Three months after Brexit, how true have property predictions proven?

Three months after Brexit, how true have property predictions proven? [Photo: iStock/jmiks]

In June, British politics went through what has been one of the most unpredictable and uncertain periods in history, when a small majority of the nation's electorate voted to leave the European Union (EU). With a vote that was, to say the least unexpected, this brought about a period wherein many businesses in industries were up in the air. 

In the months before Brexit, there had been predictions that many industries, chief among which was the property sector, would suffer if the UK voted to exit the single market. For property, it was predicted that buyers would adopt a wait and see approach that could see sales fall, leaving property prices plummeting and the market, which has been strong for some time, floundering. 

But three months after the historic referendum, how much of this forecast has actually come to fruition, and has the UK property market managed to weather the storm of uncertainty and turbulence that the Brexit vote brought about?

Rental market

The private rented sector was the most likely to be able to go the distance after Brexit and keep up the pace that it has experienced for some time, and so far this has been the case, with landlords seeing prices rising and demand in the rental market still soaring at similar heights to what it was before the referendum. 

Following a slight slowing of demand in July, it was revealed that rental demand climbed in both July and August. The Association of Residential Letting Agents (ARLA) revealed that in August, there was an average of 37 prospective tenants per branch for UK letting agents, which meant that the rental sector rebounded quickly, and returned to levels of demand not seen since before the British electorate voted Leave. 

This continued strength in terms of demand has also fed into a rise in rental prices across the UK since the referendum. According to the official Office for National Statistics data released last week, rental prices paid by tenants have climbed by 2.3 per cent year on year in the last month. When this is coupled with the climb between July and August, it's clear to see that the rental market has managed to motor on and continue to grow strongly in spite of the decision to leave the EU. 

Residential sales

While the rental market has remained resolute in the face of potential adversity, this would not have been all that much of a surprise for anyone. After all, the rental market was never predicted to be hit as hard by Brexit as that for residential sales. So how has the market for buyers reacted in the last few months to the Brexit decision?

In terms of seller sentiment, there appears to have been little in the way of negative market reactions. It had been predicted that there would be a fall in both supply and demand in the aftermath of the vote, but new data shows that sellers are not panicking in the way that was expected. In fact, in the three months post Brexit, it has been revealed that properties for sale rose by a full one per cent. 

And this has been backed up by the fact there are also more buyers in the market. What we had been told in the weeks before Brexit is that buyers would panic when faced with the reality of leaving the EU, but according to the latest data, this has actually not been the case. The drop in demand that had been expected has yet to materialise, and as a result, asking prices and final sale values have both risen. 

Across the UK, in fact, Rightmove has reported that the average asking price has now risen to £306,000 as of the end of September. This marks a 0.7 per cent rise when compared to August, which means that in the space of a month, the average property seller is asking for £2,277 more based on the increased demand. 

What this shows is that even though the predictions for the market had been negative in the run up to, and the aftermath of, the Brexit vote, the British property market appears to have had the underlying strength to last the distance. In both rentals and sales markets, the demand and supply of properties means that there has been a solid performance over the past three months, allowing UK property to overcome adversity and continue to flex its muscles as we move towards the end of the year.