It is a fascinating time to be involved in Property Law (cue cries of disbelief from solicitors in other walks of law…!). Having just recovered from the late-March onslaught of investment buyers desperately scrambling to complete their second house purchases before the stamp duty increase, we are now faced with departure from the EU, so called “the dreaded” Brexit…
As in most sectors of society, there was fierce debate within residential property teams across the country over the impact that Britain exiting the EU would have on the property market. Having viewed forums within the industry before the decision, comments ranged from;
“Not sure we actually benefit from the red tape and constant hijacking of our system!”
“Short term I believe a vote to leave would be very bad for the property market”.
Interestingly, the opinions did not appear to follow the patterns that one would expect (for example it did not seem to follow the age divide that seemed to exist in wider society). I remember finding it surprising at the time that more residential property solicitors did not favour the stability and certainty of a ‘Remain’ vote, but there was clearly a feeling that the red tape and bureaucracy was hindering the legal system.
And so, the decision came and went. Many, including several agents to whom I have spoken, feared a lull or dip in the market, even if merely due to the uncertainty stirred up by the decision. This does not appear noticeably to have been the case; August has seen the usual slight dip (due to school holidays etc.) but the market has plateaued and the estate agents now, usually with a scratch of the head and a bemused shrug of the shoulders, appear to agree that the impact thus far has been relatively minor.
People will always have to move as a result of necessity (new jobs, change in circumstances, retirement etc.). The long-term effects when Britain starts to implement the ‘divorce’ process remain to be seen. In the short-term, the uncertainty may have deterred one or two investment purchasers, but as they say, “the show must go on”.