Covid-safe Alderney in the middle of property boom

PROPERTY sales boomed in Alderney after it became known as a safe haven from Covid.

Andrew Eggleston, Bell & Co estate agents managing director, said interest in Alderney properties has been high since the island’s status as being a Covid-19 safe haven became widely known. (Picture by Beth Chapman)
Andrew Eggleston, Bell & Co estate agents managing director, said interest in Alderney properties has been high since the island’s status as being a Covid-19 safe haven became widely known. (Picture by Beth Chapman)

Bell & Co, the island’s largest estate agent, has seen an upturn in the past year, said managing director Andrew Eggleston.

Interest from Guernsey people, blind-buying UK residents and internal movement were given as the three main reasons for this.

Video walk-throughs are being offered for the roughly 60 properties up for sale, averaging three bedrooms each, Mr Eggleston said, and lots of UK residents are visiting who are prepared to self-isolate.

‘You know that they are serious and the success rate per capita is unbelievable. Almost everybody coming here is buying.’

Relaxed licensing and no right to work regulations, coupled without a two-tiered property market, is attractive for UK residents, he said.

‘If you’re in the UK, it’s like moving from one county to another.’

Improved links between Guernsey and Alderney since Covid and less-expensive properties have piqued inter-island interest.

‘The relationship between the two islands is the best it has ever been. Going back years, we were always priced in between Guernsey’s local and open markets. When the finance market hit Guernsey, prices rose while ours stayed the same.’

Mr Eggleston feels the island has been discovered and hopes to attract another 400 residents.

‘We want to be open and move forward. Going back 25 years, we had 2,400 people living here and the place was absolutely vibrant. Overall it is a very buoyant property market, which brings confidence.’

Hawkesford Alderney branch manager Frank Venton said since a national TV broadcast aired over a month ago, which reported Guernsey as the safest place to live during Covid, it had been extremely busy with UK enquiries.

‘There is ample stock at the moment, and we have many holiday home owners who couldn’t come over to use their homes due to Covid all of last year and they are unlikely to come over this year, hence they are looking to sell them.’

Virtual viewings are offered to UK residents, and the return of the Bailiwick Bubble created an even bigger increase in demand for viewings from Guernsey residents too, he said.

‘Our enquiries from Guernsey residents vary from people looking to move over to Alderney to retire, to those who are seeking to buy a holiday home here,’ Mr Venton said. ‘We have many holiday homes on-island, several of these are now coming onto the market with us.’

Feedback from Guernsey residents includes three key driving factors – lower property costs, ease of connectivity, plus Alderney’s pace of life, scenery and safety.

‘As an example, a Guernsey resident recently sold a small bungalow in Guernsey for well over £500,000 then bought a front line beach side house for under £300,000,’ he said.

He has more than 30 properties available, some with up to 10 bedrooms, several of which are under offer.

Savills Residential in Guernsey has one Alderney property listed for sale, which has generated local and international inquiries.

‘We have certainly had interest,’ director Keith Enevoldsen said.

Self-isolation requirements in both Guernsey and Alderney discouraged some potential buyers, however.

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