Harold Wilson, who delivered the UK?s first European referendum in 1975, said a week is a long time in politics. This week, Brexit has been the only story in town.
In October, Zoopla reported that the impact of Brexit "?has been limited so far?. Housing fundamentals such as affordability, tax changes and mortgage regulation were thought to be the main factors of the slowdown in London - where average prices are falling by 0.4% - and the Brexit vote has been a compounding factor, said the online property portal.
However, continuing uncertainty created by the Brexit process is now starting to take its toll. According to the latest RICS Residential Market Survey, this is causing both buyers and sellers to sit tight in increasing numbers.
The results from the latest survey show a weaker trend in sales than in previous months, with the headline indicators for demand and supply falling once again. Almost half of the agents responding to the survey blame the political uncertainty around Brexit for people?s reluctance to either put their home on the market or take out a new mortgage.
The lack of new stock coming onto the market means that agents are reporting only having, on average, 42.1 homes for sale and the number of valuations is also down in comparison to this time last year. With little choice for new buyers and fewer people interested in moving, the number of agreed sales fell in November.
Caution is now clearly visible among both buyers and sellers, says RICS chief economist Simon Rubinsohn, and where deals are being done, they are taking longer to complete. The worry now is that this uncertainty may spill over into the development pipeline, making it even harder to secure the uplift in construction that is so badly needed to address the housing crisis.
So much for the big picture, but what about the story closer to home? Fewer than 20 weeks are left to arrange the UK?s departure from the EU and businesses around the country are having to consider what they may need to do after 29 March next year.
According to a new report aimed at British business from lawyers CMS, Ready for Brexit?, only 22% of large businesses are well prepared. Another 11% expect to prepare but haven?t started yet and just 59% of small businesses expect to make any preparations for a chaotic exit from the EU.
It is easy to assume that Brexit will have little impact on the way letting and managing agents run their businesses. After all, we have nothing to import or export. The regulations we adhere to may change but that won?t happen overnight. However, Brexit may well impact the people we employ. There has been a lot of talk around recruiting British workers after Brexit. At Ringley we have a proactive recruitment and training policy and are an Ambassador for Apprenticeships. We are passionate about training staff in-house and, regardless of the way Brexit pans out, we will continue to recruit staff who fit our company culture and develop our people in order to deliver the very best service to our clients.
Author : Mary-Anne Bowring
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