A deputy wants the States to start a housing review which could lead to ownership of local market houses being restricted to those qualified to live in them.
Deputy Sasha Kazantseva-Miller, pictured (top), believes the supply and affordability of local market housing could be improved if people without local market residential status were prevented or discouraged from owning such properties.
She has submitted an amendment for next week’s Budget debate which asks the States "to direct the Policy & Resources Committee…to lead an examination…of the scope to introduce regulatory and fiscal measures over local market residential property ownership such as, but not limited to, that ownership is restricted to those who have the right to occupy local market dwellings".
Pictured: The States have said that improving the supply and affordability of local market housing is a key priority, including for first-time buyers.
If the States' Assembly approves her amendment, the Committee will be required to carry out the work over the following 12 months and report back to the States by the end of 2023.
Deputy Kazantseva-Miller’s amendment is seconded by Deputy Gavin St. Pier.
"Guernsey is facing a housing crisis which is making it more and more difficult for islanders to afford to live and others to come and work here. House ownership has reduced over the years. Access and affordability of housing will be an important consideration when deciding to stay or come to Guernsey," said Deputy Kazantseva-Miller.
"There is a strict control over who can come and work in Guernsey via the Population Management Law. The overriding principle underpinning the Law is that one can only occupy a local market dwelling if a Permanent Resident, as defined in the Law, or a person in possession of a relevant permit. However, there are no rules that apply in terms of who can own residential housing."
Pictured: The States last week backed proposals for growth which are projected to increase Guernsey's population to around 68,000 by the middle of the century.
The States approved a proposal from the Committee for Home Affairs last week which means Guernsey is now aiming for higher levels of inward migration to help prevent a reduction in the size of the island’s workforce.
Deputy Kazantseva-Miller believes that decision has made it "worth the States exploring the option of introducing some levers over the ownership of local residential housing to ensure that it is prioritised for those who are entitled to live and work here".
"Exploration of measures to examine could include limitations to ownership and fiscal measures such as additional surcharges, levies or taxes for persons and entities without a right to live and work in Guernsey," she said.
Pictured: The amendment will be seconded by Deputy Gavin St. Pier.
Deputy Kazantseva-Miller has identified other places in the world which she said impose not dissimilar regulatory restrictions on home ownership – for example, in Australia, through the Foreign Investment Review Board, a non-statutory advisory body to the Treasurer and Government.
The latest available figures, published by the States in August, revealed that the average price of a local market home is now a fraction away from £600,000, up 18.5% on the same period 12 months earlier.
"The intention of any suitable controls should be designed to ensure accessibility and affordability of property and the accrual of benefits from local property market gains to the workforce and population entitled to live and work here and to increase house ownership over time," said Deputy Kazantseva-Miller.
Pictured: The States will be asked to direct the Policy & Resources Committee to consult other committees and report back to the States by the end of next year.
In May, the Committee pledged to make the island's housing challenges one of two priorities for the States. At the time, its President, Deputy Peter Ferbrache, said: "For this coming year, the pressure on our housing market is one area that we must address urgently, as it creates challenges in many other areas, socially and economically. We have taken some important steps, but we must do more, quickly."
In July, as part of their Government Work Plan, which is led by Deputy Heidi Soulsby, the States' Assembly agreed to direct the Committee "to evaluate and implement actions to address private housing market capacity and affordability [and] key working housing capacity and affordability [and] progress proposals to the States by December 2022 on housing need and on management of States' housing stock".
The Committee's proposed 2023 Budget features several changes which it believes would help the housing market. These include relief from document duty to encourage downsizing, additional document duty on properties purchased as investments and additional charges on unoccupied or derelict properties.
The proposed 2023 Budget will be debated by the States at their next meeting, which starts on Tuesday 1 November.
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