Sark – the world’s fastest-growing economy in 2021?

Sark – the world’s fastest-growing economy in 2021?
4 November 2020

As a second wave of coronavirus infections sweeps across Europe, it’s difficult to imagine how a double-dip recession can be avoided. Once again, the region’s economy is gearing up for another GDP contraction, and the outlook for 2021 is far from rosy.

There is ONE place in Europe, though, where things are looking very bright indeed: the self-governing, independent island of Sark in the English Channel.

Incredible as it may seem, Sark could become the world’s fastest-growing economy (in terms of total GDP) next year.

How can that be?

The island has seen unprecedented demand in recent months, and it is well on the way to increase its population by about 25%, from currently 400 to 500. A real influx of purchasing power and potential investment!

Sark’s minimalist government doesn’t produce many statistics, and there is no official GDP figure. However, it’s already clear that the new arrivals include many successful entrepreneurs and professionals. Their purchasing power will up the island’s economy across the board, and benefit local businesses in particular.

Never mind property purchases, renovations, and new constructions (which are allowed if they involve knocking down an existing building). While Sark’s real estate and construction market has been largely dormant for years, there are now several potentially seven-digit real estate investments in the pipeline. A single one of them could move the needle of Sark’s economy.

Incredible as it may seem, Sark could become the world’s fastest-growing economy (in terms of total GDP) next year.

A back-of-the-envelope calculation shows that Sark’s new residents could up the total GDP by anywhere from 25% to 50% next year.

Speak of a high growth rate!

Sark Island aerial

Why the sudden interest in this tiny island?

Less than three months ago, I started “Sark Society”, a public initiative to bring new residents to Sark. Through this relocation service, I help anyone who is interested in becoming a legal, bona fide Sark resident.

Demand has been incredible.

Sark Society has appeared in over 30 newspapers, magazines and websites across Europe, North America, South America, and Asia – including Condé Nast Traveler, BBC, Daily Mail, and Country Living. During the past three months, I have been absolutely overwhelmed by enquiries, and signed up nearly 90 clients.

Between 30% and 40% of those who’ve purchased my relocation package eventually proceed to either move to or at least visit Sark. Those who do move, often bring other people with them – family members, close friends, or business partners.

Based on results so far, the island is about to gain an initial 100 new residents.

Those new residents are highly diverse, comprising:

  • Nationals of Australia, Austria, Belgium, Canada, Finland, France, Germany, Latvia, Norway, Poland, Spain, Switzerland, the UK, and Ukraine. In case you wonder, those who do not have British, Irish, EU or EEA citizenship arrange to settle in Sark through their spouses/partners.
  • Mostly families with children, and single men. Only two single women have signed up to my relocation service so far. (Given the number of single women on the island, that may not even be a bad thing.)
  • People ranging in age from mid-20s to late-60s, with the majority between 30 to 50 years. There is a small number of retirees, which seems to be counterbalanced by a roughly equal number of very young people.

Based on results so far, the island is about to gain an initial 100 new residents.

Some of my clients are now moving to Sark right away and with all their belongings – in at least one case literally shipping containers to Sark despite never having been here before! Others are dipping in their toes first – they are either looking to carry out an exploratory visit, a short-term rental, and/or a gradual phasing out of their existing residence.

What attracts people to Sark in the first place?

Out of hundreds of conversations that I have had with both clients and prospects, these are the most often-cited reasons why people are interested:

  • The lifestyle that Sark offers, which revolves around nature, community, and old-fashioned values.
  • Sark is a very attractive location for entrepreneurs who run online businesses.
  • The island offers a safe environment to raise a family.

Somewhat surprisingly, Sark’s tax system is not even nearly as much of a draw as some might think (it’s definitely a side benefit, but certainly not the sole attraction). Indeed, many other jurisdictions now offer at least equally attractive conditions, including a fair few places in Western Europe: newcomers such as Cyprus, Portugal, Italy, and Montenegro, besides classics like Monaco or certain Swiss cantons. Further afield, it’s places like Georgia, Dubai and Oman.

Would you like to join us?

Anyone wanting to join still has the opportunity to do so.

While COVID-19 and its corresponding travel and quarantine restrictions (including the UK’s latest lockdown) haven’t made it easier, the Sark opportunity is still open. You can still travel to Sark, and EU/EEA/Swiss citizens have until 31 December 2020 to gain residency in a simplified way.

Somewhat surprisingly, Sark’s tax system is not even nearly as much of a draw as some might think.

Sark residency is a highly complex product that requires a lot of explaining and hand-holding. My relocation service is very much based on providing specific individual (and unlimited!) support. You really shouldn’t underestimate the time and effort required to organise a cross-jurisdiction move. Let me assure you, it’s tough.

You can read more about this on my Sark Society website.

If you’d like to sign up, I advise you not to delay. Rental properties on Sark are now in such strong demand that prices have started to move up. Waiting isn’t going to make this opportunity easier or cheaper for you – just the opposite (NB: as a client, you’ll get access to properties that aren’t publicly advertised).

Given current global developments, settling on Sark is a golden window that will work magically for some of you.

In case you have any questions about my service, please do not hesitate to get in touch.

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