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Brexit triggers three-year house demand low

Brexit triggers three-year house demand low

Heightened uncertainty around the outcome of the European Union referendum caused demand for housing to fall in May, according to the National Association of Estate Agents.

Brexit uncertainty triggered demand for property to fall to the lowest level seen in three years, according to the National Association of Estate Agents (NAEA) May Housing Market report.

Estate agents recorded an average of 304 house hunters registered per member branch in May, as uncertainty in the lead up to the referendum stalled buyers.

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This was down 6 per cent from April, and the lowest recorded since November 2013 when 292 buyers were registered per branch.

Compared to May 2015 when 383 house hunters were recorded – demand has decreased by 21 per cent year on year.

In May, two in five (41 per cent) agents predicted that house prices will fall and three in ten (30 per cent) expect demand will also decrease as a result of a Brexit result.

Mark Hayward, managing director of the National Association of Estate Agents, said: “The EU referendum without doubt meant that May was a month of uncertainty for potential house buyers – demand dropped significantly and is currently at the lowest level we have seen in the last three years.

“As a result of the vote for a Brexit, we expect international investors to look a lot harder at the UK as a potential market to buy in and this will have a knock on effect on the house building sector, as investments may be delayed or put off completely.

“Although in the short term, we believe that house prices will remain stable, we cannot be certain about the next quarter as political uncertainty and market unrest could affect the housing market.”

The NAEA figures came as Robert Gardner, chief economist at Nationwide, said it was difficult to quantify how much of house price growth up to the end of June was due to increased economic uncertainty following the referendum result.