‘Fewer incoming high-net-worths buying Jersey homes’

THE number of multi-millionaires committing to living in Jersey is very small, a high-end estate agent has said – dismissing recent claims that more high-net-worth individuals were looking to locate here.

St John's Manor.pictures courtesy Wilsons Estates. (26228281)
St John's Manor.pictures courtesy Wilsons Estates. (26228281)

Economic Development Minister Lyndon Farnham recently said that an increasing number of wealthy individuals were considering moving to the Island and that there had been interest from ‘ultra-high-net-worth’ families.

By the middle of last month 119 individuals had made inquiries about obtaining 2(1)(e) status (formerly known as 1(1)k), under which they receive residency rights and special tax deals.

In response to the Senator’s comments, however, Clifford Wilson, a partner in estate agency Wilsons Knight Frank, has written to the JEP to say that ‘nothing could be further from the truth’.

Mr Wilson said: ‘As someone, who for over 50 years has been at the extreme sharp end of the high-net-worth property sector, I can reliably inform your readers that current demand from those ready to settle here can at best be termed as tepid.

‘The number of new incoming high-net-worth-approved individuals purchasing homes here fell substantially in 2018 and, so far in the current year, the number of completed property purchases by such has continued in a downward trajectory.

‘It is reasonable to conclude that this downward trend can be justifiably blamed upon the shenanigans of Brexit and associated fiscal uncertainty.’

The letter from Mr Wilson, whose firm is marketing the sale of the £22million property St John’s Manor, adds that he believes that more wealthy individuals would probably want to settle in Jersey in a more certain post-Brexit environment.

‘I believe that, once Brexit has been delivered in whatever form, then thereafter, there should be a worthwhile increase in genuine demand from HNWs wishing to settle here,’ it says.

‘Meanwhile, let’s henceforth address this aspect of Jersey immigration realistically and not be caught up in the “spin machine” aspect of local government departments, which can be so very misleading.’

Gill Hunt, the Channel Islands’ representative for the National Association of Estate Agents, also said that there had been ‘tepid’ interest from high-net-worth individuals this year.

But she added that it was difficult to gauge real interest, which she said could vary for different reasons.

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