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Brexit uncertainty prompts decline in UK property deals

Demand among home buyers has seen a modest recovery following initial post-referendum jitters, but with just 24 hours until Theresa May plans to trigger Article 50, putting Britain on track to leave the EU exactly two years later, on March 29 2019, a new YouGov poll for HomeOwners Alliance and warranty provider BLP Insurance finds that more than 1 million people have already put off plans to move this year because of Brexit uncertainty.

The UK housing market has slowed over the past year, amid greater political and economic uncertainty, caused in part by the outcome of the EU referendum, as illustrated by the fact that the findings from this survey show that 15% of people postponed their moving plans this year, with one in six respondents citing Brexit as the main reason for putting their moving plans on hold.

High rates of stamp duty also deterred almost 650,000 people from moving home, the HomeOwners Alliance said.

Rising property prices (26%), increasing cost of living (25%), difficulty securing a mortgage/re-mortgaging (25%) are among the other top reasons identified for putting people off buying/moving home.

The study suggests that those in the North East (27%) and Northern Ireland (21%) were the most likely to have cancelled plans to move since the Brexit vote.

Paula Higgins, chief executive of the HomeOwners Alliance, said: “With the government preparing to trigger Article 50 this week, we can expect further uncertainty in the market until the UK’s future relationship with Europe is more clearly defined.”

Higgins believes that the property market requires “certainty in order to be able to function most efficiently”.

She added: “The government could help to ameliorate the situation, by looking again at stamp duty. It remains stubbornly high and acts as a drag on the market. Reducing the burden for genuine owner-occupiers could really help to keep the market moving in these uncertain times.”

  • Mark Hempshell

    An interesting piece, but has there ever really been certainty in the property market? There's always been a degree of uncertainty around the corner.

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