Andium agrees a further rent freeze for its tenants in 2022

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Deputy Russell Labey said the company would introduce a one-off deferral of rent increases next year for Islanders living in its properties.

His predecessor, Senator Sam Mézec, announced a similar freeze for 2021 in October, saying that many Islanders were still dealing with the effects of the pandemic.

Deputy Labey said: ‘It is another one-off but we feel there is money for the Covid recovery that can be used to help people.’

Andium Homes spokesperson Carl Mavity said: ‘We have been working with the [Housing] Minister on his review of the social-housing rents policy for some time and it has been agreed that, while this is happening, there will be a rent freeze for all Andium Homes tenants for 2022.

‘We would normally uplift rents on 1 January each year in line with the current States social-housing rents policy, so this decision will mean that this will not now happen.’

Jersey’s most recent house price index showed that the average cost of properties in the Island had reached £629,000, compared to £574,000 for the previous quarter and £532,000 12 months earlier.

Deputy Labey said: ‘We have seen a spike in 2018, 2019, 2020 and this year it is now on my watch as Housing Minister. It is very worrying, as it means that more Jersey families will be giving up hope of getting on the housing ladder and will be living in properties that they can afford rather than the properties they need.

‘It is also impacting the Island’s ability to be competitive and to attract key workers. The other issue is that wage growth has not kept pace [with the rise in house prices].’

Earlier this year the Deputy revealed a number of proposals designed to help fix the Island’s housing market, including an 80% increase in the supply of new homes annually.

He said: ‘Supply is vital and one of the major priorities of my action plan is to better increase supply to help manage demand. However, it is unlikely that supply alone will bring prices down and I have been working with my team on a range of measures to try to address the rises.’

During an Environment, Housing and Infrastructure Scrutiny Panel hearing yesterday, Deputy Labey added that the situation would get ‘a little bit easier next year’.

‘We are taking action to immediately and urgently – but thoroughly – examine what we can do as a government to intervene as soon as possible,’ he said.

‘There are a dozen or so developments that will start coming online.’

The Deputy also said he had been discussing the issue with the Council of Ministers.

‘We are still looking at all the options. I wanted to get a steer from them about whether they would give me a green light to scope the options to intervene, or whether they would say no, these are red lines and we don’t want you to touch them.’

He added: ‘I hope to return as soon as possible before Christmas with any interventions that could take the heat out of the market.’

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