Yesterday saw a historic moment in UK history, as Prime Minister Theresa May triggered Article 50-formally starting the process of Britain leaving the European Union.
However, industry peers believe that the housing market will remain largely untouched by the announcement.
Chief Executive of Andrews Property Group, David Westgate, said: ‘My fundamental belief is that Brexit is irrelevant to the domestic housing market. Quite simply, there is no direct reason why it should have any impact on either property prices or where people chose to live.’
‘Whilst some will argue that change leads to uncertainty and that, in turn, uncertainty affects confidence in the market, we should hold on to what we know and that is simply that the key driver of the housing market is demand, and that is extremely high at the moment,’ he continued.
Former RICS residential chairman Jeremy Leaf said the market has held up since the referendum in June, yet complacency should be avoided.
Leaf observed: ‘The undercurrents of uncertainty are still there with the number of transactions falling steadily since the vote. Inevitably this is having an impact on the market with prices softening, particularly in London which has also been affected by the increases in stamp duty and unsustainably high prices for a long time.’
‘The stamp duty changes and other obligations on landlords should in theory give first-time buyers more of an opportunity but lending restrictions haven’t really made it much easier for them. Looking forward we expect prices to continue to be underpinned by shortage of stock but the low level of transactions is bad news, not just for the housing market but for the wider economy.’
Mark Lawrinson, regional sales director at Portico, said: ‘I don’t think the triggering of Article 50 will affect the property market directly from today. In one sense it removes the uncertainty surrounding when Britain’s withdrawal process from the EU will start, but in another way it will create economic uncertainty until we know what deal we will strike and therefore what Brexit actually means for our country.’
Paul Broadhead, the Building Societies Associations’ head of mortgage policy, said: ‘The worst case scenarios for the economy immediately after the UK voted to leave the EU clearly didn’t come to pass, and this has fed through to people’s higher expectations for future house prices. However, we are only just starting the negotiations around the exit process. Consumer views on the housing market, and their prospects in it are likely to alter as the negotiation proceeds.’