Do I need an advocate to buy property?

Conveying property in Guernsey is a complex legal process and you will need an advocate to act on your behalf.

The advocate will be responsible for researching the titles and deeds to the property to ensure there is no problem with the transfer of ownership and the complexity of this will be reflected in the fees and the timescale. So, if you are buying a new development there won’t be a long trail of documents to examine but if the property is old and hasn’t been sold for sometime then there will be a lot more to investigate.

We’d suggest contacting a selection of advocates until you find one who you feel comfortable dealing with and whose fees you are happy with.

What is the Open Market?

Guernsey has just under 1,700 properties on its Housing Control register which are available for residents with UK or EU passports to occupy. This is known as the Open Market.

This runs alongside Guernsey’s Local Market which is reserved for the locally-qualified or ‘essential’ workers who have been granted a right to work in Guernsey.

Swoffers has been Open Market leader for the past three decades and consistently sells more properties, of greater value on the Open Market than any other Guernsey agency. With three dedicated Open Market directors, two negotiators and support staff, we have the island’s largest Open Market team and pride ourselves on our customer service – we appreciate how complicated buying a house in Guernsey can be and will offer help and advice throughout the buying process, from the initial viewing until completion of the deal.

Open market facts and figures;

Prices of an Open Market property start at around £550,000 for 1 bedroom apartments and extend to over £10m
The average price of an Open Market property is £1.6m.
The current record for an Open & Local Market property sale in Guernsey is held by Swoffers.
Without doubt Swoffers has the island’s largest portfolio of luxury homes, including a wide selection of confidential instructions, not all of which are shown on our website so, for further information on the properties currently available, on buying or living in Guernsey, or to organise a viewing, please call one of our negotiators on 01481 711766.

What is the Local Market?

The large majority of Guernsey’s properties are on the Local Market and are available for locally-born or qualified residents only.

The size of Guernsey and its low rate of unemployment, means that some ‘essential workers’ are sourced from outside of the island for specialist jobs. This small percentage of the workforce are given a licence allowing them to buy or rent on the local market.

Under the terms of their employment and after consultation with States of Guernsey Housing Control, licence holders will be given a TRP rating determining the size of property that they are allowed to rent or buy. Their licence will also be for a fixed period of time, but may be renewed with the consent of Housing.

This system that has evolved over many years complements the island perfectly, allowing essential workers to find suitable housing whilst maintaining housing stock for local residents so that an already dense population can also be controlled.

While the Housing authority controls the occupation of property in Guernsey there is no control in the ownership of property.

Homes on the Local Market are typically a fraction of the price of those on the Open Market but, due to the demographics of the island, prices remain very competitive and demand is high.

Swoffers has dominated every level of the Local Market in recent years, selling more properties than any other agent in Guernsey. We hold the record for the most expensive sale of a Local Market house through Guernsey’s conveyancing court and for the highest recorded sale by way of share transfer.

  • Prices for Local Market start at approximately £175,000 for a studio apartment.
  • It is not unusual for over 800 local market properties to be sold through per year.
  • Even through times of economic uncertainty, Guernsey’s Local Market property prices have remained stable.

Swoffers has more local market properties for sale than any other Guernsey estate agent. To find your dream home, register or call us on 01481 711766. At Swoffers, we  appreciates that moving house can be a stressful time and we take pride in ensuring that we make the process as easy as possible. We aim to assist from the first viewing to the completion of the deal.

Understanding TRP

The TRP system (Tax on Real Property) is the system used to assess the size of properties in Guernsey and, in relation to Housing Licences, dictates what type of property newcomers to the island can purchase.

The TRP for each property is set by the Cadastre Department and is based on the size of the plan view of the property and is put in place to determine the rate of payment for refuse collection, street lighting and other local services.

With this figure in mind, essential workers are offered licences to work only on the understanding that they rent or buy property on the local market with a TRP figure at the level stipulated or higher. Essential worker’s salaries are typically linked to the TRP figures that they are asked to attain.

Typically, licence holders also have the option of purchasing a property of three habitable rooms or less (a two bedroom apartment for instance) but each case is dealt with on an individual basis by the Housing Department.

The TRP system is the Housing Department’s way of ensuring that local market housing stock is reserved for local residents. Each case of essential employment will be assessed on this basis and, although there has been a degree of flexibility in recent times with available properties being limited, this cannot be taken for granted.

Sounds complicated? Visit the States of Guernsey website, gov.gg for more details.

Can’t find the answer?

If you are unable to find any information you require, please do not hesitate to get in contact with us, via the form below or call Swoffers 01481 711766