Sark seeks ‘digital nomads’ to relocate to the island

DIGITAL nomads who want a fresh start are being encouraged to consider moving to Sark, with the added incentive that mortgages will be legal there from February next year.

(Picture by Adrian Miller, 28963478)
(Picture by Adrian Miller, 28963478)

Among the perks of living on the island are the absence of income tax, capital gains tax, inheritance tax and sales tax.

However, in turn that means there is only a very limited social security net, so islanders are required to be self-dependent and resilient. There is also stunning scenery, abundant wildlife, an active community, the seafood is fresh, and there are no cars or street lights.

Sark-based entrepreneur Swen Lorenz recently started a relocation business with the aim of putting the island on the radar, and boosting the dwindling population.

In the mid 2000s Sark had a population of around 650, but at the last count the number stood at 492.

Mr Lorenz said the recent rubber-stamping of the land reform proposals could be a game-changer for the long-term prosperity of the island.

Last week Chief Pleas agreed that a property law that has existed since 1611 should be overhauled so that mortgages are permitted and landowners are also allowed to sell off parcels of their land.

Mr Lorenz said the land reform comes at an ideal time.

‘Based on current numbers, I estimate that my work will result in at least 100, and possibly up to 150, people moving to Sark over a period of six to nine months.

‘My work has by now been featured in over 30 newspapers and magazines around the world, and this flurry of reporting also brings new residents who are not using my service. My clients hail from 19 countries, including as far afield as Australia, Canada and Singapore; though the majority of them comes from EU countries and the UK/Ireland.’

Sark’s changes have been heralded as ‘evolution not revolution’, and no one seems to be expecting miracles overnight.

Mr Lorenz said that the island’s property prices have fallen by around half since 2008, with a large price differential to Guernsey properties, making the island a relatively affordable and attractive option.

‘During much of the 2010s, Sark has had a difficult time economically and the population number literally fell off a cliff. Given the momentum I witnessed over the past few months, I fully expect that during the next years, things will be looking up.

‘Land Reform sends an important signal that Sark is modernising, and that it is capable, after all, of governing its affairs in a way that secures its future. Throw in current trends towards work-from-home and wanting to live somewhere outside cities, and you have a combination that could see prices in Sark move up quite suddenly.’

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