By: Condor Ferries on 21/09/2011

Buying a home on Guernsey

The second largest of the Channel Islands, Guernsey has always been a property hot spot with its proximity to France and clement climate adding to its appeal. Mary Wilson reveals why the property market here is so special.

Guernsey boasts a 20 percent tax rate, no capital gains, inheritance tax or VAT. No wonder then that island homes are highly sought-after. The difficulty is getting your hands on one as only a select number are ever open to non island residents.

In the early 1960s, the island established a housing control system as a form of population control. Housing stock was divided into two markets - Open Market and Local Market. Owners at that time with properties of a certain rateable value or above had the opportunity to register their homes on the Open Market and the register closed at 1700 properties. Even today, no new properties can be added to the register, unless they are built on the site of an existing one.

Because of their limited supply, these properties can be as much as 50 percent more than Local Market homes and range from around £500,000 to many millions of pounds. It is rare for more than 100 island homes to ever be available on the Open Market, making demand for these exclusive properties ongoing, year-on-year.

“The Open Market is always strong,” says Matthew Henry of Swoffers Estate Agent. “We are seeing a five per cent rise in prices this year alone”.

“Overseas buyers purchasing in Guernsey are a mix of people looking to relocate to the island and those buying a holiday home. There’s no restriction on becoming a resident as long as you buy or rent a home in Guernsey and are on the island for 91 days or more a year.”

St. Peter Port, the capital of Guernsey, is a bustling town with excellent shops, restaurants and leisure facilities, plus a marina and ferry terminal. Here, a two bedroom apartment on the outskirts recently sold for £750,000 while a smartly renovated four-bedroom house with garden was recently on the market for £1.6 million.

The island’s second town, St. Sampsons, has a large shopping centre and marina and is near a golf course and beaches. Here a Victorian five-bedroom detached house with outbuildings and swimming pool recently sold for £2.3 million.

In the pretty village of St. Martins, which has many shops and is close to the scenic cliff paths, a four-bedroom pre-war house which has been refurbished is for sale for £2.495 million with Town & Country, while a Guernsey stone cottage with four bedrooms and gardens recently went on the market for £1.45 million with Cooper Brouard.

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