How does the
Guernsey housing market operate?
Anyone with the right of abode in Guernsey may live in an Open Market property and therefore any potential High-Net-Worth individuals who want to live in Guernsey may come and live in an Open Market property provided that they fulfill the immigration criteria.
Anyone who occupies property inscribed on the Open Market Register is automatically permitted to work on the island for an indefinite period. Open Market property is usually more expensive than Local Market property, sometimes because the properties are larger than Local Market properties, but also due to the limited number of properties in the Open Market.
Unlike many other jurisdictions, there are no minimum income requirements for potential residents and this makes Guernsey a very attractive option for people seeking to relocate to a lower tax jurisdiction.
Local Market Property may be occupied by:
Anyone who is locally born and who has spent a certain number of years during their childhood on the island.
“Employment permit holders”, whose presence on the island is permitted because of the “essential” nature of their work. Such permits are limited in time and the length of such a permit generally depends on the position the specialist role one would come to fill in Guernsey. These are professionals who cannot be recruited locally.
Anyone who has received an “Established Resident Certificate” issued after a person has held a long-term employment permit for 8 years.
Why this system?
A little History into Guernsey's Housing Market
Local Market Housing
Open Market Housing
The current Housing Control law dates from 1948 when many evacuees returned to the island after the end of the 2nd World War to find that their homes had been destroyed by the occupying forces. Not only was there a lack of accommodation for Guernsey-born people who sought to return, but the island was already being seen as an attractive place to live by those of other nationalities seeking a new start after the austerity of war. Consequently, legislation was approved requiring anybody who was not ordinarily resident in Guernsey to apply for a licence before occupying any dwelling house on the Island. This move was the beginning of what we now refer to as the Local Market.
Guernsey’s government also recognised the value to the community of new arrivals from elsewhere who wanted to settle on the island and in 1952, a report from the Housing Authority on the Island’s housing situation gave the first clear reference to what has become known as the Open Market.
It was clear that some of the island’s larger properties were not meeting the needs of returning locals for smaller, more affordable housing, but that these larger properties were nevertheless very attractive to those coming in from outside the island. Therefore, in April 1957 an amendment was approved to the 1948 law exempting properties with a certain rateable value from housing controls. As a result of other amendments over the years, all Open Market properties were inscribed on a special register which is now closed. There are currently a total of around 1600 such properties (approximately 7% of the housing stock).
I monitor movements on Housing Stock both within the Local and Open Markets and am able to provide an independent and objective insight into properties in either sector.