Deputy Lindsay de Sausmarez – president of Guernsey’s Committee for the Environment and Infrastructure – said that population increases, demographic shifts and the pandemic were some of the factors behind rising house costs in both jurisdictions.
The latest house price index showed that the average price of a home in Jersey had reached £629,000 – compared to £574,000 for the previous quarter and £532,000 a year earlier. A like-for-like comparison between the islands – which calculate their average house prices in slightly different ways – revealed that the local market was £193,000 more expensive.
Deputy de Sausmarez, who has political responsibility for Guernsey’s general housing market, said: ‘I can see why that comparison could be made, but if we take our circumstances in isolation we are also facing very significant challenges here in Guernsey – and we are doing everything we can to resolve them.’
When asked how Jersey and Guernsey’s markets compared, she said: ‘We’ve had a gradual population increase, which hasn’t been a major factor but might have had an accumulative effect. We’ve also seen a demographic switch that has led to a trend towards smaller households – we know there is a particular shortage of one- and two-bedroom properties – and the pandemic has caused some short-term pressures on the market by restricting the number of people relocating.’
She added: ‘I don’t know enough to comment specifically, but I wouldn’t be surprised if these were issues also being experienced in Jersey – possibly to an accentuated degree.’
Deputy de Sausmarez also said that a housing action group had been formed – chaired by Employment and Social Security president Peter Roffey – to help address Guernsey’s social- and private-sector housing needs.
She said: ‘It’s a short-term solution to break down as many barriers and do as much as we can within 12 months. So often it boils down to supply and demand but it’s not just about building new houses – we are also looking at some of the policies and more nuanced areas that can be fixed.’
The JEP asked Housing Minister Russell Labey to comment on the recent house price index report, but had not received a response before going to print.