International Real Estate: House Hunting on … Jersey


International real estate

House Hunting on … Jersey

The largest of the Channel Islands tightly regulates its housing market, keeping demand and prices elevated.

By Alison Gregor

This four-bedroom house is in the northern parish of St. John on Jersey, a British dependency that is one of the Channel Islands, 15 miles off the northwestern coast of France. The 5,428-square-foot house sits among a group of buildings on a former 19th-century farmstead and includes an attached duplex workshop, a two-car garage and an 8,700-square-foot yard.

Built in 1875 with a granite ashlar facade and slate roof, the house consists of a three-story main portion and a perpendicular one-story section. It has been renovated in the past decade, incorporating modern features inside while retaining much of its historic character, said Simon Torode, the founder and chief executive of Livingroom, the Jersey-based agency that has the listing.

“Jersey’s historic buildings are a tangible part of the island’s distinctive cultural heritage,” he said.

Several two- and three-story structures on the site have been converted into homes and are not included in the sale. The original developer of the property also lives on the site, in a small walled complex.

“It’s very peaceful, and the neighbors are nice without being intrusive,” Mr. Torode said.

A tree-lined drive approaches the house, known as Le Douet. From the entry hall, a lounge, dining room and kitchen are to the left; and a sitting room, library, bathroom and cloakroom are to the right. The central hall has black-and-white-tiled floors, while the common rooms have a mix of concrete, carpeted and traditional stripped wooden floors.

The kitchen has a vaulted skylight that opens electronically, wooden ceiling beams and a long island with seating and storage. CreditLivingroom Estate Agents

The lounge, sitting room and dining room have fireplaces, and there is also a large wood-burning stove in the lounge. Furniture is not included in the asking price, but it is available to buy, Mr. Torode said. A trapdoor leads to a subterranean space that could be used as a wine cellar, he said.

The kitchen has a vaulted skylight that opens electronically, wooden ceiling beams and a long center island with seating for six at one end and storage at the other. Appliances are made by Neff and include a five-ring induction cooker, two ovens and a wine fridge. An adjoining living room has multiple skylights and doors that open to the garden.

A hall staircase has a colorful stained-glass window on the landing that is believed to be original, Mr. Torode said. The second floor has three bedrooms, one with an en suite bathroom and two that share a bathroom. A modern wood staircase climbs to the third-floor attic space, which has been converted into a master suite with a large dressing area. The master bath has a free-standing egg tub and a glass shower.

With a population of about 3,000, St. John is one of the least-populated administrative parishes on Jersey. St. John’s Village, about two miles from this property, has a cafe, pharmacy, pub, medical facilities, shops, a church and a school. Cliffs on the northern coastline, less than a mile away, offer some of the island’s best views. Jersey Airport, the island’s only airport, is about seven miles away. The St. Helier ferry dock, which offers routes to France, southern England and the other Channel Islands, is five miles away, on Jersey’s southern coast.

Jersey, a rural, 45-square-mile island with about 100,000 permanent residents, is an autonomous parliamentary democracy with its own financial, legal and judicial systems. It is not part of the United Kingdom, but the U.K. is legally responsible for its defense.


From the entry hall, a lounge, dining room and kitchen are to the right; a sitting room, library, bathroom and cloakroom are to the left. CreditLivingroom Estate Agents

Jersey’s highly regulated housing market has been especially buoyant in the past 18 months to two years, said Donald Meiklejohn, a property negotiator with Moore Properties, a Channel Islands agency.

“Our house prices are typically fairly stable, though we have our blips now and again, but we’re in a kind of pre-Brexit rising market right now,” Mr. Meiklejohn said. “I think it’s due to confidence in the economy, and the sector that’s been very buoyant has been family homes.”

Families are lured by the island’s natural and historic attractions, which helps keep demand and prices high, he said: “We’re lucky Jersey is a safe haven to live in, and a lot of people think it’s a good place to bring their kids up, and it’s quite a nice way of life. Now with the internet, people can still operate their businesses while residing here.”

Home prices on Jersey are “probably on a par with central London,” said Aimee Sinclair-Horgan, a partner with the Wilsons Knight Frank agency in Jersey.

At £491,000 (about $648,000), the average home price on Jersey in the fourth quarter of 2018 was higher than that in London, at £476,000 ($630,000), and more than twice that in the United Kingdom overall, according to Statistics Jersey, the government agency that tracks statistics on the island.

While home sales grew by 5.3 percent from 2017 to 2018, sales of homes at £1 million ($1.3 million) and above grew by 34.2 percent, said Oliver Knight, an associate for residential research at Wilsons Knight Frank. Homes valued over £500,000 ($660,000) accounted for 44.9 percent of the sales in 2018, up from 35.4 percent in 2017.

Among wealthier buyers, the properties currently most in demand are contemporary homes on the cliffs above St. Brelade’s Bay, a beach area on the southwestern coast, Ms. Sinclair-Horgan said.


The third-floor attic space has been converted to a master bedroom with an en suite bath and dressing area.CreditLivingroom Estate Agents

The adjacent master bath has a free-standing egg tub and a glass-walled shower.CreditLivingroom Estate Agents

In the fourth quarter of 2018, Ms. Sinclair-Horgan said, the mean price of a one-bedroom apartment on Jersey was £238,000 ($315,000); that of a two-bedroom apartment was £400,000 ($528,000); that of a two-bedroom house was £456,000 ($602,000); that of a three-bedroom house was £580,000 ($765,000); and that of a four-bedroom house was £928,000 ($1.2 million).

Because the Jersey government tightly regulates the housing market, the vast majority of off-island buyers are from the United Kingdom, although there are occasionally buyers from Europe and other countries, Mr. Torode said.

Those with an “essential work permit” can apply for a license to buy a home in Jersey. Most buyers who fall into this category are from the United Kingdom, although some are from offshore financial jurisdictions similar to Jersey, including Hong Kong, Malaysia, the Cayman Islands and Geneva, Mr. Meiklejohn said.

Wealthy individuals who want to live on Jersey can apply for an “entitled high-value residency,” which basically requires an annual income of at least £725,000 ($957,000), Ms. Sinclair-Horgan said, and is a prerequisite for applying for entitled status to buy a home.

In recent years, a dozen or more high-value approvals have been granted annually. According to another Wilsons Knight Frank report, between 2013 and 2017, 66 percent of those granted this status came from England, while 8.5 percent were from Switzerland, 4.7 percent from Scotland, 2.8 percent from Australia and 10.4 percent from the rest of the world.

Applications to buy a home or establish residency on Jersey are assessed on a case-by-case basis, brokers said.

“A lot of it is basically to regulate the population,” Mr. Meiklejohn said. “It’s a small island with a population of about 110,000 people, and there are a lot of green belts, so space is at a premium.”

Locate Jersey, a government-backed organization that promotes Jersey and assists individuals looking to move there, is often the first stop for foreigners who want to set up a business or live on Jersey. Immigration regulations and rules can be found on the Jersey government website.


Modern details include a wood, metal and glass staircase that ascends to the third floor.CreditLivingroom Estate Agents

Off-island buyers should hire a lawyer to represent them, brokers said. A lawyer’s fee is usually about 1 percent of a home’s sale price, but rates can vary.

The biggest closing cost is the stamp duty, which is assessed on a sliding scale. This home’s stamp duty at full asking price would be 3.7 percent, or about £71,750 ($95,000), with an £80 ($105) registration fee, Mr. Torode said.

Mortgages from local banks are available to off-island home buyers, Ms. Sinclair-Horgan said.

English, Jèrriais; British pound (£1 = $1.32)

The annual property taxes on this home are about £968 a year, or about $1,300, Mr. Torode said.

Simon Torode, Livingroom, 011-44-1534-717100;

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Published at Wed, 27 Mar 2019 13:31:19 +0000