an average of $942,000 in 2019 to a whopping 1.16 million in 2020. Though, the average sales price increased by 53% from 2020 to 2021. Prices are higher the closer you are located to George Town, the Capital of the Cayman Islands. Whereas, houses located in East End tend to be the least expensive.

The following table outlines the average home prices in three regions of the Cayman Islands: Seven Mile Beach (more specifically the condo complex at the southern tip called George Town Villas), the four “Retreat” developments off Bobby Thompson Way (traditionally entry-level properties), and Snug Harbour (canal side community on the North Sound).

RegionAverage Home Price
Seven Mile Beach (George Town Villas)$919,000
Garden, Coco, Mystic, and Sunset Retreat$300,000
Snug Harbour1.2 million

In the United States, the average sales price of a new home in 2020 was $389,400, climbing to $408,800 in 2021. Though, like the Cayman Islands, real estate prices vary considerably based on where you live in the country. To help put things in perspective, the following table outlines the typical price of a single-family home in all 50 states across the U.S.

StateTypical Home Price (2021)
District of Columbia$691,997
New Hampshire$366,129
New Jersey$408,517
New Mexico$248,670
New York$371,880
North Carolina$248,950
North Dakota$246,588
Rhode Island$372,809
South Carolina$225,406
South Dakota$242,923
West Virginia$117,768

Rent in The Cayman Islands vs. USA

Whether you’re purchasing or renting, real estate in Cayman Islands is pretty pricey. This mostly has to do with the fact that the materials that are used to construct homes, buildings, and apartment complexes have to be imported. Though, there is a wide variety of rental accommodations available to choose from in the Cayman Islands – ranging from small, one-bedroom units to full-sized condos and houses, furnished or unfurnished.

Expats looking for more affordable rentals should probably steer clear of Grand Cayman and Seven Mile Beach, as this is where the most expensive properties are located. The following table outlines the average monthly rent for an apartment in the Cayman Islands vs. USA, based on proximity to the city center.

Cayman IslandsUSA
One bedroom apartment in city center$2,015.64$1,342.01
One bedroom apartment outside of city center$2,459.74$1,094.62
Three bedroom apartment in city center$4,465.88$2,188.05
Three bedroom apartment outside of city center$3,012.80$1,775.60

With these averages in mind, rental prices in the United States are approximately 40.74% lower than in the Cayman Islands. Though, it’s important to keep in mind that prices can vary substantially depending on where you live in either country.

Monthly Utilities in The Cayman Islands vs. USA

When planning to relocate, it’s important that you plan your monthly budget around utility bills for electricity, heating, gas, water, internet, and cable. Utilities play a major role in the overall cost of living in a particular location. More often than not, utilities are included in the cost of rent in the Cayman Islands.

The table below provides a comparison for the average monthly utilities you can expect in the Cayman Islands vs. USA. Though, again, prices will vary depending on where you specifically live in the Cayman Islands or the United States.

Cayman IslandsUSA
Basic utilities (electricity, heating, cooling, water, garbage) for 915 sq. ft. apartment$300.46$167.52
Internet plan (60 Mbps+ 1 month unlimited)$132.43$66.17

Based on the aforementioned data, overall, utilities tend to be more expensive in the Cayman Islands than in the United States.

Taxes in The Cayman Islands vs. USA

Caymanians enjoy a very tax-friendly situation, as there are no sales, income, recurring property, capital gains, corporate, or inheritance taxes in the Cayman Islands. In fact, the Cayman Islands is considered a tax haven. Though, there is a one-time stamp tax (land transfer fee) of 7.5% on all property transactions.

In the United States, however, taxes are levied on income, payroll, sales, capital gains, property, imports, dividends, estates and gifts, in addition to a variety of fees.

Grocery Expenses in The Cayman Islands vs. USA

As food and groceries are expenses that people encounter on a daily basis, the overall grocery and food index is another factor that impacts the cost of living in a particular location. Overall, if you lived in the United States instead of the Cayman Islands, you’d enjoy about a 45.47% savings on groceries.

Refer to the following table for a more detailed look at the average prices of groceries in the Cayman Islands vs. USA.

Food ItemCayman IslandsUSA
Bread (one loaf)$3.75$2.71
Gallon of milk$15.12$3.22
Dozen eggs$5.34$2.30
Local cheese (8 oz)$6.00$5.56
Boneless chicken breast (1 lb.)$5.99$4.18
Apples (1 lb.)$3.22$2.07
Tomatoes (1 lb.)$4.02$1.94
Bananas (1 lb.)$5.44$0.75
Potatoes (1 lb.)$1.47$1.24
Onions (1 lb.)$0.88$1.25
Bottle of water (11 fl. oz)$1.84$1.53

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Transportation Costs in The Cayman Islands vs. USA

Whether you choose to live in the Cayman Islands or the United States, you must also consider transportation costs in order to accurately calculate the overall cost of living in both countries. These costs include expenses like gas prices, vehicle purchase costs, bus fares, monthly transit fees, and other public transportation expenses.

Based on the following table, you’d pay about 44% less on transportation if you lived in the United States instead of the Cayman Islands.

Cost FactorCayman IslandsUSA
Gallon of gas$5.45$2.62
Monthly public transit pass$18.00$65.00
Taxi trip in downtown (approx. five miles)$29.94$16.83
One-way ticket (local transport)$2.40$2.25
New Volkswagen Golf$36,012$23,189
Jessica Stone
Jessica Stone

Jessica considers herself a home improvement and design enthusiast. She grew up surrounded by constant home improvement projects and owes most of what she knows to helping her dad renovate her childhood home. Being a Los Angeles resident, Jessica spends a lot of her time looking for her next DIY project and sharing her love for home design.

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