This June, after 40 years, voters will have a chance to decide if Britain should stay in the European Union and speculation on the possible impact of a Brexit has reached fever pitch.
While politicians, businesses and industry experts are willing to throw their hat in the ring, at the moment their opinions are largely hypothetical. No one knows for sure how a Brexit would affect the UK economy, especially as so much depends on the terms and nature of the departure.
In the shorter term, it’s this uncertainty around which way the UK will vote which is the biggest cause for concern, and from a property perspective it most likely to cause investment levels to come off the boil.
Should the UK leave the EU, many are concerned that a sudden dip in capital from overseas could see the pound suffer a sharp but short term decline, which may decrease the attractiveness of the market – something we’re already witnessing with the pound currently at its lowest point against the USD since 2008.
Given the international presence in the UK, if this continues, house prices could certainly be affected, and it’s likely central, prime London would be hit the hardest in the short term – however in time the rest of the UK would feel the pain too. However, in the longer term it’s also possible that a fall in sterling could actually entice overseas investors, as they take advantage of lower prices and short term market instability.
The demand for UK homes, offices and other forms of property will still exist from businesses and consumers, and while it’s understandable that such a potential and momentous change has caused uncertainty around its future, history tells us that the UK has the strength to bounce back.