Since the island exited our circuit break lockdown, the Isle of Man has been featured heavily in the media as our way of life and corona free status has been lauded by just about every major news organisation in Britain.
While it is good to see the island presented as somewhere that isn’t just a Victorian railway museum operating as an alleged tax haven, Gef wondered whether all this good news is showing potential dividends. We spoke to three estate agents who all said they have seen an increase in people off island inquiring about property and wishing to join the Great Manx Public.
Mark Canty, Cowley Groves
‘We are certainly starting to field more inquiries from the UK, some may move, others seem curious but we’ve also picked up a couple of buyers recently from Hong Kong so the net is seemingly being spread further than just our neighbouring island.
‘The positive press and the way our Chief Minister has conducted himself in various TV interviews has been fantastic, the message that is being picked up from the UK is “If you just behave yourself, do as you should do and not as you want to, abide by the rules set out, then the nation could be in a much better position” – The Manx public, the safety we enjoy and the respect shown by our residents are just some of the things that make the Isle of Man so attractive, so special – magical in many ways; who wouldn’t want to live here?’
Tim Groves, Black Grace Cowley
‘Coming out of the island’s recent circuit breaker was always going to ensure we started February with an (early) spring in our step. Recent publicity on major tv news channels, breakfast news and Radio in the UK has coincided with renewed interest in homes for sale on the island. BGC has seen a five-fold increase in off-island enquiries in addition to the existing strong local demand for both sale and rental property.
‘The island is firmly in the spotlight now for all the right reasons. What an incredibly safe, secure and amassing place to live. And our friends in the UK and beyond really are waking up to it! Sales performance in early February has been strong across the Island with more property needed to satisfy market demand. Putting it simply, there are more buyers ready to go than we have homes for. We need more property to meet that demand. It’s a sellers market, and prices are firm across the board. Essentially, if you list it, we will sell it.’
Graham Wilson, Manxmove
‘Manxmove are pleased to confirm a dramatic increase in enquiries from off island purchasers who are keen to relocate to our Covid free shores. However, with the current border restrictions quite rightly in place, these buyers are presently unable to visit and view at present.
‘Manxmove were the among the first local agencies to introduce Virtual Viewings and Virtual Valuations and 360 Degree Tours long before any of us had even heard of Covid-19 and these have really proved invaluable during the pandemic as more and more clients were only able to view virtually from home. Numerous UK clients have also taken advantage of this service and we have actually sold and completed on properties following Virtual Viewings alone. However, these sales have not been in any great numbers as we have found that only a few purchasers are 100% comfortable purchasing a property based on a Virtual Viewing and 360 Degree Tour alone.
‘The local property market can only be described as manic with an acute shortage of properties for sale. This is resulting in increased competition between buyers, rapidly increasing values and rapid sales at sometimes over asking price. The local property market is still predominantly made up of local buyers with only around 20% of property being sold to off island purchasers.’
People wishing to move to the island on a contractual exemption must be able to provide evidence that they have entered into a legally-binding contract:
to establish a business; or
take up employment; or
purchase a property; or
sign a tenancy agreement
They will be asked to provide evidence of this as part of the application process. Any lease or contract of employment must be for at least 6 months. If approved, then upon arriving in the island, they must go through the same self-isolation procedures as everyone else. Either a 14 day period with three negative tests on day one, day six or seven and day 13 required to be let out of isolation, alternatively a 21 day period of mandatory self-isolation is required.