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MPs consider Brexit impact on estate and letting agency industries

A House of Commons committee has prepared a briefing document on areas of the UK residential and commercial properties sectors most impacted by Brexit. 

It reveals that some three per cent of an estimated 43,000 people working in sales, lettings and property management are EU nationals - a relatively small proportion compared to other sectors of the economy. 

In the section of the report given over to the residential sales sector, key extracts are:

- "According to the Annual Business Survey in 2016 there were 20,309 enterprises engaging in estate agency work in the UK employing 161,000 people ...  Total turnover from real estate agencies was £11.7 billion, with approximate gross value added (aGVA) of £8.9 billion."

- "Most estate agent businesses are small outfits. A National Association of Estate Agents report found that in September 2017 UK estate agents had on average 394 house hunters register with them, 41 properties available and 8 sales agreed."

- "The work of UK-based estate agents is primarily domestic and is generally not highly dependent on EU labour: Of the 43,000 people employed in estate agency work in the UK according to ONS’ Annual Population Survey in 2016/17, around 1,200 were EU nationals (3 per cent) and 650 were non-EU nationals (1.5 per cent)."

- "Some of the larger estate agent companies do have offices overseas, both in the EU and in the rest of the world, providing services to international clients. Some UK- based agents also offer foreign residential properties in the EU and elsewhere for sale to UK residents and, conversely, will seek foreign buyers for UK properties."

- "There are no restrictions on foreign ownership of residential property in the UK and  3.4 per cent of owner occupied homes have HRPs who are of non-UK or Irish nationality."

- "The prime London market appears to have the highest concentration of foreign buyers, according to industry and academic assessments."

However, the lettings sector is likely to be more heavily affected by Brexit because of the relatively high proportion of tenants thought to be from other EU countries.

The report cites the English Housing Survey suggesting over 20 per cent of all privately-rented accommodation in England being occupied by non-resident nationals - although it is uncertain how many of those are from inside or outside the EU. 

It also suggests that some 18.8 per cent of all housing stock in the UK is privately rented, with the total residential stock - owner-occupied, socially and privately-rented - worth a combined £5.914 billion. 

You can see the report here.

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