Thursday, August 11, 2022

UK home sales plunge since Brexit referendum

Home sales in London have fallen steeply since the 2016 vote, with transactions in the city dropping 28%, according to a report from Yorkshire Building Society

Since the U.K.’s vote to leave the European Union in 2016, transactions across the nation have dropped, with buyers shunning London especially, according to a report Monday from Yorkshire Building Society.

Sales across the entirety of the U.K. have declined by 9% since June 2016, dragged down by London, the South East and the East of England, while Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland logged minor increases.

In London, in particular, transactions have fallen by more than triple the national figure during the same time, according to the building society and mortgage provider.

Sales in London have fallen 28% since the referendum, with a lack of consumer confidence from Brexit uncertainty cited as a key factor in the declines.

The outer London borough of Brent, in the northwest of the city, has seen the largest exodus of buyers with a 43% drop in the number of transactions.

In affluent Kensington and Chelsea, in central London, sales have dropped by 42% since 2016, and in the City of Westminster they’re down 39% the report said.

There’s evidence property sales have slowed due to uncertainty around Brexit leading to a drop in consumer confidence, and this may have affected the London market most dramatically because the capital attracts higher numbers of investors and overseas buyers, Yorkshire Building Society’s strategic economist Nitesh Patel said in the report.

But the drop in sales isn’t solely to do with confidence—high house prices and low levels of supply in London and the South East are also constraining activity, he said.

In the South East of England and the East of England, transactions have fallen 18% in each region since 2016.

The areas in the U.K. to see overall uplifts in sales were Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland and the North East of England.

Scotland was home to the largest, though still modest, increase at 4%, the report said.

But it was the Welsh borough of Torfaen that logged the largest local transaction rises, with sales increasing 45% since the Brexit vote.

In places where there’s been growth, increase in real wages and the record levels of people in full-time employment have helped make buying a home more affordable, Patel said.


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