Q Has the Brexit vote impacted on the property market or not? I’m totally confused!
A Ah yes, the Brexit vote! It seems that hardly a day goes by without someone or other suggesting either a) that the market has taken a serious hit, or b) that it has barely been affected at all – or even c) that it’s actually powering ahead.
As far as the national press is concerned, opinion is pretty clearly split along the same lines as with the referendum itself.
So, Remain supporters like the Guardian and The Independent only ever publish doom and gloom about the housing market, while those papers who supported the Leave campaign, like the Telegraph and the Mail, tend to take a more bullish position.
Which of course is fine if you just want to have your own prejudices reinforced. But what about people like you, who really want to know the facts?
Well, I’m afraid even those of us who actually work in the property industry are pretty baffled by all the conflicting information. During just the last couple of weeks, for example, one of the leading industry newsletters has run stories under the following headings: ‘Developer shrugs off Brexit fears as reservations grow after Leave vote;’ ‘Surveyors report no drop-off in work since Brexit vote;’ ‘City analyst warns some estate agency branches may close after Brexit vote;’ and ‘Reports of post-Brexit housing crisis ‘unfounded’ as market barely alters’!
On one level, what this clearly indicates is that no-one really knows. It also suggests that it may be rather too early to tell.
Nevertheless, for me, the most significant aspect of all this is the discrepancy between what is apparently happening to the Prime Central London market, and the country as a whole.
In contrast to all the tales of Russian oligarchs and assorted European tax-dodgers deserting the former, the reality is that outside the M25, most agents I speak to are reporting little or no discernible effect on the market at all, with the overwhelming majority of sales still proceeding in the normal way.
Overall volumes may be slightly down, but that’s to be expected at this time of year.
Admittedly, the property market – indeed, the entire economy – is entering uncharted territory, post Brexit.
But the simple fact is that people will always need to move house – so as long as supply continues to lag behind demand, property will always be a good investment!