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Nearly half of homeowners in London say they plan to wait until after the EU referendum before buying or selling property, according to a survey. The poll of 1,000 homeowners in the UK, conducted by estate agent Bishop's Move, found 47% of those in London will delay property transactions until after the vote on 23 June. Only 20% said the referendum on whether to leave the EU would not affect a decision to sell or buy property.
A 'referendum effect' of a lull in property transactions is anticipated, particularly in London where there is heavy foreign investment in the market. Sterling fell after the referendum date was announced and the debate kickstarted. Several investment banks, including Citi and Goldman Sachs, believe sterling will lose a fifth in value in the event of a Brexit, which would have implications for the property market.
House prices have risen sharply in London in recent years as intense demand puts pressure on a serious shortage of supply. House building in the city is running at around half the level needed to meet demand. The ONS said the average price of a London home hit £536,000 in December 2015 after rising 9.4% over the year.
Chris Marshall, sales & marketing director at Bishop's Move, said the survey "does paint a picture of the both the attitude towards the EU referendum amongst London homeowners and also their approach towards the price of property in the capital".
"It's actually a very similar situation we found in Scotland during its 2014 independence referendum," he said. "Significant policy decisions can severely impact the UK housing market and our own research last year also found almost a quarter of those looking to buy and sell a property delayed their move by 1-4 months in order to wait for the outcome of the general election.
"However, whilst these results point to a slowdown in the build-up to June, we fully anticipate business to resume as usual, particularly when the school holidays arrive and everyone wants to get their moves completed during the break."