The island offers a wide range of attractive properties to suit the lifestyle you wish to lead. Guernsey’s Anglo-Norman heritage is clear in its rural retreats, or if you prefer, modern apartments and houses in the town centre are available with breath-taking sea views. The varied property market means you’ll find your perfect home.
Moving to Guernsey doesn’t mean that you have to compromise on space or lifestyle.
Although it’s only 25 miles square, the island’s diverse and stunning landscape means that, whether you’re after a coastal setting or a rural retreat, a change of scene is only a short drive away.
Many are attracted to the hustle and bustle of St Peter Port with its beautiful marina and cosmopolitan buzz. With modern, spacious apartments overlooking the islands of Sark and Herm, it’s a great option if you’re looking for a property with minimal maintenance.
If a more rural family retreat is up your street, parishes such as St Andrew’s, Castel and Torteval house beautiful rambling cottages nestled in idyllic valleys where more space and a slower pace of life can be found.
St Martin’s strikes the balance between rural and urban, offering a unique blend of cosy coastal cottages, period townhouses and tasteful new-builds. With its proximity to local amenities, strong sense of community and spectacular cliff top views, it’s easy to see why this is one of the most popular parishes.
Local and Open Markets
Guernsey has a two-tier property structure that applies to both rental and sales properties:
Local Market is available for local residents and employment permit holders;
Open Market is for any families, businesses and individuals arriving from the UK or overseas.
Approximately 7% of Guernsey’s properties, around 1,600, are on Guernsey’s Open Market Register. They can be found all across the Island.
Open Market property prices do tend to be higher than Local Market but if you have a UK or EU passport you’re free to rent or buy straight away.
The advantage of buying or renting an Open Market property is that you are free to work for any employer, for any length of time – it’s flexible and you are not reliant on a time-limited employment permit that employers apply for and secure for specific roles.
If you’re looking to weigh up your options before you buy, renting is a good option.
Guernsey’s numerous estate agents will be able to show you the latest properties available and you can view properties online before you arrive. Many agents can also send you alerts with new property details.
Whether you’re renting on the Open or Local Market, you’ll need to supply the following documents. Having these to hand will mean you can move quickly to secure your preferred home:
- Original photo ID.
- Utility bill proof of previous address.
- Name/address of a previous landlord for a reference.
- Personal referee.
- Bank account details for a credit check.
- Date for rental lease to start.
- Certificate or employment permit online for Local Market rentals.
If you’re looking to buy straight away, it’s a good idea to meet with several estate agents to get an idea of the range of properties available on both Local and Open Markets.
The process for buying properties on the island is refreshingly straightforward and comparatively quick. The whole procedure, from instructing your advocate
to completion, takes approximately four weeks and contracts can be passed more quickly in urgent cases.
The sale price of a property is usually split between the land, including its buildings, and its contents. You’ll also need to budget for the following fees when considering your property purchase:
Document Duty: This starts at 2.25%, rising in steps to 4.5% up to £2,000,000. From there, it’s a flat 5.5% on the difference of any amount over £2,000,000.
Legal Fees: It’s important to get a quote from your advisor from the start as these fees are dependent on the complexity of the transaction and property value.
Court and Greffe Fees: On completion day, you’ll need to attend the Royal Court with your advocate before you’re handed the keys to your new property. Conveyancing court charges tend to be in the region of £200.
Survey Costs: These are quoted on a case-by-case basis.
“Thanks to Guernsey’s low crime rate, insurance costs are low”
Guernsey doesn’t have a council tax system in place. There is Tax on Real Property (TRP) and parish rates but these are very low compared to rates in the UK.
Thanks to Guernsey’s low crime rate, insurance costs are pretty low. The island has several insurance specialists who can help with home and contents insurance.
Guernsey’s housing market & the right to work law
Because of the Island’s small size, there are some controls on who can come to live and work in Guernsey. These controls are in addition to the immigration controls of the Guernsey Border Agency (which relate only to non-EU passport holders). The controls work by splitting the Island’s housing stock into two categories: Open Market and Local Market
There are no limits on the length of time that families in an Open Market property can live in Guernsey. But there are controls on who can live in the Island’s Local Market housing. In general, newcomers to the island will take up residence in Guernsey’s Open Market, but if employment is the primary reason for coming to live in Guernsey, then an Employment Permit may be awarded, entitling that person to live in Local Market property.
The controls on Local Market housing include controls on who can live in it and for how long. There will sometimes be other controls on the type of housing that a person can live in and the job they must do and the employer they must work for.
The Population Management Law
Implemented in 2017, the law requires everyone working to obtain a document from the Population Management team to show that they are lawfully housed. People living in Guernsey’s Open Market are of course entitled to work should they need to or want to.
There are a number of ways in which people living in Guernsey can be housed lawfully and full details can be found on the States of Guernsey Population Management website.
The ethos of the Open Market (a straightforward and rapid method of residing in Guernsey) will be unchanged in this new system.
We recognize that the residency system in Guernsey is, in all likelihood, an unfamiliar one to anyone considering a move to the island.
Early contact with the Locate Guernsey team will assist people considering a move to Guernsey and wanting to understand the system.
Download our Property in Guernsey Fact Sheet.