UK vote on future in EU could have major impact on housing markets

Taylor Scott International News

If the UK leaves the European Union there is a risk that the move could have a long last and damaging effect on the country’s residential property markets, according to a new report. It could affect current plans to build hundreds of thousands of new homes, compromise London’s position as a safe haven for property investment, but could also have positive effects for first time buyers. The report from the National Association of Estate Agents (NAEA) and the Association of Residential Letting Agents (ARLA) compiled with the Centre for Economics and Business Research (Cebr), highlights a number of short and long term implications potentially arising from the upcoming vote. While the impact Brexit will have on migration policies is unconfirmed, imposing greater restrictions on foreign workers coming into the UK may compromise the UK’s ability to build homes with the Government having pledged to build one million new homes by 2020. It points out that construction based jobs are decreasing in popularity among UK nationals, and as 5% of current construction workers were born in other EU countries and workers from the are becoming more important than ever in filling the skills gap to boost housing stock. A leave vote could mean that in 10 years’ time there would be a severe skills shortage of construction workers, according to Mark Hayward, NAEA managing director. ‘Even if we then had planning permission, investment and materials to build more housing, we simply wouldn’t have the resource to put the bricks and mortar together. It has the potential to have a very damaging effect on the future housing market,’ he explained. But he added that a leave vote could provide first time-buyers with breathing space as demand for housing would be expected to ease off. The report also says that non EU businesses are currently attracted to the UK’s status as a gateway to the single market as it allows them to establish and grow their presence across Europe. In 2014 some 19% or £5.3 billion) of total FDI inflow into the UK came from EU sources and in 2013 some 17% of sales in London’s prime property market made to non-UK buyers were to European nationals. It suggests that in the event of Brexit, a portion of FDI would be re-directed to EU countries, freeing up housing units, particularly in London, previously purchased through FDI for British buyers. Also, if the UK does not maintain free movement of labour, the total population of the UK could decrease by 1.06 million and the report argues that with fewer people, demand will ease, making the market more accessible for first time buyers, as well as second steppers and last and last time buyers and this is will be especially apparent in London. Reduced migration would also affect the private rental sector. Currently, private renting is a more… Taylor Scott International

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