In uncertain times, it is only natural that people seek out stability. With a global reputation as a stable, self-governing and well-established financial centre – and the mantle of the sunniest place in the British Isles – it is no wonder that investors are drawn to Jersey.
With high demand for quality real estate to support the Island's growing financial services industry, the local real estate market has enjoyed a period of sustained growth across both residential and commercial sectors over the last three years. The commercial market in 2018 saw records broken when the Channel Islands' largest single commercial property transaction (both in terms of sale price and lot size) was completed with the c.£90m sale of Gaspé House, followed shortly by the sales of IFC 1 (£43.7m) and IFC 5 (£46.7m), the first two completed buildings at Jersey's new International Finance Centre. Carey Olsen was instructed as lead counsel on each of these standout transactions.
In sum, in 2018 (the last full year of available statistics) saw investment volumes in excess of £180m. Perhaps more striking than the sheer numbers, recent years have seen a real diversification in the investor profile for Jersey real estate, with assets being acquired by high net worth individuals (HNWIs), middle eastern and Asian investors and syndicates. Global interest has been focussed on Jersey's contained, yet refined, commercial real estate market.
Continuing the positive trends in the commercial sector, the residential market has seen continued growth (rising by 3.5% in 2018). Demand continues to outstrip supply on an Island which offers a safe and secure environment, excellent schools, an abundance of recreation opportunities, an enviable restaurant scene (with one Michelin-starred establishment, and many more exceptional dining spots), and is supported by a high-value employment market.
Fresh produce abounds, from the world-renowned dairy products from the iconic Jersey cow, to exquisite seafood and the ubiquitous Jersey Royal potato. All of this contributes to Jersey's attraction as a unique place to live and work, creating strong demand for residential property within a market constrained by natural geographical limitations on supply, and regulated by restrictive residency laws and policies.
Those who are not born locally may qualify for residency either by having lived in the Island for over ten years, or by obtaining a licenced employment position with a local business. For HNWIs, residency can be obtained via the high value residency regime administered by Locate Jersey.
Indeed, for many UK-based HNWIs uncertain of what the future might hold for them amidst the continuing Brexit upheaval, Jersey presents a compelling option for them both personally and professionally.
An original version of this article was published by Flair Lifestyle Magazine, October 2019.
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