As a London property adviser, I get asked all the time on my view of Brexit, and how it’s going to affect the London property market. It would be slightly disingenuous of me to say that everything is going to be fine, because how could I possibly know that? But being a property consultant means I keep abreast of economic and business news, and the over-riding feeling I’m getting is that the outlook is far from doom and gloom.
Sometimes it’s good to turn away from negative press headlines and political bolstering, and look at how commerce is reacting. Here’s a snapshot of some of the positive news coming out of the business pages right now:
London is still open for business
Facebook, Snap (the parent company of the social media platform Snapchat), Instagram and Amazon have all recently taken up large new residences in Central London. In addition, Google is expanding its presence in King’s Cross. And it’s not just tech companies that are showing their continued support for our capital. Last month Deutsche Bank signed a 25-year lease for its London HQ, Hardly the actions of businesses that believe their operations will need to be run from Frankfurt like the headlines would have us believe.
The BBC recently reported that 75,000 jobs might be lost in financial services and associated services. Given that 1 million people are employed in financial services in this country, that’s barely a dent, and it’s highly unlikely that London will lose its status as the largest financial centre in Europe.
Interest rates and taxes will stay low
I know we’ve just seen the first interest rate rise in 10 years, but most economists and investment experts don’t believe it will be the sign of things to come. Only this week, the highly-esteemed investment manager, Neil Woodford, published a report that suggests the UK Government will deal with any economic dislocation by keeping taxes and interest rates low, and by increasing subsidies to business.
Negativity and fear brings opportunity
Woodford’s report also went on to say that “This negative consensual view is reflected in the UK stockmarket, helping to forge a compelling investment opportunity in domestically-focused stocks. There is considerable grounds for optimism that the long-term outcomes for the UK economy will be far better than the alarmed consensus would suggest.”
Well if that applies to business investment, it surely applies to property investment too? Where there are jobs, and a growing economy, there is a need for housing. And let’s not forget that London has a huge housing supply issue, which only a mass exodus will resolve.
My conclusion? To all those would-be London property investors out there, this could be one of the best opportunities to invest in London right now. While others let fear drive them, why not make the most of falling house prices and invest in the future of one of the best cities in the world.