Wednesday, 18 February 2015

A Property Guide from 1968

[Above a corner of Miladi Farm Estate mentioned below]

From the Jersey Topic 1968, I present a property guide. Now property guides may seem a dull affair, but it is interesting to look at the situation back in 1968, and see how similar and how different were problems that beset the estate agents of that era. This was a time when there was property price controls on the sale price of properties. It shows, I think, how price controls just don't work - all they encourage are ingenious ways to circumvent them! At the same time that clever ways of circumventing them were being used, the estate agents themselves were forming, for the first time in Jersey, professional bodies to raise standards. Ironically, of course, standards did not include legitimate devices to get around price control

The prices themselves are extraordinary - to see affordable housing at £5,000! Of course, the galloping inflation of the 1970s made a difference, but even so, possibly would not have been quite as high as today. In 2011, £5,000 would have been the same as £173,000.00 in 2011.

What is also interesting is that the estate agents, as with Mr Langlois in yesterday's post, did not want complete abolition of price control, but a protective limit retained for making sure there was still affordable housing at the lower end of the market.

From Jersey Topic, 1968

Topic Property Guide: Supply and Demand

October is here bringing with it the usual boom for local estate agents and the ever-increasing influx of would-be residents escaping from the Labour Government and death duties.

This is a particularly tricky time for estate agents for it is now so difficult to know just what is in the minds of the Housing Committee and it is taking so long to find out whether or not an application has been accepted. They have instituted a new, delaying tactic now in that when an estate agent telephones to find out if a particular application has been agreed or not he is told that such information will not be given over the telephone. How on earth are estate agents expected to operate under these circumstances-and how do they explain to irate would-be purchasers that it is the island's government that is to blame?

It is difficult to understand what goes on in the Housing Committee's mind. They are trying to regulate the law of supply and demand to keep the price of property down so that local people can buy. This they can never hope to achieve for there are so many ways around this law. Companies are formed and the house made part of the assets of the Company and then the company is sold, taking with it the assets, i.e. the house. These deals never go through the Housing Committee. Purchasers who find that the Housing Committee has put a price on a property which is too cheap for the man who is selling agrees to buy at the price set by the Committee and then makes the price up by buying the garden roller at a cost of £3,000. No one can alter the law of supply and demand and Jersey has to face this fact.

All over the world property prices are increasing at a considerable rate. London prices are probably higher now than in Jersey and these have rocketed by over 100% in the last five years.

The time has come for Jersey to use a much clearer form of control if it is felt that controls are necessary. This should have clearly defined lines so that estate agents know exactly where they are and can advise their clients, As the aim is to ensure that the Jerseyman in the lower price range is protected against rocketing prices then a limit of, say, £10,000 should be set. Anything under this should go before the Housing Committee-over and above, the market should be quite open. There can be no reason why the Jerseyman should be cosseted in the expensive price range.

This would stop cases like the one I heard of this month. A man who is an expert in agricultural machinery offered £11,500 for a house which had been on a number of estate agents books for over six months and which was heavily advertised. This application was dismissed-even though the agents had never had an enquiry for it.

Lower Price Range

In the last year there has been a great deal of movement in the lower price range (which hardly affects the outside purchaser, They are not very interested in the £6,000 properties). A number of firms have realised that if they can build these types of houses and still show a reasonable return on their capital then they must sell well.

A typical example of this are the lovely town houses built in Grosvenor Street, about which I wrote a few months ago. Nelson & Co. handled the sale of these and they tell me that the four of them sold quite quickly. They proved so popular that the company who built them are planning to build more in other parts of the town. This type of development should be welcomed for they replace old and unproductive buildings with new and modern homes that are realistically priced.

Also due to get under way very shortly is a big project at Miladi Farm, Longueville, where about 135 fully centrally heated houses with garages in the £5,000 range are to be built by H. P. Davies. It is to be hoped that these properties will come under the States Loan Scheme for there is bound to be a big rush on them by Jersey people aiming to get what most people want - a house of one's own.


Two final notes on the sale of Temperley, St. Lawrence to Mr. Paul Lee, for £65,000. This was the second largest house sale for a number of years, the other one being Lady Trent's, house almost next door. The Temperley sale was handled by de Gruchy, in conjunction with Langlois' Estate Department. Mr. Lee is keeping his present home, Whispering Pines above Bel Royal for use by Mrs. Lee's parents, Mr. and Mrs. Dick Parker,

Professional News

The number of agents belonging to the Jersey Auctioneers and Estate Agents Association is still increasing and four more have recently joined. This now gives the Association a very strong membership in the island. Jersey's branch of the Valuer's Institute welcomed four members from Guernsey recently and planned to hold a meeting in Guernsey later in October to encourage membership there.

The Jersey branch has a membership of fourteen. Both of these bodies are going to ensure that the public gets a fair crack of the whip and that the handling and management of real estate is given professional status. This can only be good.

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