Uncertainty about the UKs future after vote to leave European Union could put its real estate market on pause, and send investors to greener pastures
The US real estate market could get a boost in the coming months, some analysts are predicting, thanks to the UKs vote to leave the European Union. The news could add further fire to the already overheated property markets in some of the USs biggest cities.
Uncertainty about UKs future and its economy could put real estate market on pause, especially in London, and sending international investors in search of another safe-haven property market. Most experts agree the US is likely to see increased demand.
The Brexit fallout could especially affect areas and industries that depend on the UKs immigrant population.
Analysts already have started to speculate that firms in the financial and tech sector are most likely to leave the UK if Article 50 the grounds for the UKs EU divorce is activated.
BlackRocks real estate analysts have calculated that UK commercial property values could drop by as much as 10% over the next year thanks to declines in London. Mike Prew, an analyst with Jefferies LLC, estimated that international business could move as many as 100,000 jobs out of the UK and that London office rents could fall 18% within two years of Article 50 being activated.
House prices over the medium-term could easily drop by a fifth or more from those peaks as confidence weakens, the economy slows and lenders and investors become more cautious, said Michael Ball, professor of Urban and Property Economics at Henley Business School in UK.
According to him, the prospects for private rented sectors are poor, especially outside London, where immigrants have been an important source of demand.
Lower interest rates are the only great thing about Brexit, according to Leonard Steinberg, broker and a president of Compass, a US residential real estate brokerage firm. On Thursday, Bank of England governor Mark Carney suggested that the bank might cut interest rates in the coming months to cushion the blow to the economy caused by the Brexit vote.
I have never seen a really bad real estate market in a low interest rate environment. With low interest rates, you have very solid tool to insulate the real estate market, but real estate purchases for individuals are very, very much driven by job security, said Steinberg, pointing out that there are many moving parts. For instance, what if Brexit leads to job losses and people have a fear of job loss even if they do not lose their jobs. You are not going to want to enter into a mortgage commitment today if you might lose your job. I think thats concern that every seller and buyer will have in the UK.
Those looking to invest in real estate will be closely monitoring how the pound is doing, according to Louis Archambault, a real estate lawyer and expert and partner at Arnstein & Lehr LLP.
If the dollar becomes stronger than the pound, it changes the dynamic of whats attractive. Its then not only cheaper to travel to Europe, it would then be cheaper to buy property in Europe as well, he explained. If you have the ability to have strong currency exchange, then property that might be otherwise out of reach suddenly might become a possibility.
And while a weak pound might draw in investment from some foreign nationals looking to buy cheap or affordable property in London, uncertainty about the UK economy as a whole might send them elsewhere, including the United States.
One thing that Europe has shown is that it doesnt move quickly when it comes to politics so if you were sitting on a pound over the dollar, this is a good time to move that money to the United States, advised Archambault, who is based in Miami. He does not foresee the pound going up over the next few years. The US is one of the more stable markets right now in the world. I would be looking very seriously to converting that money and investing it in United States.
Steinberg agreed that the uncertainty in the UK could benefit the real estate in the US.
Dollars have to flow somewhere. All currencies have to flow somewhere to be invested why not in the safest economy and environment and that could be the United States? he said, adding that big cities have been doing especially well.
However, the US is dealing with some uncertainty of its own.
If you have a Hillary Clinton elected, you have a pretty good idea of what you are going to get. If you get a Donald Trump elected, I dont think you have a clear picture of exactly what you are going to get, Steinberg said. Markets and economists and business people like stability and knowing what they are dealing with. Unknown is always something that scares markets.
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