Published 23 March 2019

british european flagI’m sure most people are thoroughly fed-up of reading about Brexit, whether it’s the dogma-driven fake news peddled by ambitious politicians, or the seemingly endless procedural infighting.  If we can’t even agree on the process of agreeing, how are we ever going to agree anything?

The situation is moving so fast that it will surely have moved on in the couple of days which will have elapsed between me writing this and you reading it.  But I doubt that we will be any more certain of what kind of Brexit we are going to achieve – if we achieve one at all.

Unfortunately, all of this uncertainty is causing a measure of hesitancy in the economy, and the property market is not immune to this.  A number of people are sitting tight to wait and see what happens, and not making any decisions.

However – and this is the crucial point – once our politicians finally do their job and make a decision, we can expect to see those floodgates of pent-up activity suddenly open, whether it’s businesses making much-delayed investment decisions, consumers at last deciding on their holiday plans, or house buyers and sellers finally coming to the market.

Although there is uncertainty, we are in a very different situation than we were ten years ago, for example.  The economy is not in recession, unemployment is down and employment is at record levels, inflation is low, and Norfolk remains a sought-after place to live (as evidenced by a survey in the Metro newspaper this week which named Norwich in the top ten places in the UK to live).

All of which points to a very salient point: there will be life after Brexit.  Whatever happens, its likely that the majority will be unhappy with the result, but equally there will be widespread relief that it’s all over and we can get on with life.  And in the housing market, I predict a big activity ‘bounce’ – and it will be those sellers who are ready to hit the ground running who will benefit the most.

Given that we could still in theory leave the EU in nine days’ time, savvy vendors will be getting their properties market ready right now.  That means doing those little jobs which will make the home more attractive, tidying the garden, assembling all of the various documents they will need, and taking advantage of any sunny days to get some photographs taken.

Both sides in the Brexit debate have been guilty of peddling doom and gloom stories about what will happen if their opponents’ vision of the future comes to pass.  The truth is that it is the uncertainty which is really doing the harm, and sooner or later that will be swept away.  When that happens we all need to be ready for the Brexit bounce – and whatever the new normal looks like.

Clive Hedges | Residential Partner

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