Two estate agencies have closed on the island of Guernsey in recent months, blaming ‘crisis’ market conditions.
Property Link closed earlier this year and now Inspired Estate Agents says it will shut in July. Inspired’s Chris Carr says: "From the middle of last year I don't think we've seen a week go by where we haven't had one of our clients call to ask we reduce the price of their house."
In 2014, sales on Guernsey were the lowest on record. The island has two main categories of housing - ‘local’ housing open to those born on Guernsey or having lived there over recent years, and the more expensive ‘open market’ housing which has no restrictions.
Conveyancing costs, until recently regulated at a fixed price, are now increasing. Meanwhile buyers face high levels of so-called ’document duty’ payable to the island government.
This is 2.0 per cent where the value of the transaction is £250,000 or less, 2.5 per cent from £250,000 to £400,000, and 3.0 per cent over £400,000.
In the past some high end agencies on the UK mainland have made off-the-record suggestions that one of Guernsey’s long-standing attractions - favourable income and other tax systems - were proving less popular given more relaxed UK tax laws.