The Guernsey Residential Property Prices Bulletin has been published for Quarter 4 of 2022.
The mix adjusted average purchase price for the Guernsey Local Market properties transacted during the fourth quarter of 2022 was £638,267, 1.4% higher than the previous quarter, 15.9% higher than the fourth quarter of 2021 and 51.6% higher than five years previously.
There were 181 Local Market transactions during the fourth quarter of 2022, 53 fewer than the previous quarter, 54 fewer than the same quarter of 2021 and five fewer than the fourth quarter of 2017.
The average time between a local market property becoming available for purchase and its subsequent sale has levelled off after decreasing since the third quarter of 2018.
The difference between both the maximum and the last advertised prices compared with the final sale prices of local market properties increased this quarter. The final sale price was, on average, 4.5% lower than the maximum advertised price in the fourth quarter of 2022, compared with 10.9% in the fourth quarter of 2017.
2.8% of local market purchases during the fourth quarter of 2022 had been built in the previous twelve months. This compares to 4.3% in the fourth quarter of 2021.
The raw median price (realty only) of the 28 Open Market transactions in the fourth quarter of 2022 was £1,755,000, compared with £1,584,375 in the fourth quarter of 2021.
The mix adjusted average rental price for Local Market properties was £1,725 per calendar month in the fourth quarter of 2022, the same as the previous quarter, 4.5% higher than the fourth quarter of 2021 and 35.7% higher than five years previously.
Stuart Leslie (pictured), head of residential sales at Savills Guernsey, said: “Guernsey’s property markets of the last 12 months have continued to be defined by strong demand versus restricted supply. However coming off the back of a record breaking 2021 – and in the face of significant political and economic upheaval in the UK and abroad – it’s perhaps unsurprising that activity levels have cooled in terms of the number of transactions. Interestingly though, sales above £1m increased, possibly indicating less of a reliance on borrowing toward the higher end of the market.
“The heady heights experienced at the end of the pandemic were always going to be impossible to sustain over the longer term and the latest property bulletin perhaps gives a flavour of what’s to come. Guernsey has not been completely immune from the tougher lending rates and economic uncertainty facing the UK – and the full picture will not become clear until the quarter one figures are released later this year.
“We are now experiencing what you might describe as more ‘normal’ market conditions. Since the start of the year levels of supply have improved as potential sellers look to take advantage of recent price growth, while commitment to move continues to be strong. The number of people registering to buy through our office has significantly increased since the start of the pandemic and there are plenty of people still wanting to relocate – whether that’s those already on island or those coming from the UK and further afield.
“Looking ahead, the island’s housing market should remain robust given the underlying demand and quality of life on offer – and we expect property to outperform the prime UK market over the next five years.”
Richard Hemans, IoD Guernsey’s lead on economics, commented: “The Q4 2022 bulletin indicates that Guernsey’s housing market remains strong, but is showing some clear signs of peaking.
“Local market house prices increased by 15.9% year on year, which is the strongest annual growth for many years and higher than the significant rises seen during the pandemic. However, the number of transactions declined by 14% and is now back to pre-pandemic levels. Meanwhile, open market house prices increased by 6%, which is the lowest growth since the pandemic and the number of transactions fell by 23%.
“The bulletin presents a number of indicators that the local housing market may be peaking. Buyers are taking on more debt with the average loan to value increasing from 76% to 81%. The average length of time taken to sell a property is rising, although it remains at historically low levels. Similarly, the discount buyers secure from asking prices is increasing, but this is only back to pre-pandemic levels. Affordability is becoming more and more stretched, with the price to earnings ratio of local market houses reaching the highest level in 10 years.
“The growth in rental prices is slowing, having increased by only 4.5% over 2022. Notably, rental prices have actually fallen in the last two quarters. Rents are rising more slowly than inflation and earnings, which makes renting a property marginally more affordable and could help to lower inflation. The cost of renting has risen by less than buying a house since 2009 – and the gap is widening, making renting more affordable in relative terms.
“Guernsey’s housing market remains underpinned by a shortage of supply, strong household finances, the attractiveness of the island and the States population policy. The Bank of England recently suggested that interest rates may have peaked, which will support the market after the large increases we have seen over the last year. The most likely outcome remains that transactions will decline moderately and price growth will fall sharply, but prices will not decline.’