Since the start of Covid-19 in early 2020, the market has been somewhat chaotic. What was initially feared to be a disastrous year for the housing market turned into a record-breaking surge in activity, with 2020 being the busiest year on record. This momentum carried forward into 2021, although during the latter part of 2022 and early 2023, the market returned to more typical levels of activity.
Open for business
Compared to the last year of ‘normal’ activity in 2019, we’ve seen a 16% increase in total Open Market sales by value up to the end of August this year, with an average sale price of nearly £2.1m. The mix of properties being sold has undergone a noticeable shift, with a significant rise in high-value property transactions. Sales of homes priced at £3m and above have increased by 125% since 2019. In contrast, sales at the lower end of the Open Market spectrum, below £1.5m., have slowed. That said, properties below £1.5m. still constitute the majority of sales. It’s only a reduction in the number of properties coming to market at this price that has driven the fall in the number of sales.
Diverse desires for new arrivals
The property needs of our Open Market clients are varied, reflecting the island’s well-balanced property stock. From low-maintenance apartments and townhouses ideal for lock-and-leave lifestyles, to charming rural homes and coastal properties offering scenic views, Guernsey’s real estate landscape has something to offer everyone. While the island’s attractive taxation system remains a significant draw, Guernsey’s appeal extends beyond financial benefits. Many are enticed by the island’s safety, relaxed lifestyle, and convenient access to the UK.
Interest rates and market stability
Guernsey has not been immune to the fast changes in the global economy, but our Local and Open Markets have maintained robust levels of activity. Recent reports suggest that interest rates are unlikely to experience further substantial increases, contributing to greater market stability. As both buyers and sellers adapt to this ‘new normal’, this newfound stability is anticipated to invigorate the property market once again.
A season of opportunity
Autumn is typically a busy period for Guernsey’s Open Market. As the summer travel season winds down and normal routines resume, a surge of interest is expected from individuals seeking to relocate to Guernsey. Notably, this period coincides with applicants aiming to establish tax residency before the conclusion of the UK tax year on 5 April 2024. This heightened activity influences both the sales and rental markets. With the UK’s next general election also on the horizon and the Labour Party gaining momentum, this potential shift in direction for the UK highlights Guernsey as an attractive alternative for many looking to relocate.
At Swoffers, we have an unmatched track record with a reputation for expertise and performance in both our Open and Local Markets and we continue to work hard to cement our position as the island’s leading estate agency. Over the past 20 years, Swoffers has been responsible for 58% of all Open Market agency sales and, so far this year, we are pleased to report that our performance has improved further, having completed 66% of Open Market agency sales. Guernsey’s real estate sector continues to be an attractive option for those seeking a vibrant and enriching lifestyle.