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London property prices forecast to fall after Brexit vote

Commercial property prices in London could fall by up to 10% in the wake of Britain’s vote to leave the EU, according to analysts at Peel Hunt, which has cut its net asset value (NAV) forecasts for more than 20 property firms.

The report from Peel Hunt forecasts that NAVs could fall this year at Land Securities and Hammerson due to growing uncertainty around Brexit, while the downturn could last until 2018 at groups such as British Land, Intu, Derwent London and Great Portland.

This is the latest in a tide of negative reports about the future of the UK property market released in recent weeks, with various firms reporting that demand has slumped in recent weeks.

Ultimately, the report predicts that businesses will remain reluctant to commit to commercial property until the outcome of Britain’s negotiations with the EU become clearer, with the biggest concern for city office space being that financial passporting rights could be withdrawn.

In contrast, the firm suggest that logistics, industrials, student housing and medical properties are likely to be relative safe havens.

The residential property market has also not escaped unscathed, with post-Brexit jitters leading to the collapse of a number of home sales, especially in London, while buyer demand has dropped to an eight-year low in the aftermath of the referendum result, according to the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS).

“Big events such as elections typically do unsettle markets, so it is no surprise that the EU referendum has been associated with a downturn in activity,” said RICS chief economist, Simon Rubinsohn.

Commercial property has been at the centre of post-Brexit fears as investors have tried to get their money out of property funds, but residential property could be hit harder, according to the French bank Société Générale. 

Last week, Société Générale warned that house prices in London could fall by up to 30% following the UK’s decision to leave the EU, with homes at the upper end of the market set to be worst affected by Brexit.

“While in recent stress tests the major UK banks were assessed with declines of about 30% in commercial real estate prices, we fear that London residential could experience an even more severe downturn,” it said.

Prices are already falling on properties previously valued at £1m or more, and may have further to go, particularly in the priciest parts of town.

Société Générale added: “We see a classic housing bubble in London and Brexit as the trigger for the correction … Given the current ratio of prices to incomes in London, a price correction of even 40-50% in the most expensive London boroughs does not seem impossible.”

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