People with addresses in tax havens have been buying property across Wales, data shows.
Figures obtained by the Center for Public Data (CFPD) show that people with overseas addresses have bought homes and commercial properties in all parts of Wales over the past decade.
This biggest increase in overseas property comes from people with addresses in low-tax jurisdictions like Jersey, Guernsey, the Isle of Man or the British Virgin Islands.
The number of properties they own in Welsh cities like Cardiff as well as sought-after tourist spots like Carmarthenshire has increased fivefold over the past decade.
Welsh property does not appear to be popular among Russian buyers, who have been buying properties in parts of London and northern English towns such as Liverpool and Bradford in droves. The Russians own 10 properties in Conwyone in Ceredigion and one in Gwyneddaccording to the data.
The data was obtained by the CFPD through Freedom of Information Act requests to the Land Registry. The Centre, which calls itself “a non-partisan organization with a practical mission to help UK public data work better for everyone,” said it showed the need for better UK property data.
Foreign demand has played a part in the rapid rise in UK property prices, particularly in central London, where data shows tax haven buyers own a huge amount of property. People registered in Jersey own 1,564 properties in Westminster alone, buyers in the British Virgin Islands own 1,190 properties and people in Guernsey 862.
Cardiff has the most foreign-owned property in Wales with 158 properties registered in Jersey – up from just 32 in January 2010. A further 59 owners are from Gurnsey (down from 12 in 2010). Yet the data also shows tax haven buyers have purchased property in almost every part of Wales over the past decade.
Swansea has 55 privately owned properties with a mail-order address in Jersey, up from just eight in 2010. There were also 33 buyers from Gibraltar, 17 from the Isle of Man, six from the Turks and Caicos Islands and five from the Virgin Islands British.
In 2021, according to data from the CFPD, 247,016 titles across England and Wales were registered with people with an overseas mailing address. This represents nearly 1% of all recorded titles. The number has more than doubled since 2010, when such people owned around 0.4% of all securities in England and Wales.
Read more: Second home owner living in England says Welsh government is hitting ‘normal workers’ as he faces 300% council tax hike on Welsh home
Three-quarters of titles are registered with people with addresses in just 20 countries, with the main groups being the Crown dependencies and the British overseas territories, namely Jersey, Guernsey, the Isle of Man and the British Virgin Islands.
Hong Kong buyers own the most UK properties of all foreign buyers registered on the land register in England and Wales, followed by Jersey, Singapore and the United States. Guernsey was in sixth place, the Isle of Man ninth and the British Virgin Islands in 13th.
In May 2019, it was announced that the Channel Islands were “among the worst tax havens in the world”.
Jersey is one of the largest offshore financial centers in the world. Thanks to its autonomy, the island has maintained a sense of financial independence from the rest of the United Kingdom for centuries, with wealthy Britons moving there or transferring wealth there due to the lack of taxes. Residents of the island pay around 20% income tax rates.
Twenty-seven miles away, Guernsey has also been recognized as a “tax haven”. The general rate of tax payable by Guernsey corporations is zero, the rate of corporation tax payable also around 0%. On the island, there is no capital gains tax, inheritance tax, additional tax or withholding tax. Like Jersey, income tax is generally around 20%.
The Isle of Man is independent and not subject to the laws passed by the British government regarding direct taxation and fiscal affairs. For this reason, offshore investments on the island are not subject to taxes, investment income or capital gains.
And in the British Virgin Islands, the territory has up-to-date company laws and regulations specifically designed to attract offshore investors. It has incorporated almost 40% of the world’s offshore companies and has formed over 600,000 companies since it started forming non-resident companies.
The areas of Wales with the most property owned by people with addresses in tax havens
Cardiff owned most of the properties registered with people with a mail-order address abroad. 158 titles were registered for individuals with a Jersey mailing address – a remarkable jump from 32 in January 2010.
In the Welsh capital, buyers of Guernsey came second with 59 (up from 12 previously). One further. 46 were registered with a mailing address from the Isle of Man, 10 from the British Virgin Islands and eight from other parts of the Channel Islands. There were six registered with a Gibraltar mailing address.
There has also been a huge increase in the number of buyers from Kuwait (from two in 2010 to 30 last year), from the United Arab Emirates (from 17 to 35). No one with a Taiwan mailing address owned property in Cardiff in 2010, but now 24 properties in the city are Taiwan-owned.
Other areas popular with overseas buyers include Carmarthenshire. A total of 60 properties are registered in the name of someone with a Jersey address – this figure was seven times higher than in January 2010, when there were just eight. Another 27 were registered for someone from Gibraltar, 22 from the Isle of Man, 11 from Guernsey and two from the Cayman Islands and the British Virgin Islands.
In Newport, 58 land titles were registered for people with a mailing address in Jersey, up from six in January 2010. Some 12 titles were in Guernsey, 10 in the British Virgin Islands, followed closely by nine in the Isle of Man. . Four were registered with a mailing address from Gibraltar and three from the Channel Islands.
Rhondda Cynon Taf had 34 properties bought by buyers from Gibraltar (up from eight in 2010), of which 34 were owned by Australians, 31 by people with addresses in Jersey, 20 by Americans, 18 by people from Singapore, 17 from Spain and 11 from Luxembourg.
The highest amount in North Wales was in Conwy and Flintshire. In Conwy, 46 titles were registered to a mail-order address in Jersey, while 46 were registered to a mail-order address in Guernsey.
In Powys, 25 land title deeds were registered for people with a mail address in Jersey in August 2021. There were five from a mail address in Guernsey, three from the Isle of Man and two from the Cayman Islands and of the British Virgin Islands.
Americans own the most property in Pembrokeshire, with 44 properties, followed by Ireland, France and Australia. Americans are also the foreign buyers who own the most property in Gwynedd (33 properties), followed by Australia, France and Canada. At AngleseyIrish buyers are the most numerous with 17 properties, followed by the Isle of Man, Jersey and France.
In CeredigionCypriots own 18 properties, followed by America (16), Ireland (12) and Canada (12).
There are also properties owned by people in tax havens across the valleys with seven Merthyr owned properties in Guernsey and five in Jersey. Torfaen has 13 such properties. In Blaenau-Gwent, 10 properties are owned by people with addresses in the Isle of Man. Six properties in the region were also purchased by one or more persons with a mail-order address in Mauritius in 2018.
To get the latest email updates from WalesOnline, click here.