The last year

For the first time in arguably twenty years, the housing market here in Jersey has all but ground to a halt, created by a unique set of circumstances following the arrival of the pandemic into our collective lives. You may have seen the recent articles published in the Express and the JEP over the last week, highlighting the inherent causes of this; notably that the recent post-lockdown property boom has virtually emptied the market of more affordable homes, leading to an island-wide scarcity of housing stock.

The imposition of Stay at Home orders in early 2020 forced the public to review and redefine what our lifestyles actually demanded from being within our own 4 walls and for many, it was very evident that their homes did not meet these foreign and unforgiving requirements. The new factors of working from home, personal leisure needs, and for many, the unbroken 24/7 parenting plus the dreaded possibility of homeschool returning, all prompted a genuine personal stock-take of their situation - and it was this combination that immediately catapulted so many into deciding their homes were largely falling inadequate. Now that pandemic restrictions are easing, the combined frustration of life having been put on hold for a year, the lack of travel and holidays, plus being stuck at home in surroundings that did not suit, swiftly translated into unprecedented levels of sales created by a surge of people wanting to move house and doing so quickly.

Just over a year later in April 2021, the fall-out from this chain reaction has left the Jersey housing market at an impasse, as the demand for properties to move to, now far outweighs the available supply. Given the publics’ hesitation and slow inertia of the housing market, many homeowners are finding themselves in a more pronounced version of the classic dilemma of which to do first - buy or sell? Philip Syvret, Head of Benest & Syvret’s property team, captured this perfectly - “A lack of supply almost becomes self-perpetuating because people don’t put their property on the market unless they think they can find something that they’re going to like. So their property doesn’t come onto the market, and the chains that are needed to be able to move on are not being created.”

In the UK, lenders are beginning to offer mortgages with a deposit of just 5% up to £600,000 under a new government guarantee scheme, offering a new confidence for high street lenders as average house prices continue to rise to record levels there also. In Jersey the government has now unveiled it’s draft bridging Island Plan which includes a provision for the construction of 1,500 affordable new homes to be built by 2025, but the earliest this will come into force is 2022, providing no relief to the current frustration.

However all is not lost and people have not been entirely deterred as Peter Seymour, Managing Director of the Mortgage Shop said: “There is a significant demand over supply in most sectors of the market up to £2 million plus.” Here at Indigo Estates, we are finding that our properties are being sold within days and sometimes even hours of being put on the market, at full-asking price and on occasion, buyers are even offering vendors thousands over their preferred asking price, simply to secure their chosen home. By selling for the highest price the market will currently pay, these vendors are not only maximising their sales price, but also putting themselves in the strongest buying position when looking for their onward home. Factoring in the rise in property prices, the huge uptake of home improvement during lockdown, the arrival of progressive lenders such as Santander into the island and the strength of the market, we would advise any curious homeowner to please get in touch with us and particularly if still unsure as to how to proceed.

It may well be worth bringing the decision forward to take advantage of these highly unusual circumstances, whether it be to book a fresh valuation to ascertain the current value of your home, bring your preferences up-to-date, or to instruct us with selling or renting a property, we are here for you.

Posted on Tuesday, 20 April, 2021