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New partnership will smooth the way for wealthy residents

Business | Published:

THE expansion of the Knight Frank brand and name in Jersey will underline the quality of service residential property buyers can expect in the Island. That’s according to the principals of leading local estate agent Wilsons, who have just entered into a formal association with the property giant.

The team at Wilsons: Megan Noel, Clifford Wilson, Samantha Leighton, Aimee Sinclair-Horgan and Anita Gibson

Wilsons and London-headquartered Knight Frank have worked together for a number of years on the Island including on the sale of the 18-acre La Valette Estate, in Trinity, which sold within three weeks in 2016 for a record £25m.

‘There is a perfect synergy between the two firms,’ according to Clifford Wilson, partner of Wilsons, who has had decades of experience in the industry, particularly selling high-value residences.

‘The name Knight Frank is synonymous with good quality, and we are now part of their global network while retaining our business’s own identity.

Knight Frank has more than 15,000 people in 418 offices across 60 countries, and while they deal with everything from bedsits to palaces, they are particularly well known for luxury residences.

Aimee Sinclair-Horgan, who is partner with Clifford Wilson, said that over the years they had got to know Knight Frank well and Frank Knight knew them so both sides respected each other.

‘We knew each other and so it was a natural progression,’ she said.

Now if Wilsons have a property on its books in Jersey, it can also be accessed through Knight Frank’s global network, and this helps both those resident in Jersey who want to buy elsewhere, and those outside who want to buy in Jersey.

Rupert Sweeting, head of country house sales at Knight Frank, said that they were ‘very excited’ about the association with Wilsons.

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‘The Wilsons business has an extremely strong presence in the Jersey market and the business has both the reputation and integrity that fits perfectly with the Knight Frank brand,’ Mr Sweeting said.

‘We have dealt with many sales on the Island over the years, so to have an associate based there permanently will provide our customers with local expertise, as well as access to the widest number of international buyers through our global network.’

Wilsons have already seen several enquiries as a result of the partnership but they are not anticipating an immediate big increase in business.

‘We don’t expect a sudden burst of activity from Dubai, for example, although you never know,’ Mr Wilson said.

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There have been a few enquiries about St John’s Manor, which they have on their books at around £22m, but anything of about 50 acres in Jersey takes time to sell, with perhaps the exception of La Valette. Mr Wilson said there is already a particular element of interest in St John’s Manor, but it is still available at what he described as a realistic value.

The high end of the Island’s property market is now gently moving upwards, as with other types of property, Mr Wilson said, but he would not want to see another price bubble developing.

‘People are still moving to the Island for broadly the same reasons – an advantageous tax structure, quality of life, and security, particularly if they are bringing up a young family,’ he said.

According to Locate Jersey, £95m worth of high-value residences was sold last year and 20 new high-value residents relocated to the Island. The States benefited directly from £4.6m in stamp duty on these transactions, apart from other spin-offs.

Frank Knight’s annual Wealth Report looks at the performance of the high-end property market around the world and the 2018 report places Jersey in 36th place, one lower than Dublin but just ahead of Vancouver, with Marbella at 38 and London 72nd. Top of the table was Guangzhou with prime prices up 27% last year. Jersey’s prime prices were calculated to have increased by 3.6% in 2017.

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