UK property market set to see short term volatility due to EU vote result

Taylor Scott International News

The UK property market is facing short term volatility due to the decision by the people to vote to leave the European Union, but over the long term experts predict it will settle down and still be attractive. The main issues seem to revolve around how foreign buyers will react to the leave vote as there had already been signs of a wait and see attitude in terms of overseas investment in property in London in particular where demand and prices were showing signs of slowing. There will be international buyers who may initially give the London market a wide berth, according to Edward Heaton, managing director of property buying and search agent Heaton & Partners. But he pointed out that this could be short lived if the pound drops dramatically, as London will suddenly look much better value to foreign buyers. ‘There is a risk that with a period of uncertainty ahead of us, prices may drop off, but I believe that any fall will be limited and suggestions of a crash are overstated. The effect is most likely to be felt in London and the South East,’ he explained. However, Ian Westerling, managing director of Humberts, believes that continued uncertainty during lengthy negotiations as politicians thrash out what post-Europe looks like for Britain is likely to keep the brakes on the property market for the foreseeable future. He explained that people who have to move house will still do so but many investors and less committed buyers are likely to sit tight to see the economic and social impact of the referendum result. ‘Housing market professionals will need to brace themselves for a new norm in market dynamics, underpinned by the ongoing unknowns. The wait and see period could lead to some price adjustments. The onus will be on the Government to act swiftly to avoid the property market becoming paralysed which would have a knock-on impact on the rest of the economy,’ he said. Adam Challis, head of residential research at JLL, also believes that the London housing market will feel the effects of the decision more deeply. ‘The interconnected trading relationship between London and the rest of Europe means the implications are more complex. This will exacerbate the uncertainty for London’s home owners,’ he said. But he also pointed out that paradoxically, investors may well identify opportunities in this market over the short term, particularly international purchasers that can benefit from the currency arbitrage that has opened up by a weaker pound. ‘While the focus leading up to the Referendum has been on the UK's international trading relationships, we are deeply concerned that domestic politics will now be the key risk to the housing market. The UK has a deep housing supply imbalance and concerted attention from politicians to deliver credible, lasting solutions to the supply conundrum is desperately needed. Protracted infighting within the UK’s political parties will only harm the UK economy and any chance… Taylor Scott International

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