‘Period of great opportunity’ on horizon for building trade

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In addition to hundreds of private apartments, work is also under way on starter homes, affordable housing and social housing – with Dandara and the Jersey Development Company responsible for the vast majority of new properties.

Martin Holmes, chairman of the Jersey Construction Council, said that the construction industry was as busy as it had been since before the financial crisis of 2008 and that employment in the sector was the highest on record.

He said: ‘Historically the construction industry has always been the first to suffer and the last to recover in a recession, meaning as an industry we can be more cautious about training and hiring new trainees, for example, but we can see there are enough projects in the pipeline to give the industry some certainty for at least the next five years.

‘Large projects such as the new hospital and Andium homes are very significant and we see the next few years as a period of great opportunity.’

One project which reflects the buoyancy in the market is the Jersey Development Company’s construction of 280 apartments at the Waterfront. Half of the apartments in the first of three blocks of the development have been sold off-plan – despite the first building not expected to be completed until 2021.

Lisa Walton, sales and marketing manager at the JDC, said that interest in Horizon Developments, which is being constructed next to Castle Quay, had exceeded all expectations.

‘It must be one of the fastest-selling developments in Jersey,’ she said.

‘We had 700 people on our database who had already pre-registered their interest and we offered them all one-to-one meetings about Horizon, which was launched on 24 November.

Horizon Developments is a collection of 280 apartments across three buildings, East, South and West, which have staggered completion dates of 2021, 2022 and 2023 respectively.

The first building – East – includes 45 one-bedroom and 61 two-bedroom apartments, as well as two three-bedroom penthouse suites.

Miss Walton said that the off-plan buyers were a broad range of Islanders and that 65 per cent of them were investors or buy-to-let purchasers.

‘A lot of people are actually buying them for their children for the future,’ she said. ‘They don’t want them to be priced out of the market in years to come.

‘We have also had a lot of people who are living at home and are prepared to wait for a few years for their first homes, and there are also more mature buyers who are looking to downsize.’

Purchasers have to pay a ten per cent deposit, though there are incentives and payment plans available for first-time buyers, and JDC also cover all conveyancing fees. Prices range from £275,000 to £300,000 for one-bedroom apartments without parking, up to £1.35m for luxury two-bedroom units with two parking spaces. Prices for the three-bedroom penthouses are yet to be set, because the JDC is still waiting on final Planning approval.

Plans for the development, which will have basement parking for 194 vehicles, also include 20,000 sq ft of commercial opportunities for shops, cafes and restaurants. The other buildings won’t be launched until 75 per cent of the apartments have been sold in the East building.

The apartment blocks have been designed by Skidmore, Owings and Merill LLP (SOM International).

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