Living in Guernsey

Guernsey is a beautiful island with low crime rates, low tax rates and a stable government, making it a very attractive place in which to live.

Guernsey’s political stability is much envied and it’s a well regarded and carefully regulated offshore financial centre.

Living here provides genuine low tax advantages, including a 20% flat rate of Income Tax and absence of Death Duties, Inheritance Tax and Capital Gains Tax – and of course no VAT. With limited space it is no surprise that demand for housing is strong and strict controls are needed to protect local housing stocks while still allowing for the movement of key workers and EU passport holders into the island.

Guernsey therefore has two categories of housing – Open Market and Local Market.

Open Market

There are approximately 1,600 Open Market properties on the island, many of which are considered Guernsey’s finest homes. They’re available for purchase or rent and occupation by anyone with the right to live in the UK or other EU member states.

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Local Market

Approximately 90% of the 27,000 houses in Guernsey are Local Market. They can only be occupied by locally qualified residents or by non-local persons who have been granted a housing permit by the States of Guernsey population management department. Some of the jobs advertised locally will have a Housing permit available as part of their terms of employment.

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Open/Local Market Renting

If you don’t have to commit to purchasing a property to live on this beautiful island why not look at properties we have to rent on both markets.

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Lifestyle & Culture

English and French influences blend into Guernsey’s vibrant ‘joie de vivre’, with the island lying 70 miles from the English south coast and only 25 miles west of the French Normandy coast.

The historic town centre of St Peter Port combines quaint cobbled streets with bustling commerce interspersed with a diversity of restaurants. Boating enthusiasts enjoy excellent facilities around the harbour and its two marinas.

Concert halls regularly offer a range of intelligent and entertaining events, plus there are thriving community associations, several gymnasiums, and competitive racquet and other sports clubs in and around St Peter Port.

Guernsey also has a significantly low crime rate and there are excellent medical and educational facilities available, while both air and fast car ferries provide direct and daily links to England, Jersey and France.

History

Guernsey and the other Channel Islands represent the last remnants of medieval Duchy of Normandy, dating back to 993. As such HRH Queen Elizabeth is not only Guernsey’s sovereign but also the Duchy’s Head of State.

King John lost most of the Duchy of Normandy in 1204, but the Channel Islands chose to remain a dependency of the British Crown. The loyalty was rewarded with a Royal Charter granting independence; consequently Guernsey has an autonomous Government with the right to legislate without the involvement of the United Kingdom or EU in domestic matters, including taxation.

During the English Civil War, Jersey remained Royalist whilst Guernsey sided with Parliament, mainly due to the island’s higher proportion of Calvinists and other Reformed churches. However, Castle Cornet – originally constructed in the 13th century to protect the Channel Islands against French capture – remained the last royalist stronghold under the command of Sir Peter Osbourne until forced to capitulate on 17th December 1651, after Jersey had yielded. Several skirmishes between the Castle and St. Peter Port resulted in damage to both sides. Read more about Castle Cornet’s fascinating history on the Museum Website.

The English wars with France and Spain in the 18th century saw Guernsey ship owners and sea captains exploiting their proximity to mainland Europe, applying for Letters of Marque and turning their merchantmen into privateers. Guernsey’s success in the global maritime trade during the 19th century also saw a dramatic increase in the prosperity of the island.

The Bailiwick of Guernsey was occupied by enemy troops in World War II and heavily fortified out of all proportion to its strategic value, finally to be liberated on Guernsey’s annual holiday, 9 May 1945, after Churchill famously announced to the nation that “our dear Channel Islands are also to be freed today”. Fast forward to today and Guernsey maintains a strategic place within Europe. Guernsey is not a member of the EU and the island currency is sterling, including one pound notes. Protocol No. 3 of the UK’s Treaty of Accession to the EU excludes the Channel Islands from most of the effects of the Treaty, other than those concerning trade in goods. This constitutional and largely beneficial position cannot be changed without unanimous agreement of the member countries.

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