We haven’t seen a more buoyant market in recent memory. Prices are at the highest level on record and currently, it seems like there is no letting up.
Covid-19 has affected the entire populace
People’s work-life balance has become much more prevalent. As working from home has become much more the norm people are finding added flexibility for more free time and are enjoying the extra freedom.
This shift in lifestyle has led to many home owners re-evaluating their priorities after being locked down to allow for more space, a garden, home office, and many other reasons. Couple this with high values then most have plenty of equity to play with and can afford the ‘next step’ up the property ladder.
We have been seeing more inquiries come from ‘high net worth’ individuals looking to move from their current location. Covid-19 is a major factor but others include increased restrictions, the threat of increased taxation on income plus potential changes to capital gains, stamp duty, etc, will have a positive effect on numbers looking to move.
However, with this active market there are still some challenges
There are almost 50 registered estate agencies in Jersey. With varying degrees of turnover and experience. Trying to decide who to list your property with is not an easy process with values still varying greatly and quality of service being the same. The buying of instructions is still prevalent and whilst efforts are being made, Jersey needs specific regulation to ensure competency and local knowledge. These regulations should be bought in as soon as possible.
The sales process itself is also a muddle and needs to be tidied up. Most purchasers (especially first-time buyers) are completely unaware of the minefield of a journey that they are about to embark on. An experienced agency can provide advice on this. However, the whole process should be subject to an overhaul: Start to finish and top to bottom. The risk involved by both parties is too high at the moment and we regularly see vendors and applicants out of pocket thousands of pounds due to unforeseen issues coming up last minute. Other countries and jurisdictions have managed to lessen the risk so why haven’t we? As was remarked by an applicant recently ‘I can buy a £20m company easier than buying a house in Jersey’.
Embracing new technologies, systems, and transparency that allow anyone to go into a purchase or sale informed would not only save everyone time and money but also increase completion rates as a well-informed purchaser is less likely to pull out of the sale.
Another challenge is how the Government of Jersey are going to provide the much needed first-time buyer, social housing, and over 55’s. Not only building these properties but also making sure that they are affordable as well. Sites such as St Saviours Hospital for example should be considered. If you look at what was eventually completed at College Gardens it should set a precedent on what can be allowed on a site with a listed building.
In terms of marketing
There are so many more options available to agencies than ever before when it comes to marketing a property. While the usual practice of high-quality photos and floorplans are still mainstays of marketing new website features have allowed for video, virtual tours and virtual reality are now much more common and becoming expected; especially for high-end properties.
Aside from ‘traditional’ marketing in local publications, it is now expected to cover all areas when marketing. Facebook, Instagram, and Linkedin are all now just as important if not more important than the traditional forms due to the way people have changed how they view properties online via their phones, laptops, and tablets. Any agency that only uses one or two of these will be missing out on the many potential purchasers as not everyone looks at all of these platforms.
The market in Jersey is busy with a high turnover of sales and plenty of happy vendors and applicants who have managed to move to the next stage in their respective lives. Whilst the system is not perfect and the market is very crowded there are still exciting opportunities for applicants looking for a new home or prospective vendors wanting to move. Now it is more important than ever to receive expert advice.