Guernsey: A guide to the property market
With a maximum income tax rate of 20%, no inheritance or capital gains tax, Guernsey is a breath of fresh air. Andre Austin, Director of Swoffers, gives a whistle-stop tour of the island.
Guernsey’s housing market is split into the local and open market. In the local market, the housing stock is available to ‘local residents’ and to those with licences or work visas available in yearly increments. The open market applies to anyone with an EU passport. It’s as simple as that!
There is currently a good choice of open market property and prices are favourable. Anyone looking to relocate to a centrally positioned town house will find a good selection for under £1million but if their budget is closer to £700,000, there are some out of town homes near the spectacular west coast which are now in need of refurbishment.
Looking at the rest of the market, there is a range of spectacular homes. From luxury penthouses with stunning sea views for under £3million to traditional Guernsey granite homes at a little over £3million. There are mansions and small country estates which offer seclusion and privacy at a price but these are rarely on the market and we tend to handle them on a confidential basis. Complementing the sales market, there is a vibrant rentals sector in Guernsey too with a plethora of local and open market options for potential tenants.
The market has remained stable for the last five years with stock levels consistently at around 200 and annual sales of between 50 and 60 homes. Prices in parts of the market where there is more choice have levelled but there are always many more properties available which command premium prices. It is therefore impossible to quantify the market as a whole.
The majority of buyers come from the UK but a significant number are from Hong Kong, Singapore, Dubai and Switzerland. They have often spent many years overseas and choose Guernsey to be within reach of the UK.
It’s hard to believe that Guernsey is only 40 minutes from Gatwick. There are up to 15 UK-bound flights per day, including to London City, and an equal number of inter-Channel Island flights, as well as seasonal routes to France to catch the snow in the Alps or the catch-of-the-day in Dinard in Brittany. And that’s bearing in mind the 15-minute journey to the airport.
The quality of life in Guernsey is truly unparalleled. It has an outstanding natural beauty, accomplished sporting facilities, unspoiled historical monuments and well-rounded education and health systems. With a critical mass of the world’s greatest financial, legal and accountancy firms, employment prospects are good. And it’s safe too. It’s why so many locals choose to return to bring up their children after working in the UK and abroad.