Housing Minister: ‘No plans to address issue of gazumping’

THERE are no plans to address gazumping in Jersey’s property market, the Housing Minister has said.

Housing Minister Russell Labey. Picture: ROB CURRIE. (30907971)
Housing Minister Russell Labey. Picture: ROB CURRIE. (30907971)

However, Deputy Russell Labey said that introducing a set of standards across the sector could be a better way to approach the issue rather than targeting it as a single problem.

The Housing and Communities Minister also said that such a move would need to be considered against other priorities within his remit.

Gazumping happens when a vendor accepts a higher bid on their property, despite having already verbally agreed to another offer.

Verbal agreements are not legally binding and Jersey does not have any legislation which offers protection against gazumping.

‘Purchasing or selling a home is one of the most important transactions a person will make,’ said Deputy Labey in response to a written States question from Deputy Rob Ward.

‘I appreciate that in cases where gazumping does occur, it could have significant negative consequences for the individuals affected, including significant professional fees being incurred on the wasted effort to purchase a property.’

But he added: ‘There are currently no plans to address the specific issue of gazumping. An approach that focuses on a whole set of standards across the property sector would be more effective. However, this would be a new initiative that would need to be considered against other portfolio priorities.’

The minister said the government had not spoken to estate agents about the issue recently nor did it have any data.

However, he added that the Economic and International Affairs Scrutiny Panel might include the matter as part of its review into the regulation of Jersey estate agents.

Deputy Labey’s comments come at a time when Jersey’s property market is booming, with prices rising and properties going under offer within hours of going on the market.

Earlier this week the latest House Price Index showed that average prices were at a record high and more than double that of the UK.

Prices rose 2% in the first three months of the year, leaving the average house costing £574,000, compared to the UK national average of £253,000 and £499,000 in London – the most expensive region in the country.

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