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Brexit: House builders insist property 'remains a great investment' as share prices continue to fall

The vote to leave the EU has continued to affect confidence in the property sector but estate agents and developers in Kent say demand remains high.

Shares in New Ash Green-based Bovis Homes are down nearly 30% since the nation voted for Brexit.

Barratt Developments, which owns Sevenoaks-based Ward Homes, has also seen a decline of 30% in its value on the London Stock Exchange.

Greenbelt in the Gravesend area could be under threat
Greenbelt in the Gravesend area could be under threat

Many developers are expected to update shareholders on their strategies to deal with the challenges posed by Brexit this week.

The disquiet has prompted estate agents like haart to insist property remains a sound investment.

The company said it is seeing more than 10 buyers chasing every property on the market.

“Property remains a great investment even during this short period of uncertainty following on from the Brexit result..." - Paul Smith, haart

Terry Sterling, branch manager of Maidstone haart, said: “Our new applicant levels remain strong and I would encourage those that are already on the market to hold a strong position and remain confident in achieving a sale for their home.

“Now is a great time to come to the market in Maidstone while many people will sit back and let the Brexit result pan out it’s those that come to the market sooner that are more likely to achieve a sale quickly."

haart chief executive Paul Smith said: “Property remains a great investment even during this short period of uncertainty following on from the Brexit result.

"The critical shortage of housing in this country won’t change due to a temporary dampening of demand especially with 80% of young renters who remain desperate to get on to the housing ladder."

Maidstone's Local Plan has been adopted
Maidstone's Local Plan has been adopted

Laura Keatley, senior associate at Dartford and Tunbridge Wells law firm Thomson Snell and Passmore, said the vote will inevitably lead to a period where developers, lenders and investors wait to see what the political and economic fallout is.

“Within hours of the results some of our clients put decisions on hold," she said. "Uncertainty is always unwelcome in the property business.

“No doubt there will also be some opportunities and the trick for investors, developers and funders will be to spot those opportunities and get in early.”

Property developer Mark Quinn, managing director of Quinn Estates, said he believes house prices will stay steady this year.

Quinn Estates managing director Mark Quinn
Quinn Estates managing director Mark Quinn

He said: “I don’t think house prices will fall. They will remain pretty stable. There are a million people coming to this country each year and there are not a million houses being built.

“The reduction in regulation and EU directives will help the commerciality of our business but it will certainly be harder to get people to invest from the outside of the country...”- Mark Quinn, Quinn Estates

“To cope with what is going to happen this year we will have to build more houses. It is the fundamental rules of supply and demand.”

He believes Brexit could end up benefiting the industry.

“We are in a new world,” he said. “It makes for interesting times. Volatility brings opportunity. It’s going to be difficult but we have got to be ready to work hard, get our head down and go for it.

“The reduction in regulation and EU directives will help the commerciality of our business but there will be difficulties too. It will certainly be harder to get people to invest from the outside of the country.”

John Elliott, managing director of Tonbridge-based property developer Millwood Designer Homes, said the move would be good for the future of British house building.

Millwood Designer Homes managing director John Elliott
Millwood Designer Homes managing director John Elliott

He said: “Our exit from the EU will stop the continual flow of red tape and see our housing market grow and flourish without unnecessary constraints placed on building much needed new homes.

“I am excited to get on with the new world and see the back of EU laws which have been detrimental to us for over 40 years.

“One of the UK’s biggest assets is our home grown housing market and this will now be much better off out of EU regulation.”


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