New laws to stop wealthy investors buying homes

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Jersey politicians are looking at new laws to stop wealthy foreigners from buying homes to rent on the Channel Island.

Chief Minister Senator John Le Fondre revealed a policy change is on the way during a recent debate in The States.

“In terms of what I will call external buy-to-lets, I don’t know if the Council of Ministers is unanimous but I am pretty certain and confident in saying that the majority are absolutely in favour of stopping that practice,” he said.

“I believe that message has come through and certainly the Housing Minister is agreeing with me.

“How long it will take us to get the legislative changes in place is another matter, but certainly there is a will to do it.”

The government was responding to a housing crisis on the island as wealthy investors snap up homes in new developments ahead of local buyers.

In one current development, 145 homes have been sold with 82 purchased by investors, of whom four are from off the island.

A one bedroom flat in the development typically sells for £300,000.The States predicts the island needs 7,000 new homes to meet demand by 2030.

Campaigners are currently awaiting a States debate in response to a 5,298 signature petition demanding a rent cap limited to 30 per cent of average salaries. They claim rents and house prices are too high and squeeze local buyers out of the market.

In an earlier response to the petition, the government said: “The Minister for Housing recognises that the cost of housing is a challenge for many households in Jersey; with 73 per cent of lower-income households living in qualified private rented accommodation they could be considered in ‘rental stress’, with some families paying over half of their income in housing costs.”

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