/ Author: SPF

Our MD, Pierre Blampied was one of the guest experts on the Property Panel on John Randall’s Radio Guernsey show, along with Matt Brouard from Cooper Brouard and Steve Williams of the GHA.

Their round up of market factors from last year and predictions for the year ahead are summarised here:

Pierre reported that SPF had had an excellent 2019, the busiest in 10 years. A lot of this was due to banks’ willingness to lend something which he said would continue and even improve in 2020.

As always, John asked about new lenders in the marketplace and Pierre explained that actually one had left. The Family Building Society had decided it was no longer lucrative enough for them to continue to support lending on the island, but this was not a cause for concern as Marsden Building Society were now servicing that area of the market with, what Pierre considers to be superior products.

With regards to the other lenders, Lloyds were by far the biggest in the market last year, lending £74.7 million locally, which for them was more than 2017 and 2018 together. NatWest were the second biggest lender on island.

Pierre stated that he expects the next interest rate movement will be downwards which is positive for borrowers. Lloyds may well increase salary multiples which would be further positive news for the Guernsey mortgage market. Fixed rates are low and therefore popular, with a five year fixed rate being particularly attractive and this means that in the housing market as a whole, people could be looking at paying less on mortgages than they would on an equivalent rental.

Steve from the GHA said that they had 55 properties that were nearing completion and would be ready for occupation from end of March, beginning of April. They expect to complete a total of 40 this year compared to 69 last year and have 32 in the pipeline for next year, after which they would be looking for additional sites.

Talk then turned to Brexit with Matt expressing his view that at least we are now no longer in limbo and there is a general feeling of things moving forward. John asked if this was reflected in open market sales and Pierre said that SPF had provided quite a few mortgages for open market over the last six months. He also noted that professionals coming to the island both on the open and local market and even those that had been here for a while were appreciative of just how good it was living in Guernsey, comparing things like waiting lists for health services. The panel agreed that islanders sometimes took for granted just how attractive living in Guernsey is.

John asked Matt if it had been a busy start to the year for Cooper Brouard and Matt reported that it was not so busy with take-ons but, as always, there are a lot of valuations at this time of year, with people thinking of selling and wanting to know what their house was worth. Pierre asked if stock was a little low because quite a few borrowers he knew were waiting to buy and Matt’s view was that we had gone back to what was a more typical scenario of the Guernsey housing market with properties moving steadily compared to say three years ago when there were significantly more properties on the market.

Pierre wrapped up, concluding that signs were good. On the mortgage front they know their peak spell is normally from end of January to end of March but that this year the first three weeks of January had been very busy.