The call for Government intervention comes once again on news of the rising cost of living in the Cayman Islands.
Since 2008 food prices have increased by more than 34%, household equipment and clothing by more than 23% and 22%, respectively. Transportation costs are up 20%, education, more than 17%, and health-related costs, nearly 7%. Interestingly, during the same period, housing and an energy costs shrank.
A recent editorial in the Cayman Compass read, “government could reduce or lower duty on imported food and other necessities as a way to reduce the number and size of fees paid by residents on the island.”
“While housing and utilities drive the high cost of living in Grand Cayman, food is also 79% more expensive than London, which is the tenth most expensive city in the world.”
The Cayman Islands Economics and Statistics Office Consumer Price Index show that the average inflation rate reached 3.3% last year. That bump follows a 2% increase in 2017. Even the relatively bright spot of 2016 – a rare year during which the Cayman Islands experienced deflation (0.6%) was a short reprieve from steadily growing costs.
The Economics and Statistics Office revealed a 19.7% increase in rents during the first quarter of this year compared to the same period a year earlier. Further, in summarising the economic report, the Cayman Compass reports that, “The jump in housing costs affected also the imputed rents for owner-occupiers which surged by 9.2% during the same period. Services for the maintenance and repair of dwellings rose 8.4%, while the cost of electricity was up 8.2%. Meanwhile, communication costs increased 7.7% within a year. Housing and basic utilities were the main price drivers during the first quarter, according to the latest available statistics released in September causing an overall inflation rate of 4.5% compared to the same period in 2018. Much of the rental price increase is the result of a continuously growing population. Last year the number of Cayman residents is estimated to have grown by 3.8% to 65,800. The gradual increase in demand for housing has spurred significant development activity in Cayman.”
Cayman tops both lists of countries and cities published by the online cost of living measure, Expatistan. According to information from the latest research by the organisation, which is gaining traction as an accurate measure for cost of living comparisons around the world, Cayman is pricier than over 100 countries and more than 300 cities. Rent, utilities, internet service, lunch, dinner, jeans, running shoes and anything else you care to mention is more expensive here than just about anywhere else on the planet.
According to Cayman News Service, Grand Cayman is more expensive to live than Tokyo, New York, London and Hong Kong, with only Bermuda coming close. While people may not be surprised to learn that Grand Cayman is over 400% more expensive than Hyderabad in Pakistan, the fact that it is 75% more expensive than Tampa paints a more sobering picture of just how much living in paradise costs.
While housing and utilities drive the high cost of living in Grand Cayman, food is also 79% more expensive than London, which is the tenth most expensive city in the world. Zürich is the second most expensive city in the world, but accommodation there is still 16% cheaper than Cayman.