/ Author: SPF

Pierre Blampied from SPF, Matt Brouard from Cooper Brouard and Steve Williams from The Guernsey Housing Association joined John Randall for their monthly discussion about finance and property.

Matt from Cooper Brouard opened the conversation with the news that the first Havelet Waters property sales have gone through and the buyers have moved into their new homes. Matt is delighted with this news and said that more buyers are lined up. Hopefully, there will be further sales, before Christmas.

John asked Matt about the significance of the 20th of the month, for property sales, and the group discuss the highest number of properties sold, during one court date. Pierre suggests that this may have been the Charotterie Mills properties, (Dandara development), in which 78 properties were put through the court, in two separate sittings.

Matt recalls particularly consistent property sales, and high volumes of sales during 2007 and 2008, and tells us that Property sales have a tendency to ‘build up’ at the end of the month. With the Christmas holiday’s looming, the 20th is the last conveyancing date that is set, for the year. Pierre adds that with the document duty changing on the 1st January, individuals with sizeable house purchases, want to complete before this date. He explains that the 3rd January is also a busy court date, as this is when the re-mortgage costs are reduced.

The conversation turns to Steve, and John asks him how current developments are going and if any more are planned? Steve explains that the St Saviours development, by Les Islets Arsenal, is going to plan and expected to be completed around mid January, when he hopes that an open morning will take place, giving the public a chance to view the development. With the permission of Festung Guernsey, he also hopes to gain the visitors access to the German bunkers, which are on the site.
There are nine properties in total, five destined for partial ownership and four for rent. A list of committed buyers and tenants is being finalised, with the completions planned for January.

John asks about the Les Vieux Jardin development, which will provide housing for people with autism, including accommodation for the nursing staff. Steve tells us that these eight bungalows will be available from June, next year. There will also be twenty flats, a mix of rental and partial ownership, available at an earlier date of April.

Pierre tells us that SPF have been rather busy so far, this month, with people looking to refinance in January, perhaps owing to the fact that the bond document duty costs, will be reduced from the 1st January. He predicts that the 3rd January will be a busy court date and believes that this new bond duty reduction may have an impact on the ‘higher loan to value’ mortgages, and people who have existing mortgages, looking to switch lenders. With Jersey implementing this change a number of years ago, Pierre believes that this will ‘free up’ the market, and feels that it is good news, overall.

With new instructions tailing off towards Christmas, Matt talks us through the properties that he currently holds on his books, including some unique open market properties. The group discuss the open property market both in Guernsey and Jersey.

On the subject of housing, John asks Steve if The Guernsey Housing Association works with Jersey at all. Steve explains that although they do not get heavily involved with Jersey Housing, they hold talks and discuss each other’s plans. He also talks us through the structure of Jersey Housing, saying that they currently have around 4,500 properties on their books, with a maintenance backlog.

Pierre questions the maximum loan to value on the Jersey partial ownership properties. Steve explains that the Jersey model is rather different to Guernsey, with Guernsey’s being described as essentially an adapted UK model.  He goes on to say that some properties, which are deemed as surplus to requirements, in Jersey, are available for 75% of the market value, with the other 25% locked in, acting as a covenant.

Matt tells us that the rental market is currently very strong, and believes that new build developments, such as Leale’s Yard, will struggle to sell, immediately. Steve explains that although there is lots of plans currently being put forward, not all of these plans are certain to go ahead, as not every plan will be deemed viable by developers.

The guests then talk about the potential pitfalls of such developments, such as the increase in traffic, and they conclude the discussion by predicting Guernsey’s future population issues.

You can listen to the discussion in full here.