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Brexit jitters have hit sales volumes, claims consumer group

The consumer group HomeOwners Alliance claims new research indicates that more than a million UK adults have shelved plans to purchase a new home because of the vote to leave the EU, economic uncertainty, mortgage restrictions and high house prices.

The HOA says that across the UK one in six of those who stated they had put their moving plans on hold had cited Brexit as the reason; that rose to over one in five in Northern Ireland and over one in four in the north east of England.

Other reasons for deferring a purchase were the long-established problems of rising house prices, wider economic issues, and difficulties securing a mortgage or re-mortgaging,

“Our research demonstrates that both first-time buyers and those who already own a home are choosing to play it safe in these uncertain times. With the government preparing to trigger Article 50 this week, we can expect further uncertainty in the market” claims Paula Higgins, HOA’s chief executive.

“The government could help to ameliorate the situation, by looking again at stamp duty. It remains stubbornly high and acts as a drag on the market. Reducing the burden for genuine owner-occupiers could really help to keep the market moving in these uncertain times” she adds.

The survey, conducted for the HOA and BLP Insurance by YouGov, polled over 2,000 UK adults.

However, research from high-end estate agency Knight Frank appears to give a more optimistic picture of house moving - although still with concern over Brexit.

It says some 5.8 per cent of households plan to purchase a new property within the next 12 months, up from 5.2 per cent in December, with households in London the most likely to buy in this time.

“Households still report that values are increasing, but at a more modest pace than before the EU Referendum, which is consistent with wider housing market trends. Future price expectations remain in positive territory, especially in the South and Midlands” explains Oliver Knight, an associate in Knight Frank’s residential research team.

But he warns: “There are a number of headwinds which could weigh on the market, including rising inflation and second-round effects from Brexit. Yet at the same time, a lack of supply of housing for sale is underpinning pricing across much of the UK.” 

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