The BBC published a report revealing that around 97,000 estates in England and Wales are owned by overseas corporate entities, more than a fifth of which are registered in Jersey.
The Island was the second most popular jurisdiction of choice for offshore property ownership behind the British Virgin Islands, which has about a quarter of the market share.
The report, which was based on information published by the UK land registry, said that the value of English and Welsh property held offshore was at least £55 billion and probably much higher.
Geoff Cook, the chief executive of Jersey Finance Ltd, said that the Island was a popular choice for registering property because its specialist corporate structures helped international investors pool funds to buy properties.
‘Jersey is one of the main jurisdictions that supports commercial property investment in the UK,’ he said. ‘We have the expertise, the track record and the close working partnership with the City of London to facilitate property investment for international investors. ‘Large amounts of capital are required for such major property transactions, and by setting up an investment vehicle in Jersey, funds from a number of different investors can be pooled simply, efficiently, and more cost-effectively than investors trying to directly buy the property.
‘What also sets Jersey apart is our skilled workforce and our strong regulation and legal framework, which give investors further reassurance. Furthermore, our tax-neutral model permits investors to come together more efficiently.’
He added that there was ‘nothing secretive’ about Jersey’s involvement in the UK property market.
‘Thanks to the agreements we have in place, information on the beneficial owners [those who profit from ownership] is readily available to the relevant authorities,’ he said.
‘We have nothing to hide. In fact, we are proud of our role in facilitating investment into the UK property market. Offshore property ownership can act as a gateway for further investment in the UK.
‘It creates jobs and boosts the secondary property market, so ultimately benefits the UK economy now and in the future.’