What would a ‘no deal’ Brexit mean for the prime property sector?

As former Housing Minister Dominic Raab gets to the business end of negotiations with the European Union, we ask a panel of senior players in the prime resi industry about what effect – if any – Brexit will have on the high-value property market, and what their businesses are doing to prepare…

A “no deal” Brexit was once talked of as an improbable worst-case scenario. Now, with just a month to go until the deadline for a deal, and seven months until the UK officially leaves the Union, it’s not an unlikely outcome…

The Government recently published a batch of “guidance” intended to help business and organisations prepare for a “no deal” scenario, and navigate an inevitably turbulent aftermath of Brexit proper. This looks, however, like far too little rather too late. Nearly every property professional we’ve spoken to agrees that the Government is not doing enough to help businesses prepare for Brexit, whether that comes in the shape of a complete UK/EU agreement, or with an abrupt move to World Trade Organisation standards. As Lurot Brand’s GM James Robinson puts it: “The government is doing nothing to help us prepare as they have no idea what we should be preparing for.”


Opinions are still running high on the whole leave/remain thing across the country, with anxious scare-mongering and febrile visions of independence holding headlines in equal measure.

So what does the prime resi property industry make of it all? Would a “no deal” Brexit be disastrous for the property market, the economy, and businesses? or are there opportunities to be seized? And is the Government doing enough to help businesses prepare?

We polled a panel of senior industry insiders for their views.

While there are outlying pockets of both Europhobia and Europhilia, the consensus falls largely in line with the views of LonRes chief William Carrington, who wrote a few weeks ago that he believes Brexit’s outcome “would follow the line of che sara sara” for the property market; “we would accept the consequences and benefits of divorce from the EU,” he said, summing up with what could be an industry mantra: “All the property market wants is a period of certainty and stability”.

Most buying and selling agents in the high-value homes arena are pretty sanguine about the property market’s prospects in the aftermath of a deal or a no-deal Brexit. Perhaps these potential challenges pale to pettiness when compared to the battering of punitive transaction taxes that the market has endured in recent years. “Even life after a no deal Brexit will not be as catastrophic as some people are suggesting,” says Ed Heaton of buying agency Heaton & Partners; “life will continue and the economy will not crash.” Knight Frank’s global research guru Liam Bailey agrees: “While a no-deal Brexit would create near-term volatility,” he tells PrimeResi, “we believe the UK luxury residential market will quickly benefit from the end of the wider political uncertainty as well as any repricing of the pound.”

Our straw poll of some PrimeResi members (all business owners or senior managers in the high-value property industry) indicates that the medium-term effects of Brexit on the property market will be muted. 42% think that leaving the EU “won’t have a huge impact” on the UK resi scene in the next five years, while a third believe that consequences will be “quite bad”. Only 16% of those polled, however, think that the market and business landscape will improve as a result of Brexit.

Interestingly, there’s a marked difference of opinion between property agents in London and those operating in regional and country markets. Londoners – who deal with more international buyers – tend to feel more strongly that Brexit is not good news for the property market, and that uncertainty over what comes next is already chilling activity. Outside of the capital, on the other hand, the consensus seems to be that leaving the EU will barely affect the market, with agents reporting little to no discernible change in buying or selling activity as a results of Brexit uncertainty so far.

While many developers and construction firms are flagging serious – and already apparent – issues with labour supply, which could have far-reaching consequences for house-building in post-Brexit Britain, others in the industry are taking the George Soros line and looking for opportunities in adversity.

Winkworth’s CEO Dominic Agace, for example, says that his firm “is taking steps to embrace opportunities presented by Brexit.” The current weak market and industry uncertainty means that some top-class talent is more open to career suggestion; “we have been able to acquire talented individuals from elsewhere in the industry who have the desire to take on equity and take control of their earnings,” says Agace.


Prime Punditry

What do senior prime resi professionals think about a no-deal Brexit?

BUYING AGENTS

A no deal Brexit will undoubtedly cause a short-term political storm

  • Mark Lawson, Partner at The Buying Solution

“A no deal Brexit will undoubtedly cause a short term political storm and therefore further short term market volatility and uncertainty; however we believe best in class property in all locations and at all levels will still create strong interest and competition as they are so rare. We have seen a drastic shortage of supply over the last few years for many reasons, and so believe that for those who’ve been holding off making their large scale property investment decisions in the UK, it will at least create some sort of clarity and they will still proceed with a purchase of the right property at the right price. Hopefully the outcome would also encourage vendors who have been holding off from selling to finally have the courage to proceed with their sales. The pound will likely plummet further and it could in fact encourage some momentum from international purchasers and make an international purchase for a UK-based buyer more expensive.

“We believe the London market has stabilised and now in areas looks reasonably attractive, especially to overseas buyers. The agricultural land market, however, may be more difficult as the threat to subsidy support becomes more of a reality although it remains in short supply; prices are currently reasonably firm and there are many other good reasons to invest in farmland. Large amenity estates will always attract interest as they are so rare but pricing will, as always, remain key.”

Life after a no deal Brexit will not be as catastrophic as some people are suggesting

  • Ed Heaton, Founder and Managing Partner of Heaton & Partners

“There is a definite sense, especially among certain international buyers, that there is an opportunity to take advantage of what they perceive as being the low point in the market. The thinking, which we have heard from a range of people, is that at the present time and with the uncertainty of knowing what post-Brexit Britain will look like, that some sellers are at their most desperate and prices are at their most depressed. The view shared by many is that even life after a no deal Brexit will not be as catastrophic as some people are suggesting and that life will continue and the economy will not crash. In this scenario, prices might then start to recover in prime central London. The opportunity really is now.”

The prospect of sleepwalking into a no-deal Brexit is of great concern

  • Jonathan Hopper, Managing Director of Garrington Property Finders

“Of greater concern — especially for investment buyers or those looking at the top of the market — is the prospect of Britain sleepwalking into a no-deal Brexit. Softening prices in formerly overheated markets like London and the South-East have created some compelling buying opportunities,  particularly for the bold and strategic buyer.”

It will be business as usual for us

  • Alisa Zotimova, CEO of AZ Real Estate

“From our perspective as a buying and investment consultant, it’s mainly about reassuring potential overseas clients that London and the UK will remain a safe choice for investment. On the whole, despite some initial jitters they have remained unfazed since the referendum vote and continue to despite growing concerns about a no-deal. We can’t see that changing, especially if the performance of sterling remains weak – which is hardly bad news for foreign investors.

“The prime market has been facing pressure for years now, mostly due to burdensome stamp duty measures, so it’s just another obstacle that we are going to need to deal with and overcome. History has showed time and time again that there is always a period of concern or resistance around any significant change, followed by that hardy British notion of ‘just getting on with it.’ It will be business as usual for us.”

Brexit has been good for business to date here in Wales

  • Carol Peett Managing Director West Wales Property Finders

“Brexit has been good for business to date here in Wales with  ex-pats buying houses here and moving back from France, Spain & Italy due to perceived problems living there after Brexit. They are buying here in West Wales as it is the closest lifestyle they can find in the UK to the one they have been enjoying in rural France or Italy. Similarly, many ex-pats are investing in property here due to the weak pound, either buy to holiday let, buy to let or just as a holiday home for themselves which they will return to eventually.”

ESTATE AGENTS

The UK luxury residential market will quickly benefit from the end of the wider political uncertainty

  • Liam Bailey, Global Head of Research at Knight Frank

“While a no-deal Brexit would create near-term volatility, we believe the UK luxury residential market will quickly benefit from the end of the wider political uncertainty as well as any repricing of the pound.

“Demand for prime property is driven primarily by the health of the UK economy and the confidence purchasers have in the political and regulatory environment. Over the past five years the prime markets have undergone a number of shocks – with a rapid increase in stamp duty on top-end properties, a surprise election and the Brexit referendum result with a seemingly endless debate over the final form of the Brexit agreement.

“There is no doubt that all of these issues have weighed on sentiment and demand in the prime market – especially in London. However it is clear from conversations with clients and our analysis of market data that it is the rapid increase in stamp duty since 2014 which has been the most critical issue to acting as a drag on activity and pricing.

“High transaction costs mean that pricing has reset in London – with many prime areas seeing a reduction of price of upwards of 10% since the market peak at the end of 2014, the uncertainty engendered by an unclear resolution to the Brexit negotiations means many would-be purchasers have held off committing to purchases. This uncertainty will evaporate at some point in the next six months as we will need to know the final form of the agreement before the March 2019 deadline for leaving the EU. My belief is that even a no-deal Brexit – even with the dislocation this will cause to some economic sectors will replace current political uncertainty with certainty and will act to unlock some activity.”

Winkworth is taking steps to embrace opportunities presented by Brexit

  • Dominic Agace, CEO of Winkworth CEO

“Within agency, Winkworth is taking steps to embrace opportunities presented by Brexit. It’s evident that the market is weak as uncertainty surrounding Brexit remains, which has led to industry professionals being more open to new career and business opportunities. As such, we have been able to acquire talented individuals from elsewhere in the industry who have the desire to take on equity and take control of their earnings.

“In terms of the market, we expect London, as a global city, to endure any risks posed by Brexit.  It will be a macro-event that will quieten the market for a period of time, but we expect it to continue to trade through as per the EU Referendum.”

“Brexit has already had an impact on the prime central London market, with much uncertainty among buyers and sellers causing sustained low activity and price reductions.  A ‘no deal’ is likely to cause confusion in the short term, but would then allow people to start making future plans with greater clarity for the first time in two years. Of course, the pound is likely to weaken, but this will lead to overseas buyers seeing more investment opportunities in the prime central London market.”

Our biggest concern is a change of Government

  • Charles Curran, Principal and Data Analyst at Maskells 

“We are seeing a renewed interest in the sales market at particular price points. In our opinion, this is being driven by the low value of Sterling against Dollar and Euro and nascent headlines of a potential membership to the Single Market without the requirement to remain in the Customs Union and the adherence to the free movement of people. We have no insight as to whether this is achievable. At the same time the reduction of stamp duty receipts last quarter brings back into question whether SDLT is too high and raises the prospects of a potential reduction – what is the point in a tax if it does not raise revenue? The outlook, therefore, could potentially be quite good for sales.

“Lettings have also benefited from the fear of Brexit pushing more people into rental accommodation (SDLT and remittance tax has also helped) allowing us to further grow our book, bolstering our revenues further.

“Whilst this is potentially encouraging, we must also prepare for the worst: As a company we have doubled the working capital we keep available to meet our commitments and we are doubling our efforts to bring on instructions at price points which we think will be less likely to be affected by Brexit – i.e. properties which appeal more to the domestic market and will therefore sell or rent.

“If Britain does however exit with no deal, the attraction of the property market will be driven by what, if any, tax incentives (both personal and corporate) the Government introduces to bolster any slow-down in the economy. Any incentives will take time to be introduced and take effect so we must be mindful of this time-lag and provision accordingly. Our biggest concern however, and for which no amount of provisioning would provide comfort, is a change of Government.”

It is Government indecision that will ultimately have a negative impact on the market and currency, rather than Brexit itself

  • Jack Ballantine, Director of Residential Development & Investment at UK Sotheby’s International Realty

“In our experience we are finding that if properties are on the market at the right price point then, despite Brexit uncertainty, there are still plenty of motivated buyers purchasing at the luxury end of the market. The key issue is that businesses are looking to Government to provide clarity and what they’re getting in return is a lack of transparency. Handled correctly, Brexit is a huge opportunity for the UK but it is Government indecision that will ultimately have a negative impact on the market and currency, rather than Brexit itself.

“Should we be facing a ‘no deal’ situation next March, the UK is not suddenly going to lose its appeal. Buyers are unlikely to be put off purchasing in the UK as they have seen that the market has shown resilience in the last two years. As a key example, there was a nervousness in the industry that international interest would evaporate following changes to stamp duty in 2016, but overseas buyers continued to be active, they simply just changed their buying habits to fit this new legislation. As buyers have begun to show an appetite for purchasing property in key growth cities following the Brexit vote, we have recently diversified our offering and are appointed on a scheme in Manchester. One of the key motivations for continued international investment in the UK property market comes down to the fact that our legislation is very receptive to foreign investment and this is particularly prevalent at the moment whilst other investment hotspots, such as New Zealand and Vancouver are demonstrating strong resistance to this.

“Undeniably, there will be a degree of cautiousness from buyers in the short-term, but at the end of the day people will continue to live their lives and purchase property, whether we are in a no-deal or deal scenario!”

The government is doing nothing to help us prepare as they have no idea what we should be preparing for

  • James Robinson, General Manager at Lurot Brand

“All any market wants is clarity and after October, and hopefully a trade deal, we will have just that. I don’t expect a surge but more of a business back to usual feel.

“The government is doing nothing to help us prepare as they have no idea what we should be preparing for. After two years we are still very much in the land of the unknown. Only last week Liam Fox stated that there is a 60/40 chance of leaving negotiations with a trade deal, so how can they advise us and in truth, considering the pickle they have got us all into, would we listen to it?

“Other than foreign investment in new build developments, Brexit has had very little effect on the core prime central London property market. As per the attached article, quite simply put ‘Stamp duty is what done it gov’nor!’”

‘No deal’ would be a very negative outcome indeed

  • Marc Schneiderman, Director at Arlington Residential

“We are waiting to see what opportunities will arise for Arlington Residential and what legislation that we are currently complying with may need to be reviewed. With no meaningful information available from the government it is really impossible to make any decisions at this moment in time.

“A ‘no deal’ outcome is likely to further dent the confidence of the market and result in even few transactions. A very negative outcome indeed.”

Brexit is a bit of a British soap opera

  • Giles Cook, Head of Residential and Partner Designate at Best Gapp 

“In my view, Brexit is creating a fair amount of caution and uncertainty but overall it’s bit of a British ‘Soap Opera’ and oversea investment will continue once we have Brexited.”

Brexit either has a zero effect on sentiments or a positive one, but certainly not a negative one

  • Trevor Abrahmson, Glentree International

“There is much talk, in the press, about the consequences of a ‘no deal’ on Brexit, even Dr. Liam Fox has put it down to a 60/40 chance.

“The Governor of the Bank of England (BOE), Mr. Carney, has increased Interest Rates, probably because he believes that, on balance, the Brexit deal will happen and therefore, the control of inflation is more important today, than anything else, when the ‘sluice gates open’ on public sector wage increases and their knock on effect on the private sector.

“On the other hand, it does also give him the opportunity to reduce the UK Interest Rate in the future, if the economy flounders, since if he left it at the emergency rate of 0.5%, there wouldn’t be much flexibility left to have any meaningful effect.

“If there were a ‘no deal’ Brexit (which I believe is a highly unlikely scenario), the Pound would certainly sink further, to perhaps parity with the Euro and Dollar, rendering inward investment even cheaper for international purchasers of UK property. For instance, we have sold £371million worth of residential property in the last 18 months and 50% of it is directly associated with our devalued currency. Manufacturers/exporters, would have a ‘field day’ with the low Pound and tourism would go berserk. On the other hand, Foreign holidays, in America and Europe, would unfortunately become more expensive, whereas the English Riviera would become perfectly affordable and where is the harm in this? In any event, this is a good way to support this country when it needs help the most. Yes, a ‘no deal’ would have its complications, but we trade with WTO Rules, with the rest of the World, which makes up the majority of our exports and we appear to do reasonably well as a result.

“I have said, ad nauseam, that market sentiments in the Residential Property Sector up to £5m in the UK, are not driven by the ebb and flow of the Brexit negotiations. The uncertainty surrounding these matters, do not affect the average ‘Joe’ on the street, other than its possible effect on Mortgage Interest Rates. For example, if Mr. Carney tried to protect the rout on the Pound after a ‘no Brexit deal’ and any inflation that may take place as a result, Interest Rates would have to rise and therefore, would have an upward pressure on the Mortgage Rate which would certainly effect sentiments.

“Yes, we may have lost a few international bankers due to the uncertainty of the Financial Services Sector (i.e. Goldman Sachs and JP Morgan), but the changes to Non Dom fiscal rules are the real culprit here, particularly within the American banking fraternity who, hitherto, paid full worldwide tax, but now who cannot afford to remain in the UK any longer, under the existing draconian residency arrangements imposed by the former Chancellor Osborne. As the UK is foolish enough to lose these wealth creators to our rival European partners, Portugal, France and Italy, in response, are trying to lure them by setting up an attractive world-wide tax moratorium, which they have all hurriedly now designed for the purpose. How judicious!

“Sadly, Brexit, for the press, is the gift that keeps giving and unfortunately, whatever is going wrong with the Economy, or the sentiments in the UK, is presently blamed on this, when in truth, it is simply not the case.

“The Stamp Duty changes have had the most distorting effect on the Residential Property Market in the UK and as such, buyers in excess of £1m are staring at an unaffordable and un-mortgageable wall of costs and some are choosing not to embark on the journey at all. You can’t blame them!

“So, with all the ‘hoo ha’ surrounding Brexit, it either has a zero effect on sentiments or a positive one, but certainly not a negative one.

“Lest we forget, Stamp Duty is perfectly payable and perfectly avoidable, if you don’t move or invest. However, the damaging effect of an illiquid residential property market on wider parts of the economy i.e. retail spending and subsequently UK Growth, is very germane and tangible.

“Let’s remember that the UK Economy, after the crash of 2008, had the positive effects of Quantitative Easing, cheap money and a buoyant residential property market and all these stimulants have now evaporated. Is it any wonder why we are growing at a lower pace and this is nothing to do with Brexit.

“Why are the ‘Remainers’ so reluctant to concede that Brexit is a generational decision and therefore, it is only the medium to long term interests of the UK that matter? If we become so obsessional about our reluctance to take any ‘short time pain for long term gain’, then it is the equivalent of people never going on holiday, never moving house, office or in fact, never becoming an Edmund Hillary or Neil Armstrong conquering Everest or exploring the Moon.

“Isn’t it odd that the insufferable Europhile commentators i.e.Tony Blair and Ken Clarke to name but a few, who tried to persuade us, at the time, that joining the Euro was the best thing for the future of this country, are now trying to convince us to have a second Referendum and stay within the Customs Union and the Single Market, with all the perils associated with these.

“If we listened to them at the time, the UK Economy would be at least 10% smaller than it is today and hamstrung by the ‘one size fits all’ Interest Rates across Europe. Didn’t we suffer enough trying to maintain the Pound’s position in the ERM, which was the precursor to the Euro?

“Since Germany has a ‘perfect economy’ but does not have the ability to control Interest Rates for themselves, they are therefore vulnerable to any inflationary effects on their economy. Rather than suffer this themselves, they would prefer instead for southern Europe to be burdened with the scourge of 50% youth unemployment, borderline depression and certainly subdued growth for the rest of Europe, rather than to endorse Quantitative Easing after the 2008 Crash, which they certainly should have done. On the other hand, this mechanism represented the ‘saviour’ of the UK and USA economies at the time.

“We can thank the Head of the Bundesbank, Helmut Schlesinger, in 1992, for his unhelpful comments about the unsustainable value of Sterling in the ERM and one hour later, it resulted in the ignominious devaluation in the Pound which, perversely, turned out to be the best thing that has ever happened to the British Economy.

“If this is what you call European solidarity, aren’t you pleased now that the UK Electorate, on balance, decided to vote for Brexit?

“When West Germany absorbed East Germany, after the end of the Cold War, by agreeing parity with the two diverse currencies, they paid a price that four generations of the German people, will still be paying in the distant future. The ‘perfect economy’ of West Germany was disrupted for ten years, at the time, whilst they reconstructed East Germany, which by comparison, was a vestigial ruin from the ‘dark days’ of the Cold War… did the populace complain at the time? No, they didn’t, they just got on with the job and saw it as an investment in the destiny and future of their country.

“This is a very sobering lesson for us all to learn, as we embark on the new post Brexit chapter of the UK success story.

“If Britain must choose between Europe and the open sea, she must always choose the open sea” – Winston Churchill

DEVELOPERS

Nobody truly appreciates or understands the long-term implications of Brexit as things stand

  • Gary Fitzpatrick, Director of Lindhill

“No-one knows what will enfold in the aftermath of Brexit, what true conditions will transpire and how immediate an impact it will have on the market and nation as a whole. It’s therefore impossible to prepare by making any effective changes within the structure of the firm as things stand.

“In saying that, a ‘no deal’ Brexit raises lots of concerns that will bear ramifications for the market and all businesses, that is for sure. The level of funding and its availability from European banks will prove to be damaging and impact upon our sector, similarly any increase in the cost of raw materials from the continent. The availability of sourcing employment from within European countries could also be a concern.

“I further believe British banks will have to move part of their operations to European soil to both continue and allow trading within Europe, which will haemorrhage jobs and prove detrimental to the UK. Of course, this is all speculative, however, nobody truly appreciates or understands the long-term implications of Brexit as things stand.”

London is resilient & is likely to bounce back

  • Parul Scampion, COO of Fruition Properties

“We’re simultaneously taking opportunities and mitigating risk by moving out of prime London areas and into zones 2/3. Over the past two years we have seen the market cooling and have adjusted our forecast accordingly. Unsurprisingly, we have seen an increase in land opportunities and are speaking to investors to make the most of this.”

“We anticipate an initial drop in buyer confidence [in the event of ‘no deal’ Brexit] but we know that London is resilient and is likely to bounce back. While a drop in sterling would make prime residential property more attractive to overseas buyers, we must not forget that there is likely to be a skills shortage as well as an increase in the cost of materials.”

The outcome of Brexit has become irrelevant

  • Will Herrmann, CEO & Founder of West Eleven

“In my view, the outcome of Brexit has become irrelevant. While I believe there is a very slim chance we’ll have a ‘no deal’ situation, the whole thing has been fudged from the start, and the result will be a deal that is cobbled together. As for the property market – we just need to get to the finish line. The whole mechanism, and particularly prime property, has been held back for the last two years. Buyers – especially foreign buyers – and sellers have put off decisions, waiting to see what happens. At this point, everyone just needs to know what the rules of the game are going to be; once that becomes clear – one way or the other –  the market will be able to move forward and make decisions.

“Regardless of the outcome, London is an international city and it will keep going. In that spirit, West Eleven has kept going, moving forward with developments such as The View, Battersea Park. We are also looking at international sources of capital for our fund, particularly from Middle East investors who are cash-rich and favour a diverse portfolio.”

Brexit is having a huge long term impact on the London & wider UK construction industry

  • Bob Weston, Chairman & CEO of Weston Homes

“Brexit is having a huge long term impact on the London and wider UK construction industry, as we go through the next economic cycle we won’t get the replacement people from the EU that the construction sector has traditionally relied upon. The challenge facing construction is that the starter homes market is booming, we have hundreds of homes we need to build, this requires more staff, and with Brexit, we need young domestic UK employees to come into the sector.

Brexit will trigger an employee shortage in the construction sector

  • Don O’Sullivan, CEO of Galliard Homes

“Brexit has triggered huge uncertainty in the economy, and whats worse is that no one in government is advising us. Brexit will trigger an employee shortage in the construction sector as European workers won’t be replaced and others may leave as we exit the EU.

DESIGNERS

We are minimising exposure to currency fluctuation & statutory changes to import tax

  • Jo Cowen, Founder & Director, Jo Cowen Architects

“As a business we’re developing ways in which we can add more value to our designs with less, trimming out excess spend in anticipation of the rise in the cost of labour and general Brexit uncertainty. For example, we avoid specifying curtain walking systems and ore cast frames due to critical time path and lead time on product. This means that we are minimising exposure to currency fluctuation and statutory changes to import tax.

“Like most architectural practices, we import design materials from all over Europe but we’re increasingly looking to domestic products – a project of ours uses all of its glazing from a firm in Sheffield, for example. We are also extremely proud of our work culture, so what’s really important to us is that our European staff feel as welcome and valued as they always have done. 

“Prime London is home to people from all over the world, so it’s all about the performance of the pound when it comes to that market. London is always going to be a first port of call and a weaker pound could add another layer of appeal, but a stronger pound will have the reverse effect. And whilst the importance of negotiations shouldn’t be overstated, I don’t foresee Brexit having as big an impact as many are predicting – we should be more concerned by the prospect of the change in government back here in the UK.”

We are impacted positively either way

  • Chris Dale, Managing Director at Vesta Interior Design

“In my network of HNWIs, the main issue they have is the uncertainty either way over the deal / no deal decision. It’s the not knowing the consequences that is having an impact on their decisions on what to do with their portfolios. This level of uncertainty has been there for a number of years now due to the two elections happening close together as well as the Brexit vote. Once a decision is finalised I expect the market to level out either way and the investors that have held back to start reinvesting their money.

“As a company influenced predominantly by international clientele, we are impacted positively either way. In a positively impacted market, money flows in to the capital and we have far more enquiries for both main residence and pied de terre interior design work. In a negative market the desire to dispose of their stock drives our dress to sell business to entice the fewer buyers to their units over the increased amounts of other units for sale.

“Any business that doesn’t have a diverse portfolio of clients should always be worried in a strong or weak market as slight changes can have major impacts on their business.”

INVESTORS

A ‘no deal’ Brexit will merely delay London’s rebound with a further period of uncertainty

  • Jonathan Stephens, MD of Surrenden Invest

“[Our business is taking steps to] both mitigate Brexit risk and embrace opportunities. Whilst it was always part of our strategy to move into the international market by establishing far-reaching international partnerships and distribution channels, this has now become more of an urgent focus, so that we can be assured of our continued success should UK sales slow down drastically as a result of Brexit.

“The uncertainty to date surrounding Brexit has mostly been felt in London. This has enabled us to be far more proactive with a wide range of investors and institutions that have traditionally only been interested in London, which are now seeking value and yield in other markets.

“I would imagine that [a ‘no deal’ Brexit] it won’t affect Prime Residential Property Markets outside of London and the Home Counties too much, due to its wider appeal with cap values and strong rental markets; it will merely delay London’s rebound with a further period of uncertainty, similar to what we’ve witnessed over the last couple of years, especially if the government readdresses Stamp Duty laws on super prime properties.”

A Brexit no-deal could hit prices in the capital, especially at the higher end, like a sledgehammer

  • Jonathan Samuels, Chief Executive of Octane Capital

“A Brexit no-deal could hit prices in the capital, especially at the higher end, like a sledgehammer.

“A no-deal Brexit could make international business and overseas buyers extremely nervous, at least in the short term.

“Given that the London property market is heavily exposed to big business and international buyers, if both begin to retreat in the event of a no-deal Brexit, prices in the capital could suffer disproportionately.

“The London market is already reeling after a period of overexuberant growth, and a chaotic exit from the EU has the potential to accentuate this.”