Property market activity was a fifth higher between July and September, when the Island emerged from Covid-19 restrictions, than a year earlier, the latest house price index report by Statistics Jersey has shown.
In total 438 transactions were completed during the period, which was more than double the 208 that took place during the lockdown months of April, May and June. House prices climbed 3% over the last year, with the average cost of a home in the Island reaching £533,000. In the UK the average price is £241,000 and in London it is £491,000.
Record average price levels were reached for one-bedroom flats (£289,000), two-bed room houses (£538,000) and three-bedroom houses (£687,000).
Experts said that the increased market activity in the second half of the year reflected more than just a ‘bounce-back’ from lockdown, and a high number of transactions is also looking likely in 2021.
Lorraine McLean, manager of the Skipton Mortgage Centre in Jersey, said that she felt lockdown had inspired many people to reassess their living conditions, leading to a desire to move homes.
‘Even in the circumstances of Covid during 2020 and the restrictions the housing market has maintained volume and interest in all sectors, from one-bedroom flats up to high-end properties,’ she said.
‘Things are probably going to tail off going into the Christmas period, like it always does, but I expect it to pick up again to previous levels in the new year and to even be higher than usual.
‘We have had a lot of people working from home and they have seen the restrictions that their current properties provide. So maybe now they are looking at things like they want an extra room or more space outside.’
Harrison Trower, a director at Broadlands estate agents, also said that activity had remained high up to November but was dropping going into the Christmas period.
‘It usually does go down at this time of year, but it may also be due to people knowing there are going to be further restrictions coming in place due to Covid,’ he said.
‘But even then, I think the same thing will happen again afterwards– once restrictions are lifted it will get really busy again.’
Mr Trower said that he felt a key driver of the trend was high property prices in Jersey coupled with low interest rates, meaning there were financial advantages in the housing market at this time.
‘House prices have gone up so much over the last five or six years that people will find themselves with plenty of equity, if they sell, and can pay off deposits and transaction fees, and possibly do up their house, with that,’ he said.
‘And with interest rates so low at the moment, mortgage costs are low too. Someone could, for example, go from a £600,000 to an £800,000 home at this time and not end up paying that much more for it. So it makes financial sense to do it.’
The new Children and Housing Minister, Deputy Jeremy Maçon, was contacted for comment.