How will Brexit affect property prices in Battersea and Brixton?

News at Eden Harper | 11/04/2016

It’s official! Battersea and Brixton residents live in the city the world’s largest travel website has named number one destination on earth.

The top rating on TripAdvisor was awarded after analysis of millions of visitor reviews of restaurants, hotels and tourist attractions, including Battersea Park and Lounge on Atlantic Road, Brixton.

Eden Harper acknowledges that Brixton and Battersea’s many attractions alone did not earn London its number one ranking ahead of Paris, New York and Rome.

The Victoria & Albert Museum, the London Eye and Buckingham Palace – all easily reached by road, rail and tube from Battersea and Brixton – might have had something to do with London’s top billing.

But just 12 days after the Queen’s 90th birthday parade culminates with the annual Trooping the Colour on 11 June, the country could be voting to leave the European Union.

How will this affect London, and in particular the property market in Battersea and Brixton?

Eurosceptics argue that if Britain votes to end its 43-year membership of the EU when the referendum takes place on 23 June it will cut immigration, save the taxpayer billions of pounds and free us from an economic burden.

On the other hand, Europhiles say if the much talked about Brexit does take place it would cause the stock market to fall through the floor and an economic recession, with losses to GDP calculated by the Centre for Economic Performance at up to 9.5% – worse than the 2008 financial crisis that saw property prices fall by more than 13%.

Buckingham Palace insists the Queen is “politically neutral” over the EU referendum.

As a leading independent estate agent with an in-depth knowledge of Battersea and Brixton, Eden Harper takes a similar stance to Her Majesty.

Greenland Treaty

Only one member state has ever left the 28-nation EU since Belgium, France, Italy, Luxembourg, the Netherlands and West Germany established the European Economic Community in 1958.

As a part of Denmark, Greenland joined the EEC in 1973. After home rule for Greenland began in 1979, the territory voted to leave the EEC in 1982 and its exit was agreed in 1985 following lengthy negotiations over fishing rights that resulted in the Greenland Treaty of 1984.

But as a member of the Association of the Overseas Countries and Territories of the European Union, Greenland remains subject to EU treaties.

In theory, Britain could leave the EU in a single day by repealing the European Communities Act 1972 and its numerous modifications and amendments.

However, Article 50 of the 2009 Lisbon Treaty – the document that governs membership of the EU – states that any country wanting to leave the EU must negotiate with the 27 other member states about the terms of its withdrawal.

The Lisbon Treaty allows member states up to two years to come to an exit agreement or face leaving without securing a free trade agreement or any other benefits EU membership brings.

A government report on the process for withdrawing from the EU, which was released in February, acknowledges that “uncertainty during the negotiating period could have an impact on financial markets, investment and the value of the pound, and as a consequence on the wider economy and jobs”.

But because Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty has never been put to the test, we can only speculate about the effects of this uncertainty.

The nearest point of reference is the Scottish referendum, which hit the luxury end of the property market north of the border particularly hard.

In August 2014 – the month before Scots voted on their future – the number of property sales in Scotland was 8% lower than the typical seasonal trend.

In a similar way that the run-up to a general election often puts the property market on hold, the aftermath of the referendum could do the same if we vote to leave the EU.

But just as the property market in Brixton and Battersea got back into full swing the day after David Cameron’s election victory in 2015, the UK’s status within the EU is unlikely to have any long-term effects.

Economic powerhouse

Why? In macroeconomic terms, EU membership is virtually irrelevant for the UK.

This is because we are both an economic powerhouse and the value of sterling is not tied to the euro, according to Financial Times columnist Wolfgang Münchau.

He goes on to explain that the EU budget is tiny when compared with the UK government’s other fixed costs and free trade and free capital movement is highly likely to continue whether Britain leaves the EU or not.

It’s not unreasonable to say the greatest threat to property values that Brexit poses is the two-year period Britain would need to negotiate the terms of its departure from the EU.

Those 24 months would create a climate of uncertainty, which could well have a dampening effect on the property market in Brixton and Battersea.

But this offers opportunities for property owners and buyers. The weakening value of the pound, caused in most part by speculation over Brexit, is already taking place.

In March 2015, £1 was worth over €1.41. Today, it’s worth closer to €1.25.

The falling value of the pound makes property in Brixton and Battersea significantly less expensive for overseas investors.

It is equally possible, therefore, that investors from the Eurozone will keep the property market buoyant in Brixton, Battersea and beyond as they seek to take advantage of their currency’s strength against the pound.

Nor will Brexit alter the fact that London has been attracting investment since long before the Tube arrived in Brixton on 23 July 1971.

Property values in Battersea in particular are likely to continue rising as nearby Nine Elms continues to develop into an economic and cultural hub.

The £620m US embassy is still on target to open next year when demand for homes in easy reach of Nine Elms is likely to reach a peak – whether Brexit negotiations are underway or not. 

How much is your property in Brixton or Battersea worth? Contact the valuations team at Eden Harper for an up to date valuation of your home’s rental and sales value.