A third of homeowners who have moved house since the referendum in June 2016 say Brexit was behind their decision to move, according to online mortgage broker Trussle.
While uncertainty and turmoil currently reigns in Westminster – with an extension to Britain’s departure date and MPs seizing control of the Brexit process by agreeing to hold a series of indicative votes – question marks over how we are going to leave and what the country will be like after have been a constant presence in the nearly three years since the original poll.
The survey of 2,001 people found that, of those that have moved in the past three years, 18% claim they felt ‘forced’ to act after losing confidence in the housing market due to Brexit uncertainty.
On the other hand, 15% said their move was driven by a desire to ‘live abroad’ due to Brexit.
The number of renters who report Brexit as the driving factor in their move since 2016, however, is lower, at 12%.
The Brexit effect also fluctuates considerably with regards to age and location. While two fifths of 18-39 year olds said uncertainty since the EU referendum in 2016 has impacted their property decisions, just 12% of people aged 40-plus said the same thing.
Meanwhile, 39% of Londoners said Brexit-linked uncertainty has affected their property decisions, compared to just 6% of people in Yorkshire, 8% in the East of England and 11% in the North West.
Of the 19% of people surveyed who said they’d applied for a mortgage in the past three years, nearly a third said the process has been made more difficult by the falling confidence in the housing market linked to Brexit.
Looking forward, Trussle’s research suggests a mixed but hopeful picture for the housing market. While there are around one million homeowners who are currently holding off from selling, amid fears the economic climate will result in a low return on investment, there are now significantly more people planning to move home in the next three years (21%) than those who’ve moved since 2016 (18%).
This is backed up by the latest UK Finance data showing a 4.6% rise in new first-time buyer mortgages compared to a year ago, and a 2.8% year-on-year growth in home-mover mortgages. In addition, remortgaging activity recently reached its highest peak in nine years.
“People have been discussing the Brexit effect on the housing market since the EU referendum, and have continued to speculate about what lies ahead for our future economy,” Ishaan Malhi, chief executive and co-founder of Trussle, said.
“It’s alarming to think that so many homeowners cite Brexit as their main motivation. Add to that the one million homeowners who aren’t putting their home on the market due to uncertainty - and the picture initially appears pretty bleak.”
However, despite the UK’s post-Brexit landscape being no clearer, he said there are plenty of positive signs of movement elsewhere. “Remortgaging activity recently reached its highest peak in nine years and more people are considering a move in the next three years,” Malhi added.
“In many ways, the housing market’s proving its resilience in the face of uncertainty. As the future becomes clearer, we could see it turbocharged. In the meantime, the industry should be going above and beyond to offer the best possible advice and reassure current and future homeowners during this ongoing period of uncertainty.”