Brexit ‘putting people off buying property’

Brexit ‘putting people off buying property’ [Image: fazon1 via iStock]

Brexit has been named as a major reason for people not wanting to move home, according to a new survey.

The news comes as the UK prime minister, Theresa May, triggered Article 50, which officially began the process of leaving the EU. Since the decision was made by the public, there has been some anxiety around the property market. However, this has not been at the level expected by many, which has highlighted the market’s resilience.

According to the annual homeowner survey, conducted by YouGov for the HomeOwners Alliance (HOA) and BLP Insurance, more than one million people in the UK have put on hold their plans to purchase a new property because of the Brexit vote. A total of 15 per cent of respondents said this was the main reason they were not moving this year.

The HOA said that the referendum result is “just one of a number of factors” contributing to rising numbers of British homeowners to stay where they are rather than move property. The survey revealed that over 7.5 million people have put off plans to move this year.

However, Brexit was not the only reason that homeowners were resistant to the idea of moving, with 26 per cent blaming rising house prices, 25 per cent claiming the increasing cost of living was responsible and 25 per cent saying they had difficulty securing a mortgage or remortgaging.

It was found that those in the north east of England (27 per cent) and Northern Ireland (21 per cent) were the most likely to have cancelled plans to move.

On average, UK adults say they have become less likely to buy or move in the past 12 months, with nine per cent of UK adults saying they are more likely to buy or move and 15 per cent saying they are less likely to do so.

The HOA said that the proportion is similar among current homeowners, with eight per cent of them saying that within the past 12 months they have become more likely to buy or move and 15 per cent saying they have become less likely to do so.

Paula Higgins, chief executive of the HOA said: “Our research demonstrates that both first-time buyers and those who already own a home are choosing to play it safe in these uncertain times.”

She added: “People putting off plans to buy or sell chokes housing supply and generates pent-up demand. The housing market needs certainty in order to be able to function most efficiently.”

Ms Higgins went on to add that the government could help to make things easier for homeowners by “looking again at Stamp Duty,” saying that it remains “stubbornly high and acts as a drag on the market”. She said that reducing the amount “genuine owner-occupiers” are required to pay could help to boost the market in these uncertain times.