BREXIT. Will a ‘yes’ vote stifle the number of professionals relocating to the UK? Will it curtail the number of rental properties coming on to the market? Perhaps it will open the door to a new influx of international employees on the move?

The matter of ‘consciously uncoupling’ from the European Union will no doubt hog the headlines until the 23rd June. We all want to know what might happen if we leave the EU. The truth is no one knows as we’re in unchartered waters, with only a bunch of survey results, speculation and sentiment to guide us.

There are fears that trade links with European countries could be severed if the vote is ‘yes’, with organisations headquartered here upping sticks, and relocating businesses discounting the UK in the first place. In fact, a poll by the Bertelsmann Foundation of British and German companies operating in the UK found that almost a third would consider moving jobs out of the country following a vote to leave the European Union.

High-end estate agent Savills has weighed in by sating the June vote “is likely to put off potential buyers and lead to companies postponing decisions on leasing offices, particularly in London”. For the relocation sector, this may mean fewer employees moving to the UK’s major cities and a sharp exit for some already here. 

Counterbalancing this thought are those supporting the ‘yes’ vote, who claim trade with other international powerhouses will strengthen. There’s a suggestion that blossoming links with the USA, China, India and developing nations outside of the EU would bring enough business to amply replace anything lost from Europe – actually increasing the number of professionals relocating to the UK.

The debated effect of BREXIT on the property market is just as contradictory. Featuring in, property buying agency Black Brick said the capital should retain its attractiveness to wealthy international buyers, citing the 20% collapse in sterling against the dollar over the last 18 months as an incentive for American buyers to push their wealth over the pond.

On the other hand, the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors said the referendum could bring “a degree of uncertainty for buyers that may negatively affect some elements of the UK market,” while estate agent Foxtons preferred to hedge its bets, saying “It is too early to predict how transaction volumes may be impacted by economic uncertainty caused by the UK referendum.”


How can we translate this speculation and predict its impact on the supply of rental accommodation? There could be less choice for tenants, especially in London. A survey by moving specialist Bishop’s Move found that almost half of homeowners in London will defer any buying or selling decisions until after the referendum. Other trains of thought include more private landlords selling their buy-to-lets (but that’s more to do with new punishing tax rules for landlords imposed by our own Government). But this is itself is being counterbalanced by the Build to Rent programme, with the promise of thousands of new rented properties from corporate landlord ‘brands’.

The BREXIT debate is very yin yang. There are persuasive arguments and counter-arguments made by political and economic heavyweights on both sides. There’s plenty of if, buts, potentials and maybes.  And there’s a crop of statistics and survey results out to influence us but did you know that 73.6% (or 53% or 43.8% depending on where you look, ironically) of statistics are made up? It’s going to be a case of sitting tight and letting the drama unfold.


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