Brexit and the power of uncertainty

On Thursday 23 June, the referendum on whether or not Britain should remain in the European Union will be held – in what is the second most trailed event in the World (behind Donald Trump’s very, very long rise to potential to the republican nomination).

Depending on your media outlet of choice, you could be forgiven for believing any or all of the following statements:

  • An EU exit could see UK house prices dip by 5%.

  • EU nationals will find it more difficult to live in the UK (if Brexit happens) and this will strike at the core of London’s property boom.

  • The EU referendum will have little to no impact on the housing market.

  • The run-up to the referendum is too short to damage confidence in the same way that a general election would.

  • Brexit could lead to a construction talent drain, hitting the new home sector.

Strasbourg EU flags

A variety of media outlets have covered the above topics more than once and, it’s entirely feasible to suggest, the ‘man on the street’ can be forgiven for feeling incredibly uncertain about the next few months, and what June holds.

Could Brexit dampen the rate of property rises across the UK? Will the London property market teeter on the edge should a vote end in Brexit? Quite honestly, we don’t know. A Moody’s report in March found that:

Moody’s would “not expect to see significant increases in unemployment or [interest] rates, or substantial declines in property prices across the UK as a whole”. BBC, March 2016

But analysts and commentators are split on the impact the result of the referendum will have on the property market:

“To the average man on the street, [Brexit] makes no difference. Whether I want to move house or have another child makes no difference in or out of Europe.” Anthony Codling, Jeffries

‘…builders, property firms and home improvement businesses would be the worst-hit UK companies if Britain voted to leave the European Union, according to analysts at Goldman Sachs.’ Guardian, March 2016

‘Brexit’ fears may hit London’s property market – CNBC, March 2016

Despite different political allegiances across the media, there is consensus on one point – the most damaging element of the EU referendum is uncertainty. Uncertainty hurts markets, jobs and the property market.

Crystal ball in hands

There is no crystal ball to demonstrate what will happen should we vote to remain in theEU or vote to leave the EU. But the ongoing uncertainty around exactly what the outcome of the vote will be will continue should we vote ‘leave’. Should we vote to leave, the process will be drawn out, and uncertainty will remain.

It may be positive for the UK, it may not be. Hand on heart, nobody really knows how this could play out.

What we can say with certainty though is that, no matter what happens in June, people will still need to sell and buy homes for work and lifestyle reasons. Estate Agents will still exist, as will the property market. It may dip, it may rise. but on June 24, our agents will still be open for business and so will we.  

 

 

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