Guernsey and Jersey Housing Steady - Reports Skipton Internaitonal

15th December 2009

House prices on both Jersey and Guernsey appear to have stabilised, with little significant price movement noted during the quarter to September 2009, according to data released this month by the Jersey and Guernsey States. Average prices on Guernsey slipped back by just 0.5% against the last quarter, whilst those on Jersey rose slightly by around 1.8%. Annually to the end of September 09, Guernsey prices fell by around 2%, whilst those on Jersey rose slightly by just over 2%.

These changes mean that the Guernsey average local market residential property price now stands at £344,613, with the average house prices, excluding apartments, at £396,625. On Jersey, the average overall residential value now stands at £497,000.

Commenting on the data, Nigel Pascoe, Director of Lending for Skipton International, the Guernsey and Jersey mortgage specialists said, "During the last quarter, we have witnessed what we feel is a stabilising of the housing markets across both Islands, after the volatility of the past few months. For the first six months of the year, on average, Guernsey house prices have stood at a discount to the position at the end of 2008, but we saw values in this sector increase by over 8%, which has helped the overall average position. The Jersey market has not been affected by such trends and here the position is one of essentially stable prices now for nearly 12 months, unlike elsewhere on the mainland, for example, where on average prices have dropped back significantly."

On Guernsey, there were 206 Local Market and 21 Open Market transactions in the three months to September 2009. The local market figure is up slightly, but the open market figure has nearly doubled against the last quarter when there were just 12 transactions. On Jersey, volumes fell back to 150 reported sales, against 196 for the previous quarter.

Nigel Pascoe, continues, "Volumes on Guernsey have remained steady, having risen considerably since the end of 2008 and it is pleasing to see this higher level of activity being maintained. On Jersey, the position is less clear, as volumes have slipped, but they are still comfortably ahead of the position at the end of March 2009."

UK data still presents a more fragile picture, with national prices rising slightly month on month for five months in succession now, according to the Financial Times House Price Index. Over the year, prices are some 5.6% lower, though, so the rate of decline is slowing from its low point of minus 13.4% reached in April 2009. Property analysts such as Rightmove.co.uk note that the volume of new houses being marketed is still low, with 10 properties being removed from the market for every 8 being added.

Nigel Pascoe ends, "Overall, we feel the market is still fragile, but hope the worst is now behind us. With the economic data in the UK and locally presenting a mixed picture, this will affect many peoples? willingness to take on debt. However, UK Base Rate has again been held at its record low of 0.5% for November and this will undoubtedly help rebuild confidence in the housing market.

For many buyers now, the problem is raising a suitable deposit. Our new Next Generation mortgage product gets to the heart of this problem. Skipton International will fund up to 100% of the value of the property being purchased. The purchaser needs to enlist the support of a family member who will guarantee up to 15% of the purchase price of the property. This new mortgage opens the door for purchasers who might be struggling to raise the deposit from their own means. This new approach to getting on the housing ladder or indeed moving up the housing ladder is part of our commitment to provide a truly personal service, through which we can be sure our borrowers have the right product for their circumstances and are not in danger of overstretching themselves."