Brexit Touchpaper Lit – Now What?

Added on April 16th 2017

On March 29, Prime Minister Theresa May invoked Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty, signalling the UK’s intention to start formal negotiations for the its exit of the European Union.

The country saw triumph and dismay in more or less equal measure, but the shockwaves travelling through social media, news channels and hearts don’t seem to have had much effect on the property market.

There’s no real need for Brexit to tank the property market

Many experts (the ones we still have time for) believe that there’s no direct reason for Brexit to affect the property market – for good or ill. It shouldn’t change prices or people’s housing choices at all.

Of course, others think that the uncertainty of the whole process could affect confidence in the market, but as with any market, demand is the main driver, and demand remains high.

The market bounced back after June

After a pre- and post- Referendum slowdown, the property market recovered surprisingly quickly and has stayed fairly buoyant since. This doesn’t mean, however, that we can coast along complacently.

There has been a slight fall in the number of transactions since last June and this has caused prices to drop slightly, especially in London. However, London has had unsustainable prices for some time, so a “correction” has been on the cards for years.

There’s also the pressure of extra taxes on investors and buy-to-let landlords, as well as tougher mortgage criteria, especially for first-timers. One of the factors holding prices up is the shortage of housing stock, which is set to continue for the foreseeable. The fall in transactions is somewhat sobering, though.

More certainty

In some ways, the triggering of Article 50 means we have some sort of timetable, but the EU isn’t playing softball and we can expect a rollercoaster ride of negotiations for years. Many hope to have it all wrapped up by March 2019, but this isn’t likely.

Hopeful punters

Despite all the to-ing and fro-ing and the Euro-this and UKIP-that, consumers have forgotten about Brexit in the main and expect to see property prices continue to rise. Only around 10% of consumers think prices will fall, with half thinking they’ll go up. Over the next few years, it’s likely that there’ll be rises and dips in optimism according to how the negotiations are doing.

Hold on tight, people.

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