Gibraltar housing market resilience as the Government continues its efforts to ‘Unlock the Rock’
Law firm ISOLAS LLP has reported continued activity in the local property market, while advising clients on the best way forward
Following the launch of the Gibraltar Government’s strategy to ease the COVID-19 related lockdown restrictions, ISOLAS LLP has reported that the local property market continues to be active, as the firm advises clients on the safest way to make the move.
The Government’s recent ‘Unlock the Rock’ programme is aimed at lifting restrictions on certain sectors of the economy in carefully planned phases.
However, to ensure that any transaction complies with the current restrictions, in order to protect the local community, the ISOLAS LLP team has compiled eight key points and considerations that will help keep buyers and sellers safe during this time.
Sarah Miles, Managing Associate and property lawyer laid out the following steps buyers should be aware of when entering into a transaction in the current climate:
- If you live abroad (or live in Gibraltar but in a high-risk category), you may want to consider putting a Power of Attorney in place with your lawyer. This document allows someone in Gibraltar or your lawyer to be able to sign the relevant documentation on your behalf;
- If you are purchasing an off-plan project in the early stages, the timing of building works may not necessarily be affected at this time. Many developments are being allowed to continue for the moment, on the basis that the workers on site are based in Gibraltar and exercise adequate social distancing when at work;
- If you are purchasing a resale or an off-plan project in the late stages, as things stand at the date of this article, completions are still proceeding;
- Although certain sectors (such as bars, restaurants) are currently closed or limited in their trade, retail shops in town and estate agents are now open and law firms have continued to work almost as normal throughout, with most employees working remotely either from home or at work with appropriate social distancing;
- Bank valuations have not been interrupted, especially where the property to be valued is vacant. The surveyor can collect the keys from the relevant estate agent, view the property and drop back the keys once finished. The report to the bank will then follow by email;
- Banks are now aware that most customers cannot attend their branch to effect completion transfers, so they are allowing online forms to be completed at home and sent to their relationship managers;
- On completion, keys can be collected from our offices at ISOLAS LLP in the usual way, where we have a designated collection and drop-off area with sanitiser; and
- Post-completion water and electricity connections are now handled online with AquaGib and GibElec.
Sarah added: “The property market is an important part of sustaining Gibraltar’s economy. From investment opportunities in buy-to-lets and luxury real estate, to someone’s purchase of their first home, it is important that this functionality is up and running, but carried out in a safe way that continues to protect our community.
In addition to the advice we provide our clients and the wider community at ISOLAS LLP, it is also important for everyone’s future health and prosperity that we remember to follow the guidelines laid out in the ‘Unlock the Rock’ programme.”
The full ‘Unlock the Rock’ guidance can be found here: https://www.gibraltar.gov.gi/uploads/Unlock%20the%20Rock/UNLOCKTHEROCK.pdf