In the run up to the EU referendum there was a great deal of speculation about what would happen in the event of a Brexit and, as voting day approached, some of that speculation bordered on the hysterical. The shock result was followed by a brief hiatus while we tried to absorb the news. But now, with a new government in place, a sense of perspective is returning and it is becoming clear that some of our worst fears were unfounded. The stock market, after a brief fall, has been rising steadily. High street spending, according to the latest report from the British Retail Consortium was up by 2% in July. And, it seems, we will have plenty of time to prepare ourselves for life outside the EU, because the date for our formal exit is now not expected to be until the end of 2019 at the earliest.
The housing market has followed a similar pattern and has been far more resilient than many had expected. The number of transactions had already slowed in the run up to the referendum and they dipped further in its aftermath. However they did not dip significantly. If you disregard 2015 (which saw the release of pent up demand after the general election) Rightmove’s latest figures show July was not untypical of previous years, with prices coming down by 1.2%. Two years earlier (2014), for example, they came down by 2.0%. It’s in London, where Brexit has had the most effect. Prices came down by 2.6% overall and by 1.5% in the suburbs, although when you compare the figures to the July average for London, -2.2%, again, the difference is relatively small.
According to the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS), although expected growth slowed in July to its lowest level in three years, key long term indicators were up in July from June and show both sales and price expectations for the next 12-months to be in positive territory.