Guernsey Press

Number of local market homes sold in Q1 lowest since 1999

INTEREST rate instability was partly to blame for the number of local market homes sold in the first quarter of this year being the lowest over a three-month period since records began in 1999.


The latest States property price bulletin reported just 93 local market property transactions from January to March, 57 fewer than the last quarter and 20 down on the same period last year. The average selling price actually dipped below £600,000.

During the quarter the average price of a local market home fell to £599,745 – was 1.6% down on the last quarter of 2023 and 2.3% lower than the first quarter of last year. But they were still some 45% higher than the same quarter five years ago.

Savills’ Guernsey head of residential sales Stuart Leslie said that as well as the instability of interest rates, which made buyers more cautious, there was another factor involved in the low sales.

‘The low transaction numbers relate largely to the properties that went under offer at the end of last year as it can take 8-10 weeks for sales to go through,’ he said.

‘It also has to be seen in the context of the high number of sales in 2020-21. The property market often moves in cycles, so this isn’t necessarily wholly unexpected. That said, the wheels do seem to be turning again – and more stability in the mortgage markets will provide reassurance.’

Swoffers’ director Andre Austin said that it was important to keep the figures in perspective and not take the first quarter in isolation.

‘We’ve got just under 50 local market properties under offer and 46 have just signed. I think the second quarter is going to tell a different story. After a challenging year last year it feels infinitely better.’

Even a short period of stable interest rates would give people the opportunity to work out what they could afford, he said, while a fall would help even more.

Mr Leslie said this was traditionally the most popular time of year in which to buy and sell a home. While the markets were price-sensitive and finance remained a major consideration, the greater stability in lending costs, alongside a slightly improved economic outlook, seemed to have encouraged a greater degree of activity.

The company had upgraded its forecasts for UK house prices which he said were expected to grow 2.5% this year.

‘As confidence grows across the English Channel that may well translate to greater activity over here as well.’

Mr Austin said that in the wake of Covid there were a lot more cash buyers, but currently it was a chain market and vendors were more inclined to have ‘a sensible conversation’ about prices rather than the previous situation where there was little room for movement.

There were 18 open market residential property transactions during the first quarter of 2024, an increase of four over the first quarter of last year. The average price of these was £1,46m., down from £1,78m. in the first quarter of 2023, but 7.5% higher than the same quarter last year and 43.9% higher than five years ago.