It's happened. The UK has, in the majority, voted to leave the EU. What wasn't quite so predictable was the resignation of the Prime Minister. So what now? A Tory Party leadership race throughout the summer and new Prime Minister by the autumn.
After a long, hard fought and sometimes bloody battle the metaphorical war has been won. Some would say by dye in the wool old fogies whose heads were firmly fixed in the sand and the twentieth century, whilst others that Brexit voters were the brave pioneers, the backbone of what the British Isles was founded upon.
What impact will this have on the property sector? Initially the markets plummeted and Sterling dropped against the US dollar. While 'nobody knows' is a phrase that may be heard often over the coming months and years, in truth the following is still speculation, researched, gathered and repeated comment from property pundits over the past months; but it may help to give a broad overview of what might happen in the near(ish) future.
However, what everyone agrees upon is that uncertainty reigns.
In the months running up to the referendum we saw a change in areas of the property sector that may have been a flash in the pan but could herald a permanent change.
Some of the larger institutional investors held back from committing to sizeable commercial purchases, which provided a window for smaller investors to gain a foothold in London and other major cities around the country.
In referendum week, Rightmove reported that the residential housing market achieved a milestone in May 2016, with properties selling in an average of 57 days – the fastest time recorded over the previous twelve months.
Once things have quietened down, the supply and demand aspect of the home-grown domestic property market suggests there may be little or no change post Brexit. People in Lincolnshire will still buy and rent property and so the merry-go-round will continue. Of course if interest rates go up it will make life tough for those who did not factor in rate increases when they took out their mortgage.
Investors in buy-to-let property already incorporate the affects of additional stamp duty on second properties and
London is an anomaly. The top end of this particular market has been shaped by foreign investors - often buy-to-leavers, who purchase with confidence of an ever-increasing return and a safe haven for their money - but in the past few months it has seen prices fall as fewer buyers fight for their piece of the golden goose.
Many may welcome this slowdown and view it as an adjustment to an overheated market. Wealthy Europeans may no longer chose to invest in the London Property market - but then again they may come back in their droves – nobody really knows?
The property sector has always been influenced by the economy in general and uncertainty is not a climate in which to make major decisions, so the outcome of our exiting the EU will be dependent upon how inventive we can be as a nation to 'go it alone'.
We must all remember that property is a long-term investment and that prices can go down as well as up. Whilst there may be a short-term shock to the sector, over the medium and longer-term prices and yields will adjust and it is supply and demand that drives the property market.
In amongst all the uncertainty, and in the run-up to the vote, Société Générale confirmed that it was signing on a further 8,000 square feet at its current site in St James Square and is committed to a new and larger Canary Wharf office with a move-in date in 2019.
Banks still need to lend and businesses and individuals still need to borrow. In London developers may decide to build for the home market rather than overseas investors; in the rest of the country there may be an easing of bottlenecks caused by the Freedom of Movement of Workers, which is a fundamental principle of the Treaty enshrined in Article 45 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union. But all this is speculation.
Who can predict whether or not we will become the go-to country for foreign property investment? Add to that the attraction of a country on the doorstep of Europe and not bound by the red tape of numerous regulations? Nobody knows.
We will survive.
In an endeavour to prepare Year 13 students for independent living, and more specifically leaving home and renting a property, Mrs Ainscow, Head of Sixth Form at St John's Catholic Comprehensive School in Gravesend, invited Caxtons to present to their Sixth Form pupils.
Caxtons' Lettings Manager, Amelia Singer, and property manager Scott McKenzie were more than happy to rise to the challenge so on 30th March they spoke to students, presenting them with all the information they would need when they rent their own property.
Bearing in mind that many of the students would soon be off to university and possibly renting a student property within the next few years, Amelia and Scott decided to provide not only the facts about becoming a tenant, but also to give them many hints about finding the right property, and tips on what to include when budgeting for their first 'home from home'.
They covered a broad spectrum of issues such as providing references, the fees involved, guarantors, having a credit history and credit checks. They gave
They gave the students an insight into what to look for in a property, the length of tenancy offered, renewing a tenancy and their legal obligations.. And they also highlighted some of the pitfalls that tenants can face such as un-registered letting agents, the liabilities of signing a joint tenancy agreement, looking for defects when they view properties and being good neighbours and caring tenants!
Amelia and Scott hope to return next year to help the new Year 13 students to find their ideal student property when the time comes.
On a crisp Sunday morning on 17th September a team of eight Caxtons' employees set off at the crack of dawn to ride from Clapham Common to Brighton seafront, in the London to Brighton Charity Bike Ride, in support of Demelza Hospice, the company's chosen charity of the year.
Demelza cares for life-limited and life-threatened children providing support for them and their families and so far a massive £2,176 has been raised – beating the team's target of £2000.
All riders did extremely well to get through the day, with just two water breaks at miles 17 and 40 and a lunch break in between at mile 29 – overall riding the 54 miles to the finish line at Brighton Seafront, with some very undulating terrain and the dreaded Ditchling Beacon, the third-highest point on the South Downs at 248m high.
Despite Tom and Ed forging ahead of the pack for the majority of the race, unfortunately they were miss-directed by a marshal overseeing a nearby Triathlon at the last mile – who then accidentally sent them on a further 3-4 mile trip where they ended up finishing a completely
Overall the day was a long, hard slog, but a great team effort assisted in raising a significant amount for an extremely worthy cause!
Team members final times recorded were as follows:-
Well done to everyone who took part and a big thank you to all those who sponsored us and helped us reach our target!