Guernsey Property Market and Real Estate Guide

(Guernsey, Channel Islands, British Isles)

A view over GuernseyThe offshore island and tax haven of Guernsey, with its spectacular beaches and mild, sunny weather, is the second-largest in the Channel Islands group. A tourist paradise, it could also be considered the perfect relocation destination, but due to stringent local property laws, it is only for the comparatively wealthy.

Over the last 40 years, Guernsey's housing laws have effectively prevented anyone but the financially fortunate from purchasing homes on the island. Properties are classified either as Local Market or Open Market - the latter, placed on the Housing Control Register, are available to UK or EU passport holders at high prices, with only a small number being offered annually.

Guernsey is an attractive little island with its charming capital, St Peter's Port, the destination of choice for many thousands of tourists during the sunny summer months. The town has a wide selection of shops and restaurants catering for visitors, local residents and business people working in the island's financial service companies.

The limited housing stock available to outsiders for purchase comprises mainly family homes, higher end apartments, detached houses with land and luxury country homes in their own grounds. Prices for Open Market properties tend to be at least several times the price of a comparable Local Market home. Most will have all modern conveniences and are often large, very attractive period properties in excellent order.

Renting Serviced Apartments

Long-term lets to non-local residents are restricted to Open Market properties, although the rents charged can seem reasonable compared to, say, London. It is extremely difficult to find serviced apartments in Guernsey, as both conversions and most purpose-built Open Market apartments are aimed at multi-occupancy holiday lets and charge accordingly.

As regards to investment property, non-local residents are restricted to high-priced Open Market properties, which may not give a good return for a number of years.

Image of Guernsey capital Saint Peter Port

Buying Apartments and Houses

Given the above restrictions, if buying a property in Guernsey is an option, there are usually a number of beautiful homes to choose between, from luxury conversions in period buildings to magnificent country houses with swimming pools and saunas set in lush green landscaped grounds.

Non-local resident buyers should note, however, that further restrictions on occupation and structural alterations may apply, requiring legal advice. The above rulings are complicated, deliberately discouraging settlement on the island in order to allow locals to buy homes at reasonable prices. For further information, either the Guernsey government's housing authority or a specialist solicitor should be consulted.

Real Estate Agents

A number of estate agents on the island deal with the sale and rental of both Local and Open Market properties, and should be able to give initial advice regarding the legalities of the island's property market.

Check out the following Guernsey real estate agents:

Morvan Robbins
Address: Grande Roques, Castel, Guernsey, Channel Islands
Tel: +44 1 481 255162
This small agency deals exclusively with rentals and maintains a friendly website.

Address: Estate House, Ann's Place, St Peter's Port, Guernsey, Channel Islands
Tel: +44 1 481 711766
Swoffers is high end and knowledgeable, with a good selection of upmarket homes at upmarket prices.

Cooper Brouard
Address: The Old Post, Grande Rue, St Martins, Guernsey, Channel Islands
Tel: +44 1 481 236039
This fairly new agency specialises in Open and Local Market residential sales and lettings.