Bricks and mortar are still a solid bet in the fluid aftermath of the EU referendum according to east London estate agents.
Seeking to quell the economic maelstrom after almost 52% of the UK voted for Brexit, property professionals have come out in force to say things are not as bad as they seem.
Managing director of Royal Docks-based Madison Brook John Lipper said investing in British housing was still an attractive option.
He said: “I have given deep thought to the reality of Brexit and, while it is widely accepted that we are in unchartered territory, I have come to the opinion that things are not as uncertain or as unpredictable as the market may perceive them to be.
“Having traded through many changes in the market, including the financial crash of 2008, the Eurozone crisis, the Greek debt crisis, the slowdown in Asia and changes in Government across the continent, on almost every occasion one investment has bucked the trend and has consistently outperformed the FTSE All Share index – London’s residential property market.
“The combined effects of a severe housing shortage, population growth, cheap lending, strong returns, urban and structural infrastructure investment makes the housing market an attractive proposition and a solid investment vehicle, relatively insulated from the strong headwinds in the markets.
“On Brexit, my overriding feeling is that voters will be waking up in the days and weeks to come with a feeling that despite the hype, or in some cases jubilation of where we have ended up, in fact very little has changed and of course the world will go on as usual.”
Spencer Fortag, regional director of Isle of Dogs-based Landmark Estates, was equally upbeat, casting doubt on pre-referendum forecasts from the Remain campaign.
He said: “In the run up to the referendum the Chancellor suggested property prices would drop by 18% if the UK voted to leave the EU.
“Using Treasury estimates, their method of calculating this was tenuous at best but focused around the abrupt and hasty increase in UK interest rates, which in turn would raise the cost of mortgages, and therefore lower demand for property, causing a drop in property prices. I would say that may well happen.
“Docklands property values may dip in the coming 12 to 18 months but by 18%?
“I am sorry, but I find that a little pessimistic and believe that figure was rhetoric to get homeowners and landlords to vote in a particular way.
“Since the last EU Referendum in June 1975, property values in Docklands have risen by 3,390.2%
“While property prices did drop nationally by 18.7% between the peak of 2007 and bottom of the market in 2009, they are 10.14% up in 2016 on that peak position.
“Now the same credit crunch doom-mongers and sooth-sayers that predicted soup kitchens in 2008/9 are predicting Brexit meltdown.
“Bad news sells newspapers. Stock markets may rise, stock markets may fall, yet the British public continued to buy property in 2009/10 and beyond. Aspiring first-time buyers and buy-to-let landlords dusted themselves down, took a deep breath and carried on buying because us Brit’s love bricks and mortar.
“Docklands property might have a short term wobble, but in the long-term I still believe it’s as safe as houses.”
Short term wobble
The idea that the vote would lead to a temporary upset rather than a crash in the market was echoed by Metro 148 director Angelou Beswick.
“Talk of a 20% dip in the housing market prior to the end result of the campaign and even now, the few days that follow has left a great deal of anxious feelings and uncertainty about where the property market is heading,” she said.
“As a small company based in the heart of the financial district we have looked at both sides of the argument and our conclusion we feel is that the market in certain areas will wobble but overall it won’t suffer as much as some fear.
“The instability will come from uncertainty, unlike the like the crash of 2007/2008 when people simply couldn’t afford to pay their mortgages and banks were lending 110%.
“People actually have the money saved for a deposit but due to Brexit they will hold off buying a first or even a second home until they feel comfortable with the market.
"This could see a shift in the current market, with fewer sales being pushed through.
“Having said that, overseas buyers are likely to take advantage of the current exchange rate, which could see them saving up to 10% on property prices.
“Although this will keep the market afloat in the interim, we can’t rely on overseas investment to keep the market stable, and it’s likely to only be London they target.
“The average high street estate agent will most likely to be unaffected but Friday’s news, but developers, especially those that are constituents on the FSTE 100, are going to take a short term hit.”
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