Jersey house prices remain flat during 2010

Person holding finance report

Average house prices fell by 2% during 2010 compared to the position at the end of 2009, according to data released this month by the States of Jersey. However, the quarterly figures may hide a more complex picture, as prices have risen steadily since the low point of £473,000 reached at the end of March 2010 to finish the year at £504,000, virtually equalling the £508,000 high point reached in 2008.

The last six months have seen a resurgence of property sales in the four bedroom house category, with values in this sector moving ahead noticeably to an average figure of £768,000, up from £754,000 at the end of September. The average value in this category had now risen by over £110,000 since March 2010. The average value of two bedroom flats rose strongly from £302,000 to £312,000, whilst three bedroom houses, the most popular sector in the market, held firm at £518,000.

Reviewing the data, Nigel Pascoe, Director of Lending for Skipton International, the Jersey mortgage specialists who recently reported new lending volumes rising over 95% in 2010 said, "Taken as a whole, the Jersey market has delivered a flat performance, compared to 2009 and indeed 2008. However, since March 2010, values in the key sectors of 2 bedroom houses and flats and 4 bedroom houses have performed well. Here at Skipton International, we are seeing high levels of interest, suggesting the market has some way to run yet."

Following the jump in sales volumes seen at the end of September, activity levels in the market cooled during the closing months of the year, with 170 houses and flats sold. Over the year, the average quarterly volume of sales now stands at 185, up from 175 at the end of 2009. Sales slipped back in all categories, with 1 bedroom flats particularly badly affected, where the numbers sold dropped from 43 at the end of September back to 15, a figure which is closer to the 2010 average of 20.

In the UK as a whole, according to the UK Land Registry, over the year to December 2010, prices rose only slightly by 1.2%, with London leading the way with a 6.2% rise. The picture for UK prices in general is now one of a broadly stable market, with modest growth in London due in part to foreign buyers whilst elsewhere, prices are flat or falling. Growth in the South West, for example, was just 1.1%, well below headline inflation.

Nigel Pascoe ends, "We are now seeing consistently higher levels of enquiries in the market, as confidence builds. Although average prices have not advanced significantly over the past two years, they have not fallen back either, illustrating the strength and depth of the Jersey market. Moving home and trading up is a natural activity, so it is reasonable to expect demand levels, which have been low by historic standards for three years now, to recover. As sales rise, so the market should progress. There is a range of mortgage products in the market for all classes of buyer to choose from, including our 100% loans which have been popular both here and in Guernsey, where we are now the largest lender. Our commitment to demystify the market and guide buyers to the best product for their circumstances is as vital as ever in these times."