The Brexit Effect On Britain’s Property Market

Prominent housing experts have claimed that Britain’s property market will be turned upside down as the aftermath of Friday’s Brexit vote becomes clearer.

With 51.9% of Britain’s eligible voters versus 48.1% opting to leave the EU, the argument is that this will lead to a faltering economy and therefore hit prices, this in turn hinders ability to construct more homes. A direct implication which the global market has now seen is the tanking of the Sterling Pound. Sterling plunged to a 30 year low against the dollar in the hours after the referendum results, reaching its weakest level since 1985. As Sterling weakens, the irony for those who voted for Brexit for a tightening of immigration policies is that rich overseas investors are now attracted to come in and snap up property at a much lower value due to currency movements.

Galliard Homes, London’s largest private house builder, commented that if Britain leaves the EU eventually, then construction costs “will rise by up to 15%” and that its 7,500 planned constructions in the capital could be in jeopardy as “many site/construction staff working in London are people who originate from countries across the EU.”

“Currently some 39% of London’s population of 8.66 million people were not born in the UK,” according to Galliard, suggesting the EU plays a huge part in the city’s property market, and a sudden downturn in movement would cause a crash — a shockwave which could impact the whole of the UK.

Meanwhile Peter Wetherell, a London estate agent specialising in luxury homes, said a Brexit bubble may form as rich overseas buyers start taking advantage of the plummeting Pound by making short-term, high-end investments.

Brexit would create a “two-speed” marketplace, it said, and property areas more reliant on EU buyers would go into stagnation while places like West London would continue to flourish thanks to rich non-EU buyers.

A number of analysts have already made grave predictions on the effect a Brexit would have on the UK property market. Research house Bernstein said leaving the EU would kill Britain’s property prices and drag the banking sector down with it.

The average house price in Britain is currently at £292,000 ($422,099), according to the latest data from the Office for National Statistics for March. Meanwhile, the average price to buy a home in London is now more than £550,000. Properties in London are now almost 60% more costly than they were prior to the 2008 financial crisis.

While Britain’s Chancellor George Osborne already warned in May that a Brexit would make house prices crash by 10% to 18%, Mark Burrows and his team at Bernstein say it would be much worse. In fact, they think that property prices could crash by as much as 30% — that’s nearly double the upper estimate from the Chancellor.

Furthermore, Burrows and his team have painted a rather bleak picture of how a Brexit will affect the economy, following the knock-on effect from house prices falling:

The UK is obsessed with house prices. House prices down = Consumer Confidence down = Bank stocks down.

The biggest reason for property prices having a huge effect on banking stocks is pretty simple. If there is a property market crash that means the institutions that lend people money to buy a home — the banks — will be hit.

The Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors has also warned that Britain’s property prices are going to fall for the first time since 2012, and London’s house prices will be affected the most.

– Excerpts From BusinessInsider

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